Food Allergies: A Responsible Approach

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None of these are a good way to end a meal.

I have one hard and fast rule when it comes to waiting tables.  No one dies on my watch.  I have had several guests leave the restaurant in an ambulance, but none of them have died.  It is a simple thing, but it helps me sleep better at night.  I may not be changing the world with this rule, but I cannot imagine the guilt of breaking it.

This is why I am particularly careful about food allergies.  Knowledge of food allergies is the most basic tool  a server has to prevent guests from facing life-threatening reactions in their restaurants.  This is too often treated lightly.  I once heard a surgeon say that the only minor surgery is the one someone else is having.  The same can be said of food allergies.  While it may not seem important to every guest, the difference between a peanut and a tree nut can be the difference between an enjoyable meal and a trip to the emergency room for some of your guests.

Read the full post at Foodie Knowledge

A World Without Tips

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A world without tips

I am still incredibly grateful for my recent guest post on tipping.  It inspired my response that discussed the economics of tipping.  It also raised a few other interesting points that I am now learning are common misconceptions about restaurants.  For people who have never worked in a restaurant, these misconceptions can easily be mistaken as facts.  Upon further consideration they may not be wise to pursue.  One interesting idea that she raised in the post was raising the wages paid to server by restaurants to replace tipping.  While on the surface it seems quite logical, it would have a disastrous impact on the industry.

Restaurants are operated on incredibly thin profit margins.  As discussed in a previous post, large corporate restaurant chains are extremely susceptible to anything that affects their stock prices. With a huge spike in the cost of labor, restaurant stock prices would crumble.  Independent restaurant owners struggling to stay afloat would shutter.  Consumers would lose choices.  A vast majority of restaurants would survive this initial wave, but be forced into the next step.

The remaining restaurants would set a wage for servers considerably lower than what the servers make now.  Professional servers with years of experience would have to settle for the new rate or venture into a new career field.  Between servers quitting and terminations, restaurants would reduce the size of their server staff by about a third.  Servers who worked four table sections before would now be required to work six tables for less money.  This would reduce the damage to the restaurant’s bottom line, but also drastically reduce the quality of service that was provided to guests.

Read the full post at Tips For Improving Your Tips

The Great Debate (Introduction)

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Available at tiptable.com

There are a number of topics about serving and restaurants that are open for debate.  The opinions are generally split between those who have been in the industry and those who have not.  It is very similar to the political process as it currently stands.  Most people have chosen either the Server Party or the Guest Party.  This moderates in the middle are enough to give either side a majority opinion.  The two parties are as opinionated and uncompromising as the political ones.  There seems to be one issue that even the moderates are split on.  Whether it is acceptable to leave less than 15% when the service is poor.

I discussed this issue with a couple of friends from high school.  It took all sorts of different turns.  If everyone gets 15-20%, isn’t that punishing servers who deserve 20%?  Can even an educated guest know all the factors that contribute to slow service?  I knew my vested interest in the topic precluded me from being truly objective.  This is why I asked one of them to write a post outlining her position.  I know from first hand experience that she is a good tipper and a very nice person.  Please refrain from death threats since she did do me a favor in writing this.  With that in mind, here is what she submitted:

Read the full post at Foodie Knowledge

Independent vs Corporate Restaurant Priorities

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Where menu prices are really determined

This morning I read an article regarding the rising costs of food and how restaurants will respond.  In the article former server Charles Ferruzza finds a pair of local restaurant owners who say they will refuse to raise prices to compensate for the increase in costs.  The owners discuss absorbing the costs themselves or reducing portion sizes to keep prices constant.  While I am certain no owner was eager to have an article written about their pending price hike, there is another side to this story.  The difference in priorities between an independent owner and corporate shareholders is something that explains a great deal about the restaurant industry.

Independent restaurant owners directly profit from the money spent at their restaurants.  They have the autonomy to determine what is best for their restaurants long term.  Maintaining profitability in the long term is more important than immediate profits.  They determine how much of the profit they take as income and how much is reinvested into the restaurant.  If they are convinced that foregoing short term profits is better for the long term profitability of the restaurant, they can proceed in that manner.  This in reality is the owner offering to subsidize the guest’s meal to keep them returning.   For the individual owner of a profitable restaurant, this short term hit can be seen as a long term investment in the restaurant.

Read the full post at The Manager’s Office

Hot Schedules Reviewed: Part Two

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Is this the future?

Hot Schedules is coming.  Its rapid growth has it on track to become the dominant scheduling system in restaurants.  As a user for several months, I want to provide a frank and unbiased view of the system.  These opinions are mine alone and in no way represent the company that I am employed by.  They simply represent some ideas to keep in mind when considering adopting this system.

Read the full post at The Manager’s Office

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