The Feedback Thread


This is your chance to let me know what you think

This blog is at a crossroads.  Over the next month I will be fundamentally redesigning this blog and the content featured on it.  Before I make any of these changes I really wanted to consult those of you who read it to get your opinions.  You all are the reason I keep writing everyday.  When I started this blog I really hoped to one day get up to about two thousand views a month.  This month we quadrupled that number and it is only eight months in.  The growth has been astonishing to me.  It has made me incredibly grateful to all of you.  It also has introduced some new challenges.

My advice to anyone who asks me about starting a blog now is, “buy the url first.”  I have come about this advice the hard way.  My negotiations for or any variation of it are over.  My initial offer of $100 was met with a counter offer of $6000.  I have watched enough Pawn Stars to know that not even Chumlee would accept that deal. Unfortunately, does not quite roll off the tongue.

The other problem is my lack of focus.  While I have managed to stay on track and post six times a week, but the topics are pretty diverse.  This has in turn led to a pretty diverse audience.  While a handful of folks are interested in anything I post on here, most are not.  Each reader has their preference on what they would like to see posted.  Some are interested in only posts about how to make better tips.  Others come by only for the management posts.  Many of you are foodies who enjoy the food related posts most.  Others only drop in for the humor or weird restaurant stories.  Then there are the folks from Kansas City who like the posts with a local flavor.  All the other groups skip over the last batch.

I am interested in all of these topics.  Some posts intended for one group is relevant to others, but very few of the posts are relevant to all of them.  It also leads to many of my posts being less on the initial topic of “tips for improving your tips.”  This is especially true with the multi part series of some topics.  I feel that when I launch into a week long series on leadership that is relevant to managers, I risk alienating all of the other groups.  My concern is that one blog trying to serve so many diverse groups serves none of them very well.

Now that I have framed the issue, here is my thought.  My plan at this point is to break up the blog.  Rather than having one blog with so many topics, I am considering a few blogs with more specific material.  The downside of this is that there is still only one of me writing.  This means that some of these blogs would only be updated once a week.  It would also mean as a reader that you would be able to only be notified when something was posted to the particular blog you were interested in.  If you were interested in two of the blogs (ie server and humorous topics), you would not have to scroll past the topics that don’t interest you (ie management or foodie topics).  There would also be one blog that stays on top of all of the others to allow one spot for anyone who wants to follow all of the posts.

There is the situation as I see it.  In reality though, that is just me trying to understand what you are all wanting.  Before I put any of this into motion, I want to give you the opportunity to tell me what you want.  Let me know what parts are relevant to you.  Would you prefer more focused blogs even if it meant fewer updates?  Are you a facebook fan, but tired of daily updates of posts that are not relevant to your interests?  Are you someone who would rather see every post in the current format?  I have been racking my brain trying to figure out what my readers want.  It would be far easier for me to just get the information from you.  The comment thread is open to all of you.  Let me know what you think so I can make this blog better for you.

The Rules of Serving: Rule Six


Rule Six: Never spend money you haven’t made.

I am glad July of 2010 is behind me.  I cannot recall a month that was less lucrative in my serving career.  My income dropped by well over 50% last month.  Unbearable heat combined with a disproportionate number of patio shifts took a chunk out of my savings.  I had planned for a slow month, but not one this slow.

I was fortunate enough to follow my own advice on saving and budgeting.  I keep my living expenses low and save during good months.  This allowed me to avoid the month being devastating financially. I stay out of debt and carry no credit cards.  My car is paid for and my rent is minimal.  My savings was depleted, but not drained.

Read the full story at Tips For Improving Your Tips

Retiring Jokes



My Class Picture circa 1988

I was 13 years old back in 1988.  I know who Flo Jo and Greg Louganis are.  I will never misspell potato.  I remember President Reagan.  I had a crush on Jessica Rabbit.  I saw Rattle and Hum on my 13th birthday because it was rated PG-13.  My girlfriend taught me to dirty dance, but I my guy friends were more into Def Leppard.  I know for sure that Dan Quayle is no Jack Kennedy.

Yet, when I card someone and they were born in 1988, the math says that they are legal to drink.  It doesn’t seem like 21 years ago in my head.  It seems like a few years at best.  It is a sign that I am getting older.  When I started serving, 1973 was the magic year.  I know this well because being able to convincingly turn a “75” into a “73” on a driver’s license with chalk and a mechanical pencil was worth ten bucks in my dorm.  Everytime someone proudly shows me an ID with 1988 on it, my arthritis starts acting up.

The other downside of this long career is that the jokes I used starting out are no longer laughed at by most of my guests.  I have retired jokes in the past due to menu changes.  I miss serving duck.  I never knew how to describe it, so I would often have to wing it.  Guests who enjoyed it would never mind it being on their bill, even when I would serve it with a side of quackers.

Read the full post at Restaurant Laughs

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