Resumes For Servers

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What I meant by "Head Trainer" was "Head Trainer of Dishwashers."

“You should never write your own resume, personal ad, or obituary.  In all three cases it is better to show your humility by letting someone else lie for you.”

-David Hayden

Every since picking up a copy of Peter’s Quotations in high school it has been a personal goal of mine to quote myself in something I wrote.  I can now check that one of the bucket list.  Contrary to the impression I give writing this blog, I am actually a pretty humble guy.  I consider humility an attribute.  In most cases it serves a person well.  Writing a resume is not one of those cases.

Writing a successful resume requires the writer to place the most positive spin on their achievements possible.  This does not mean lying, but rather fully accentuating the positive.  There is no room for humility in resume writing.  It is assumed by the reader that a resume contains a fair amount of exaggeration.  If you do not include that exaggeration, your humility will be mistaken for it.

I recently was asked by a friend to take a look at her resume.  She had a big interview coming up and wanted to have a fresh set of eyes to take a look over it.  I determined at this point there are two types of people in this world: those who edit and those who write.  I write, but am not so strong on the editing side (as many of you who read regularly have gathered).  I returned to her what I consider a very strong server resume.  She gave me permission to share parts of it with you and I think it can provide some inspiration for anyone writing their own.

Read the full post at Tips For Improving Your Tips

Top Five Posts You Probably Missed

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R. Charles Pennington IV is best known for his role as the Zoloft rock, but also was the lesser known character Ronnie the Roll

Being less than a week away from my 100th post has left me some time to think about how I want to recognize that milestone.  I thought about a grand countdown.  I thought  about an retrospective on all of the changes I have seen in the restaurant business in my years.  I had an idea sent to me for a very controversial point/counterpoint.  I even considered just waxing poetic on the business as a whole in a pretentious and self absorbed way.  I decided to skip that last one so as not to steal a certain someone’s shtick.

Instead I decided it was okay for me to phone a couple of these in.  100 posts in under 5 months is a pretty feverish pace for a blogger considering the size of most of my posts.  Posts that require research have hours poured into them to try and produce something worth reading.  Occasionally, I get really excited about the result.  In my opinion yesterday’s post about ranch dressing might be my favorite.  However after I finish this one, it may take that title.  My favorite generally is the one I just wrote.

Read the full story at Restaurant Laughs

Ranch Dressing and Why We Love It

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Some people really love their ranch

When Escoffier defined his five mother sauces, he did so based on a proud culinary tradition that dated back to Careme and others.  These were flexible sauces that stood the test of time.  Fortunately, he could not predict how boring the average consumer would become.  In most modern chain restaurants the mother sauces would be redefined as marinara, alfredo, ketchup, gravy, and ranch.  It is said that if you stand perfectly still above Escoffier’s gravesite, you can actually feel him spinning.

Of these sauces the newest and most commonly used is ranch dressing.  It became America’s favorite salad dressing in 1992.  It has since only gained popularity as a dipping sauce and suspected beverage (“the lady at table 24 wants another side of ranch, what is she doing, drinking the stuff?”).  Ranch’s rise to the top is a modern day success story.  The reason behind it will change the way you look at food.

Read the full story at Foodie Knowledge

A Food Critic Intervention

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Above My Computer

There have been several instances while writing posts for this blog where I have felt the need to place blame for the things that drive me crazy about the restaurant business.  I have always managed to stop short of that because I do not want this to be a blog that complains about the problems we are all aware of.  My mission is a little different.  I want to help servers make more money by exceeding their guests’ expectations. Whenever I find myself kvetching too much I only have too look at the Woody Guthrie quote that I keep hanging above my computer to get me back on track.

I consider myself fortunate to have worked with some great “old school” waiters who instilled in me a respect for the industry and the way things used to be.  I have heard tales of the days when people dressed for dinner, left the kids at home, and did not ask for ranch on their Caesar salads.  Since I did not cause the mass corporate casual restaurant to become the norm, I do not complain about it.  I try to adapt to a world where anyone with a yahoo username can be a food critic and hundreds of cooking shows allows everyone to consider themselves a chef de cuisine.  I do so because this is an industry that I love and respect.

Read the full post at The Manager’s Office

How To Memorize Orders

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brain

I know that order is in here somewhere

(Note: In yesterdays post I discussed why I feel it is beneficial to memorize orders.  I will not recap to avoid redundancy, which itself if redundant in this post.)

I am terrible with names.  Not particularly good with faces either.  I will forget three things every time I take a trip.  I promise I will remember to bring that CD I was telling you about next time I see you.  I have left the house in my slippers.  This seems like a good chance to wish a happy belated birthday to everyone who had one before the days when Facebook reminded me.  There was a point to this paragraph, but I am not sure what it was.

If you ask most of my friends, they will gladly tell you how forgetful I am.  If you ask my guests, they will tell you I am some sort of memorization genius.  Memorizing orders is skill rather than a talent.  A talent is something you are born with.  A skill is something you get better at through technique and practice.  I am an absent minded person who has trained himself to be highly proficient at memorizing orders.

Read the full post at Tips For Improving Your Tips

Memorizing Orders

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When I started my first serving job years ago I worked for a company I will affectionately refer to as “Five Four.”  That isn’t what it says on the signs out front, but it what we all called it.  My first day a manager who introduced himself as “CSV” told me that if I couldn’t figure out how to carry three plates at once by the end of the shift, I was fired.  I wasn’t sure if he was telling the truth, but I learned to carry three plates.  A couple days later I was training with a guy named “Timmy” who never wrote down his orders.  I asked him why and he said, “Only rookies write down orders.”

There are any number of managers who would read that last sentence and be horrified.  The thought of not writing down orders puts fear in the heart of managers who are responsible for the rise in food costs related to misrung food.  A former boss once put it this way; “I would rather have a stubby pencil than a sharp mind.”  The debate on whether or not to write down orders has pretty much been won by the side of managers who want to eliminate mistakes.  I do not disagree with them, but I also do not write down orders.

Read the full post at Tips For Improving Your Tips

Regional Barbeque Styles

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Christmas is just around the corner

As a rule I attempt to be unbiased in my writings on this blog.  When I express a controversial opinion I try to balance it out with a contrasting opinion.  The advice I give on serving comes solely from my experience, testing, and observation.  Opinions just convolute the message and make it less applicable for the reader.  Today however I do not think I can be objective.  I was made fortunate through the grace of whatever power you believe controls this universe to have been born in Kansas City, the greatest Barbeque city on the planet.

Wherever you are from is no doubt a wonderful place too.  I am sure you do many things as well or better than we do here in KC.  Barbeque simply isn’t one of them.  There are some regions that would dispute that though.  In an effort to be fair, I will address their styles too.  Each of the main barbeques regions has a different style that lead to a very unique taste.  Knowing what style of barbeque you prefer will help you easily pick the restaurants serving that style.

Before we breakdown the regional styles of barbeque, a glossary of BBQ terms is probably in order:

Read the full post at Foodie Knowledge

Seafood During Pregnancy

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If you sell seafood at your restaurant, you will inevitably come in contact with pregnant women concerned whether or not it is safe.  During pregnancy the only thing you get more than designer baby clothes that the child won’t be able to appreciate is advice on what not to eat.  Seafood is confusing to expectant mothers because it’s health benefits are touted as frequently as it is warned against.  The key for servers is being able understand what the warnings are about and what seafood to caution against.  Being able to concisely explain to expectant mothers what is and is not safe is relatively easy once you understand the reason for the warnings.

Seafood contains a great number of benefits for both mother and child.  Seafood contains DHA a type of Omega-3 acid that actually helps with a child’s brain development.  Seafood can also be high in calcium, iron, and vitamin D.  It has also been linked to delaying premature births.  For mothers, seafood is low in fat, but high in protein.  The Omega-3s in seafood have even been shown to reduce post partum depression.

Read the full post at Foodie Knowledge

Cost vs Profit

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In a previous post about why restaurants charge for different extras, I discussed the difference between the guest’s perception of profits and reality.  It is not uncommon to hear a guest say, “I can buy this for half as much at the grocery store.”  The problem is that food in a restaurant carries far more costs than the price of the food on a plate.  I thought of a number of different ways to address this.  The easiest way to explain a complex topic is in relatable terms.  For this reason I have decided to look at the topic by addressing the most common item on restaurant menus: The Cheeseburger.

A friend in the business was able to supply me with the actual numbers from a Midwestern restaurant that is part of a far larger national chain.  These are the actual costs broken down to their individual components on a hamburger.  I won’t name the chain for obvious reasons, but it is fair to say that their volume allows them to buy these items for less than their independent counterparts.  Here is how the actual cost of a half-pound cheeseburger and fries break down.

Read the full post at The Manager’s Office

The Upside of Dating Co-Workers

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(Note: This is part two of the point/counter-point of dating co-workers.  In part one I recalled the painful situations I have seen and experienced over the years.  Taking the side of dating co-workers is our resident Spanish language adviser and PhD candidate Senor Esparza.  He takes the position that it is in fact beneficial to date co-workers.  Obviously there is a middle ground we would both advocate.  No amount of logic or reason is going to prevent or cause anyone to enter into a workplace relationship.  This series if for entertainment value only.  If you are not reading it with a smile, you might be missing the joke.)

Soundtrack inserted by yours truly.


I will not attempt to refute the points that our favorite restaurant blogger has made.  Much of the rationale behind his screed warning people off of dating co-workers is grounded both his experience and the experience of many others.   This being said, I am going to frame the issue a little bit differently.  I would argue that not only is dating a co-worker natural consequence explainable by proximity empiricism, but in many cases can be preferable to dating people that you have not gotten to know through the course of working with them.

Read the full post at Restaurant Laughs

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