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View Full Version : Stoopid things Waiters do...



Jameson
04-04-2011, 01:06 PM
Hello All,

Just wanted to hear from some chefs some foolish and (what chefs deem to be) insulting activities made by waitstaff.

I work as a salesman, and part time (2-3 shifts) as a waiter at a fine dining establishment here on Long Island. I have been working part time as a waiter since I graduated from college 12 years ago to pay off that education (which none of my professors said I would have to do) and in that time working in Manhattan (Michael Jordans, Sparks, Bobby Vans, Strip House, Monkey Bar) and Long Island (various) I have done many things that for some reason made the chef angry. I have had Rolling carts of food flipped onto my person/uniform (the chef was released from his position 15 minutes later), been told I had to sign suspension papers when the chef cooked an entire tables worth of porterhouses MedWell when i ordered Med Rare (Which I refused to sign and returned to work the next day with no reverberation), and even fired by an executive chef, only to be chased down the block by the GM asking me to please stay.

Most often, what the chefs are upset about it is me SPECIFYING the dishes on my tickets so as to prevent mistakes or the old "you never told me that". The you never told me usually comes when i have no room left to modify the ticket through the computer and have to go to the kitchen to speak to either expediter or chef to talk specifics. ALSO, please understand I tell customers that there are NO substitutions, that we can say leave off the potatoes and order a side dish of something different, but the chef will not substitute. I don't want to modify the chefs dishes, the customers want the changes....

For instance:

At the place I am currently working we have a prix fix menu for certain hours, with a soup and a salad choices for app. I would ring in (either soup or salad) and then modify the ticket by typing the EXACT type of soup or salad that was mentioned (say caesar sal or potato soup) This almost always gets me called into the kitchen where the chef states "do you think I don't know what the F**K I am doing..." I pretend not to understand why he is upset, we rinse and repeat 10 minutes later...

Please keep in mind I am not a jerk off waiter. Actually I do care about the food, I cook quite a bit myself. I just want to make sure the customer gets things EXACTLY as I describe them (which I often ask the chef various detailed questions about featured dishes) and exactly as they ask for if any special changes/allergic needs. Some chefs seem to think this means that waiters dont understand their pain.

What else do waiters do that pisses you guys off to no end? Besides introducing themselves by name at the table or saying "Welcome to..."

I approach people with "Hello, How do you do? Will you be perusing the wine list or enjoying cocktails this evening?"

JC

cnochef
04-04-2011, 05:33 PM
I'm a former server and current BOHer, but I always get a bit irritated by servers that ask me what I want to drink immediately after I sit down. I'm a wine lover, and it sometimes takes a bit of time to decide on a strategy. The more intelligent and seasoned servers will make a specific apertif or water suggestion.

A server's lack of menu knowledge is guaranteed to leave me unimpressed, too.

BTW, I would never talk ill of a server that provides too much information on a ticket. It shows that they are paying attention.

Delbert Ealy
04-05-2011, 01:48 AM
As a customer, I have a few things that irritate me.
I often order coffee, always black, and the server still brings cream to the table.
When I am dining with one other person, and the server forgets which order is mine(forgivable under certian circumstances)
Asking for a refill on coffee and then forgetting.

I am usually a very considerate customer, and I know that problems with the food are not the fault of the servers(ok sometimes)
However, all of the above are very specific things that servers have done to me and that pissed me off.
I always tip above 20% except when they do one of the above.

ecchef
04-05-2011, 01:48 AM
Most often, what the chefs are upset about it is me SPECIFYING the dishes on my tickets so as to prevent mistakes or the old "you never told me that". The you never told me usually comes when i have no room left to modify the ticket through the computer and have to go to the kitchen to speak to either expediter or chef to talk specifics. ALSO, please understand I tell customers that there are NO substitutions, that we can say leave off the potatoes and order a side dish of something different, but the chef will not substitute. I don't want to modify the chefs dishes, the customers want the changes....

For instance:

At the place I am currently working we have a prix fix menu for certain hours, with a soup and a salad choices for app. I would ring in (either soup or salad) and then modify the ticket by typing the EXACT type of soup or salad that was mentioned (say caesar sal or potato soup) This almost always gets me called into the kitchen where the chef states "do you think I don't know what the F**K I am doing..." I pretend not to understand why he is upset, we rinse and repeat 10 minutes later...

Please keep in mind I am not a jerk off waiter. Actually I do care about the food, I cook quite a bit myself. I just want to make sure the customer gets things EXACTLY as I describe them (which I often ask the chef various detailed questions about featured dishes) and exactly as they ask for if any special changes/allergic needs. Some chefs seem to think this means that waiters dont understand their pain.

JC

Hell Jameson, I wish EVERY waiter did that. I would love it if all my waitstaff was as thorough and conscientious as you are. Nothing pisses me off more than a waiter that a) doesn't know that 'medium' does not mean medium well or medium rare; b) orders a bunch of different temps and then picks up all mid rares or; c) gives the cooks the stink eye when they bring back a mis-order for a refire. And I'm only talkin' steaks here.

I also can't understand why any Chef would berate a waiter for trying to avoid mistakes by communicating clearly and effectively exactly what they need. Makes life easier for everybody.

By the way, ever work at "21 Main" in Sayville?

Eamon Burke
04-07-2011, 08:35 PM
Usually waiters losing ticket specifics is a result of not knowing who to talk to and when to talk to them.

The arguments about "I know what I'm doing" are because whoever implements the system of communication(I.E. the GM) is failing at his job. There should be a process for everything--that's how large chains operate, and that's why morons can work there. There are rules and systems for every contingency, so nobody gets confused and things don't get lost.


Waiters that suck are the ones that don't know what they are talking about and don't care to learn, or the ones that eventually forget that they are bringing people the only dinner(or lunch) they will eat that day, and they are dealing with products that people will put inside of them. I had a waiter that described the Hurricane roll as "It's cheese roll with ground salmon patty on top". Nobody ordered it from him...duh.

Chef Niloc
04-07-2011, 08:48 PM
One of the best is the time I got a order into the kitchen for chilean sea bass. The dumb chick put a mod note on the ticket
" chili on the side"
I thought she was kidding but she was not. When I gave her sh1+ about it she sad
"If you can't put it on the side just do it with out it then.":bashhead::chefcut::crying:

SpikeC
04-07-2011, 08:53 PM
:rofl:

Chef Niloc
04-08-2011, 07:58 AM
As a customer, I have a few things that irritate me.

When I am dining with one other person, and the server forgets which order is mine(forgivable under certian circumstances)
should not ever happen, when a server puts in a order they give you a seat number on the ticket that the kitchen gets. Even if your server does not bring you food the person who does should know who got what based on that number. Lazy server, you should be pissed.



I am usually a very considerate customer, and I know that problems with the food are not the fault of the servers(ok sometimes)
No BS 90% of he problems are the servers fault. Wrong food, cold food, slow food, are 99% the servers fault. Wrong temp I.E. You ordered it rare and it came out medium 75% if the time that's the servers fault too. Servers like to blame the kitchen so it will not hurt there tip.

However, all of the above are very specific things that servers have done to me and that pissed me off.
I always tip above 20% except when they do one of the above.
same here I start a servers tip at 20% and work up or down from there. I go one step more too, if my " tip meter" go below 12% I call over a manager just so that the server can't ***** that they got screwed out of a tip. Many times a manager will make up for a table not leaving a tip ( you know I'm not that kind of chef/ manager...o I'm a owner now):viking::crying::bashhead:


Hell Jameson,

By the way, ever work at "21 Main" in Sayville?

I know the place, do you work there?

echerub
04-08-2011, 10:26 AM
should not ever happen, when a server puts in a order they give you a seat number on the ticket that the kitchen gets. Even if your server does not bring you food the person who does should know who got what based on that number. Lazy server, you should be pissed.

Hmm... a lot of places around here don't note/remember who gets which order, even nicer places. It's quite disappointing, though I haven't said anything yet. I think I will at least comment to the servers that they should know, and sometime before I leave point out to the management there's something amiss with their processes and expectations of their staff.

Citizen Snips
04-08-2011, 11:47 AM
for the most part i agree with colin but i think he over stated the percentages. its high but i dont think its that high.

you have to remember that most servers are not servers, they are real estate agents, actors/actresses, or some other profession that doesnt make much money. they dont normally care and that is where the percentages go up for the average.

there are really good servers out there that deserve every penny of their tips and take their job seriously.

one last note is that most servers will make more than the highest paid line cook and sometimes more than the sous chef or even executive chef for annual incomes. if they do a bad job, show them by giving them an appropriate tip for the work (or lack there of) they provided

Eamon Burke
04-08-2011, 01:07 PM
Lordy, a tip of more than 20% puts almost any restaurant out of my price range. Pretty much leaves fast food.

I do think that those problems are caused by servers 90% of the time, because they are server mistakes. Only in a restaurant that is truly a catastrophic sinking ship will you find a cook that, despite making the same menu for hours night after night, doesn't know how to make the food correctly. BOH mistakes that I find common are food that clearly hasn't been held correctly, hamfisted use of flavors, sloppy execution, mystery flavors from cross contamination of spices and what not, or the odd ingredient, like a surprise bit of pork in your vegetable fried rice. Mistakes like incorrect orders, cold steaks, hairs on a plate, food coming out in nonsensical order, etc...that's your waiter's job!

spaceconvoy
04-08-2011, 06:49 PM
When I am dining with one other person, and the server forgets which order is mine(forgivable under certian circumstances)
should not ever happen, when a server puts in a order they give you a seat number on the ticket that the kitchen gets. Even if your server does not bring you food the person who does should know who got what based on that number. Lazy server, you should be pissed.
Hmm... a lot of places around here don't note/remember who gets which order, even nicer places. It's quite disappointing, though I haven't said anything yet. I think I will at least comment to the servers that they should know, and sometime before I leave point out to the management there's something amiss with their processes and expectations of their staff.

I think you're all crazy. What's the big deal - is it that much hassle to remind the server who ordered what? Maybe it's the kind of places I eat (mostly small local joints), but I think you guys have unrealistic expectations of perfection.

echerub
04-08-2011, 07:00 PM
A small local joint, I have no issues, but I'm finding that even at "nicer" places the servers don't seem to bother noting which order goes where. It's been getting this way over the course of the past 2 or 3 years. Wasn't like this before.

WildBoar
04-08-2011, 07:19 PM
We've been eating out quite a bit more then usual the last 2 months. There have been very few occassions when a server has known/ remembered where a dish goes, and more times then not there are only two of us at the table.

spaceconvoy
04-08-2011, 08:21 PM
I guess that would be sort of disappointing if you were on a fancy date and paying three digits... I'm happy as long as they refill the water, bring what was ordered (hot and without hair), don't try to rush us out after we've finished eating, and don't have an attitude.

I think the root of the problem is the customers. A lot of people have a lot of crazy ideas about what they 'deserve' from a dining experience. A friend of mine refuses to use an opened bottle of ketchup, for instance. If the bottle is less than completely full, he'll ask for a new one (even though he knows it's probably the same bottle they just refilled, it's one of his compulsions). Same thing for Delbert's extra cream - Delbert gets pissed if the server brings it, but someone else would get pissed if the server didn't bring it, even if they didn't order it.

I've heard people get pissed when the server asks if they should make change, and others pissed when the server doesn't ask... the list goes on & on. The problem is there's no generally accepted 'standard' behavior, but every diner has their own expectations, often based on personal idiosyncrasies.

ecchef
04-09-2011, 01:15 AM
I know the place, do you work there?

Nah. But it's one of our units. I refuse to go any further than the East River for the job.

I would like to go to your place before I leave, though. Got a link?

Dave

ecchef
04-09-2011, 01:33 AM
I think you're all crazy. What's the big deal - is it that much hassle to remind the server who ordered what? Maybe it's the kind of places I eat (mostly small local joints), but I think you guys have unrealistic expectations of perfection.

Nope. Very realistic. Imagine yourself as the owner or chef (or both). You're counting on the waitstaff to be your personal representatives to the customer/client. They're the ones delivering a menu item that had a lot of hard r&d work invested in it. Pouring wine or beer that you chose to compliment the food. Communicating the vibe that your concept embodies. Wouldn't you want people on your staff that aren't going to negate that through sloppy, lazy or indifferent performance?

Eamon Burke
04-09-2011, 10:06 PM
+1 on that, even minimum wage chains deal with that--ensuring that the behavior of the staff exceeds expectations, anticipates desires and communicates the concept. It's really something you should get from everyone at every good business--I doubt that any restaurant owner at any level would be ok with the idea that the people whose primary job is to bring food to people aren't able to remember who gets what. It'd be like having a guy at Lowe's lumber department that doesn't know what "hardwoods" are.

Which actually happened to me recently, and brings me to my next point.

I have very low standards for waitstaff--I just want them to leave me alone, first and foremost. I'm likely to tip a server well if I didn't get my own food, yet I have no idea who brought it to me. But I have noticed that the level of incompetent employees is skyrocketing over the past few years, and it is caused by high unemployment. It should create a situation where people want their jobs badly and employers can fire underperformers. But what really happens is that lots of people get corralled into jobs they hate, jobs below their paygrade/education, or jobs that they just are not suited to, and you get CPAs working at the Library, Camp Counselors working at Starbucks, and girls that should be hostesses working on the line.

bieniek
04-16-2011, 12:34 PM
Waitress with her hairs blown all over the place.
Painted nails.
And in some weird manner they seem to not accept the fact that waiting means selling. I wouldn't pay them half of what they get just for running.
And my all time favorite:
Waiters having no clue what the menu offers. Nicoise salad said to be NiKoiZ salad... But that i believe is just laziness and managers fault. If cannot motivate employees to hard work and right attitude, should go himself.
The deifnition of restaurant is stating the place should have great food and waiting. Unless its bistro/trattoria or McDonalds mistakes/ drinks forgetting / stiff manner / and not remembering which plate belongs to who on two covers table is simply not allowed.
Wouldnt leave a penny of tip

JohnnyChance
04-17-2011, 01:37 PM
At the place I am currently working we have a prix fix menu for certain hours, with a soup and a salad choices for app. I would ring in (either soup or salad) and then modify the ticket by typing the EXACT type of soup or salad that was mentioned (say caesar sal or potato soup) This almost always gets me called into the kitchen where the chef states "do you think I don't know what the F**K I am doing..." I pretend not to understand why he is upset, we rinse and repeat 10 minutes later...

Maybe I am not understanding you, but for the prix fixe they have the choice of one soup (potato) and one salad (ceasar)? You then ring in a prix fixe salad, and then modify it to specify ceasar?

Jameson
04-17-2011, 10:45 PM
In any decent restaurant a table number system is ALWAYS USED. Whether or not the waiter decides to abide by it is another story. I am notorious for messing up seat numbers, however, I am ALWAYS at the table when my food arrives (runner system) and I know what goes where by memory. I memorize everything AND write EVERYTHING down. Trust me, I know why chefs/sous chefs get pissed, because I DUMB IT DOWN as much as possible on my ticket modifications.

Not to insult intelligence, just that I know what the customer said, I WROTE IT DOWN. We make a habit to write down what people request, not anything different. Now I am transferring that message on to the kitchen, you cook the food, I will make sure they enjoy there experience here, and I WILL BE TRYING to bang them ($ wise) for as much as possible.

Take this scenario:

When a customer enters the current establishment I work at part time they are seated by a hostess and presented menus and a wine list. I or the backwaiter will greet them (NO NAMES!) with "Hello How do you do?" Let them respond, then ask them for water preference. IF THE GUEST peruses the wine list, I just BRING TWO POLISHED GLASSES to the table. So that way, IF THEY DON'T order a bottle, their lady friend or dining partners will sort of feel they cheapened the experience. I dont push any wines unless asked for advice PERIOD - laid back ill sell them four apps for a deuce to make up for it... If asked I recommed bottles in the $60-140 range unless a WHALE has entered) Your hooters girl in leggings might (read: DOES) have a better butt than me, but they aren't averaging nearly $90 PER HEAD/COVER sales and making $400+ cash in 6 hours 1 day a week. Never touching a dirty dish mind you.

I do pay $8 a week (on top of my day-job suits/shirts) to have my restaurant uniform drycleaned. Presentation is everything.... Of course, I am a veritable encyclopedia of meat cut definitions/vegetable preparations/wines/spirits on top of having spent time working on a commercial fishing boat and two years at a fish wholesaler cleaning local species. I had a number of articles published (Field & Stream, On The Water, The Fisherman) a few years back detailing surf fishing techniques and am basically in tune with what is on the plate and how to describe it perfectly. Having an experienced waiter/captain in your restaurant is important. Just FOOD COST wise, I make an average of one mistake per ten shifts on a check, and it is a salad that wasnt supposed to have dressing. Our current chef is crying when the the one comes back, he waits weeks to start a special crying. He thinks he is Gordo Ramsey FFS... To be honest, his little game is adorable.

I'll take two GoGo Breads for table 35, HOLD THE ATTITUDE PLEASE

JC

Jameson
04-17-2011, 10:49 PM
Maybe I am not understanding you, but for the prix fixe they have the choice of one soup (potato) and one salad (ceasar)? You then ring in a prix fixe salad, and then modify it to specify ceasar?

Yes, two choices, and I make sure to specify Ceasar, just to be 100%. Thats how I roll for [your] customers, just as I hope my waiter does to make sure I get everything I F*****G ask for (more importantly what my Lady-friend asks for) when i am out. Only thing is, I am not whining to any waiters manager if I get bad service, and I still tip at least 15-20%. Everyone has a bad day, including the chef.

PLEASE understand that I am not approaching people with anything such as "hi my names billy bob! Do you have any gluten allergies? I ask because I would just love to run into the kitchen now and grab the GM, the sous, the pastry and head chefs and have a symposium on what has f*****G gluten products in it and what doesn't... How about nut allergies........"

JC

JohnnyChance
04-18-2011, 02:02 AM
Yes, two choices, and I make sure to specify Ceasar, just to be 100%. Thats how I roll for [your] customers, just as I hope my waiter does to make sure I get everything I F*****G ask for (more importantly what my Lady-friend asks for) when i am out. Only thing is, I am not whining to any waiters manager if I get bad service, and I still tip at least 15-20%. Everyone has a bad day, including the chef.

PLEASE understand that I am not approaching people with anything such as "hi my names billy bob! Do you have any gluten allergies? I ask because I would just love to run into the kitchen now and grab the GM, the sous, the pastry and head chefs and have a symposium on what has f*****G gluten products in it and what doesn't... How about nut allergies........"

JC

If you ring "Prix Fixe Salad" and that salad is Caesar, and they wanted Caesar, there is no reason to modify it and type Caesar. If the Prix Fixe salad is Caesar, and you let them substitute a Mesclun Green Salad (or whatever), then modify it to say Mesclun Greens. Don't be redundant.

MadMel
04-23-2011, 09:58 AM
Well I'm working in an Italian restaurant. All our pastas are home made except for the penne. The thing that pisses me off is that we have a choice of both Tagliatelle and tagliolini and the servers would ALWAYS write tag truffles or tag lobster etc on the order chit... This 2 1/2 yrs after the restaurant opened is not acceptable.....