The Insane Waiter

Running wild on customers, chefs, owners and managers since 1997. I bring to you, The Insane Waiter. What do bring to your table? A crisp bottle of San Pellegrino ? Perhaps a lovely seared Sashimi Tuna? Start off with a wonderful bottle from Tuscany perhaps? Why I'll be more than happy to bring you your White Zinfandel and Chicken Caesar. No you can't order the mac and cheese off the kids menu and sorry no, we don't serve cheese sticks....

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Little Things...Pt. II, Hostess Havoc

What's going on gang!

Well it's late and I'm not buzzed enough to fall asleep, and besides my after dinner drink this is another way to get my mind clear so it can all begin tomorrow.

My thought today is about the host stand.

Yes, we all know those hanging out there have the symptoms of anorexia, stupidity and snootyness.

We know the prototype, all thanks to Abe Froman...

You know,

The Sausage King of Chicago.

Well as much as we and even the guests curse them for losing reservations, or triple seating us, there is one group that can help out immensely...


The guest can put chaos in a seemingly normal night.

A two top demanding to sit at a four top, either for romance or business, has no clue what they are doing.

And for several reasons this affects us server very negatively.

First off it looks like trouble the second we see you glancing nervously about for the "perfect" table...

That sense of entitlement creeps over us and makes us shudder.

The feeling of this "Me First" society is really starting to make me sick.

You were put where you were for a reason, it was that servers turn.

That table you want next to it, you know, the one with four seats.

Well its needed, if not for a reservation, then for a "real" table shortly down the road...

Each and every seat is needed by both me and the restaurant. You see, its my real estate and I expect a certain amount of money for every seat.

The restaurant also needs every seat to make sure the wait is shortened and for maximum profit, we are a business you know.

So we're already off to a bad start.

As I see a four top sauntering over to their table with thoughts of wine and steak in their minds, and the big money in their pockets.

They were supposed to go where you went.

That was my reservation...

It might be understandable for me to think evil thoughts about your two iced tea's and the appetizer you want for dinner.

Because you belonged where you were put.

A two top sits at a two top, four at a four, six at a six.

It's not personal.

It's a mathematical fact.

As for the hostess with the backbone of a jellyfish...

Just say no.

It worked for Nancy Reagan, it can work for you.

Because you just sat a table where a ten top is going in forty-five minutes, you didn't notice the big line acrossed the two tables?

Now would you want two people mad at you because you ruined their special day, or ten?

Murphy's Law again...

That two top will camp for at least thirty minutes past when the reso comes in.

Now I'm screwed out of the ten top.

Happened to me twice last week.

But hey, got eight bucks, much better than sixty.

Back to Murphy's Law.

Since our friendly guest just had to move to that table from another section, they entered mine.

Thirty seconds after another four top, and maybe forty five before my next one...

Triple sat, a server's nightmare.

Especially at a high end restaurant, like the one I work in.

Now I'm getting my ass kicked.

In the weeds up to my neck.

Also in most places the reservations come in seatings or shifts. Now because of all my tables going down at the same time, they will all get up at the same time.

Thus ensuring I get triple sat, or worse quadrupled, all night long.

It works like this.

One table should be getting ready to go.

The next should be eating.

The one after should be on apps.

First one getting drinks.

And so on depending on the size of the section.

Fairly evenly spaced, and plotted by managers so everyone gets great and timely service.

All ruined because of someone who doesn't care or even recognize the planning that goes into every night.

They just want what they think they're entitled to.

So next time you're close to the door, kitchen, vent, speaker, or God forbid other people.

Like Mommy always used to say...

Stay put and listen.

You weren't sat any particular place because we don't like you. You were just meant for that section and server at that time.

It's not personal folks.

It's mathematical.


At 3:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yikes! What the hell? Dude, all through this post you are complaining about the customer having the nerve to want a good table of a reasonable size. You are in a service industry. That means you try to give good service and do your damndest to help your customer have a good time so that he will come back and spend more money. If you get all bitchy about a deuce sitting in a 4top, that customer is going to be feeling way too uncomfortable to enjoy themself and you can kiss that tip goodbye. Loosen up- it's only food!

At 3:28 AM , Anonymous TheInsaneWaiter said...

Well the reasonable size for a table of two is two

4 is four
and 6 is six,

Anything more takes up space, the next time you havve to wait an hour for a table, this is part of the reason.

A duece shouldn't have to bitch about having a duece...

that is what a duece tabble is for, yes they may come back, but they are costing us money when they want a table that is needed for someone else.

At 8:01 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I dont get the table I want when I'm being seated...I walk...simple as that. Dont even Think about putting me next to the kitchen door! You are a servant...nothing more.

At 11:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...'re last anonymous was a real bitch. lol I agree with you totally here.

The same customer that hops tables, will bitch and complain when they're server can't get to them in what they consider a "timely" manner. Well, maybe that's because they're sitting in a FULL section, while some other server only has the old couple with soup and salads.

If you don't like the service at a restaurant or where they seat you, walk right back out the door. There are plenty more customers that would like your table.

At 1:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, anonymous with the "Yikes" comment. The next time you and five friends go to a restaurant and have to wait 45 minutes to be seated...blame the "polite" couple that moved to the table meant for six rather than staying at the table for two.

You could always try to squeeze your group into the two seater, but it's not gonna happen comfortably. So you wait, while these "polite" customers take their time at a table with four empty seats.

Of course, it won't be the customers getting yelled at or bitched out, it will be the servers and other employees.

As a former server, I have to agree with the waiter here...stay where we put you or you can get your food in a doggy bag and leave, so that other customers can enjoy their dining experience as well. This might come as news to some people...but the world doesn't revolve around you.

At 10:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work at a fine little French restaurant where things run rather smoothly a good percent of the time. But your rant brought me back to when I worked at a faster pace eatery and suddenly remembered the nightly overwhelming urge to stick a fork in someone's skull, because of this exact issue. Do take a moment to remember that unless you are in the bowels of a restaurant on a daily basis people don't care what staff members think, but if you are good your regulars will build and you will be graced with at least one asshole a night to remind you that forks do sometimes belong lodged in skulls. Do fight the urge though.

At 12:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, why the hell shouldn't people who are paying too much for food and booze and tips for the staff have a sense of entitlement? Eating out is a form of entertainment, and while it's damn expensive, it shouldn't just be for yuppies. I'm not talking about treating people like crap or anything like that, but it seems that a number of the authors of these waitstaff sites have a serious problem realizing that the people they bitch about all day (mostly justified, I realize) pay their damn salaries. I can't afford the damn dinner anyway, but if I'm gonna be a week late on rent to take out a girl I like AND leave you a nice tip, gimme the freaking table I want. No?

At 3:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im having second thoughts of eating out now, too much to think about when i just want to take the night off from the kitchen. It seems like as soon as I am seated, my server is already peeved and there's nothing I can do about it, I will now be overly conscious (sp) of this. *sigh* you took the fun out of dining out.

At 3:17 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're not peeved immedietly, but unresonable, egocentric people can cause us to be that way.

At 3:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i just found you and i luurve you! damn but you talk about the things i want to scream bloody murder about. this entry especially.

At 7:01 AM , Anonymous John said...

Hate to say this, but you're full of it. Unless you're booked out (and don't try to tell me your place is solid 7 nites/week) you have some, often quite a lot, flexability in seating, especially in first turn. (before 7pm seating for the non-food service among us.)
Beyond that, there are choice and not so choice tables within most sections. AND, I'll guarantee you that when you seat me and my wife (with reservations for an anniversary dinner) next to a 10-top of screaming kids, your tip will suffer. I'm not going to drop a bill and a half for an ambiance I could have had at McD's, and this has happened to me more than once.
For the record, I've worked food from Sambo's and Lyon's to high-end French, steam table hotel and catering for vegetarians, and this is the ONLY thing you and I disagree on.
Have at it.

At 7:45 PM , Anonymous grazza the sommelier said...

Ive never understood this stoopid mentality of wanting to sit at a table as far from the kitchen as humanly possible. Just why is that table considered to be better than the one near the kitchen door. Do you like having your food paraded around a room full of people talking, coughing, sneezing and generally filling the air with germs? Do you enjoy your food getting cold?

I just dont get it.

And if you dont like your table, then if you ask nicely then we will try and accomodate your request. But if we cant then live with it. Newsflash!!! The world does NOT revolve around you, despite what you think.

At 3:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grazza, I was seated next to a kitchen a few times, and it sucked almost every time. The increased traffic of the busboys bringing back finished plates, and other annoyances.

As far as a crowded house goes, I totally agree with the couple having to stick with a two top. However, if it's not crowded, don't bitch. I really don't care if a couple decides to sit somewhere else and it happens to be out of your zone. Most tables for two are cramped. You have a problem with less tables? Talk to your manager and fix it.

If it's going to take more time to serve the customers in that zone, then tell the customers to feel free to move there, but it will take more time to receive food because it's a busy zone. If they still insist, that is upto them.
Maybe the manager should redraw zones and allocate more servers to a busier zone.

This reminds me of a pet peeve. I go to a Johnny Rockets. We used to have this old guy serve us and he knew every one of our quirks. We usually tipped him 20-30%, mostly 25%. One day, they decided to switch to a server rotation on a very strict basis. If we walked in, and it was some other server's turn, we were forced to sit in his section and go through the hassle of explaining our needs(like the less mayo, water - no ice, and yes, we don't need the lemon, and other stuff). I asked if we could have the old guy serve us regardless of whose turn it was. They said it was strict rotation. The old guy would have been happy to switch his next client with the server assigned to us. I can understand the whole point of a system, but how many people seriously ask for a specific server. Exceptions can be made. Also, it should be a sign to the restauarant that good service was making regulars out of a few of us, and so dont screw with it.

You know what the result is? We tip the new guy/girl 15-20%(a couple of them are just a little slow in the head), we go to Johnny Rockets much less than we used to. So it ended up being a lose lose situation for everyone.

At 4:47 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a bit surprised by your rant about the "me society"- not because I disagree - but because much of the writing here is about the expectation (and the subsequent dissapointment) of getting a good tip. It would seem to me that the more you expect something, the more likely you are to be dissapointed when people don't deliver. This is an example of putting yourself above the job or to put it another way - having an ego. And isn't having an inflated ego exactly the same thing as the "me society"?

Just an abservation.

At 10:49 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the meal is expensive, and you EXPECT 20% why do you even have shitty tables?

I also agree with the comment above, it is hypocritical of you to complain about a "me society" when you so clearly belong to it. How dare people come to your resteraunt and order the least expensive item on the menu, shame on them, they should sit out by the dumpster.

I enjoy your blog though.

At 12:09 AM , Anonymous Derek W said...

I work at Disney as a server and I will tell you I get really pissed when I go out of my way to provide an excellent meal and I get like 10% as opposed to 20%. If you can't afford to eat at a nice restaurant and tip well, then don't go to one. I follow the same guideline. I dont go out if i can't tip well in the opportunity of good service. not saying i will, but i will definitely set aside enuf just incase. Also yes it does piss servers off to seat a 2 at a 4. It's called maximizing profit and servers are like business, they love maximizing profit. Seat a 2 at a 2 and a 4 at a 4 and you full max for head count at those 2 tables and arent losing money by the hour for those heads lost had u sat a 2 at a 4. Also, having adults order from the kid menu, while seemingly nice for the adult, is not what its there for. kids menus are for adults to be able to enjoy a good meal while their kids are entertained with chicken tenders and profits relatively low on those items. order from the adult menu, support your server, and support all of the people in the kitchen by helping the business be profitable instead of you being cheap and getting chicken tenders and fries instead of a steak. Like i said, if you can't afford it, go to mcdonalds and eat there. And just remember those food prices cover wages for an entire cleaning staff, kitchen staff, seaters, servers, managers, and chefs. I have about 50 people that work at any time at my location in disney, not including the night shift cleaning crew.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home