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....

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Ok, here's some more responses to questions and comments.

"How much do you look like your sister, O? Are you from a big family? Are you still going to school, maybe to become a writer?Do you work at LK?"

I lok nothing like her, she's way to pretty and I don't look the same ethnicity either, aka I look like a white boy. I'm still in school and adjusting, taking Comp. II and thinking about taking creative writing classes.

I may or may not work at LK, one of the greatest places in town, love the chicken spendini! Go there if you're from Iowa!


"Spell Check, is it really nececessary?"

Yup because as I am horrible at spelling as some people like to point out. I'm not a copy editor and while I try to do my best I have neither the time or energy to do anything other than skim for mistakes.

"Why is filling your breasts full of silicone considered sexy?"

Ah my bitterfriend vixxen, of course it is, and if they aren't its still sexy. And no we won't ever get tired of Carmen Electra.

Here's another one.

"Why do waiters seem to be offended if I ask that a half-pitcher or a full pitcher of ice tea be brought to the table for me. I explain to them that I have a large amount of thirst due to a health condition (diabetes), and that I don't want to take up all their time running drinks for me."

Not because of your condition I assure you. Most people that ask such things represent the lowest common denominator of customers. I consider it trashy and an insult to my service if people try to get me to do it, plus it is again most restaurant's procedures. Be polite and ask, if they say no I guess they'll have to watch out for your refills.

Ok, a few comments from "Pet Peeves"

"It's a pet peeve that people are thirsty?? You are insane."

Well that's the title of the blog isn't it?

I think its insane to suck down eight refills of iced tea, or to have a bunch of kids run me around because they can't help but have chugging races with their Mountain Dews.

"Are you saying I should deal with my thirst because you don't feel like making another trip to the table?"

Pretty much. Its not about me being lazy, just there's many things I have to juggle besides trying to gauge how long your current refill will last, there are other people I have to worry about. I don't mind refilling and being reasonable, but if you can't make your drink last longer than thirsty seconds yes that is a pet peeve.

"A lot of your posts lately have been angry. How about painting pictures of the customers you serve instead of giving us general lists?"

Well I haven't had much time the last few weeks for stories so I just have been making points. Now that I'm back in town and the semester is finishing up perhaps some things will be more to your liking.

All right, now to the controversial comments...

"Don't you hate black people? They are so picky and never tip well and never smile or are polite."

Ok, that's the only halfway appropriately worded one, there were a few others that had too much of a slant towards slurs.

I'm not even going to touch this one.

Do I cringe when I see certain customers? Yes, and they can be all kinds of religions, colors, nationalities and such. I'm pretty equal acrosse all color barriers and there are segments of every group that can tend to be bad tippers.

I'm only human and yes stereotypes of a group can be reinforced by people within their descriptions.

And they can also be refuted.

Its funny that I've had black friends not want to wait on black tables for this very stigma. The I waited on them and they were a pleasure and tipped well without unreasonable demands.

I've also know gay servers that don't want to wait on gay customers. Hell I actually don't mind them, they usually tip well and are fun tables.

My point is this. While I am only human and these thoughts go through my head, I give all my tables the best service I can muster. Even ones I'd rather not I do it because it is unfair of me to treat any group differently than the other. I don't appreciate slurs on this site and if you have criticisms of any group, that is your opinion, make a point rather than just call someone a nigger or spic or jew or whatever.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

But We Eat Here All The Time!

God I had that sentence.

That means you think you are a regular, but you aren't.

The other day I was taking care of business (TCB to all you corporate types)

At the same time I walk into a situation.

It's Friday night, the books are full and someone decided to pre-order over the phone.

The hostess took the order even though she shouldn't and was trying to hand it off to my buddy Jarad.

He refused to take it.

"But they say they eat here all the time," our hostess friend pleaded.

Finally one of the managers comes up and assigns the table and food to Alicia with a stern,"we don't do pre orders," to the hostess.

Well our friendly regulars want their dinner at 6:45, the order goes back with the time and of course the chef is all,"what the fuck."

I'm getting busy and I'm hitting my hustle and flow, momentarily forgetting the situation.

Around seven I notice two entrees pushed to the side of the line, a filet is among them.

"Shit ya!" I explain as I grab a steak knife.

Chef shouts out,"that's that fucking pre-order!"

I glance at the time, they're late.

Another half an hour passes, in my trips around the restaurant I notice one of the regulars, one of the ones nobody wants to wait on.

I smile at her as I pass and as usual she shoots me a nasty glare.

Ah yes, a sweetheart this one.

Well I start to put two and two together.

She's the pre-order.

As I'm back in the kitchen I notice their food still to the side.

"Hey Chef, what's the deal with this steak?" I inquire.

"Fucking idiots, their food was cold so now we've got to remake it,"He said.

"I'd throw it in the micro boss."

"Ya, well they wanted new entrees."

So they aren't even going to eat the same things.

I see Alicia their server ringing in orders and I go up to her,"Hey what's the deal with that chick, she's your pre-order right?

Alicia glares back,"This is horseshit, they bitched me out for bringing them cold food, hell they were supposed to be here forty five minutes ago."

"Now they're all pissed that they have to wait for their new food to cook."

I think for a moment,"Hey, you know what I would do, box up their old food and charge them for everything."

Better than throwing away sixty buck in entrees.

"But my tip..." she stammers.

"Hun, you're not going to get shit for one anyways, she hates women servers, thinks they're trying to get on her man."

"That scrub? Why didn't Jarad take them?" She groans as she rolls her eyes.

"They wouldn't tip him either, she thinks every guy is looking at her tits."

Alicia giggles,"Ya she wears that shirt so you'll look at her shoes."

"Good luck hun."

Later on I walk by the table, she shoots another nasty look my way.

Fucking shitty regulars, only they use that,"But we eat hear all the time!"

Well, we wish you wouldn't.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Top 10 Pet Peeves

"This job would be great if it wasn't for all the customers" - Randall, Clerks

Well someone asked what my biggest pet peeve about customers is.

Well its hard to answer with just one so here's my Top 10.

10. People that suck down their entire drink within seconds of receiving it.

9. People that shake the aforementioned drink glass at me like a rattle instead of asking for a refill.

8. Tables that refuse to say "please" or "thank you."

7. Customers who tip poorly after receiving great service.

6. The "Verbal" tip.

5. Guests who steal my pens.

4. Credit card customers that take both copies of their receipt thus negating any tip, I always add on 15% these days when that happens. And no I don't care about the legalities of that one.

3. People who do not make reservations and are in such a hurry, plan ahead if you have engagements at a certain time.

2. When people try to "write their own menu" the menu is put together by a highly skilled chef, order off of it, don't ask us to make something that a competing restaurant has or something that you want but isn't there. Go somewhere that has these items or make it yourself.

1. "Campers", customers that refuse to leave within a reasonable time of paying their bill. Neither I nor the restaurant make money off that table if it isn't turned. It screws up our reservations and screws me out of potential income. It is even worse when tables stay hours after we close. If you want to catch up or chat that long, go to a coffee shop or bar that stays open later. If you're the last table in the place and everyone is giving you dirty looks, that's the signal for you to leave.

Friday, November 25, 2005


So I'm tired and about to head back to Des Moines after an exiting week of being poked, prodded and photographed like an albino Madagascar Ringtailed Lemur by my family.

(Love you guys!)

So why my mind is brimming with all kinds of fucked up situations and irritances I'm way to tired and lazy to blog anything until the first couple shifts are back under my belt.

So commentors!~

Here's your chance to be fodder for my cannon of the soul.

Shoot any questions at me, and for God's sake make them good.

I'll probably even answer them for you!

So yes, I'm too lazy to come up with anything funny or contriverial for today.

So any restaurant industry questions are indeed welcome and needed.

Shit, I'll even give you my take on life in general.

Hope to hear from you all and have fun eating left over gruel for the next couple days.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Asinine Question of the Day

Servers and Bartenders get asked the most moronic things...

There is such thing as a stupid question, just the fact that your kindergarten teacher lied to you doesn't give you the excuse to pull that one out of the hat every time you look like an idiot.

It's something that belongs in the realm of idiocy such as saying...

"The customer is always right"

And all you people out there that will say its my job to answer questions and yadayada bull, you're right, I just would rather answer informed questions than some of the stupid dribble that I hear.

So the inaugural question is this...

"Sir, can you tell me how big the 9oz filet is?"

ps: Sorry for the short post, out of town for the week, happy thanksgiving and for God's sake don't go out to eat on this day, it only makes more restaurants open next year for the holiday.

And frankly I have better things to do than work it.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


So its my day off, great day to be alive...

It's my 25th!

Knowing I have a few errands to run before the debauchery begins I head over to the local grocery store for some supplies.

I see a piece of cake and load it into my cart.

Upon checking out my groceries the cashier starts to ring in my purchases, she reaches to pull the cake across her scanner...

I touch her on the wrist..."But, it's my birthday?!"

She gives me a fuck off look, shakes free and rings it in...

Befuddled I head out to renew my health insurance...

At the office I look over my premium, looks a little hefty this time.Looking at my agent I as,"Well its my birthday, don't I get something?"

He is taken aback,"What do you want, a discount?"

"Well... It is my birthday..."

He throws me a bic pen with his logo on it, at least that's something.

Getting back in the car I head out to the post office.

I need to purchase some stamps.

When I arrive I head up to the window and ask for a book of them, I plead once again, "It's my birthday, can't I get a free stamp?"

I am told to hit the bricks

.See where I'm going here.

In the bar and restaurant business some God-awful corporate restaurant thought it would be good for business to give away cookies and ice cream, cake, sundaes or whatever.

This spread like a virus to every nook and cranny of the service industry.

I personally have been lied to dozens of time just so someone can save five bucks on their bill.

Bartenders I know will make the worst shots possible when asked for a birthday drink...

Think Three Wise Men with tabasco or Bailey's and lime juice...

The good ole cement mixer.

The restaurant I work in now doesn't do desserts like this.

It makes my fucking year let me tell you.

I was so tired of handing out a birthday dessert only to see the same table in there a month later with the same "birthday."

Only the stupid and cheap play that game.

At least 3 times I was the same server as before, and it teaches kids that being a freeloader and lying and cheating people is ok.

Plus they have ruined it for the people that are polite and don't demand their freebie rudely on their special day.

Servers now view almost everyone that asks for their dessert with suspicion.

Fair or not that's the way we think, personally my good will is gone with this subject.

Also, don't get pissed of if we don't give them away, I'm more than happy to order you a dessert.

It's the restaurant's policy, not mine, even if I agree with it.

Hell you probably aren't going to pay for your tab as it is, that's what friends are for come to think of it.

Not some stranger or a business that is trying to make a profit.

Maybe next year on my birthday I'll see if I can get my tires rotated and balanced for free when I get my oil changed...

Friday, November 18, 2005

Blog Links

Check this out...

So true, I'm in limbo between head server and party dude.

Actually there seem to be a commitee of about four of us that make up both of the stereotypes mentioned above.

One of us will rise to the top and be the head waiter, hell maybe it'll be me!

Check out this former servers memiors that are so true to life and hilarious!

Found this via another great site if you came here by accident or from elsewere.

Eyes Wide Shut

Vacation is great.

I'm out with my girl's family at the lake house.

The sun is out and the only clouds in the sky seem to shimmer with a glint of silver as the brightness passes over.

Her parents are out and we hold each other close as the warm breeze flows through the open veranda door.

The linen drapes move like waves on the lake going with the wind.

All I feel is bliss.

I haven't felt like this since I can't remember.

She gets up and slides a blanket around her, heading towards the door.

She turns her head tossing her curls around her shoulder.

"Baby can I get you anything?"

"I'm ok honey, you coming back soon?" I say.

"I'll always come back."

The sun slides behind a cloud as another gust blows the curtains inward...

She comes back.

"See baby, I wasn't gone long was I?'

She slides back up to my side and wraps her arms back around me.

Suddenly I start to know where I am.

Who I am with.

Some one who was once special...

Now gone.

"Honey you wouldn't leave me would you?" I say with concern.

Her beautiful smile radiates.

There is something in her eyes.



The knowing look of a woman.

"You're my baby." She says as she caresses my cheek.

I smile back and pull her closer.

I know in my heart this is the last time I will feel her against me.

I think to myself she'll tell me that she can't see me anymore.

Just a few days before graduation she did.

For some reason she's here though.

The bliss returns as darkness falls over the lake.

But for one moment everything was perfect.

Love was there, if only for a fleeting minute.

The silver behind the clouds brightens one more time...

I wake up alone.

With peace.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Wow people it's just a JOKE!!!

And to those that claim they will tip crappy after reading that top 10 and blame me...

Maybe you're the type of people that resemble those stereotypes in the first place.

Blame your crappy tip on yourself, not me or your server.

Just cause you already are cheap and felt called out by that post means only one thing, you need an excuse to feel justified in your actions!

This in no means reflects on most of the commenters, only the two that .come to mind

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Top 10

Top Ten Signs You’re Not Getting a Good Tip

10. The customer says, “Your tip depends on it” after making a special request.

9. Its Sunday lunch.

8. You refill the tea 8 times before the salads are ready.

7. The customer says, “We want to split …..”

6. Everyone at the table orders water.

5. After asking if they care for an appetizer, the customer implies that the free bread is the appetizer.

4. The customer pays for the meal with gift cards, comp cards, or complains enough to the manager and the meal is free.

3. The customer finds a hair in their meal, which fell from their head.

2. The customer has a screaming child. And the #1 sign that you’re not getting a good tip…..

The customer says “We’ve never been to a fancy restaurant before” and you work in a 2 or 3 star establishment.

Got this off

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Ask The Waiter

Hmmm, I kinda like this ask the waiter deal.

Next thing you know I'll have a segment on "J.C. Slick and the Booger" on a.m. talk radio.

So here we go.

Hi, Insane. I've read your blog for a while, but have never posted a question. I'm hoping you might have time to answer this question because if I am making a server go through extra steps, I really do not want to not do it anymore. My question is this - I love coffee, so whenever the server asks if I want more coffee, I say yes. Often this works out to 3-5 cups of coffee at a time and we go to this restaurant twice a week. I try to make up for it by tipping 20% post-tax, and I *never* wave her (we ask for the same server each time) over. Should I say no after the second cup? Is she is just being extra kind by offering me cup after cup? I feel like an idiot asking, but, believe me when I type that I am sincere. Thank you, in advance.

Well she is offering.

She must like you then!

You seem to ask politly and probably have officially become "her" regular.

Yes, you may be putting her through extra steps, more than one refill seems to be in that area especially if the server is busy.

She is being kind by offering, but that is also entailed in her job, to ask for refills.

Seems you tip on the high end of standard so she probably doesn't mind too much, being as TIPS does stand for "To Insure Proper Service."

And yes I know that isn't what it originally meant by tips, but meanings change with the times, that goes out to you enraged nit-picking civilians there.

Try throwing her a little extra for your appreciation!

You seem happy with her, so maybe 20-25% pre tax?

Whatever you feel comfortable with.

Monday, November 14, 2005


So it happened again.

Six top of trailer park denizens...

Ordered six iced waters to start off, with sugar.

Come back and they're making fruit punch in their drinks with kool-aid packets.

Where do these people come from?

Why is someone so cheap that they can't even order a lemonade or something?

God know they'd run me for refills, but they're free people!

I really wanted to choke them, especially when they had the balls to pass me their half empty fruit punch glasses and ask for more water.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Such Thing As A Free Lunch?

So I had this couple come in the other night.

Seemingly very nice people, ordered a bottle of wine, apps, salads and the two entree features of the night.

After dropping of their meals I took care of some other business and stopped back to see how everything was...

Sidling up to them I enquired," folks how are the your dinners? Is that steak cook to your liking?"

The lady nods and the gentleman comments that his steak is perfect.

I'm a busy little bee this night as its a Friday and hurry on my way.

About ten minutes later they seem to be done, I notice she has about a third of her fish feature left along with some of the sides,"Ma'am would you like me to box it up for you to take home?

Looking up at me she goes, "Sir I have a complaint, the fish is way to dry and it is full of garlic, I don't want to take it home I just want you to know that."

I of course apologize and immediately saying I'll speak to the chef...

I also throw the hint of dessert at her before I go.

Going back in the kitchen I grab the Chef on duty and toss the dish in front of him.

"Hey asshole, thanks for sending me out with this shitty special!"

I shoot off on him with a wicked grin.(Notice the change in my demure the second I hit that kitchen door)

I proceed to smack him on the ass, as I have a fetish for it these days it seems.

(Yes, I get along great with the kitchen, hell I used to be one of them and they know it)

Chef calls me some vague ethnic slur and asks me what's wrong with it...

"Lady says its dried out and too much garlic.

"Chef to me,"There's no garlic in the sauce."

"I know," I respond.

He pokes the fish around the plate, "Isn't dried out either."

Once again,"I know."

"I don't think we should take it off, she blew her chance at sending it back, maybe I should offer her a free dessert?"

He'll take my recommendation, I don't need to run it by my eight bosses, some things just need to be done.

I go back out with dessert menu's.

"Ma'am tonight dessert is on the house, I'm very sorry that you didn't care for your entree"

She is thrilled, notice I didn't say we're sorry for screwing it up, though that does happen from time to time.

I come back for the order.

She asks me what I would order for my dessert if I was having it...

I go into my spiel about our pastries and yadayada, I strongly urge her toward one in particular.

"Well how is this tart?" asks the lady...

"Its fine, but I strongly recommend this new item that I was telling you about...

"She promptly orders against my recommendation, fine, no biggie.

I drop desserts and after a few minutes head up with their check, she has her tart pushed to the side, half eaten.

"How was your dessert and coffee ma'am?"

She pushes the plate further to the side,"Yes, this dessert was tasted dry, what was the one you recommended?"

I fly back through the kitchen, pissed...

I throw the dessert in from of the Chef once again.

His eyes narrow, "what's wrong now?"

"She says this tart is dry, its the lady from earlier, this is her free dessert."

"Jesus Christ, well what do you want me to do? How is it dry anyways, there's ice cream on top of it!"

One more time the my answer is, "I know."

"The hell with this," I say.

I grab the fork off the plate and shove a bit in my mouth...

Delicious.(Ya I know its gross)

Half the kitchen and servers groan, the other half are rolling...

"Its fucking perfect!"

I declare with a triumph."But the hell with it, I need this dessert on the fly!"

I take her out the original recommendation, this time its perfect.

Get them cashed out and on their way, hell even good tip, probably because the husband could sense the layer of annoyance under my mask of compliance.

Now I'm all for giving the customer their due.

If we screw up we should fix it. But shit like this is ridiculous.

It happens a few times a week, how can we get something right if you won't tell us its wrong until there's nothing we can do about it?

Then you want it for free, or something for free.

How many times have I come to take away an empty plate and been told it was terrible and they want a free meal?


What was wrong with this lady's dinner?

Not one thing.

Yet she got 2 desserts anyways and for free...

Too many people do this unnecessarily.

I for one am tired of comping off meals for scam artists or those who are too meek to send something back right away.

And ya, I'm pretty sure the lady just wanted a second free dessert, the one that I raved about...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Dear Lord

So the hostess is dropping another table on me, so much for me asking for a minute after getting triple sat...

I head over to the table and quickly turn around.

It's Jenny, one of my friends dated her a few years back and her rudeness is near legendary.

I take a deep breath, turn around, and hope she doesn't know who I am.

Damn, her joiner is her mom, makes ole Jenny here look like Mother Teresa.

Upon filling their waters I ask,"Ladies how are we doing today?"

And the answer to that question is...

"Ya, we want two iced teas."

Very well, didn't know that was the proper response but at least she barely had a hint of recognition in her expression.

I hate waiting on people I know.

I really hate waiting on people I don't like.

They are chattering to themselves as I drop off their drinks.

"Ladies would you like to hear about our specials?"

Well considering they keep talking I guess not.

I turn heel, I have other things to do.

I run and hit up my three other tables for their lunch order, as I head back to the kitchen with hands full from finished diners I'm stopped short.

Jenny's mom is waving.

"Yes Ma'am?"

"We're ready to order, we're in a hurry!"

Well I'm in a hurry to get to the dish room before I drop five plates,"I'll be right back with you, ok?"

"But, we're in a hurry!"

I walk off.

Stop in the kitchen, drop off my plates, and calmly and slowly grab a drink of my coffee.

I return to my new friends.

"Ma'am what would you like today?"

Coldly she starts with,"Well don't you have any specials?"

First off they said they were ready, that implies they are decided.

Secondly they were to busy being self important for them to hear me out when I offered.

Nonetheless I recap the specials of the day.

The order, chicken ceasers.

Big surprise.

I start to head to the POS station.

"Sir! Sir!" the woman cries out.


"Don't you have some of that bread?"

Goddamn, why is it always that bread.

"I want some of that bread you serve at night.

"Ma'am we only do bread service at dinner, a piece comes with your salads."

Of course her rational is,"Well they did it for us last time."

Of course they did.


Back in the kitchen I load a bowl of bread up from the small amount we do carry at lunch.

"What are you doing?" the chef cries with alarm,"that's the only bread we have!"

"Fine, you go tell her no, she's quite the lovely lady!" I retort.

He dismisses me with a wave of his hand.

Now I've pissed off the kitchen, I'm sure my food will be out in a real timely manner for the rest of the day.

So I drop off their bread and oil...

"I want butter!"


Back in the kitchen I see we're out of butter packets.

I start to chisel off chips from the sticks the kitchen uses for cooking.

I hear my name being called from the line.

My orders are piling up from the other tables I'm waiting on, getting cold and I'm back here with a freakin steak knife trying to cut perfect little squares.

Fuck it.

I grab a bullet and jam as much butter as I can into it.

By the time I get it out to the table there is one piece of bread left.

They used the oil.

"I want more bread!"

I see my food being dropped of my an irate looking manager.

"Also sir, we're in a hurry, do you know when our food is coming?"

Well only if I had more time.


I've got other shit to do.

I'm sat again, I've got food to run, I notice my six top is out of tea as well.

Fuck, weeded again, all for this prima donna and that bread.

A few minutes pass, their food is dropped and such, still crazy.

I'm rolling by with another armfull of plates...

I notice that ole Miss Jenny from the Block has become Mrs. Jenny Goldigger from the size of the rock on her finger.

Good for her, I remember when she was the town bicycle...

The one everybody gets to ride.

Maybe she married for love, but somehow I think her mom trained her a little differently than that.

However, these thoughts are interrupted by,"Sir, I want my bill, I'm in a hurry!"

Ya, I haven't noticed, perhaps a new botox injection is in order for the afternoon, judging by appearances anyways.

"Sure thing Ma'am."

She then starts to shove her half finished salad toward me.

Remember, I have full hands here.

Really, if I wanted your plate I'd just take it, patience!

I give her a helpless look.

She sits there for a second with her plate held out to me.

Then she snorts and puts it back in front.

I return with the check.


I give her the bill and pick up their salad plates.

"Ma'am I'll be right back to pick that up."

She scrutinizes the bill, "Here, I don't have time for this."

She gives me a look of scorn and tosses a twenty in the folder, then thrusts it at me, my arms are full once again.

That's why I said I'd be right back.

I juggle around and reposition myself.

"I'll be right back with your change Ma'am."

Just keep it, I've got to go.

She just gave me a $1.11 to my face.

Fuck that.

I take the plates back and throw a dollar and a quarter in their bill book.

They're still chatting again, some hurry.

I walk over to the table and set the change down.

What I really want to say is, "Here, keep it, you need it more than I do."

For a brief second the words are on the tip of my tongue.

Thoughts of what will I do if I'm fired flood my mind.

College, bills, food and gas, what would I do?

I don't have financial aid, or time to look for a new job.

I've seen two servers do this before, and both were 86'd.

I bite down and walk away.

"Sir I said you can keep it!"

I keep going, that's what I do best.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Waiter, My Steak Is Overcooked!

Interesting point here from a commenter

"After reading your thoughts on customer etiquette for split checks, I had a question for you, if you have time to answer it. What do you consider customer "etiquette" for returning food that is "unsatisfactory"? The reason I ask this, is a couple weeks ago my husband and I went out with a couple of friends and I ordered a steak. I specified very clearly that I wanted my steak medium-well. I even went as far as to say that the steak could be a little pink in the middle but NO blood. When I got my order there was not only blood when I cut into the steak but it was right there on the plate (it MIGHT have qualified as medium rare) I was polite both when ordering and then when I asked my server if it could be put back on the grill for a bit longer. The server proceeded to tell me that it WAS medium-well and didn't seem to have intention of taking it back to the kitchen. At this point I had to inform her that I'm undergoing chemotherapy and that I have a compromised immune system and that all of my food (especially any that can expose me to something like E-coli or salmonella) must be fully cooked."

First off you did the right thing by pointing out your preference when the server brought you your food.

It really ticks me off when people wait until they are done with dinner to complain.

If I am given no opportunity to fix a problem, how can it be fixed.

Pretty much if people wait till the end of the meal they're probably bastards looking to eat for free as I always give my customers the opportunity to give me input and I will fix any problem immediately.

If they don't send their food back for further cooking, new entree or whatever else I can do to fix it I probably won't take anything off their bill if at the end of the meal if it becomes an issue.

The only time I'll consider doing some kind if food comp is if it has gone back more than once or if the replacement entree takes an exorbenant amount of time to get back to the table.

Be prepared to pay for at least half of the cost as well, we aren't going to prepare multiple entrees just to give them away for free or throw them away.

Food costs us money as well, not just the customer.

Most of the time I offer dessert on the house to ease the situation and the customer, the house and I all benefit from this.

A dessert costs much less than a $25 steak that has a much slimer profit margin.

The one thing I noticed about your query is the no blood thing.

Now I didn't see your steak so I don't know if it was cooked to temperature or not.

However I've seen many steaks cooked perfectly med/well with blood on the plate, and had them sent back.

Blood sweats to the surface as its cooked, giving the appearance that it may be undercooked, always slice into it to be sure.

As long as the steak is cooked to med/well it is cooked well over 165 degrees, well over the heat tolerance for E-Coli and samonella.

It seems many people don't know how to order their steak, maybe that's why the server was a little rude to you.

Not excusing his reaction, just putting it into perspective.

Usually if I know the customer is wrong (And yes they can be)

I just send it back regardless, with an apology to the kitchen from myself for the customer's ignorance.

I've sent back literally hundreds of perfectly cooked steaks just because the customer had no idea what medium is.

It is irritating and it takes time away from my other guests.

The kitchen usually gets rather ticked off as well as many chefs and cooks take pride in their product and pride in the fact they make few mistakes.

Learn your steak temperatures!

Rare - Cool Red Center

Medium Rare - Warm to Hot Red Center

Medium - Hot Pink Center

Medium Well - Slightly Pink Center

Well Done - Cooked all the way Through

Through If you get a well done steak I just have to shudder...

The usual condiment for such a monstrocity seems to be ketchup.

Usually pronounced Cat-shup by the amature diners that order them.

Usually they send these steaks back as well...

For being overcooked or burnt, what did you expect it to be?

Juicy and tender?

If you want your steak to taste great, don't order well done, expect it to suck if you like your food like that.

You might as well go order a hamburger off the kids menu and save a few bucks.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Sorry, Not In My Job Description

So today my boy Rodney comes up to me laughing his ass off.

Here's his story.

Rod had a your basic lunch table, 3 top older ladies, they were finishing up and he offered coffee or dessert.

Needless to say he had a couple takers.

Two hot teas and a cappuchino...

Thing is our expresso machine was by play time.

Rodney,"I'm sorry ma'am our expresso machine is down, can I offer you a coffee?"The lady,"Well I want a cappuchino!"

"I'm sorry ma'am we don't have any..."

The lady submerged deep in the thoughts of her mind."Well isn't there a coffee shop around the corner?"

Unsure Rodney responded,"Yes."The lady motioned toward him,"Well?"

"Aren't you going to go get me one?"Rod was taken aback, he had no response, luckily the lady's friends stepped in before the explosion.

"He isn't going to go get you a cappuchino!"

"Well they're out, he should go get me one, its their fault they don't have any!" She said.

"Well that isn't his job, you can go over and get it."


Same exact thing happened to me a few years back.

White trash four top, as I was asking for drink orders someone ordered a Coke."Is a Pepsi ok, we don't have Coke products sir..."

"Well I want a Coke.""Sorry sir we don't carry it."

A befuddled look was the best he could muster,"Well can't you go to the store and get me some?"

Boy was I pissed.

My response, "No."

"Well its your job to serve me!"

Looking dead in his eyes I said, "I'm not your errand boy, now what do you want to drink..."

Idiots, why do we get the blame, I suppose its the whole shoot the messenger thing.If we serve Coke people get pissed, if we serve Pepsi they get pissed.

Either way it's not my decision.

I don't know how many times someone wants a soda so bad but won't accept the alternative, usually they get a pissed off look and say,"I'll just have water."

Invariably I get a shitty tip when this happens.

Restaurants carry one brand or the other, they have contracts that get very expensive if they carry more than one product.

Too bad they don't have what you want, in this world that happens sometimes,I don't really care that much, if God forbid you have to eat a meal without a Coke, Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper or Caffeine free Slice.

And throwing a hissy fit won't make me care either, and I certainly won't pawn off my tables that might prove profitable just to run to the nearest 7-11 just so you can enjoy your meal that much more.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Greatest Article Ever...

This article comes from an Austin TX alterative newspaper...

Quite possible the greatest article ever written bout our industry, motivations and train of thought.

It pretty much sums up every thought I have about the state of our business.

If you have time check it out, customer, bartender or server, I know it will interest you

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Customer Etiquette For Split Checks

Alright, here's a small addition to the post below.

If you absolutely must have split checks please be as understand and helpful as possible.

When I ask who is with whom tell me!

I don't need someone handing me 3 or 4 different checkbooks saying they'll take care of these ones, it screws up my system and actually makes things worse and more time consuming as I have to put all my checks together on the computer again and re-split them.

Try to sit near the ones you will be sharing a check with. Expedites the process.

It is a giant pain in the ass when after I take drink or meal orders half the table plays musical chairs. Each order on my note pad and computer with have corresponding numbers that relate to your actual chair you are sitting on. It makes it all a moot point if everyone gets up and moves seats.

It's almost impossible to drop of food and drinks, let alone give the right people the right checks.

I know what some are thinking, how hard can it be to remember who had what?

That's a line of bs when it comes to the fact twenty people had twenty entrees, forty five drinks that switched from cocktails to wine...

Not to mention salads, soups and people sharing appetizers...

You try to remember that on top of who's check goes were after they all switch places.

I'm not as bold as some of my friends, but I know of two servers that announce upon seeing people switching that they will receive one check because of that and have to work it out themselves. Hell, that's my new policy when it comes to unruly groups.

Last but certainly not least, when it comes time to pay, don't be in a hurry.

I don't care if you're in a hurry frankly and you shoving your book at me because you think you have to pay before the rest of the table is pretty annoying.

Like I said, each seat has a number and I must have the tickets in order to expedite the cash out period. If I get them all out of order in fact it will take longer, hell I might go have a cigarette before I even care enough to jumble through 20+ tickets.

Needless to say it will take me a minimum of 30 seconds for each check to be changed out and a minute each with credit cards. So if you have a group of ten it might take five minutes, twenty people, ten minutes...

Be patient, you made the request deal with the fact it will take time.

I had a group of "red hat" ladies, twenty of them. They were in such a hurry to pay for their soup and salad lunches ($6.95) and they all paid with twenty dollar bills. They followed me up to the bar as I went to get change and started throwing their check presenters at me, all out of order. They were rude and in this giant hurry.

Never mind they sat there and took as much time as possible with their dinner and hot teas...

But when it was time to go all of a sudden it was a big rush of course.

I took me nearly fifteen minutes to sort out the mess they made and several of them threatened to walk on their bills if I didn't hurry up.

I simply told them that was theft and if they did that it was a charge that would be prosecuted.

I went on to say they were the reason it was taking so long and they had to accept that.

Now I know that was an extreme case, but to recap my rules of etiquette for split checks...

1. Sit near each other.
2. Tell me who is together and mean it, no changing minds after the fact.
3. Stay in your seat.
4. Give me the checks at the same time, I will pick them up in order.
5. Stay in your seats until the change/credit cards are delivered.
6. Have patience, you weren't in a hurry to eat your meal, don't be in a hurry when I'm trying to accommodate you.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Reasonable Question

California Reader had this question, and its a good one...

"Sorry for this OT comment, but I would like some expert advice. Recently, I went to a very nice restaurant (i.e. $35 and up for a steak) with 2 friends, plus a couple that I had just met. When the waiter came to take the order, I asked "may we have separate checks?" His response was "no, we don't do that here." Now, if it hadn't been for the couple that I did not know at our table, I would have simply said "OK, we'll take our $350 elsewhere," but I didn't want to rock the boat. So...why IS it that some places (or is it a server decision?) refuse to make this (seems to me) very minor accommodation? With computer POS machines it is not difficult. Recently at Chevy's (for crying out loud!) the server asked US if we'd like the bill broken out. WOW! Thank you...Extra 5% tip. As for Mr. "I can't do it", he certainly cut off his own nose, because his tip was definitely reduced. So...What's the "professional" advice on this?"

Ok, while separate checks are indeed a pain in the ass...

Generally I do them without complaint because that is the way things are.

Don't punish the server however if it is store policy. Many places are going to this method to expedite the dining experience and get that table turned in a more timely manner.

It could be the first few times he got grief for the policy he did ask the manager. Or maybe he was told that its just the way it is.

Either way if you have a store policy and make exceptions why have the policy at all?

Then you have a bunch of people coming in saying,"well they did it for us last time..."

Thus voiding any reason for the policy in the first place. Get over it, if it does bother you write a letter to corporate or let a manager know.

Don't shoot the messenger in other words.

So why are splitting checks a pain in the ass?

Simple, it takes us time, and a lot of it.

Time better spent servicing other tables that might be neglected.

I don't think splitting a bill for a couple is a big deal, but after the group grows to six or more it is a royal pain.

It seems when this happens people are impatient, throw their server books at you out of order and want theirs done first. It gets rathr unruly.

One other problem is that with split checks the individual checks are usually small, especially at lunch when prices are lower.

Today for instance I had a group of twenty separate checks, it was the worst I've seen in a long time. They were in such a hurry and I had to tell them that it would be a few minutes and to be patient, unless someone stepped in to pay and they took care of him later.

Of this group about 10 paid with twenties, on bills that ranged from $8.95 to $11.75 at the outside. I was wiped out of all the change I had to give with just the first two checks. I then had to harass a busy bartender to change out $40 to ones and quarters, not fun...

The rest paid with credit card, on the POS system you can only run one at a time and I have to log in each time I run it...

5 minutes just with credit cards, all with angry customers breathing down my neck.

So it took me nearly ten minutes to figure out change, run to the bar, wait for that change to be counted out, not to mention the credit cards.

That's the major reason I dislike split bills...

In that span of time I had three tables sat in the other half of my section and they had to wait unduly while I glanced nervously over my shoulder at them.

The second reason is tipping.

For big groups I get automatic gratuity, hell we even add an extra charge if they want splits.

For small groups of under eight its all up to them as far as gratuity.

It seems to me there is always one or two people in the group that thinks its ok for the others to carry the tip.

Either they leave less then 10% or nothing at all, thinking that the others in their group have tipped sufficiently.

That's just being cheap, you look like an asshole to me and eventually your friends will catch on and think you're an asshole as well.

I love it when people like that get caught, seen it happen, nothing like witnessing a cheapskate getting called out on it.

That being said most people realize it is at least a minor hassle and handle the wait with grace and are fair as far as tipping. It's just that 1 in 5 rule that experience tells me will result in a bad tip.

A Quick Shot

So here's something a little less serious than recent posts.

A group of office ladies come in for lunch...

I go around taking the requesit Iced Tea orders and waters with lemon...

Then one of the ladies about lurches out of her seat at me,"Sir! Sir! She's retiring today!"the lady shouts.

Hopping up and down pointing at the end of the table she queries,"Doesn't she get something?"

Loud enough for the whole table to hear I proclaim...

"She sure does!"

"She gets to have YOU buy her lunch!"

I turn around and walk away.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Points of Order

All right, now I'm going to answer the responses many of you left.

Seems there are two groups on here, servers and those who work in customer service...

And those that don't.

They don't get it...

Maybe they don't understand, some seem personally affronted by what I say.
Well I'm not going to resort to name calling or anything crude, After this post I will return to my stories and try to not be so political.

I believe a point of some critics, yes I mean you and I haven't pointed out many commentators on here, was this...

"However, I think the incentive is there also for servers to not pay taxes on most of their tips, which I think is crap (the rest of us have to pay taxes on everything we make). "

As well as,

"(come on, most don't keep exact numbers and don't claim most or all of their tips when they figure income taxes)"

The last three places I have worked at compiled my sales and automatically claimed 18% tips to the government, it didn't matter if I had a bad week or not of tips, I still had to pay taxes on my sales...

More and more corporate restaurants are doing this to avoid the IRS digging around their numbers (which are often shady), or just to get rid of the hassle.

As well as paying taxes on my earnings servers pay taxes on sales that don't garner tips.
We actually have to pay out of our own pockets for the privilege of waiting on those who stiff or leave shitty tips that don't cover our taxed tips.

Now I am not saying you have to tip for bad service, but when you don't tip a fair amount for good service we have to pay regardless.

In addition to paying taxes, under the tip credit laws our employer pays bussers, hosts, food expediters and bartenders under the minimum wage.

Servers pay them out of their own tips based on a percentage of their sales, regardless of if tables tip them fairly or not for that night.

Think its not your problem?

Who makes your drinks, seats you, sets up your dinner table and cleans up the mess you make so you don't have to?

These hard working employees.

You don't want these services by all means go to a diner, see how great the service is there.

It all relates to the amount of service that you benefit from.

You want it, you pay for it, in a fair manner.

If gratuities are added, why the hard feelings?

"If I have to, then there is no additional monies on top of that automatic charge, the waiter gets exactly what I was forced to pay and no more. "

That's how it would be every day if the system was changed.

"I went to a restaurant last night, and when the bill came, they added 15% and put it on the credit card receipt. Tip was 8.50, but I wanted to give her $10 cause she deserved it. But they decided for me and that pissed me off. I didn't change it, but we won't be going back."

That's a shitty attitude, she deserved $10 due to her good service, yet you punished her because of a restaurant's policy.

Last I checked waiters didn't make store policy...

Yet always we are held responsible and pay the penalty.

Back to the service charge, if it is applied it is for a reason, most likely store policy, I can't remember how many times a party slips me an extra $20, 30 or $50 tip on top of the stated gratuity.

A couple weeks ago I waited on a reception dinner and the host gave each of us a $100 bill as extra appreciation.

At the same extreme are those who get personally insulted, I have a few instances of those and you'll probably see them as one of my tales.

Don't get insulted and take it out on the waiter.

Any other place you go and are charged for service can you bitch and maybe take it away payment?
f your mechanic takes longer than you want can you only pay for parts and not service? If you go to the GAP can you justify paying your bill less the commission if the cashier isn't up to your standards? If you call your insurance company and are put on hold is that grounds for wanting a discount because you had to wait?

Just keep in mind that as much as you want to blame someone, the server has little control over most happenings in the restaurant. If a service charge is added take it with grace.

If you feel the server did a great job give them a little extra, don't withhold it because of something out of their hands.

A great quote from a commenter, "As much as I hated the tipping system (where else can you get your pay docked because the person with the money is having a bad day?) I think doing away with it would be worse."

"I'm an excellent tipper when the service is good or excellent (20 to 25% usually). However, if the service is bad (and I don't care why it's bad) I want the option of tipping much, much less."

I disagree, when I go out as long as I see my waiter or bartender busting ass they will get a great tip.It is sometimes impossible to give the best service at times, and I consider this.

If they are being lazy, rude or don't know their job its one thing. Just please be patient, it is a virtue and I know many people only think about themselves, and believe that you're the only table in the place even though they're not.

There are a thousand reasons that they can’t be all over you, the kitchen is running slow, bussers are slammed so they have to clear their own tables, maybe the hostess sat two or three other tables at the same time in their section. I just think it's ironic that the harder servers work, at times they get paid less for it.

Of course another reason could be you have a bad server or they are lazy, just recognize the difference between them and someone that is doing an admirable job under extreme duress.

A great point of view from a comment was this...

"If the kitchen screws up your meal, that is not my fault, so why should you leave me a crappy tip because of it. The fact that I am the spokesperson for your perceived anger over things I cannot control gives you the right to punish me. This is not fair. A majority of the restaurant staff will make their hourly wage having never to see your face but if they make a mistake you take it out on me. How is this fair?"

It isn't fair, I judge my service experience from the moment my ass hits the seat at my table.

Why do people take out their shit on someone that is perceived to be subservient I don't know.
It isn't the server's fault if you had to wait because you don't have a reservation.

It isn't our fault if you were sat at a less desirable table. It isn't our fault the kitchen is backed up with 100 orders and you wait for your food.

It isn't our fault that the hostess wasn’t pretty enough, the sky wasn't blue, or that you had a shitty day.

Above all it isn't my fault if your steak is over cooked, pasta cold, or lettuce wilted. It does not constitute poor service to have these things happen.

What constitutes service is how we handle these situations.

Yet we are held responsible and punished on the whim of the customer for thing out of our control and beyond the realm of service.

This is by far my favorite quote from the comments belongs to my social communist friend...
"I will also admit that I have stiffed a few tips on occasion, though I plead ignorance or financial necessity in those cases."

The answer to this is there is no excuse for ignorance.
n the US it is expected that to tip for service, and the tip reflects the level of service one receives...

As far as financial necessity for stiffing, you'll love this one...

If you can't afford to tip, you can't afford to go out to eat.


Eating out is a luxury.

I work at tipped positions to make my own living, I understand that some people can't afford to go out much or tip, so don't.

Eat at home, get fast food or take out, don't waste my time.

Really, the only reason to not is if you receive abysmal service or are treated rudely...

Learn to live within your means, don't effect my income because you can't live within your own
That may sound harsh, but its true.

"I think a large part of the problem is many people just don't know how to do math to figure what 15 to 20% is."

Ah, the ignorance excuse again. It's basic math people, just that some are to lazy to do it, move the decimal one place over and double it, damn.

Or maybe you are too drunk and trying to cop a feel on your waitress to bother.

In addition here are some recent thoughts as well

"We are made to feel obligated and we should not be obligated!! I would rather get and order my own food rather than have some greedy waitperson kissing my ass for money. "
How is it greedy to want to provide a decent living for ourselves? You have the right to one why don't we?

"Getting tipped is a great racket... We are made to feel obligated and we should not be obligated!!"

You are obligated.

Otherwise get your own food and clean up your own mess.

"I would rather get and order my own food rather than have some greedy waitperson kissing my ass for money."
Please do then, I'd rather wait on people that appreciate my efforts rather than waste my time.

"Waiters are just hustlers or scammers living off of crumbs that we throw them."

That is one of the ignorant things I have ever read on this blog.

I might as well say shit like that. Doctors are quacks pushing unnecessary drugs and treatments for their benefit. Lawyers are scum and ambulance chasers. CEO's rape their employees and customers for their own gain. Office employees are prisoners of a bureaucracy that produces paperwork and no real productivity.

Harsh words and maybe a stereotype, but so is the perception of wait staff as beggars and thieves.

I am an honest hard working person, so are most waiters.

"Also, have you noticed that whenever the Server speaks of receiving a low tip, it's always because the customer was cheap? Never that the service was bad."


I am as accurate in my recollections as possible. Does that mean I haven't had an off day or at some point gave substandard service? Of course not, but chances are if I wait on you I'll bust my ass to make sure you have a great experience.

Maybe its just I wait on brats more often than I have days that I give shitty service.

"Taking a kid's tip” A large number of servers are not "KIDS" and they make more money per hour worked than most office workers. I would say a part time server at most restaurants can haul in around 30 to 50K a year (remember not full-time)!!"

Perhaps here's where the real bitterness towards servers exists, people don't think we deserve what we make because it is more than their income.

(Most servers I know are between 18 and 25, pretty much kids and young adults btw.)

Damn straight I make more than 30k and maybe you're just pissed that your job in a bureaucracy shuffling paperwork from level to level gets a much lesser reward at the end of the day.

But I'm sure when you screw up or are perceived in an unfair light by a consumer your personal pay isn't effected.

True we're not saving the world, but the part of the reason I do this is for the financial reward.
I'm damn good and work at a high end restaurant. I don't pretend to be anything more than a waiter making my way through this world, but I deserve my pay and those that I wait on get the greatest service I can muster.

One last bit of negativity from a comment post.

"Please learn how to use English. You might get better jobs, or fewer anonymous people complaining about your shitty writing! (not "you're shitting writing"!!)"

If I suck that badly don't read me.

My job is fine and I work everyday to get ahead of where I was yesterday.

I know its a huge deal that I screwed up a conjunction, seriously if you're that anal, I hate to see you in a restaurant, which is what this blog is about, not an English lesson.

Maybe I am a little bitter in this post. It seems to me the vast majority of dinners are considerate, fair, pleasant and a pleasure to wait on.

But about one table in five can't seem to think about any of this.

I can't tell them the way I feel, but I can tell you people, some of whom obviously fit into the latter category.

It does feel great to say to some of you what I can't say to my customers at work.

People like this are brats, cheap and I can't believe they treat another with disrespect and scorn when all we want is to be treated fairly and to make a fair wage.

Here are some of the things in a more positive light, quotes from people that "get it."

"You never know! I had a server just recently who was very, very sweet and nice, she knew what she was doing, and she was very efficient. Then, suddenly, her section filled up so fast she didn't have time to take a breath. I sat there and watched table after table get sat, and as a consequence, she never had the time to ask us if we needed refills on our drinks, and even if she did get the chance to ask, she had no time to fill them. (I also noticed that no one else with slower sections offered to help her.) She dropped the bill off in a rush, and I still tipped her $10 on a $16 bill because she was working her ass off."

Amen sister!

"That doesn't mean that my server has to be 100% happy all the time, but be attentive, have a personality and be honest. If things are going shitty that day, then say so and take a minute to breathe. I'm not that high maintenance."

Preach on!

"On top of that, I'd like to add that it should be mandatory for everyone to work a job for tips at some point before they reach 22"

Maybe many more people in this country would have common courtesy when dealing with the public.

"Tipping is a far better system. As a waiter/bartender I prefer the gamble. It's just a fun game to see what happens. Plus, where I work some people leave some pretty big tips and I'd miss that. I like to turn around and buy drinks for the guest with the tip they gave me."

But we're all greedy cash hogs lining up for your pocket change, aren’t we?

"Personally I feel tipping is good for me-I can give good servers that little bit extra that I know (or think I know ;)) they'll appreciate."

I always feel good when appreciated, thank you.

"I would rather keep the tip system or else waiters have no reason to give me good service. I'm an excellent tipper when the service is good or excellent (20 to 25% usually)."

People don't do a job well just because they are employed. Research has shown when there are motivating factors productivity increases exponentially.

Think we are greedy for that?

Then get first in line to give up your stock options, employer 401K contribution, raise initiatives or whatever, does that put things in perspective?

"Everyone should be paid a fair wage, period. If the customer gets great service, you get a great tip."

You got it!

See the whole point of this post is not for me or my comrades to get what we don't deserve, it is to get what we do. I'm just tired of getting slapped in the face for a job well done. Or for some people to find whatever excuse they can to pay less on their bill. The easiest way to do that is to hit the server, not the establishment. If you can't afford the prices go somewhere you can. Don't take it out on the person working their ass off for you to enjoy a good meal.

In the future I'll try not to be as negative, more stories and less issues. I just felt I had to refute some of the notions that had been in the comments box and give my opinon.