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....

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Restaurant Species Guide

Part One: The "Rockstar" Server

This particular specimen displays both color (flair) and a loud obnoxious mating ritual.

Can be seen constantly waxing the General Manager's car, running to the store for light bulbs, copy paper or for the management's lunch from a better restaurant.

He normally has received one of several bogus promotions such as...


"Head Server"

"Corporate Trainer"


"Key Hourly"

Said promotions give none to little actual authority and only exist for moral purposes...

Think a placebo folks.

Said "promotion" may actually bump up the waiter's salary from $2.85 to the fabled minimum wage or even higher.

Although he/she will never see a red cent of this do to the fact that the raise usually serves to pay off the higher taxes and their paycheck will remain a big fat zero.

They will then find themselves training rookie servers and staying late nights closing while the "real" management run acrossed the street to Bennigans for a "Big Irish" burger and a Guinness or two.

Any attempt to exercise authority by these waiters will be met with contempt and distrust by the "real" servers on the staff.

So pretty much they're stuck doing the shit shifts and shit work with no respect from the staff and no pay, all so they can brown nose their way in with the assistant manager for the fabled "management" promotion that will be promptly given to a junior college graduate with a busboy job as his reference, over the "Rockstar" waiter of course.

Key signs that a "Rockstar" is in the house is that they'll actually sit down with your family and rattle off their "jalapeno shooter" spiel while a flashing Bacardi Limon button rest on their lapel along with a variety of buttons that denote their rank as the elite of a restaurant.

They actually believe the corporate hocus pocus that the company executives spout out and are rarely found at any sort of restaurant that anyone with good taste and or dignity will visit.

Habitats include: Bennigan's, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, TGI Friday's...

And of course, Applebee's.


At 11:48 PM , Anonymous Eustacia Vye said...

*Hangs head* You just described me.

Except I'm far more cynical towards the "corporate hocus pocus" that we're bombarded with.

At 8:29 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah ! Now I see.

I read that, thinking, "The only place I've ever seen that is in the movie 'Office Space'. Do they really exist?"

And then you answered the question at the end. I've never been to any of those places, so I've never seen one in its native environment; Only captured on film.

At 9:45 AM , Anonymous Shonda said...

What is a "jalapeno shooter?" Is that a drink of some sort? Or is it a stuffed jalapeno?

At 9:47 AM , Blogger Voodoo76 said...

Trust me, they exist. Corporate Restaurants are the absolute worst. Of course I work for one.... :-)

At 10:49 AM , Blogger Grotesqueticle said...

While I'm thinking about it, has anyone ever had an edible meal at Applebees? Anyone?

At 10:56 AM , Blogger Segue said...

This is off topic...

But have you seen the movie "Waiting"? It came out on video a couple of weeks ago.

If you haven't, rent it. They nailed many aspects of restaurant politics, and it's a funny all-around movie.

At 11:41 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

my first serving job was with the Consul Corporation's Chi Chi's chain. It was exactly as you describe. Training was a series of videos, and we were 'required' to greet each customer in a very very very prescribed way lest a mystery shopper bust us. (and we were mystery shopped a lot!) i remember the suck up trainer types quite well; they were gung ho until they got passed over and then they were the most bitter to work with on the floor.

i also remember that the restaurant had a lousy kitchen until they got a new manager. immediately things began shaping up enough that though he'd been there but a week, we could see he was going to get the kitchen working wonderfully. Unfortunately after his first week, the corporate inspectors came in and instead of recognizing that he was cleaning up someone else's mess they reprimanded him as if it were his mess. When they wrote a memo to his personnel files about this he quit the company though he'd been there for six or seven years. He never believed that the company would turn on him.

At 12:16 PM , Blogger Kate said...

I work at a Bennigan's, and you've pretty much nailed down the serving mentality there - except this "Rockstar server" thing is something that ALL OF US ARE FORCED TO DO. Luckily the staff is amazing and fun and we can make fun of the job, the customers, the food and each other while getting paid a reasonable amount of cash. I happen to ignore all these rules (as do most of my colleagues) and we get better tips for it. Problem is, if a "Secret Shopper" comes in, we're fucked.

I did hear that "Waiting" was based on a Bennigan's - haven't seen it yet, but can't wait!

At 3:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think he meant JalepeƱo popper. He did too many tequila poppers last night and became confused - it could happen to anyone.

At 5:37 PM , Blogger Sondra said...


At 9:33 PM , Anonymous Casey said...

This post perfectly described the last guy I dated... he kept telling me he was going to quit, then they made him a trainer (with the promise of a key hourly to come soon) and he thinks he will "move up".. like that is some big accomplishment. And yes, he works at Applebee's and no, there are no edible meats there.

At 3:08 PM , Anonymous CDS said...

Don't forget.. the "rockstar" can often be seen hanging around the GM laughing at jokes that could never, ever in a million years be funny.

At 4:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our GM ended up getting fired ("What banquet?") OOps! Rockstar key hourly is pregnant, how did that happen? Maybe GM was saving up for a ring. They ended up married then divorced - too bad for the kid. The life of a rockstar...

At 1:12 PM , Blogger jeananne said...

Don't forget Cracker Barrel -- "PAR" Stars on apron and trainer pins on the lapel...after 5 years you get a sterling silver pin...after 20 you get the tacky one with a ruby!

Note: No one has actually ever received the jeweled pins theorized.

At 2:33 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have eaten out at some fine dining restaurants and some lower range restaurants, so I usually know what to expect.
Tonight it was as if I were in a foreign country. I went to Applebee's for the second time in my life, with another guest, and I certainly don't remember the fist time being like this time.
The first time we went to Applebees my family and I were greeted and brought to a table.
Tonight I never felt more awkword in my life. There was no welcome from the waiter or waistress as soon as we walked through the door.
I stood there waiting as to be seated, and I said within there ears reach I don't know if they are to seat us. They looked at us and said nothing and than ignored us.
We sat ourseleves and waited for 5 minutes. When the waitress finally came over. I had to ask her is this the nonsmoking area and of course it wasn't. And as I walked away I finally looked back and seen the smokers who just lit up behind the table I sat at.
We moved to the nonsmoking side. A different waitress waited on us and kneeled down and took our order,and brought the food promptly and refilled the drink.
I tried to think on good things but as it started out the higher tip attitude was already gone. As we almost walked out of the restaunt when I seen they had no attitude to seat us.
It is common curteous to seat people give them some sort of a welcome and a smile. That means more of a tip for being so friendly than just a smile face on the bill and wearing silly flare, or as our waitress did to kneel down to our level which until tonight I had no clue to why she did that, until I read on the internet that it is a way to earn a high tip.
That is ironic since the atmosphere should have been friendly and welcoming.
As I needed to find the bathroom at least they were friendly enough to ask me if that is what I was looking for.
When receiving the bill. I prefer the book cover over the $ receipt or when they come to collect it. It is more private in a day when we have to be so careful and cautious because of identity theft.
I didn't know without the black book whether to wait for her to come to the table to collect the money or go to the register.
I thought well they did not seat me, and we even had to tell them to bring the bill, so we will have to go self serve to the register. They still got a tip even though I was unhappy with their service. The food was very good. They need to be more friendly more professional and train their employees better.
They need to work for the tip. It's not just something as a smile or wearing flare or to put on paper, a smiley face, or a soft touch. It is much more. And I hope when I visit the next time and if there is a next time I don't feel as if I am in unwelcome in a foreign land. I hate to say this but I think the foreigners may be more friendly after all they are more eager for an american dollar.
This is what I expect out of all sit down restaurants, and I don't beleive it is to much to expect.


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