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, December 05, 2007

Cutting Corners

A few weeks ago I was training a newer server on a small banquet of about twenty, when I decided to pass a bit of my real world knowledge on to her…

“So here’s the mini-menus for the party,” the assistant manager said.

I took them in hand and started setting them out on the table.

Looking over the menu I noticed it wasn’t bad, one seafood, one meat, one vegetarian and one pasta dish, all mid-range so that was safe.

I also noticed that there was a short wine list by the bottle at the top of the page, excellent.

I had a little time on my hands so I started to polish Reidels and grabbed my partner to start doing some table set-ups.

The next thing you know the other waitress was at my side.

“Did you notice what wines are on the list?” She asked.

“Not yet, anything good?” I asked.

“Well I don’t recognize half these wines.” She said.

Looking over the list neither did I.

“Shit, they’re brining in their own bottles.” I said with a grimace.

“Fuck this crystal shit, they’re getting regular glasses.” I said.

We all know my disdain for bringing bottles from home, and really, I’d rather go all out for people buying our product rather than bringing their own.

“At least we can charge corkage.” My partner said.

“Yeah, I’d rather charge $15 a bottle than forty buck or more, or not.” I said.

“Well its better than nothing.” She replied.

“Actually according to the restaurant it isn’t, you might not have noticed this but corkage doesn’t count as sales applicable to the gratuity, meaning we won’t see a cent of tip off that.” I said.

Oh yeah, its true. The restaurant I work at makes a profit off corkage, but the waiter doesn’t see his 20% of the cut, at least on banquets. Small parties are left to their own discretion on what gratuity to leave, as usual.

Being a crafty bastard I had figured a way around this dilemma which would guarantee that my partner and I would at least get a piece of the pie.

“Here’s what we’re going to do, we’ll wait until we see how many bottles we have to open, take that number times fifteen and then ring it in as an open wine charge.” I said.

“But won’t the bartenders question that order?” My partner asked.

“No, here’s a bit of advise, get in close with the bartenders, your drinks will come up faster and they won’t question you on issues such as this.” I said.

“Another way to make sure you’re tipped out on corkage is to assign a dollar amount gratuity instead of having the computer do the math with a percentage based grat, that also gives you a tip.” I continued, “ that doesn’t work so well on separate checks which is why I taught you the open wine method.”

“But won’t the managers care that we’re charging them more?” My partner asked.

“I really don’t think they’ll notice or care, believe me I learned this the hard way after working a wine dinner and walking out with jack shit instead of a nice tip.” I said.

Continuing on, I said, “The restaurant is getting their money, but we’re the ones expected to do the work and one way or another we will get paid for it.”


At 3:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man you sound like you went to school with my friends Rodney and Marcus.

Guess who

At 12:14 AM , Anonymous an honest server who makes great money said...

Thanks for furthering the belief some people have that servers are dishonest and out to screw guests out of their money.

And thanks, too, for spreading that disease to another server.

At 11:20 AM , Anonymous regular customer said...

I never take wine to a restaurant unless they have no liquor license.

That is pretty lousy that the restaurant doesn't accomodate the waiters for a gratuity on the corkage. I have no problem with a restaurant charging a corkage to cover the labor, the glasses and the cleanup - only fair in my mind.

At 8:06 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmmm.... i think i'm going to stop reading this blog after reading that...

At 12:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do you feel that it's up to you to undermine the restaurant's policy? I get it, it sucks... but you're their employee. I work at a nice restaurant with no corkage charge. I've never been tipped more than 20% by those tables. They figure that if it's not on the bill, it doesn't count. Sucks, but that's how it is. You don't like the rules, you go elsewhere. You should be fired.

At 6:05 AM , Blogger Secret said...

Well actually I feel I'll do what I want. If a restaurant policy costs me money while charging a fee for MY labor and not compensating, damn right I'll do what it takes to take care of myself.

I feel that its up to me because I can skirt bad policy by making decisions that are fair to all servers, not just myself, that's why I passed my evil knowledge on to far more than that one server who was on my part.

Unfortunatly its not up to you to decide if I should be fired, after all you are just a server, and I am an artist.

At 4:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're not an artist, you're an ass.

You'd better believe that if I noticed one of your little 'entitlement' charges on my check, you'd lose your entire tip. And if I were your manager, you'd soon find your way to unemployment.

At 5:46 PM , Blogger Secret said...

Actually I am entitled to 20% of the bill on any party.

I am just enforcing the gratuity on the entire bill, you won't notice any extra charges because I believe I don't do that.

Its a loophole that benefits the restaurant and the customer, but not the staff, I'm simply fixing the loophole since management seems incapable.

At 11:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I'm a law student with a book deal... but you can call yourself an artist all you want, with your shitty blog and your job at a low brow restaurant with lousy management. Classy!

I get it, it's not fair. But, it's still wrong. As I said, do something about it. Get it changed. Stop being a thief!

Oh, and good call telling new people about your little scheme. That's the quickest way for the word to be spread and for management to be told, and for you to be an unemployed "artist."

At 3:20 AM , Blogger Secret said...

Well I'm so impressed that you have such accolades, an author and a law student. Well when the revolution comes you’ll be doubly fucked.

It’s the internet and at least I won’t charge people to read my dribble, as you will. So comes the inevitable cliché about who is the greater fool, though it could be adapted to your book which is most likely crap. If that manuscript exists I’ll be pleasantly surprised, as most college students have not had the experience in life to write something that they have not read elsewhere, see Hunting, Will.

I really don’t care what you think of my restaurant or my blog, though the preceding paragraph may indicate that, I’m merely baiting you for my own enjoyment.

As far as you know I’m a graduate student, a father, an undergrad, an alcoholic, a fictitious writer, several writers, a millionaire who enjoys working with the working classes or a psychology student conducting an experiment on how assholes like you act when there is no comeuppance.

That being said at least I could probably kick your ass, unless you claim to be an Eight Degree black-belt in Jiu-Jitsu.

At 4:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

We all know you're not a real writer. You can hardly spell. Your blog isn't well written, it's just you telling far-fetched stories. No one comes here for the good writing.

At 4:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are the reason people don't trust anymore.

At 2:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 4:06 PM , Anonymous marco said...

Dude you are a hero, like Robin Hood. Fuck the house. I just wish you could tell us all your scams, including the ones that would indeed get you fired.

Also it's pretty funny when a lawyer calls someone else a thief.

At 8:25 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Marco: Zing! That level of wit is precisely what I'd expect from a fan of this blog. This very very sad blog.

At 6:47 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i called him a theif and i'm not the lawyer. i hope he gets fired

At 11:14 AM , Anonymous marco said...

Suck it John Grisham - your books are stupid anyway.

At 11:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please don't feed the trolls.

At 1:59 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's "thief," genius.

At 12:24 PM , Blogger Kale Rae said...

Montreal has oodles of great "bring your own wine" restaurants. And there is no corkage fee- in fact these restos don't even have liquor licences - so you can bring whatever the hell you want. Hard stuff, beer, wine... And they're rather upscale restaurants too...and I love these restos for that.

But on the tipping side, it sucks for you - since there is no corkage fee on our end at these restos, we just tip our regular 20%.

At 7:05 PM , Blogger Tam said...

The writing is of a decent enough standard for me to want to idily browse the archives.

For the record, I thought the last paragraph, with the Jiu-Jitsu, kinda ruined an otherwise perfectly good retort. Sort of brings you down to anonymous's level.
Just splitting hairs though, keep blogging.

At 7:48 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone complaining is probably the ass-fuck who tips like shit and wants everything just perfect because they feel entitled.

He's a modern-day Robin Hood. He's just making sure that he gets a percentage off of the uncorking fee. That's not stealing. No one paid extra, asside from the tip they SHOULD have to pay.

At 1:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Secret, this is one of the reasons why you're much better than the average blogger. You don't pretend like you're perfect, even though you very well could by only telling us about the times where you were right.

I like it when you show us you're not above admitting that you sometimes stray away from the straight and narrow.

At 9:13 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey law student with a book deal (yawn). Why are you reading this blog, don't you have wannabe lawyer things to do. Let Insane write what he wants and share what he wants IT'S HIS BLOG!! If you don't like it read lawyer blogs and book deal blogs (yawn). Damn you sound boring and reek of egoism, a complete turn-off. I'd take Insane over you anyday. HA HA


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