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, April 09, 2008

Rules of the Restaurant

If for any reason you have plans or commitments after your shift (school, other job, date, picking up your kids) a table shall arrive two minutes before closing and camp out for an hour after close, ruining said plans and causing general discomfort.

If a party argues over who gets the bill, the one to receive it will be the least likely to leave a good tip.

Anytime a compliment is passed on to you by a guest it will be accompanied by a ten percent tip or less.

A table of “bad regulars” will always somehow wind up in your section, run you like nobodies business, then still leave a shitty tip. Being regulars they will come in the next week and do the same. Rinse and repeat.

When looking for someone to pick up a shift because important plans/an emergency , you will never find a coworker to fill the shift.

However you will be ostracized if you refuse to pick up someone else’s shift. Naturally they want the night off to go drinking.

Another server shall never NARC on another server for any infraction short of theft from another server, or possibly murder. Possibly. We have our own justice, mafia style. However stealing from the house itself is not only tolerated, but encouraged.

When a server or bartender want to give a customer a drink on the house that means they’re a great customer.

When a manager wants to do the same it means the customer in question is a POS.

No matter how well the shift is going, you will always get caught in your one screw up by the worst manager on staff.

The second you buy your shift meal and sit down to enjoy it, you will be triple sat and have to eat the cold leftovers. That is if the other employees don’t eat it first.

When you are behind on bills and really need the money, your twenty top no shows and you get sent home without a table.

When you don’t need the money you will have great shifts, however you will blow the money and the above rule will take place a week later.

A waiter will get away with nothing short of burning down the house, however a triviality will lead to one’s termination.

Waiters who grab a drink will be terminated on the spot.

Managers, however will be drunk on the clock at all times.

On the rare occasion that you need a manager, you will never be able to find one. See above rule.

An employee walking in fifteen minutes late will never be noticed by management.

An employee walking in two minutes late will be written up immediately.

The worst server on staff will be the management’s favorite.

Likewise the best server on staff will be living on borrowed time.

Part timers will somehow always make more money than those who work ten shifts a week.

There will always be at least one capable and fair manager on staff. However, the rest with pretty much suck.

On a day you feel like shit, an old classmate, ex-girlfriend or family member will be in to dine. Upon saying hello they’ll ask, “are you still doing this?” and tell you how wonderful they are.

The kitchen will run out of the one thing everyone wants to order.

If you stock a private event with three cases of light beer, they will only order an obscure microbrew that you have a twelve pack of. Likewise when you stock the next party with the obscure microbrew, you will run out of domestics in five minutes.

Only those who deserve it will always double tip you on a gratuity ticket.

The best customers never ask me my name, they call me sir.

If there is more than one split check, at least one of them will stiff you, figuring the other people in the party “took care of you.”

A group consisting only of women will always have split checks, they will each leave you 12%, except for the person listed in the above rule.

A group consisting only of men will have at least one of them speak up for the bill, he will then leave you 20%.

There is always at least one server who drinks the Kool-Aid that the management/owners serve us. They will be lowest on the totem pole of the staff.

The hardest working people in the restaurant probably don’t speak your language.

The very poor treat you like shit and tip likewise, so do the very rich.

Necessary to get through the last shift of the week are Febreeze, a bleach pen and a bump of cocaine.

The only people who use more mind alternating substances than the restaurant staff are the customers, only we get our from the busboy, not a psychologist.

Inspired by


At 9:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

great post - laughed out loud - it almost makes me miss serving
love your blog

At 11:39 PM , Blogger misha said...

you are pretty spot on about everything. I have had several jobs where getting high w/ the manager and doing shots were part of the job. Even a fancy restaurant gave us wine w/ our shift meal while we were still working and if a customer offered us a taste we were always encouraged. I also once auto-grated a table of 8 refs in town for the final 4 - totally thought refs would notice it - they left me %30 and 2 came in w/ their wives the next night and requested me. Can you tell I harbor some guilt about that. But not when I got the managers code that made stealing so easy - no guilt there :)

I also had lots of prom kids who all tipped %20 or more. yeah their checks where shit, but it was nice knowing their parents taught them well.

At 12:09 PM , Blogger film-chick said...

I just finished reading your entire blog and have to say I'll be checking in again in the future. Keep up the good writing. BTW, I always tip 20% with a $5 minimum, even for To Go orders!

At 12:20 PM , Blogger Rich said...

I just read your blog (starting with the archives) all the way through in the last 2 days. I really enjoy it.
I work in fast food as a shift manager. I understand some of your complaints personally. I get treated like shit by some customers. I get people who will not speak to me, except to order, though I tell everyone to have a good night and such. People who downright nasty, and such.
I hate people who treat me like I am lower then they are.
I will say I have learned a few things from your blog.
I am happy to say I usually overtip,(Unless the service is horrendous.)because I know that there is always someone who will undertip or not tip at all, even when the service is amazing. I have dealt with more than one area of foodservice, and I know how it can be. If I can't afford to tip, then I can't afford to go out to eat. Simple as that. I am not going to make someone else work for a shitty tip. I definitely hope to read more in the future.

At 12:54 PM , Blogger Sue Ellen Mishkey said...

Know what I do when guests treat me like shit? I put them in their place. It is the craziest thing, if you put people in their place in a joking way(or if they cross the line, in a mean way) they kiss YOUR ass and ask for more. I don;t really have a problem with poor tipping/ rude people in my section cause I won';t allow it!

At 10:57 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha I connect with so many of these! Especially the showing up late thing. I am "that guy" that strolls in anywhere between on time and a half an hour later almost every shift. However while I am at work I bust my ass and get shit done. So it kind of balances out.

Also, Ramekins make great ashtrays!

At 3:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stealing from the restaurant is OK ?

You must be part of the 10% that break most rules just because you feel you are entitled to just a little more than the others.

Sad Sad Sad

At 10:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. I loved the comment about the hardest working people not speaking your language. I was constantly amazed at our friends from south of the border who would work constant double shifts and bust their butts everyday. Those people who call Mexicans "Lazy" have never worked with one.

At 8:06 PM , Anonymous Lia said...

Hi! I write for and I found your blog to be a great resource for my page. So thank you. I was in the service industry for 15+ years so I relate to everything you write about here.

I have included the URL. I have you listed under the resources section.


At 6:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This posting is GREAT. I would love to use it, with your credits and approval of course, on my blog for banquet managers:

Would that be OK? Please let me know.

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

Yeah, tables of all women are the most needy. Separate checks, everything on the side, tap water please, oh and can you separate the hydrogen and oxygen in two glasses? Than when you give six checks for about $15.00 each, they all hand you $100 bills as if we carry $$$$$ change. My favorite with women is the first thing they say upon seating, "I'm not very hungry". Which is of course why they made a reservation and decided to take up a table for two hours.

At 4:53 PM , Anonymous banquet manager dad said...

Who's better - restaurant waiters or banquet waiters?

At 2:41 PM , Blogger la femme said...

Truer words were never spoken.

At 2:42 PM , Anonymous queen said...

haha, true about coworkers eating your food. I'm hypoglycemic so I HAVE to eat, I get sick if someone eats the food that I need. In the restaurant I worked in, I was known for going postal on anyone who touched my food. It only happened to someone once.

At 6:56 AM , Blogger chef said...

find a new line of work.

At 11:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

ahhh, the chef pipes in at last...what a fuckin make mistakes and the staff pays for it every night..i've been on both sides of the fence, and servers have it the worst, but they also have the most proven here...with that attitude, you'll be working in a mexican corner store very soon, wondering why you suddenly NEED to speak spanish in order to salvage your "career." good luck schmuck

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

Great post....the most aweful servers suck up to the meanest managers. Tonight, on a slow August Friday night (biggest vacation time of year) Gina and Casey, our two most aweful fuck-ups in the name of waiterdom....were scheduled to be on the floor by four. I never saw them come in. Then I noticed them in the break room stuffing themselves (We secretly call Gina, Shrek) and leisurely reading gossip mags until 5:19. Then as soon as they go on the floor, Casey gets a full section and "Shrek" gets a ten top. WTF? They don't do thier side work and would never, NEVER, chill salad plates, bring out butter, little plates, etc. They would not give the sweat from beneath thier tits. I hope they fucking find this blog and trace it back to me. Because I'm fifty years old and am MUCH cooler than them.

At 12:45 AM , Anonymous Kimberly said...

You forgot two that come to mind immediately:

1) Never accept any food from the kitchen staff that is offered because more often than not it is so spicy it will melt your insides (especially true if you're a gringo).

2) If you ask how to say a word in Spanish, always ask a second independent individual how to say the same word just to make sure.

At 2:48 PM , Blogger Maeve said...

"A waiter will get away with nothing short of burning down the house, however a triviality will lead to one’s termination"

OMG is that not the truth!
And everything else you posted!

At 1:44 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whenever I think I should quit retail and become a waiter, reading your blog reminds me that, though my pay is shit, the customers are generally ass hats who like to yell at me for no reason and the managers are generally idiots, at LEAST I don't get stiffed on tips.

At 2:14 PM , Blogger mary said...

BRILLIANT!!! i have been in this industry for 16 years! my current job is disgraceful. i am 37, female and speak my mind and was sent home last night because i asked the nasty, sneaky manager on duty to please not pick up my checks from my tables. it makes me panic! she then proceeded to get in my face and say "don't tell me how to do my job". i responded that i wasn't! i was asking her to do something for me which protects MY money. 10 minutes later she tells me to finish out my current tables and go home because she doesn't like my attitude!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
seriously, women in charge if they are insecure or passive aggressive will be your worst nightmare.

At 11:45 AM , Anonymous Strawberry Blond said...

"A group consisting only of women will always have split checks, they will each leave you 12%, except for the person listed in the above rule."

Generally, yes.

Just letting you know that THIS girl has her girlfriends trained. When we go out, people get tipped. Unless they're very creepy. They get standard 20% and nothing more, and that's ONLY because we're sure that no one else that night tipped him at all.

At 8:26 PM , Blogger Cora said...

Hi Waiter! Thanks for sharing this hilarious but factual post! I remember when I was still serving I would run to and fro whenever our restaurant is filled. Thankfully we have high end restaurant pagers to keep us organized. I totally agree with you with how a bunch of ladies tip compared to men. Hahaha. It truly brings back memories. Well, thanks again for sharing!


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