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, June 09, 2008

Name games

So this past week I worked a private party that was grossly overstaffed due to the fact that the group was, "a prominent name."

Not only did we make money befitting a slow Tuesday night, but the prominent name wasn't there. The customers in question shared nothing in common with the guest that was specutated upon except the last name.

That wasn't to say that they weren't good people, hell they even left us extra on top of the service charge, saving us from money befitting a slow Monday night.

Naturally we questioned the decision to run more staff on the party than necessary, and we were answered with, "they are a prominenet name and we need to give them the best service."

My question to you dear reader is...

It they weren't a prominenet name would they deserve lesser service?


At 10:00 PM , Blogger Ringo said...

This is slightly off-topic but I must give credit where credit is due. Thanks to you and WaiterRant, I am now immensely in tune to tipping waiters. I rarely go out to eat but I went out with my best friend today to celebrate my graduation and our waiter, a great guy who was a bit hurried, was hopefully taken care of. So I guess the point of this is to thank you for blogging and giving me insight into the world of waiting. It helps me make sure that everyone I come in contact to gets their proper dues too.

And on the topic of your post, in the world of Hollywood, fame, and fortune, a name of lesser prominence would definitely merit lesser service, which is quite unfortunate.

Sorry for the length of this comment!

At 11:42 PM , Blogger Khan said...

I always gave good service to people, even people that bugged me (of course, up to a point--people that shit on me found they pretty much never heard from me again).

But as far as really going extremely out of my way to do something special: I saved that for people for whom, I surmised, maybe even my reasonably priced restaurant was a kind of big night out for them. People who "can afford it" get to go out all the time and usually get treated as if they are special, even though they often aren't. But the young couple for whom $25 is a huge expenditure for a single meal, those are the people that I made sure had the best time possible. And people that work hard to make ends meet are almost universally better tippers than the rich, to boot.

And any affable skinhead I always treated like the freakin' Bishop, too.

At 6:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

where have you been? are we posting once a month now?

At 9:54 AM , Blogger Bookstore Piet said...

That never made any sense to me. Real and imagined celebrities would get extra staff, free food, and any other number of perks. And for what? They never come back and they rarely appreciate the extra effort.

It's the average diner you need to make an extra effort for. They're the ones who come back month after month and if they have a function they are more apt to bring in new people who are likely to become regulars - if you treat them well.

How many times have you had a celebrity make a reservation that caused you to stay open later? How many times have you and all your supporting cast sat there waiting for them to arrive only to find out they are not coming - 2 hours after closing. Personally, I've lost track of how many times that happened to me. Grrr.

At 3:11 AM , Blogger Lady J. said...

Bookstore Piet, the idea is, if you have one well-known, wealthy person who gets good service at your establishment, they might tell their friends, thus upping the financial class of your clientele and the profile of your establishment. It does make sense from a business owner's or manager's perspective.

It is naturally better to extend the same kind of service to your regulars, and ideal to extend it to all your customers (read The Celebrity Experience for more on this). But if you have a chance of attracting more people with money or high public visibility, it's logical to court it (for the owner, not necessarily the staff; very good managers will realize that taking better care of their staff and making them glad to work there will improve things even more).

At 1:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are these people good tippers? If not, who cares? Do you want more bad tippers who are friends of the prominent? Do you want people coming in saying, "I'm a friend of so-and-so, so you better get me a good seat even though I didn't make a reservation and you are booked solid"?

At 8:09 PM , Blogger Lady J. said...

Like I said, "for the owners, not the staff." They're paying customers used to star treatment, with money to burn. It is unfortunate that more establishments do not consider "what's best for the staff" a major part of the equation; but then, if they did, servers would be paid close to what they were worth, and tipping would be less of a hot button issue.

From compiled anecdotal evidence (since I don't have real data), I believe that those people with the well-known names tend to be either awesome tippers or horrible ones, so gaining their business is probably a mixed bag for the servers.

At 1:49 PM , Anonymous Brad said...

"From compiled anecdotal evidence (since I don't have real data), I believe that those people with the well-known names tend to be either awesome tippers or horrible ones, so gaining their business is probably a mixed bag for the servers."

That's true of the rest of the population. Some celebs also don't flaunt their money around as if it was just paper. So, does that mean that they should be treated any better still?

At 9:20 PM , Anonymous banquet manager said...

That's something that always dives me crazy. I was brought up to believe that every guest is a VIP not just the "true VIP's". We should staff properly in every case not just when the big shots are in. But upper management tries to take short-cuts when possible then expects us to overstaff when it suits them. Give me a break.
So You Want To Be a Banquet

At 3:31 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i work at a fairly well-to-do resort where this happens all the time. it is fine dining and 5 star, yet, when the big wigs come to town you are reminded to bend over just a little more and take care of them.

today i noticed how similar a situation fine dining is to communism. in theory, everyone is supposed to eat very well and receive the same excellent service, however there are also the party leaders who apparently are supposed to get 'better' service.

commie bastards.

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

Hello. First off, I really like your blog and look forward to your posts. I was in restrants for a long time. I see both sides, but I really have to agree with Lady J. She just said it a lot better than I could. Thanks again. Bob

At 8:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reply to bookstore piet:

Haha! We once had the Lt. Governor's office call in for a reservation for 8 at 10:30 (We usually close at 10, 9 if its slow). I was one of 2 (yes 2) servers kept late to work this "VIP" table. It ended up being a party of 6. That is to say, the Lt. Governor his dinner partner, and 4 security guys who weren't allowed to eat. They were on the job. The owner is giving the house away for 2 people and the state paid for the rest anyway. VIP's!!!!

At 8:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I spent the better part of the day reading your entire blog (both the "old" one, and the latest). Your posts are entertaining, and for the most part really capture the most irritating moments of dealing with the general public.

That said, I grew up in a really poor area. My parents were (comparatively) well-off and managed to pass along good manners and a deep respect for others.

Other kids I grew up with? Not so much. An example: one of my best friends grew-up in a half wide trailer in the woods, where a hot bath literally meant stoking a fire under a steel bathtub outside.

In retrospect, their entire family was a naturally a bit clueless about the finer points and traditions of "dining out". It was something they could only afford to do a few times a year. Eating out was a HUGE treat for them... and taxed their meager budget to the limit.

I'm sure that the vast majority of clueless customers are just idiots that are cheap... but I hope you'll keep in mind that there are people out there for which a night out at a restaurant represents their only "luxury" expenditure for a year.

Good people... that would like to tip well... but who make a hell of a lot less than a waiter's take. My friends, as a kid, considered a fried baloney sandwich a treat.

Sure... there are cheap people out there... arrogant people out there... and, frankly, just douchebags out there. There are also folks who are simply, and innocently, ignorant because they haven't had the privilege of eating out much.

I hope you recognize these folks and cut them a lot of slack.

At 5:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes. Unfortunately...

At 7:31 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

listen waiters are very good and also they make their effort and work hard to earn money.
so i don't have any problem with waiters and also they must be rewarded 'cause they do everything good and they work all the day they don't have time to have fun like us.
so i think that waiters are v.v.v. helpful people. let me ask when ask for the menu ,and ask for the food they want ; who'll get for them the food they wanted ?????

please i want an answer tommorrow !!!

At 12:11 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please...try being a cook.

At 3:41 AM , Blogger The Hungry Traveler said...

"A prominent name" should never guarantee you more/better service, but unfortunately we live in a world of kiss-asses and that's the way it is. I worked at a corporate casino steakhouse and because people were gambling millions, our managers kissed so much ass it was disgusting. Not to mention the fact that they would freak out every time upper-management came in (which was almost daily). I couldn't stand it and quit after 5 months.


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