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....

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Someone forgot to feed the hostess :(

From the "Comment" section:



ive been reading through your blog for a few days now, and honestly im flat INSULTED by the way you talk about hostesses.

i am a hostess. at a chain restaurant. at the bitch of ALL chains at that: ihop

believe it or not, we're not all 17 year old bimbos just doing this cuz daddy said we needed to get a job. some of us are legitimately just trying to pay the bill until we find something better. something i would say you are trying to do, except you've been a waiter for YEARS, and honestly, i never see you doing anything else with yourself.

im a 24 year old college graduate. why am i hostessing, you ask? because what i really want to do (either music promotions or disaster relief, i havent decided yet) doesnt pay. and i have rent to fucky with the hostess and see how often you get a quality table on a slow day. we can definately fuck with the pay in your pocket if you piss us off enough. you have no idea how often ive sat a section with one and two tops for an entire shift because the server was fucking with me and treating me like shit. and there wasnt fuck all they could do about it. cuz i run the show up front.

and yes, the hostess does run the show. as much as you would like to think that you, the big bad server, runs the restaurant, its simply not true. you try running the front without one for just one night and you tell me how fast the entire place falls into ruins.

oh and also, we're fucking human. treat us accordingly. talking to me like im trash will seriously fuck with your tips. oh and another thing: we're not fucking PSYCHIC either. i dont know whats going to come through the door any more than you do. sometimes double / triple seating cant be helped. the fact that ALL the tables are in yoru section and the last 4 ppl that walked in wanted tables? not my fault. dont yell at me for it.

so basically: respect the hand that feeds you.


Well I'll give this about a C-

For poor grammar, punctuation errors and weak vernacular.

Good job college girl, you just made me look like an English Grad student.

Retort to come next.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Clocks ticking

Lunch rush, almost weeded but not quite yet.

Twelve-top’s food is in, two two-tops are eating and just sat a new one, four-top is all set to order they tell me.

Unfortunately the table of four are the ladies who lunch. These are typically menopausal types living on either their husbands handsome salary, or their ex-husbands handsome alimony package.

They seem to have nothing to do but harass waiters and baristas apparently.

“I just can’t decide?” Said the last lady at the table.

“Well if you would like a minute I certainly can stop back.” I offer, more out of necessity for my other tables than her convenience.

“No no, we’re ready to order, I just need a second,” she replied.

I figured she had all the time she needed, by the time her friends had modified everything on the menu beyond recognition, she had at least two minutes extra to decide.

I started an experiment, I counted down from thirty.

When I reached five seconds, she asked me to go over the lunch features, again.
For the third time.

I counted down from thirty again, by this time I really needed to be at my new table.

“I just don’t know, what would you recommend?” She asked.

I went over my prefab “ladies who lunch” favorites and she just shook her head.

I started counting down again. By this time my new table was looking for their waiter, the tables with food required refills.

Worst of all my pager was buzzing in my pocket, that meant my large parties food was up and getting cold.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

Another thirty seconds counted off with me standing in from of her silent like an idiot.

“Oh I’ll just have what she’s having!” The lady exclaimed.

The table between their indecisiveness and ridiculous special orders just cost me five minutes away from my other customers.

How difficult is it to read a menu and tell someone when you’re really ready?

I hightailed it to my new table.

“Oh, we’ve already had a server.” He said.

Great, management sent over another waiter because I couldn’t get there, that just cost me one of my tables and a tip.

I ran past my twelve, apparently another server had dropped their food.

As I was about to grab refills for my other tables the difficult lady stopped me.

“Is it too late to change my order? I want the special.” She asked.

“I’m sorry miss, your dinner is almost done.” I said.

“But I really don’t want that now.” She replied.

“Well I can order it for you, but that means we probably have to throw away the dinner you ordered.” I said.

A look of discomfort crossed her face.

“I really want the special.” She said.

“Fair enough, I’ll tell the kitchen.”

“Hey guys, cancel table ten’s order, she wants the special.” I shouted to the kitchen,

The chef at expo groaned, “We’re to busy for this shit, I can’t resell this, it’s a special order.”

“I’m just the messenger,” I protested.

“Just be sure to tell her a kid just starved to death in Africa,” said the chef as he dumped her plate into the garbage.

Something tells me she couldn’t care.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


The Noob.

I’ve mentioned before that its hard to befriend rookie servers, because you never know how long they will last.

Could be a week, could be year.

About half seem to make it, and half of them are actually quality employees. Yet another reason behind turnover.

Today I’m going to talk about the half that don’t make it. They seem to spout off catch-phrases like, “Well at my old place we did it this way” and “I thought Zinfandel was pink.”

Its best to filter them out as soon as possible. The downside to that is I’m a trainer.

That means I get to train wave after wave of replacement servers, the faster we turn over, the more work for me.

A month or so back, I had a kid from the Cheesecake factory, chain restaurant disciples are the worst.

They’re the type that actually believe in the mantras of corporate life, they’d make good little comrades if this was a police state.

The kid observed me for all of five minutes when he started to criticize my service.

“How come you didn’t tell them your name?” The kid asked.

I gave him the usual “I prefer to be called sir” bit and he was lost.

“At Cheesecake we’re required to tell our names and ask if they’ve dined with us before.” He replied.


“So we can guide them through the menu if they haven’t been here before.” He said

“Listen, you’re not at Cheesecake anymore, you can give whatever spiel you want and as long as you talk about the features you can do it anyway you want.”

A bit later in the shift I was jockeying about four tables and I had him help me set up a fourteen top.

“So do you have to split the table or are you taking it yourself since you have me today?” Asked the kid.

“Uh, yeah I’m taking it myself, I don’t split tables.” I said.

“I think you need to split it, at Cheesecake we have to split groups like that so they get the proper experience.” He replied.

“Kid, they’ll get the service they need, and if you want an experience I’d suggest something a little more adventurous than eating lunch.”

Part of what I teach noobs is how things really work.

For instance I don't push dessert at lunch.

My job is to get people in and out as fast as possible, they have places to be, I have tables to turn.
What he couldn't understand is that although my actions benefit me, they benefit the customer.

I suppose its that selling Cheesecake to people in a mall is hardwired, but he insisted on talking desserts to all my tables.

He didn't sell a one, they asked for their checks, not a description of Panna Cotta.

As it goes, lunch continued and I dazzled him with my ability to take more than three tables.

Fast forward a week.

I catch the kid crouching down to take an order, now my spot is pretty decent, maybe not fine dining but a good restaurant nonetheless.

We don’t play that Outback suck up shit, we give real service.

“Listen kid, we don’t kneel at our tables here.” Said I.

“It’s a good way to get tips, it brings us down to their level so they don’t feel we’re standing over them.” He replied.

“Okay, this corporate bull doesn’t fly here its embarrassing, you know how I said that we do our own thing here, well make sure it isn’t out of TGI Friday’s handbook.”

“It was Cheesecake Factory.”

“Same difference, its embarrasing to the other staff and we don't debase ourselves in front of customers,” I said.

He lasted about a month

His replacement came in, nice gal with a couple notable local restaurants under her belt.

She was corking the wine on the first table I gave her no problem and she was on the floor a day early.

Was the difference that she wasn’t corporate?

Nah, we all started somewhere.

The difference was she believed in herself, not an employee handbook.