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....

Friday, September 05, 2008

Retort

In my experience hosting is similar to waiting tables, anyone can do it, but not everyone can do it well.

Unfortunately the author of the comment is one of the terrible ones. Her attitude is reminiscent of the worst this business has to offer.

I'll juxtapose this to one of our hostesses, we'll call her Marie.

Marie is twenty four years old, married and has been hosting through her pregnancy. She is probably in the top five percent as far as hard workers go.

She rotates sections and keeps up with the number of covers each server has. She treats us with respect and since she earns hers by the boatload she get it back.

Marie spends her free time not text messaging or hitting on managers to get the day off, she spend it confirming reservations and setting up the dinning room.

Never would she feel she has to "punish" waitstaff by screwing them. Not because we respect her, but because it is just wrong and bad for business.

Any host that takes delight in messing with a waiter's income should be fired.

Period.

Yeah, I've tangled with a few like our guest commentator. They are the type that refuses any sort of direction and are quick to assign blame instead of avoiding problems by using very basic problem solving.

If you ask them to do something or to follow procedure a snotty "you're not my boss" or "don't tell me what to do" follows.

Poor parenting I think.

I recall recently being screamed at by a 17 year old brat because she sat a couple in my section at a dirty table. Apparently it was my fault because I didn't get to the table quick enough.

I calmly found the host manager and had the girl chewed out.

She embarassed me and embarassed the restaurant by simply not following the chart. This is why hostesses can't make their own decisions and have to be guided by someone who can.

Marie is someone who can guide.

The real problem is that with few exceptions there aren't Maries to be found, most at that age and maturity have moved on to server, where the money is.

That or they simply found that a degree in event planning or disaster relief probably pays more rent than a minimum wage job at a greasy spoon.

Both careers which require discipline, decision making skills, respect and communication.

All which are also requirements of a good host.

P.S. I graduated last semester and have several college visits with the admissions offices of noted private schools in the area.

I've decided on Human Resource Management, maybe I can find a bridge between management and staff and make a difference in the plight of the employee rather than just rattle on about it here.

And yes, I may retire from the biz in the next months, or cut down to a shift or two a week at most.

Yes, this grease stays in the blood and its hard to get out.

8 Comments:

At 2:59 PM , OpenID sweetassalt said...

I've been working full time in my chosen field since June. I still wait tables on Sunday mornings, not necessarily because I need the money, but because I've been a waitress for ten years and I have a sick fascination with being annoyed.

 
At 2:08 PM , Anonymous The Pensive Penguin said...

Amen. A good hostess is hard to find. I have to say that I couldn't have said any of what you just said any better myself.

 
At 9:51 PM , Anonymous Ass In Flats said...

Being a hostess at Ihop is a bit different than being a Hostess at, say, a 5-diamond fine dining restaurant in one of the country's top fine-dining cities. In fact, we should really come up with a different name for Front of House employees of the female persuasion in fine-dining, because it's almost insulting to be grouped into the same category as your poor ranting, underpaid, overworked commenter.

Where I work, hosts are respected, professionally at least, by the servers, and visa versa. If a hostess were to even attempt to screw with the cover count due to a grudge, her ass would be reamed out so fast she wouldn't even see it coming. Happy servers = homeostasis in the restaurant family.

Just wanted to let you know that there are intelligent, respectful, responsible, considerate, mature (shall i go on? haha) hosts, hostesses and Maitre'Ds in the world, and hopefully you will have the pleasure of working with them one day, and we, you. And as abrasive as some (not all) of your comments on hostesses may be, I hope after hearing from me you may one day have more faith in us. :)

 
At 2:04 PM , Anonymous Jim said...

Correct me if I'm wrong but I think it was Mark Twain who said, "Never get into a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel."

 
At 10:18 AM , Anonymous Servernotslave said...

I once had a hostess who would take payments from certain waiters in exchange for more tables in their section!

I always like to see new blogs. I'll add ya to mine if you reciprocate!

servernotslave.wordpress.com

 
At 2:07 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been a waiter for about 4 years now, i was a busboy/host/dishwasher/line-runner for 2 years before that. Someone taped a Readers Digest excerpt from Waiter Rant on a mirror at the restaurant i work at and i immediately went out and bought the book. I soon after traced it back to these waiter blogs. All i can say is, Oh my god I'm so glad I'm not alone! I can't believe how everything is the same in all these other restaurants! From the "ghetto lemonade" the the people bitching about auto gratuity on tables over 8, ive had those people! This has made me feel so much better about this job i hate!

 
At 12:06 PM , Anonymous Katelyn L. said...

I've been reading your blog on and off for a long time, and I have to say that I think you're burning out on the biz. It's time to jump ship.

When I first started reading, I was sympathetic to the idiocy that you faced on a daily basis. I grew up in a restaurant family, so I know it all too well. My father has owned a restaurant for the past 15 years and I worked there for 10 of them. Of course I worked at other places too - when I went off to college and such. Believe me when I say I can commiserate about the problems and annoyances you face.

I've "retired" from food service because my dad closed his restaurant, and I decided I wanted a "real life". I was tired of it. I knew I could still do the work, but I was not enjoying it anymore. Now, I'm on the other side of the table or bar, and I have to tell you that there is nothing that leaves a worse taste in your mouth than a waiter/bartender who clearly thinks he/she is too smart or too good to be working in food serice. Don't think you're doing anyone a favor by staying.

You sound miserable. Your stories aren't amusing anymore. Your brow-beating of the hostess just shows that you are now one of the cocky waiters that everyone hates working with. Everyone's job can be demanding and difficult, and if you want sympathy for your own troubles, you should be able to give it to others.

You cannot be a good server if you're too busy looking down your nose at every single table, new hire, or manager that you have to interact with. Your blog depresses me - I can only imagine how it feels for you to actually live your life.

 
At 4:09 PM , Blogger apathetic bliss said...

I have been in the industry for twenty years and fully agree with you...quality hostesses, bussers, etc are a rare breed...probably because they are not embracing their position instead they are whining that THEY should be serving and not hostessing. I agree with the comment above though that hostesses at IHOP are not the same as a hostess at a fine dining restaurant...at most fine dining establishments hostesses are mature articulate professionals and not 20 year old whiners!

 

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