Tag Archives: server

Count Your Money, Not Your Problems

Last Saturday was a crazy shift and I went to the bar afterwards with my fellow servers for a much needed drink. We bragged about our good tips, bitched about bad tables, complained about lazy coworkers, what we fucked up on… you know, normal server conversations. Servers bitch a lot. It’s a well known fact in the restaurant industry. We bitch when it’s busy, we bitch when it’s slow, we invent reasons to bitch. So believe me when I say that one of the guys in the group was bitching way too much. He went on and on about all the problems and ignorant people he had to deal with. It was too much. That’s when I realized something. We all needed to stop bitching. Work was tough but it was over, we survived. The nice thing about serving is that everyday is pay day. You go to work and leave with money to show for it. You need to take that cash out of your pocket and look at it. Count your money, not your problems. I know that’s not a profound quote but it’s a good philosophy to have as a server. And if you do have problems, throwing money at them will make them go away. 

Critically Rated at 12/17

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Whenever You Get a Chance

The next time you go out to a bar or a restaurant and it’s a bit too busy, try using the phrase whenever you get a chance rather than saying please. It’s just as polite and far less stressful for them. Your server or bartender will be far more inclined to help you if you just show a little kindness. Saying whenever you get a chance shows that you are aware that they have other customers and that you know you aren’t the center of the universe. It shows that you have sympathy for the person who is running around trying to satisfy as many people as possible. It means that you’re more likely to tip. And generally speaking, people in the service industry like customers that tip. They are more motivated to help the ones that compensate them monetarily or who treat them with some mutual respect.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Gluten-Free

I’ve been serving tables for about nine years now and I’ve noticed the increasing trend in people pretending to be gluten-free. That’s fucking bullshit. Jimmy Kimmel did a survey and he discovered that most people who claim to be gluten-free don’t even know what gluten is. It’s just hip to be gluten-free I guess. A few years ago everyone was doing the Atkins Diet because carbs were bad. Now anything associated with wheat is evil. I know approximately two people that are genuinely allergic to wheat. They’ve adapted to a world of Wheat Thins and Wonder Bread. They know what products contain wheat. They know what they can eat and what they can’t eat. All the people jumping aboard the Gluten-Free Bandwagon have no clue what they can eat or can’t eat. They only want to impress people by having picky eating habits. They just end up making servers go out of their way to accommodate them. You say you’re gluten-free? I’m going to slip you a crouton and see if you’re telling the truth. You should have an EpiPen if you’re really allergic.

Critically Rated at 2/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Server Speak

I’ve been a server for longer than I care to admit, and we have a bunch of expressions that I think are commonplace but have little meaning in the real world. I decided to list a few of them so you understand what I mean if I accidently use Server Speak around you.

  1. Cut. This is one of the best words that you can hear on a shift. Cut means that you’re not taking any more tables. It means that your shift is almost over. All you have to do is wait for your current tables to finish up, do your side work, then you can do your paid out, then you can clock out.
  2. Side Work. Side work is all the stuff you have to do when you’re not taking orders, running drinks/food, and handling payments. It’s stocking glasses, refilling the ice wells, changing the soda, emptying the dish pit. It’s all the bitch work that you don’t get tips for.
  3. Paid Out. This is called different things in different places, but it’s all the same thing. It’s when you find out your total sales, add up all your credit card and cash payments, tip out the bussers, food runners, bartenders, and find out how much money you made during that shift.
  4. Walk Out. This is the worst phrase that you want to hear. It’s when a table leaves without paying the bill. You might have to pay the bill out of pocket, you might get a write up, or you might get fired.
  5. 86. This is restaurant code for being out of something. If you run out of bread, it’s 86’ed until they make more. It’s a 68 when they bake more. You can also say 86 if someone dies or gets fired.
  6. In the Weeds or Weeded. Whenever you’re so busy and flustered that you don’t know what to do next, you’re in the weeds or weeded. It happens when one table wants a side of ranch, another table wants another round of drinks, another table needs to order but needs you to explain every item on the menu, and then you get double-sat. You don’t know what to do first, but you know that it should have been done five minutes ago.
  7. Double-Sat, Triple-Sat, Quadruple-Sat, Etc. If you get sat, that means you got one table. You’re double-sat if you get two tables at the same time. Triple-sat is when you get three tables at the same time. Quadruple sat is when you get four tables at the same time. It doesn’t seem like much to take drink orders, appetizer orders, entrée orders, but it gets complicated and stressful when people want to modify the menu, ask for separate checks, and are unsure if they want a regular Coke or a Diet Coke. Each table feels like they are the most important table and they don’t care if you’re running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
  8. Corner. Servers move at a quick pace. Everything is fast tempo. So you shout out “Corner!” whenever you walk around a corner so you don’t smack into someone and break a bunch of plates. It’s a safety thing. And you get weird looks if you accidently blurt it out at the grocery store rounding the aisle.
  9. Behind. Saying Behind!” is like saying “Corner!” It means that you’re walking right behind somebody. That way they don’t bump into you and break more plates. Nobody wants to break plates.
  10. Stiffed. Stiffed is another terrible term, up there with walk out. This is when the customer paid his bill but left you with little to no tip. All you can do is bite your lip until you can go to the break room and vent to your fellow servers about those motherfuckers.
  11. Campers. Campers are people that stay at your table for way too long. They might pay their bill and linger for another hour before leaving. They might sit in a booth for thirty minutes without ordering because they are waiting for a friend. The worst is when they only order a coffee and ask for the Wi-Fi password while busting out their iPad. They don’t seem to realize that they are taking up real estate and costing you money. It’s all about the turn and burn.
  12. Turn and Burn. Turning and burning tables is how a good server makes money. You want to greet a table and get their drink and food orders as fast as possible so that their drinks and food comes out as fast as possible so that they leaves as fast as possible so that you get a new table to make more money off of. You want to be fast and efficient without rushing your guests though. They won’t tip you if they feel like you don’t want them there.
  13. Table Snatcher. A table snatcher is a fellow server that takes a table in your section and feigns ignorance. They stole your table, they stole your tip, they stole your money. They are scum, they are low, and they are worse than any customer ever could be because you have to work with them all the time. And you feel violated because you trusted them like they are family.
  14. Family. Your coworkers are your family if you work in a restaurant. They are the people that you see 6 days a week. They see you at your best, they see you at your worst, but they love you and you love them. Not to mention the fact that you spend every practically every single weekend and major holiday together. They know your pain and they know how you feel after a double better than anyone else.
  15. Dead. Dead is almost always a bad thing to hear, but it’s a godsend to a starving server. Dead food is something that’s unsellable but otherwise unharmed. It happens when a server rings in the wrong item or forgets to modify it, when a customer changes or cancels their order, or if a cook makes the wrong thing. I’m going to notice a delicious New York Strip that’s been left neglected under the heat lamp. And if it can’t go out to a table, it might as well go into my belly.

Those are just a few words and phrases of Server Speak. I’m sure that I’ll think of more or that you guys will point out ones that I missed, so stay tuned for a potential Server Speak Sequel.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Split Checks

Want to piss off your server? Tell him that you want split checks after he drops off your bill. I realize that split checks are sometimes necessary, but you should tell the server before he starts to take your order if you know that you’re going to need split checks. That saves him time and that saves you time. It’s not your server’s responsibility to ask if you’re going to want split checks. Most customers take offense to that. It implies that they are rude, cheap, or both. If you’re sitting together, that means that you’re one party. One party gets one check. Most restaurants can split payments, and that’s a lot easier than splitting checks. You should bring cash or a card, keep track of what you ordered, and pay accordingly if you’re going to eat with a group. Give the right amount of cash to whoever is handing the bill. If you have a card, tell the server how much to run it for. Be simple and make it easy as possible for your server. Don’t be a difficult guest. And don’t forget to tip.

Critically Rated at 6/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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National Waiters and Waitresses Day

May 21st is National Waiters and Waitresses Day. It’s not as esteemed as Mother’s Day or Secretary’s Day, but it’s still a day to acknowledge the simple fact that your server is a person and deserves a little respect. How much respect? Preferably 20%. But they wouldn’t mind more. I’m a server and I love what I do. I meet people from all over the world, I work with some of the coolest and craziest motherfuckers I’ve ever met, and I don’t dread going to work. It’s fun, it’s fast paced, and every shift ends with cash in my pocket. I don’t have to wait two weeks for a paycheck because every day is pay day. I’ve grown accustomed to the server lifestyle. The industry gets in your blood. We deserve a holiday of our own, but we are willing to share. May 21st is also National Memo Day, so make a note of that.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Birthday Shout Out

So it’s your birthday. Congratulations. Let me guess, you’re going to celebrate by going out to dinner with friends and family. And one of them will slyly mention that it’s your birthday to your server in hopes that the server will do a birthday shout out and bring out a free dessert. Birthday shout outs are embarrassing. They embarrass the server, they embarrass the birthday boy, and it’s embarrassing for the human race. I’ve experienced both sides of the birthday shout out. I’m a server at a corporate restaurant and I’ve yelled out birthday announcements for thousands of people. And I’ve hated it every single time. Servers hate birthday shout outs for a lot of reasons. One, they are annoying to do. Two, it’s hard to hear what someone is ordering when the whole restaurant is yelling. Three, it opens up Pandora’s box and suddenly every fucking table is celebrating a birthday too. I don’t mind doing a birthday shout out for a kid or for somebody’s 21st birthday, but I gotta draw the line somewhere. Sorry grandma, I’m not going to sing for you.

Critically Rated at 6/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Table Snatchers

If you are a server/waiter, table snatchers should be one of your biggest pet peeves. A table snatcher is a coworker who steals one of the tables in your section. You’ll notice that you got sat, you’ll go over and greet the table, and they’ll tell you that somebody already took their order. You’ll be confused for a minute, wondering if this is really your table or if one of the managers took their order. Then you see your sleazy coworker bringing drinks out to the table, the same coworker who always tries to steal your tables. You call her out on it and she plays dumb, pretending like she didn’t know which tables were in her section. You know that she knows and she knows that you know that she knows, but she still acts like it was an innocent mistake and she offers you a shitty table in her section as compensation. Don’t take the table. It’s better to be mad. Table snatchers are dirty, rotten thieves that try to steal your customers and your tips while feigning ignorance. Fuck that, and fuck them. Don’t fuck around with my money.

Critically Rated at 3/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Tip Before You Eat

I think it’s time that we sit together as a society and rethink our tipping procedure. There are a lot of douchebags that take advantage of the current tipping procedure. They will complain about drinks and food in an attempt to get free things. They will change their order ten minutes after the server rang it in. They will rack up a three hundred dollar bill and stiff the server on the tip. The server shouldn’t have to deal with that. I think that we should tip before we eat. It makes perfect sense. Your server/bartender should know if you’re a cheap asshole before they go out of their way to help you. If you tip well, then you would get better service. If you don’t tip well, then you get the service that you deserve. You get what you pay for in a perfect world. I don’t care how nice a table is, they don’t deserve good service if they don’t tip well. I don’t care how miserable a table is, they don’t deserve bad service if they tip well. The problem is that servers don’t know who is cheap and who is a decent human being until the table settles the bill or runs away. You should tip before you eat and get the service that you deserve. If you pledge 18% to your server beforehand, he/she will be more willing to help you out. And if food comes out wrong or your server fucks up, the bill will be discounted, but the server would still make 18%. Everyone wins.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Ordering Something and Instantly Changing Your Mind

One of the best ways to piss off your server is to spend fifteen minutes to look over the menu, finally order something, wait until the server rings it in, and then flag someone down to tell them that you changed your mind. You are what is known in the industry as a “difficult guest”. I will never understand how anyone can order something and instantly change their mind. It’s perfectly acceptable if you want to change your fries for a salad, but you can’t change your order entirely. You either want a burger or you don’t. You either want fajitas or you don’t. How fucking indecisive are you? If you ordered the wrong thing, suck it up and accept your failure. There’s no need to stress out your server and undertip because you’re an idiot. Ordering something and instantly changing your mind will bring you bad karma. I can only hope that a bird shits on you when you leave the restaurant.

Critically Rated at 4/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Five-Dollar Handshake

The five-dollar handshake is a server’s worst nightmare. You’ll be waiting a table, and everything seems to be going smoothly. The table ordered drinks, appetizers, a couple of entrees, and everything came out on time and tasted great. But then everything changes when you drop the check. The head honcho at the table glances at the bill, opens his wallet, pulls out some cash and places it inside. Then he gets up from the table to hand it to you personally, asks for your name while he shakes your hand, then tells you that you did a great job and to keep the change. You thank him profusely and walk back to the kitchen. But when you go to close the check you realize that he only tipped you five bucks on a $150 check. Congratulations, you were just a victim of the five-dollar handshake. You should expect a five-dollar tip anytime a customer shakes your hand, looks you in the eyes and tells you that you did a great job. I don’t know if the practitioners of the five-dollar handshake are just cheap or ignorant, but they should be weary of getting hit by the karma bus.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Ordering a Frozen Drink and Complaining That You Can’t Taste the Alcohol

One of the biggest pet peeves for anybody in the service industry is when somebody orders a frozen drink and then complains that they can’t taste the alcohol. No shit you can’t taste it, you just ordered a fucking frozen drink. The colder the drink, the less you can taste the alcohol. Blending booze and ice and sweet mixers is going to make your cocktail taste like a smoothie. It’s a waste of liquor. That’s why most places serve margaritas on the rocks as opposed to blended. There’s no point in getting a savory tequila if you’re not going to savor it. You want to be able to taste the liquor. Sometimes it’s really hot and you feel like a piña colada or strawberry daiquiri. That’s totally acceptable; just don’t complain to the bartender if you think it’s a virgin drink. It’s not. So shut up about it.

Critically Rated at 7/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Snapping Your Fingers to Get Your Server’s Attention

Snapping your fingers to get your server’s attention is a huge no-no. It’s one of the most insulting things you can do to a fellow human being. Your server is a person, not a fucking dog. There’s no need to snap, whistle, or yell out “Garcon!” Yeah, it sucks when your food comes out and you just want a side of ranch, but your server has other tables and should be coming by to check on you when they can. Just be patient. Snapping your fingers might get their attention but it’s also a good way to announce that you’re a scumbag. If you think snapping is acceptable then you’ve obviously never been in a restaurant and probably don’t know how to tip. And your server knows that you’re a cheap asshole so there’s no incentive to work hard for a nonexistent tip. And your server will go back to the kitchen and tell everybody else about the snapping asshole at Table 25. And if your food tastes a little bit funny, there’s probably a reason for that. Bon appétit.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Waiting… (film)

Waiting… is an independent comedy written and directed by Rob McKittrick. It centers on a day in the life of a group of servers working at Shenaniganz (your stereotypical corporate restaurant like Chili’s or Applebee’s). Ryan Reynolds and Justin Long star as two servers that are stuck in a rut and working the dinner shift.

The film explores all the stereotypes of servers. Dean (Justin Long) feels trapped and doesn’t want to spend his life waiting tables. Monty (Ryan Reynolds) has accepted his fate and embraces his future with the restaurant. There’s the bitchy waitress who has been there way too long and the shy trainee. There’s the lesbian bartender and sexy young hostess. There’s the stupid manager who doesn’t know how to manage. There are the lazy bussers, horny Mexican chef, and angry white cook. You recognize all these people if you’ve ever worked in the service industry.

Waiting… could be a documentary. That’s pretty much what it’s like working at a corporate restaurant. Your coworkers are all your friends. You have fun and bullshit your way through each shift before partying with everyone after work. Except for the excessive food-dropping and genital flashing, everything is pretty accurate. It’s a funny movie no matter what, but it’s even better if you’ve ever worked in a restaurant. It should be mandatory viewing for anyone in the service industry. If you’ve seen this movie, you’ve seen my life.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Not Tipping

It takes a special kind of scum to practice not tipping. You should always tip your server 15%-20%, even if the kitchen fucked up on your burger. It’s not the server’s fault that the kitchen fucked up. The server has to tip out the bartenders, bussers, the food runner, and sometimes the hosts and expo depending on the restaurant. The server can actually lose money if you don’t tip. Don’t go to a fucking sit-down restaurant if you don’t want to tip, it’s as simple as that. Go to McDonald’s if you want to be cheap. Serving is a hard job. It’s something that everybody should try at least once so you can experience how much bullshit a server has to deal with on a shift. Some customers come in with a chip on their shoulder and run you ragged. They suck their soda down faster than you can refill it. They order water and then specify they didn’t want ice when you bring it to the table. They customize an entrée and make it a whole new dish that takes fifteen minutes to ring in and explain to the cooks. They flag you down when you’re helping another table. They’ll ask for ranch then ask for mayo when you drop off the ranch and ask for more hot sauce when you drop off the mayo. And they end their evening by leaving exact change and no tip. Miserable people like to spread their misery to other people. It’s the only thing that makes them feel alive. There’s an old adage that goes something like, “If you want to see a person’s true character, see how they treat the waiter.” Most people are decent, hardworking, polite, respectful… but holy shit, there are some fucking assholes out there. They are the ones who don’t tip and never call their mothers.

Critically Rated at 4/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Asking for a To-Go Box and Leaving It on the Table

Some people go out to eat, order too much, ask for a to-go box to take their leftovers home, and then leave their box of food on the table when they leave. Asking for a to-go box and leaving it on the table is counterproductive and wasteful. Not only are you wasting your extra food, but now you’re also wasting the to-go box and the bag that goes with it. Did you only ask for the box to test your server’s attentiveness? If you ask for a box, then you should use that fucking box. It’s common courtesy.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Self-Seaters

If you go to a restaurant that has a host stand and you don’t go to the host stand, you are a stupid piece of shit. I’ve been in the service industry for a few years, and I still get amazed at how dumb some people are. If I see you seat yourself, I’m going to make you move. I know that you’re hungry. That’s why you came into the restaurant. And I know you don’t want to wait because waiting sucks. But if you don’t know to go to the host stand, then you probably don’t know how to tip either. So fuck you and get out.

Self-seaters like to choose the dirtiest table available, and then they’ll flag down a server or busser and ask them to clean the table off. And the employee will refer them to the host stand with a fake smile. And they will lie and say that the host sat them there. And the employee will know you’re lying because they don’t have any menus and hosts don’t seat parties at dirty tables. And so they will refer the self-seaters to the host stand again, this time without a smile.

I don’t even understand how someone thinks that it’s ok to just sit down and expect service. If you go to McDonald’s and just sit down at a table, you’re never gonna get a Big Mac. Go to the host stand or go to hell.

Critically Rated at 4/17

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