10 Things My Manager Never Told Me


restaurant manager

This summer has been a tough one for this old waiter. Lots of things went down, both planned and non-planned, that required me to take a lot of days off from the restaurant I work in. Luckily, I was able to get all of my shifts covered and life at the restaurant carried on as the well-oiled machine it is. (The lubrication that keeps it so well-oiled is a mix between I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, WD-40, sweat from Jose’s doo-rag and the leftover grease from the fryer.) At one point, I was out of work for almost three weeks, thanks to a planned vacation, a funeral and the restaurant being closed for a holiday. After my absence, I walked in with empty pockets and a desire to fill them. Being the only opener, there were no other servers to say hello to, but the kitchen staff greeted me warmly and welcomed me back. Five minutes later, my manager walked upstairs from the basement and laid eyes on me. ”

Hi!” I said. “How are are you?”

He replied with his monotone voice and looked at me with his despondent eyes. “Hi.”

He then walked away from me. I wasn’t expecting a parade when I returned. I wasn’t expecting a hug. What I was expecting was some kind of human connection that would prove to me that he is capable of something other than schedules, sidework charts and grimaces. After this very difficult summer, please allow me to write ten things my manager never told me:

  1. Thank god you’re back. No one has restocked the ketchup since you’ve been gone.
  2. Sorry to hear about the death of your mother-in-law. It’s hard for me to open up and be honest with my feelings, but for this I will make an exception. I know she was a part of your life for over twenty years and it must have been hard. My condolences to you and your husband.
  3. Thank god you’re back. No one has restocked the to-go containers since you’ve been gone.
  4. Hey, didn’t you go to Colorado for vacation? How was it? Last year when I went on a cruise with my family, you were so nice to ask about my trip when I got back. I told you every boring fucking detail about it. I told you about my wife who has been in here a million times and still acts like she doesn’t know who you are even though you have worked here for over two years and I told you everything my kid did on the trip too. I bored the fucking hair off your balls but you acted like you were interested and that was really nice of you.
  5. Thank god you’re back. No one has restocked the paper towels or the napkins since you’ve been gone.
  6. I’m sorry about your dog. It was always so cute how your husband would walk down here with him every Thursday night. He was a great dog. You must be really sad.
  7. Thank god you’re back. No one has restocked the candles since you’ve been gone.
  8. Thank you for being the only one who bothers to put all the tables in a perfectly straight line. None of the other servers give a shit about perfection, but I appreciate that you OCD and do that for me. Also, thank you for working here for so long and never once calling out or being late in two years and a half years. Well, you called once to tell me you were going to be about twenty minutes late, but you actually were only five minutes late which is pretty damn good. You’re really reliable.
  9. Thank god you’re back. No one has restocked the coffee or coffee filters since you’ve been gone.
  10. I fired your favorite person while you were gone because it was clear you two were having too much fun. You were always talking and laughing. Well, I didn’t really fire her, I just did what my passive aggressive ass always does when I want to get rid of someone; I cut their shifts and ice them out so they will eventually quit on their own so I don’t look like the bad guy. She talked too much to tables and laughed too often and even though this is a casual neighborhood restaurant, I decided that I would rather have my servers be soulless and cold just like like me and just like our menu.

Don’t restaurant managers realize that we need them to be human on occasion? We are all people who work together and even though they are our boss, it does not hurt to share an emotion now and then. Not all managers are like this, but so many of them are. Maybe when they got their degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management, there was no curriculum that taught basic human connection. When a doctor becomes a doctor, isn’t their some emphasis on bedside manner? Maybe restaurant managers should focus on their “bedside manner.” Over the years, my favorite bosses were the ones who took some time to get to know what my life outside the restaurant was like. Those are the ones that I want to work harder for and help them make the restaurant a success.

What are some things that your manager has never told you?


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14 thoughts on “10 Things My Manager Never Told Me

  1. Tina

    Ha ha! I have my degree in hotel/restaurant management and I will tell you they certainly don’t teach human skills. One of my teachers was exactly like your manager. I will say though that the one thing I wish I would of heard after leaving my first and only job after 9.5 years was “Wow, We are really going to miss you”. I clocked out on my last day and that was that. I agree, I didn’t want a parade or anything but it sure would of been nice to hear a “Man, we will really miss you girl”. After 9 years of service. Good gravy. This article is hilarious. Thanks BW

  2. Sean

    I work for a Manger who does this very well. However he can fire anybody. And let me tell you some people need to go. There is a fine line between being human and a door mat

  3. Anonymous

    Well, all of us on here are glad you’re back and we are so sorry about your losses in your family. I wish you many, many pomegranate martinis.

  4. J.B.

    This hits too close to home for me. Our GM is just like this. Emotionless, could care less for his employees, and just treats us all like doormats. He even got called out last week by another server about how we don’t know him. And he doesn’t care to know us. Our last GM was just the opposite, and actually cared about all of us. You WANT to work for those types of managers and be successful because they actually give a rats ass about you. Great article, as always!

  5. Kathy

    I have a degree in Restaurant Management, (however, I made the choice to be a career server) One of the things they did teach us. “Have 10 minutes a day of meaningful interaction with all of your employees”. When I did manage, this essentially made the first couple of hours of every shift just me walking around chatting with people. Its great. Amazingly enough, if your staff likes you and thinks that you give a shit, they will do just about anything for you…come in on their day off, take shitty tables, and generally play nice with everyone. Managers who can’t do this are probably just dicks.

  6. katherine b.

    so true about the managers… our gm asks how are you every shift i work.. but probly 3 times a shift which means he completely ignored or forgot the first 3 responses.. i like to give diff ones each time to see if he notices… he doesnt

  7. Emmie

    With you about a bazillion percent. The last GM I worked for at my old job was best described by a coworker as a “sad little king on a sad little hill.” (Firefly quote and soooo appropriate.) He was a pretentious douchebag who acted like we should always be on call, and even though I never called out or was late, when I left and visited a couple months later, he told my friend who still worked there that he was avoiding talking to me. UGH.

    At my current restaurant, almost all the managers want to know us. They invest in us. I’ve worked out with them, hung out with a couple of them, and as a result, don’t want to disappoint them. Because they treat me like a person and not a revolving make-me-money-machine.

    Great post, BW.

  8. lee

    “Thanks for doing that Power Point presentation 6 months ago. I just passed it off as my own. But next time be sure to put my name on the footers instead of yours, m’kay?”

  9. Austin

    1. Your department needs to stop trying to get the trash employee fired. Just because he is putting hundreds of people’s health at risk daily and violating health code on many levels is no reason for you guys to get him written up by another manager.
    2. Thanks for stepping up and doing full-time work. You do the job of multiple people daily, and still get it done in a timely manner.
    3. I see you’ve put in a completely correct order. However, because I don’t really know how to manage, I’m going to erase half of this stuff and watch as you run out as the next order gets placed (but not delivered until three days later).
    4. I see that you don’t want to stay four more hours and close, but I really don’t care. You’re not expected to, but I really want you to anyway. It’s my job to find a replacement, but I’m going to make you do it and pretend that I have stuff to do. Then, before you let me know that you didn’t find anybody, I’m going to leave and try to make you stay. I don’t realize that there is another manager who you will most definitely will ask and that he will agree with you because he understands our policies. I also don’t realize that since this manager told you you can leave, you will.
    5. I’m going to cut your hours because the person who works your off days is not doing anything, and because of that, she leaves before you would. Not only that, but she leaves everything for you to do, and the cycle continues viciously.
    6. Yes, I understand that while you were on vacation, nobody did anything you would. Nothing got cleaned, and they all said, we’ll let him do it because we know he will. I let it happen, and that was a dick move, but you mean nothing to me.


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