Author Archives: The Bitchy Waiter

About The Bitchy Waiter

I wait tables and bitch about it on my blog, The Bitchy Waiter.

“Only Attractive People By the Window” is Not a Thing Servers Do

I am always on the look out for articles about the restaurant industry that are clearly written by someone who has never worked in the restaurant industry. As someone who is most definitely and assuredly in the restaurant industry, I feel a sense of obligation to read these articles and make sure they are accurate. If they are, in fact, full of important information I am happy to praise it. If it’s full of a bunch of bullshit, I find great joy in ripping it apart. And now I shall rip one apart.

An article called “12 Tricks Used by Waiters That Most People Never Notice” was recently posted online and it is full of inaccuracies, the main one being that there aren’t even twelve tricks. Allow me to correct it:

“Golden Tables Rule”
They say that many restaurants only seat attractive people by the window or in the front of the restaurant to create a better impression and that reserved signs on tables of six might be there to keep just a couple from wanting to sit there. First off, no host or hostess is going to profile every customer who comes in to decide who is the most attractive so they can sit by the window. They don’t have time for that. Besides, most customers ask to sit by the window anyway, so is the host supposed to look them over real quick and decide if they are too ugly to have that golden table? Bullshit. That would never happen. And yes, we don’t want a two-top sitting at a table for six people. That’s not sneaky, it’s called doing business.

“The 5-Second Rule”
Only a trashy server or restaurant owner is going to pick up food from the ground and serve it. One second, five seconds or ten seconds, that’s not a “trick” servers use. It’s just the author’s assumption that we don’t care. (Full disclosure: I did that once to a piece of bread, but the guy was an asshole and deserved it. #Houlihans)

“The Waiter Deliberately Clears Away Your Plate”
Yeah, it’s kind of in our freaking job description to clear plates. We aren’t doing it in the hopes that the “empty table will embarrass the customer enough to make them order something else.” We do it because the plate is empty and that’s what we do with empty plates. Also, the faster we clear the table, the sooner the customer can get out and we can get another customer to make some more money from.

“How A Question is Posed Deprives You of a Choice”
Okay, this might be true because our goal is to sell you stuff, but we don’t do it to embarrass anyone. The writer thinks that all we want to do is shame our customers into ordering wine when we don’t care what they order as long as they do it quickly. If a waiter says, “would you like red or white wine?” and you don’t want wine, just say you don’t want it. It’s not that hard.

“Expensive Dishes Are Named Last”
So now they are saying that the French invented this little trick of rattling off a list of wines and naming the most expensive one last hoping that the customer will simply order the last one they heard. I have never done that. If a customer is unsure of what they want and just order the last thing they heard, that customer needs to develop a sense of confidence and the ability to read a menu so that can make an educated decision.

“Tricks in the Menu”
I don’t even know what the hell they are talking about here: “the prices may be per 100g of food, but the actual dish will contain more than 100g.” Umm, what? Does anyone have a menu that prices food by the gram? Is that a thing? And the free snacks at the bar that might make customers more thirsty so they’ll order more to drink is just another example of good business. If they really want to give folks an educational tool, tell them to not eat that shit. The germs in those bowls of nuts are pretty horrific.

“A Little About the Music”
Okay, this one is fucking stupid: “the louder the music, the greater the chances you’ll start to move subconsciously to its rhythm and eat faster” so that’s why we won’t turn it down. No, no, no. If I have Katy Perry blaring in the background, it’s for two reasons; I like the song and I want to drown out my customers’ incessant whining. I am not expecting you to chew your quesadilla to the beat of “I Kissed a Girl.”

They end the article with some tricks that we supposedly use regarding cocktails and beer:

  • The bar’s signature cocktail offered to drunk customers will often turn out to be a very-well shaken mixture of what’s left in a few bottles. Why the fuck would we do that? If there is just a little bit of a liquor in a bottle, all we do is use it until we open a new one. And why would we try to serve that to drunk people? That’s a good way to lose a liquor license.
  • Old beer is shaken up in a blender to give it more foam. Never in a million years have I ever seen this or heard of it.
  • If the barman can’t seem to light a “B-52” cocktail, it’s probably because he used vodka instead of the real ingredients. First off, where does one order a flaming B-52? Second off, fuck off.
  • Rose wine is often produced by simply mixing white and red. Where the hell does this person eat because if these things are happening, it’s a shitty restaurant. If someone orders rose and we don’t have it, we don’t go create it. We just ask the customer to look at the menu and choose something we have. Why would we do that? (full disclosure: I made “white zinfandel” once by adding a splash of cabernet to a chardonnay. They loved it.)

Please go to this article and tell them how truly misleading and irresponsible it is.

Did Kendall Jenner Just Stiff a Bartender? (Who Cares?)

Kendall Jenner, that 21-year-old who is famous for being the sister of someone else who has no reason to be famous, was in the news this week for supposedly stiffing a bartender in Brooklyn. It seems that Kendall was being super cool and hip at a Williamsburg Brooklyn bar called Baby’s All Right. Her bill was $24 and the bar posted a photo on their Instagram of the receipt that showed she left no tip. The caption: Don’t forget to tip your bartender.

Of course the photo went viral because everyone is always looking for another reason to hate on a Kardashian even though this one is a Jenner. Not like it matters. All of those girls are cut from the same cloth and it’s a fabric found in the discount bin at Mood. Kim, Khloe, Kourtey, Kendall, Kylie, Kale, Klennex…whatever. So Kendall stiffed someone and it went viral which is kinda how her sister got famous in the first place, right? People were pissed off because she’s supposedly worth about $36 million, but she couldn’t be bothered to write in a 20% tip for a couple of drinks?

Well, eventually the post on the bar’s Instagram was deleted leading people to believe that maybe she did tip. And then Kendall herself used her hands for something other than putting on lipstick and Tweeted out a response:

So now here we are: did she tip or did she not tip? She was in the news a couple of years ago for supposedly throwing money at a waitress’s face so we know she might not be the best customer to have sit in our section. On the other hand, she literally has money falling out of her bleached asshole so why wouldn’t she tip on a $24 check? Then again, does someone like her even bother carrying five dollar bills that would cover a tip for that amount?

I suppose all we can do at this point is assume that Kendall is telling the truth and she left a tip for that hardworking bartender in Brooklyn. As for the bar itself, if she did leave a tip, shame on you for trying to make it look like she didn’t. And she didn’t leave a tip, shame on her for not doing the right thing.

And shame on me for writing an article about Kendall fucking Jenner.

Today’s Stupid 1-Star Review

Well, another day, another 1-star review on Facebook that needs to be discussed.

Enter Sarah, who went to dine at Skipper’s Greek Cafe last month. Keep in mind that Sarah came into to the restaurant wearing the same shoes she was born with: none. It seems that the owner of the restaurant did not want to see Sarah’s little piggies, none of which needed to go to the market, but some of which needed to get a pedicure, and refused to serve her.

“Discrimination!” cried Sarah.

Umm, no Sarah, it isn’t. While it may not be a federal law that people have to wear shoes in a restaurant, it is up to the owner’s discretion what type of rules are to be enforced. If an owner doesn’t want to serve people who need an extra seat for their toe jam, he can certainly refuse service. That’s not discrimination. Discrimination would be if he allowed every one else to come into his restaurant with barefoot and then singled you out and did not let you come in.

“But what about him?” Sarah asked, pointing to a man in thick-soled-flip-flops. “Would you classify him as wearing shoes??” she wanted to know.

Umm, yes. Those are shoes. When you go to buy flip-flops or any other kind of sandal, you are going to find them in the shoe section, meaning they are shoes. You had nothing on your feet. He did: shoes.

“You know there’s no federal law about or health department requirement for people to wear shoes, right?” shrieked Sarah.

It doesn’t matter. His restaurant, his rules. Follow them or get out. Which is exactly what happened. Sarah left, but not before letting the owner know that she would not be back, to which the restaurant owner probably shrugged his shoulders so hard that his earlobes were introduced to his clavicle.

Sarah has plans to reach out to a group that “represents barefooted patrons” and she expects that Skipper’s will soon be hearing from them. Imagine how worried the owner must feel knowing that this phone call is in his future:

 

Sarah, I’m glad you and your fellow tralierlicious, barefooted bestie were able to be accommodated across the street at the national chain restaurant, but I don’t believe you. You really expect us to think that Applebee’s or Chili’s welcomed you and your dirty feet into their establishment? No, I don’t think so. Good try though.

You can be barefoot wherever you want. However, if a place of business has a rule that keeps them from having to look at your Bilbo Baggins bare feet, then you either have to cover them up or go elsewhere. You don’t need to leave a 1-star review because they are enforcing their own rules. Now put some damn shoes on and delete this review.

 

If You Won’t Work For Free, Then Why Should I?

This article is based on Federal Law – the law in your specific state may change the outcome or issues discussed.

A SERVER’S DUTIES BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER WORK

Warning, you may be working for free! It may seem absurd to think that an employer can get you to work for free, but free labor has in fact become a common problem in the service industry – specifically in the restaurant industry. How? In simple terms, free labor may result from those extra duties/tasks that an employer requires a tipped employee to perform before, during, or after their shift without proper compensation.

The service industry revolves around a culture that is primarily focused on an employer’s economic gain without regard to an employee’s economic loss. As a result, tipped employees continue to perform an excessive amount of “side work” without compensation and/ or continue to perform other non-tipped work for the paltry rate of $2.13 an hour rather than full minimum wage. Therefore, it is important to understand how performing excessive “side work”, and other non-tipped duties unrelated to your occupation as a tipped employee can affect your wages and the tip credit.

Let’s begin by introducing the famous concept of “side work” also known as doing annoying tasks, such as roll ups. While it may seem like “side work” is only a minor part of the workday, it actually has a significant impact on your wages and your employer’s liability for unpaid wages under the minimum wage and overtime laws.

As you may know, it is very common for tipped employees to perform “side work” and other tasks not related to their tip occupation. A few examples of side work duties that many servers have been required to perform before, during, or after their shift, include roll ups (i.e. rolling up silverware in sometimes not so easy shapes like an oyster fold), re-setting tables, refiling salt and pepper shakers, lighting or extinguishing tea candles (i.e. the teeny tiny stubborn candles), refilling ice, and restocking any empty product located within the restaurant. Oh did I mention, that cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning is also part of those side work duties. And yes, cleaning duties do include bathrooms, kitchen messes, and other messes that may or may not involve very strange or unknown fluids. However, the main issue with performing “side work”, and other non-tipped work is not necessarily the actual task you are performing, but rather the amount of time spent performing that task and the amount you are getting paid to perform that task.

The most frequent issue that arises is as follows: if a “tipped employee” is performing two jobs, one job that customarily and regularly produces tips and one that does not, that tipped employee is considered to be employed in dual occupations “dual jobs”, and a tip credit may not be taken for any hours that employee spent in the non-tip producing job.

For example, an employee who works as both a waiter and a maintenance worker at a hotel is considered to be employed in a dual job, and would only be considered a tipped employee with respect to his or her employment as a waiter. In this case, the employer would need to pay the employee full minimum wage (i.e. under federal law $7.25 per hour) for the hours that employee worked as a maintenance worker, even though a tip credit may be used to for the hours that employee spent as a waiter.

To further complicate the issue, the DOL distinguishes between a tipped employee engaged in a “dual job” and a tipped employee engaged in a “single” tipped occupation who spends time on non-tipped duties, such as “side work”.

For example, a waiter or waitresses is considered a tipped employee, but may spend part of their time performing “side work”, such as cleaning and setting tables, toasting bread, making coffee and occasionally washing dishes. In this situation, the employer would be permitted to apply a tip credit towards the time for which a tipped employee spent performing “side work” (i.e. duties related to a tipped occupation), even though such duties are not by themselves tip producing. As a result, tipped employees may perform occasional non-tipped tasks incidental to their tip position, and a tip credit may be taken for the time a tipped employee spent performing “side work”. However, if an employee is required to work a sizeable portion on the clock performing “side work” or other non-tipped tasks, the employer may not be able to take a tip credit for that time spent on “side work” or other non-tipped tasks.

The next logical question is how much side-work is too much? You are probably thinking “any” side work is too much side work and I would agree with you. However, the DOL says that a tipped employee may spend up to 20% of the hours worked per week on “side work” (i.e. related duties that are incidental to the regular duties of a tipped employee and generally assigned to a tipped employee), and the employer may still take a tip credit. In other words, as long as a tipped employee spends no more than 20% of his or her workday doing non-tipped work related to his or her tipped work, a tip credit may be taken, thus the employer does not have to pay full minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for the time a tipped employee spent performing “side work”.

  1. In sum, the applicable statutes and regulations outline distinct categories of duties regarding tipped employees, which have been interpreted by courts to include:
    Tip producing work, which a tip credit maybe used and the tipped employee maybe compensated at the “tip rate” of $2.13 per hour for the time spent on the tip producing work;
  2. Non-tip producing work incidental/related to tip producing duties (i.e. “side work), which is subject to the 20% rule and the tipped employee maybe compensated at the “tip rate” of $2.13 per hour for the time spent on performing “side work”, unless the amount of “side work” exceeds 20% or is unrelated;
  3. Non-tip producing work unrelated to tip producing duties, which a tip credit cannot be used and the tipped employee is entitled to full minimum wage for the time spent on the non-tip work unrelated to tip producing duties

Article By:

Drew N. Herrmann
Herrmann Law, PLLC
Fort Worth, Texas
Phone: 817-479-9229
www.paycheckcollector.com

*Drew N. Herrmann is a labor and employment lawyer licensed to practice in Texas. Mr. Herrmann’s labor and employment law practice is devoted to representing aggrieved employees in workplace disputes. If you have any questions or want to consult with Mr. Herrmann, he can be reached by calling 817-479-9229, or emailing drew@herrmannlaw.com or check out his website www.paycheckcollector.com

This article is not legal advice. The information contained in this article is informational and you should not rely on it instead of legal advice specific to your situation. Drew N. Herrmann is licensed to practice law in Texas. The law in your state may be different than what is discussed in this article. Further, the law in your state may change the analysis or outcome of the issues described in this article.

The information on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any information submitted through the website does not create an attorney-client relationship with Herrmann Law, PLLC. Further, Herrmann Law, PLLC does not guarantee the accuracy of any article published on this website.

Someone at TGI Fridays Screwed Up

When one goes to TGI Fridays, they have certain expectations: a fun lively atmosphere, a bar surrounded with TV’s so you can watch your favorite sports team, and farm to table fresh food! Well, maybe not that last part. I mean, Loaded Potato Skins doesn’t exactly imply that it was locally sourced. When you go to Fridays, you pretty much know what you are going to get, but I don’t think anyone expects their broccoli to be served in the plastic bag that it was microwaved in

Sadly, that’s what happened to Facebook user Kyle this week and, lucky for us, he posted a photo of it on the the TGI Fridays Facebook page. At first, I thought that maybe it was a delivery which would maybe lessen the severity of the mistake, but the picture clearly shows a couple of menus meaning it happened in the restaurant. How many people had to totally not give a shit in order for this to happen?

First off, the line cook whose job is to “steam” the broccoli did what he probably does hundreds of times per week, which is to pop a serving of veg into the microwave and hit a button. But then did the line cook forget to take it out of the bag? Or was it someone else’s job to dump the broccoli onto a plate?

Secondly, I’m sure there was an expo person who was monitoring the line and making sure tickets were being cooked and sent out. I’ve worked at some corporate restaurants and there is always an expo person. Did that person see a big steaming bag of broccoli sitting on the line and think “meh, whatever” and call for a food runner?

Thirdly, the food runner or server picked up that plastic bag and then carried it to the table to serve to Kyle. You would think they would question why that broccoli was in a bag. Maybe the customer wanted it to go or maybe there was some other reason that someone decided to leave the broccoli in a bag. But, no. That person also shrugged their shoulders and served the food with a side of who gives a fuck.

This leaves us where we are now: Kyle posting a photo of it on Facebook letting the world see how truly un-farm to table the broccoli is at TGI Fridays. Of course the TGI Fridays team replied asking for more details about the situation which pretty much means that Kyle has a gift card on the way.

To the folks who work at that particular TGI Fridays I say this: try harder. Do better. You are not required to care about your job, but you are expected to at least look like you care. Serving a customer the vegetables in the very same bag that it was microwaved in is a pretty good indication that you aren’t trying. At all. Like, seriously, did you even look at what was on the serving tray? However, I must thank you for your carelessness because when I woke up today I didn’t know what I was going to blog about but then this gift of Broccoli in a Bag showed up at my doorstep. Good job.

 

EDIT: So, the picture did not come from Kyle and it was originally shared in a closed Facebook group. Kyle all be trying to steal focus and shit. Ah, well. Nobody ever said I was a crackerjack reporter… Here is what the original poster had to say about the experience:

Hey guys! I actually posted this in a private server group! It is soooo not fake! I’ve been a server/bartender for 3 years. I’ve expo’d and cooked too. I dined at a typical Fridays around 3pm. When I got there there were NO tables in the restaurant, one server one bartender. It was just my boyfriend and I. I ordered an order of ribs sub broccoli and my boyfriend ordered a pasta. My ribs came out no broccoli, not my bf’s food. He told us my bf’s food is coming up and I remind my server we didn’t have silverware and I’m missing my broccoli. He comes back and drops the broccoli off like this and runs off to his other tables. (Two more had just walked in) still no silverware still no pasta. I can’t stop laughing at my bagged broccoli. Long story short, manager comes by and doesn’t say anything about the broccoli but has a twisted look on his face 😂😂😂 I knew what was going on bc I’ve been through it. I didn’t complain. Just ate my broccoli and ribs, boyfriend exchanged his pasta for something else. We paid, tipped and left 🤷🏽‍♀️ simple as that!

Woman Hits Waiter With Car to Avoid Check

Jenobia Jones. She will run your ass over if you try to make her pay the check.

Public Service Announcement:

If someone walks out on one of your checks, do NOT go chase after them and stand in front of their car as they drive away because some crazy people will drive right over your ass if it means they don’t have to pay for their Firecracker Shrimp Cavatappi, Honey-Chipotle Crispers & Waffles or Taste of freakin’ Italy.

Last month in St. Louis, a woman did just that. 18-year-old Jenobia Jones skipped out on her meal with two friends and when she saw her waiter standing in front of her car she had to make a quick decision. After looking at her empty as fuck pocketbook, she thought it would be best to hit the accelerator and run over the guy. The waiter ended up on the hood of the car and Jenobia finally came to her senses and stopped, allowing the waiter to remove himself from the less than ideal situation. The driver was charged with a felony count of second degree assault. It is not known if the waiter suffered any injuries, but I mean, he was hit by a fucking car, so I would venture to guess that he didn’t feel so great afterwards.

Listen, servers. If a customer tries to leave without paying their check, do not put yourself at risk. Legally, the restaurant cannot make you pay for a walk-out. I know, I know, they will find another reason to write you up or fire you, but technically it cannot be for a customer not paying the check. Besides, do you want to risk getting your uniform dirty by getting caught under the wheels of some cheap bitch as she is driving out of the parking lit? It’s not worth it.

And if you see Jenobia Jones come into your restaurant, pay extra close attention to her. And by all means, don’t stand in front of her car.