Finally, A Restaurant I Want to Work In!

I have been in the food and beverage industry pretty consistently since 1985 when I got my first job as a dishwasher at Sirloin Stockade in Victoria, Texas. Since then, I have always had at least one foot in the restaurant industry. Full time to part-time, I have never been far from an apron. For the last year, I have been working with a business partner to help me navigate my next adventure. Against my better judgement, I have decided to take the leap from a bitchy waiter to a bitchy restaurant owner.

It’s crazy and huge and exciting and scary because here in New York, I think the success rate for new restaurants is like1% or something. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a restaurant open and close within a year, so there is no guarantee that I won’t be like almost every other restaurant and end up broke, rejected and bitter. Then again, that’s pretty much where I am now, so whatever, right?

A lot of people assume that I will open a restaurant called “Bitchy Waiters” and staff the place with servers who are smart asses to the customers, but let’s be honest: only tourists want to go to a place like that and it’s a novelty that will wear off quickly. In the real world, diners want good service and good food which is why I have teamed up with an amazing chef who has trained with Anne Burrell from Food Network. Her name is Mildred Pierce and she is awesome. She will handle the food and the back of house while I will handle the bar and the front of house. (Don’t worry, I get some input on the food which is why there will be deep-fried-panko-crusted mac and cheese balls served with a sour cream dipping sauce.) Mildred and I both agree that the restaurant will be a very casual place to eat and to work in because that is the style that suits us both.

That being said, I have decided on a name for the restaurant which I will tell you at the end of this blog post. BW’s is too much like Buffalo Wild Wings and just having the word “bitchy” in it won’t be good for business. I hate to admit that, but it’s true. Coming up with a name was the hardest thing because it had to be something easy to remember but something I could get the URL for my website, but when I came up with the name, I knew it was right. It gave me chills and you are going to love it!

I have also come up with a few rules for the restaurant:

  • We will always stand up for our staff because we know they are the most important thing in any business. If you have a happy and supported staff, everything else will fall into place and you will end up with happy customers too.
  • The shift meals will be delicious and not leftover crap that is about to go bad that gets sautéed and covered in a sauce.
  • Every shift will end with one shift drink.
  • No pooling of tips.
  • I don’t care if you have tattoos or piercings or pink hair as long as you know how to treat a customer right.
  • Two weeks paid vacation for anyone who has worked there for a year. The pay will be the state minimum wage. Not a lot of money, but better than nothing, right?
  • Sick days! And I will personally cover shifts if I have to do, because serving is never going to leave me. And any tips I make that night will go into a pot that will be divided amongst whoever is working the floor that night. Owners do not get tips!

We don’t have an opening date yet, but I hope to be open for business by August or September. If you are ever in Queens and want to visit, I hope you will! I will let you all know when I start hiring because I think it would be awesome to hire some of you who have been supporting me for so many years. Click here to submit for an early application.

And now, without further ado, you can click this link to see what the name of my new restaurant is!

Dear Abby Doesn’t Know What She’s Talking About

Abigail Van Buren, better known as Dear Abby, has been dispensing advice for many years. One of her first queries came from the wife of a California gold prospector in 1849 who wanted to know how to handle the intense jealously she was feeling when her husband fondled gold bars more than her. Abby told the woman to add some extra baking soda to her cornbread the next time she made dinner and that would remind her husband how lucky he was to have such a fine pioneer wife. Yeah, Dear Abby has been giving shitty advice for over 150 years and she is still going strong. This week, someone wrote the following letter to Abby wanting to know her esteemed opinion:

DEAR ABBY: My cousin’s son is 4 and a picky eater. We love to try new restaurants and cuisines. When we go out to eat, she sometimes brings along a PB&J for her child. Is this acceptable? I always feel a little awkward about it, but then I think the restaurant would rather have us come with something he can eat rather than go to a different restaurant. In her defense, she does have him try the restaurant’s food before she produces the sandwich. — AWKWARD DINER

DEAR AWKWARD DINER: I think it’s perfectly acceptable. Look at it this way: Which is preferable — a child with his mouth full of a PB&J sandwich he’s enjoying, or one who’s loudly complaining that the food is awful and he doesn’t want to eat it?

Hey, Abby: you’re wrong! It is not perfectly acceptable, it’s rude. If the 4-year-old doesn’t like anything on the menu, but the parents of the child are craving something at a particular restaurant, then the parents needs to do one of seven things:

  1. Allow the child come into the restaurant and if it chooses to not order off the menu, let it sit there and be miserable and hungry throughout the course of the meal.
  2. Leave the child in the car to eat the peanut butter and jelly sandwich that was brought from home.
  3. Force feed the child to eat something off the menu. Intravenous feeding tubes are always available at the hostess stand.
  4. Give the kid some money and a curfew, call an Uber and tell it to go eat wherever it wants to and meet at home later.
  5. Hire a hypnotist to convince the finicky eater that the grilled salmon is actually a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. While the hypnotist is there, also hypnotize every customer in the restaurant to tip their servers 50%.
  6. Offer the peanut butter and jelly sandwich but tell the child if they choose to eat it that Santa Claus will put them on the naughty list permanently and then watch them struggle with the moral decision as you record it for a Facebook video that will go viral.
  7. Tell the kid this: I’m ordering you something and you’re gonna fucking eat it.

As you can tell, there are many options for this problem and it’s really very simple. You see, restaurants are in the habit of making and selling food to customers. We are not in the habit of loaning out clean plates free of charge so that people can take up valuable space without contributing any revenue to the business. If that Mom of the 4-year-old always has her child try the restaurant food before producing the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, then all they are doing is teaching that kid to refuse certain foods until mom reaches into her purse to pull out something the kids already knows he likes. When will that end? Is this kid going to be 16 years old and still looking at Mommy to whip out a sandwich every time the menu isn’t to their liking?

Abby Girl, please. You have never worked in a restaurant and you don’t know what you’re talking about. Let me handle the restaurant advice from now and you can keep on giving advice on the perfect hostess gift (vodka) and how to keep romance alive in a relationship (also vodka).

 

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Applebee’s Customer Upset By Nose Ring On Waitress

Very often, Applebee’s is my target of ire and today, although the subject is again Applebee’s, the target is a customer and not the restaurant itself. Last week, an elderly couple went to Applebee’s for lunch but their appetites dropped lower than a 68-year-old breast when they saw their waitress was wearing a nose ring. Of course the wife had to write a letter to management about this disgusting scene.

She describes themselves as elderly in their “late 60’s” and “early 80’s,” which means that one of them is a cradle robber. I’m guessing it’s the husband who is 80-something since the complaint was typed on a computer and used two different colors for the font; clearly the work of a spring chicken in their sixties. The senior citizens almost went into cardiac arrest when they saw the nose ring, but also wanted it known that they are equally disturbed by tongue rings and tattoos. So disturbed in fact, that they may consider eating at a different restaurant or even asking for a different waitress next time.

“Excuse me, manager? I’m 83 years old. Can I have a waitress who is as pure as the driven snow? I would also prefer she only wears clip-on earrings and that she has never colored her hair. In fact, I want a waitress who has never even cut her hair. And she must be a virgin. Actually, can I just have an Amish waitress? Oh, a Nashville Chicken Sandwich, thanks.”

While the senior citizen does admit that people should have the right to do what they want to do, she also feels that things like nose rings should only be worn on a person’s own time so as not to subject others to having to look at them. Listen, Myrtle Mae, if you and your Sugar Daddy of a husband are going to start requesting to only have to look at things that please you, then maybe I have a few requests for you. I don’t find it that appetizing when I have to look at an 83 year old man trying to choke down a Chicken Fajita Rollup as his denture cream repeatedly fails, so I request that you eat at home. I also don’t find it appetizing to see an older woman wearing so much makeup that her foundation is stuck in the deep folds of her jowls and her eyeliner looks like it was drawn on by a chimpanzee with the alcohol shakes, so I again request that you stay at home. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine if your husband wants to gum a Fajita Chicken Rollup and it’s fine if you choose to look like the last clown climbing out of the trunk of a clown car, but I just don’t wanna see it.

Now, how did that feel to hear that something you like is unappetizing to someone else? Did it hurt your feelings? Did it seem unfair? Exactly. This waitress can wear a nose ring. She can wear a nipple ring, clit ring, nipple clamp, clit clamp or anything else she wants to wear as long as her employer approves and it doesn’t affect how she does her job. You and your husband need to wake up and smell the 21st century. There are bigger Hand Battered Fish & Chips to fry than complaining about the nose ring on an Applebee’s waitress. Chill the fuck out and live your life. Let your husband pop another Cialis and try to stick his Brew Pub Pretzel into your Fire Roasted Chicken Salad Wrap until he releases a load of Beer Cheese Dip into your BBQ Brisket Taco. In other words: get laid and get over it.

Thoughts and Prayers for Rhonda

There are any number of reasons that one might find themselves dining at an Olive Garden. Perhaps there is an anniversary celebration that warrants a Tour of Italy or maybe it’s prom season and someone wants to take their date to the classiest place in town or it could be that you got a flat tire and your cell phone is dead and you had to choose between Olive Garden and a gas station to use the pay phone. Whatever the case may be, most people go to Olive Garden to be wowed with supreme customer service and to enjoy food made from scratch just like Mama Zeppoli used to make in the old country. In the case of Rhonda, she was there to raise a glass of house red in honor of her daughter’s birthday. However, things took a turn for the worse and it’s all the fault of the server, Tiffany.

Rhonda didn’t go into many details when she posted on the Olive Garden Facebook page. All we know is that the dinner was awful and so was Tiffany. After spending $50 on food and drinks, Rhonda left with a pit in her stomach and unlike most people who leave Olive Garden with a pit in their stomach, the pit did not come from the food. The cause was the extreme disappointment she felt. I sympathize with Rhonda and the fact that the birthday dinner was awful. (She uses that word three times in her complaint. Damn, Rhonda, get a thesaurus; appalling, deplorable, atrocious, horrendous, unpleasant, ghastly, dire and depressing are all words you can use to describe a visit to Olive Garden. Mix it up, girl.) Rhonda spoke to some of the other employees and learned that Tiffany was having a bad night because her boyfriend had just broken up with her.

It all makes sense now: Tiffany was being a human being and letting her emotions affect her. How dare she! Doesn’t she know that servers are one step above robots and that she should never let her personal life affect how she performs her job? Tiffany, get your shit together, put on some fucking lipstick and go get Rhonda her goddamn Five Cheese Ziti al Forno! Nevermind that the love of your life, your soulmate, your one true connection, is no longer a part of your life and he broke up with you ten minutes before you put your apron on. Rhonda’s daughter is trying to celebrate a birthday and she needs some Black Tie Mousse Cake and she needs it now! And don’t forget to put a candle in it and get everyone to sing to her. And the only tears I want to see leaking out of your eyes, Tiffany, are tears of joy, because there is nothing as fucking joyful as watching three generations of women stuff their faces with cheese and carbs at the Olive Garden. Yes, your boyfriend broke up with you, but when you are at work, you need to push those feelings down deep. How deep? Well, imagine an aggressive top taking out all of his frustration on a hungry, hungry power bottom and then go twice as deep as that guy. Those feelings need to be compartmentalized and buried so deep within you that it would take a skilled surgeon several hours to extract them. Got it, Tiffany? Good.

As for you, Rhonda, I would like to apologize on Tiffany’s behalf. She obviously hasn’t learned yet that we servers are here to do your bidding and if we are having a bad day, customers don’t need to know that. I’m sure that when you are at work and struggling with emotions from your personal life, you never let it affect your work performance. And I’m also sure that if it did, you would be perfectly fine with someone complaining about your level of performance. After all, we are just waiters and waitresses and we should never let a silly little thing like emotions slip past that fake ass smile we plaster on our faces. Happy birthday to your daughter. Maybe next year you should celebrate at home where you can control every aspect of your surroundings and not let a little thing like the humanity of another human being affect her special fucking day.

p.s. Tiffany, I hope everything works out for you. You deserve more.

Mom Overreacts At Olive Garden… (yawn)

A mom went to Olive Garden this week and had a less than wonderful time which ended with her toddler being covered in a strawberry daiquiri. Obviously, the mom and I have differing opinions about what constitutes a good time, because if my night ended up with me being covered head to toe in strawberry daiquiri or any other kind of alcoholic beverage, I would consider that a very successful evening. Nevertheless, it happened and Ashley was upset enough about it to go to the Olive Garden Facebook page and complain/hope for a gift card so she can go back again.

Her gripe is that it was the server’s fault because the drink was placed in front of the child which resulted in the baby bukkake strawberry daiquiri disaster. While none of us were there, we can only assume that Ashley is telling the god’s honest truth and that the server practically handed the cocktail to the toddler. Nevermind that far too often, we servers have no place to put a drink down because the table is covered with cell phones, iPads, diaper bags and coloring books. Or maybe it was one of those issues where there is a high chair at the end of a booth making it near impossible for us to reach the table top at all. The only thing we can be sure of is that Ashley wasn’t paying attention and her baby done spilled a cocktail on itself.

Ashley went looking for a manager to ask for a new server, because it’s totally, 100%, all the server’s fault, right? Pouring salt into her wound, she was dismayed to learn that the restaurant would do absolutely nothing for Ashley except give her husband a new strawberry daiquiri. Wait, what? What else was she expecting? A formal apology that her baby hasn’t developed the necessary motor skills required to properly handle a cocktail? Did she want them to buy her baby a new onesie since this one was undoubtedly ruined? Did she require a promise from Olive Garden to pay for the dry cleaning bill? Did she want the server to return to the scene of the crime and gently swab the baby with dampened bev naps in order to remove every drop of sticky sweet simple syrup and strawberry puree from the poor child?

Look, Ashley. Mistakes happen and whether or not the server placed the drink too close to your child’s grabby little hands, it certainly wasn’t intentional. And as a parent, you have to bear some responsibility for the accident since you are the one who should be watching your precious little angel every second to ensure he or she doesn’t grab a steak knife, eat some salt, stand in a high chair or knock over a strawberry fucking daiquiri. It’s a shared responsibility and by no means the fault of Olive Garden. Your baby survived, right? Why not just chalk it up to that time you went to Olive Garden as a family and something funny happened and you can laugh about it for the rest of your lives? 19 years from now when your child is puking its guts out into a toilet because of too many White Russians and tequila shots, you can lean down to your child and hold their hair back as they release it all. And somewhere between them puking out Kahlua colored vomit and dry heaving, you can say, “Awww, sweetie. It’ll be okay. Hey, it all started when you tried to drink Daddy’s strawberry daiquiri at Olive Garden when you were a baby.” And the two of you will laugh and laugh.

Or you can just get upset about it and never go back to Olive Garden. Your call, Ashley.

p.s. Your husband drinks strawberry daiquiris at Olive Garden?

Lazy Husband Puts Literally No Effort Into Wife’s Birthday

News alert: everyone in the world has a birthday. In fact, the US Census Bureau reports that there are 361,481 babies born each day around the world which means that there are 251 babies born worldwide every minute. In the time it takes for you to read this blog post, there will be over 500 more babies born and a good percentage of those babies will eventually turn up in your restaurant and want something for free. Having a birthday is literally no big deal and it is not the responsibility of the restaurant to make sure your day is special. Well, someone didn’t get the memo.

A husband last week made a dinner reservation for his wife’s birthday and it appears that he wanted the restaurant to make the day special for her while he did absolutely nothing except type in some special requests:

A quiet are/table for privacy for my wife, Qiaoer, celebrating her birthday. Some flowers. Calla lilies are her favorites, roses work too, if available. A nice card. A small cake after dinner with “Happy Birthday.”

Really, dude? Are you planning on doing anything for your wife or are you just going to depend on total strangers at a restaurant to come through for you? It’s one thing to mention that it’s your wife’s birthday, but c’mon! What fucking restaurant has a bunch of calla lilies laying around for a customer’s birthday? And it’s so nice of you to let them know that “roses work too,” because we all know that if a restaurant is out of calla lilies, they will 100% totally for sure have roses. They keep them in the walk-in right next to the tulips, peonies, birds of paradise, daffodils and the corned beef that will be the special next Saturday for St. Patrick’s Day. And a nice card? This isn’t the fucking Hallmark store, sir, it’s a restaurant. And who is supposed to sign it, the staff? I can see it now:

“Happy birthday, Qiaoer! Thank you for dining with us on your special day. Hey, did you know your name sounds like quinoa? LOL. Love, Brittney the Hostess”

And you also want a small cake? Not a slice of cake, mind you, but a small cake. I’m sure the pastry chef/dessert line cook is going to whip up a little mini cake for you and your wife using a specially purchased cake pan that is just big enough to make a “small cake” for all those assholes who can’t be bothered to stop at a bakery to actually buy a birthday cake for his wife. And that cook is surely going to filly a pastry bag with icing and pipe the words “happy birthday” onto it since your wife’s being born is the most important thing to happen since the other 250 people were born in the last 60 seconds.

People have every right and expectation to go into a restaurant to celebrate their birthday. I do it myself each year. However, I don’t expect the restaurant to pull out some calla lilies and shoot off fireworks for me. In fact, I don’t even tell them it’s my birthday because I don’t want to give them the impression that I am fishing for something free. Our birthdays are the responsibility of ourselves and our friends and family.

As for you, Qiaoer, I hope in the future that your husband can at least make a little bit of an effort for your birthday instead of sending a ridiculous list of requests to a restaurant. You deserve more than flowers, cake and a card from people you don’t know. Not like the restaurant did any of that. I mean, what restaurant would? And that probably means that your birthday consisted of having dinner with your lazy ass husband at a hopefully quiet table for privacy. Ironic that he wants privacy yet invited the whole staff to help him out with your birthday, isn’t it? Happy birthday, Qiaoer.