This Is Your Brain in the Weeds

The mind of server who is in the weeds is a dark and twisted place. Our brain goes into hyper-overdrive as we struggle to remember everything we are supposed to be doing for our customers. On a busy Friday night when the restaurant is slammed, our minds are full to bursting, not unlike a certain customer who used to come in every Sunday brunch and stuff his gut with croissants from the buffet.

This is your brain on drugs:

And this is your brain in the weeds:

Oh fuck, I need to fill that lady’s water at Table 12. Maybe I can get the busser to do it, like I can find a fucking busser. Where the fuck are they? And I need to go see if that recook is done for that burger on Table 19. He asks for a medium rare burger and then he’s gonna be pissed off that it’s pink inside? Oh my god, I never got that ketchup for the little boy on the patio. Wait, is the hostess double seating me? Are you kidding me right now? I do not have time for two more tables. I need to pee so bad. Do adult diapers actually work? Don’t astronauts wear them sometimes in space? I’m gonna Google that tonight- oh my God, I never rang in that dessert for Table 15. Wait, they’re eating a dessert at table 15. That’s not even the right dessert! Whose dessert are they eating? Fuck! Steak knives, steak, knives, Table 12 needs steak knives. And water! Where is the busser? That’s it, I am not tipping out the busser tonight. He did not earn it at all. But seriously, I if I could figure out a way for him to pee for me, I would tip him out 50%. My bladder hurts. Okay, I gotta go get that ketchup for the little boy on the patio. Wha does this asshole want, all flagging me down? I’m not even his server. Nope, I am going to pretend I did not even see him. Oh my God, why is my apron wet? Did I just pee myself? Did I just fucking piss my own pants? Oh wait, it’s just melted ice in my apron. Annnd, there’s a credit card in here too. Shit, that’s the man at Table 17 who was ready to close out. Okay, I have to get the water and steak knives for 12, get the ketchup for the kid, check on the recook for 19, run this guys credit card, greet my two new tables and then figure out what in fresh hell is going on with the desserts in my section. And then I will go pee. (looks at watch) It’s only 8:15!!! Why do I do this to myself???

The Need for Ranch Dressing is Out of Control

Ranch dressing is the bane of our existence because we add so many steps to each of our days simply by walking back and forth to the kitchen to get more of it for desperate people who love it so much. Why do people crave it so incessantly? Just the other day, someone wrote me about a couple at her restaurant who asked for six ramekins of the stuff. This, after they realized there was no kid menu for their little girl. The waitress watched this mom and dad spoon feed their one-year old approximately 9 ounces of Ranch dressing for dinner. Yes, that really happened. (Full disclosure: in high school, my favorite thing to eat was Mr. Gatti’s pizza dipped in Ranch. I am not proud.)

Well those parents are about to have their lives made easy because there is now a Ranch Dressing fountain available. It can hold three bottles of it and once you plug that bitch in, you can dip away to your fat heart’s content. Mom and Dad can do away with ramekins and spoons and just prop that baby under the constant flow of creamy deliciousness. When the baby gets full (or drowns, whichever comes first) they can roll baby away from the fountain, hose it down and wait three hours to feed it again. It’s a dream come true.

I don’t think there is any food in this country that hasn’t been dipped in Ranch dressing. I’m sure there is someone out there who has braised a pork chop in Ranch or made a Ranch dressing birthday cake or popsicles and I would not be surprised if someone told me about a hipster bar in Brooklyn that made a Ranch Dressing Old Fashioned and served it in a foil envelope. Ranch is like herpes and will never go away.

If you work in a restaurant with customers who are in need of Ranch dressing, might I suggest that you have your manager purchase the Ranch Dressing Fountain? It will let your customers do all the dipping they need, but I bet cleaning that thing out is no picnic and it will end up being your least favorite bit of closing sidework.

Woman Does Not Understand How Menus Work

Someone needs to understand how menus work and I am here to provide this valuable lesson. In a Facebook review of Venue Restaurant & Lounge, a woman named Jen is upset that she couldn’t have burgers even though they were not on the menu. They are on the lunch menu, but not the dinner menu and Jen was there at night.

We tried to order takeout food tonight. All we wanted were two burgers and a bowl of soup but were told we couldn’t get burgers because they aren’t on your dinner menu. I understand not advertising them on your dinner menu because you want people to buy the higher priced items, however good customer service would be still allowing it upon request since you have the stuff to make it. Plus, we were ordering takeout so it wasn’t like we were taking up a table on a busy Friday night for a couple of burgers and soup. Needless to say we took our business to Lazlos. I usually have a great experience at Venue with service, food, etc. We generally dine in about once a month, sometimes more and have never had a complaint. I probably shouldn’t let one bad experience speak for all the other good ones but I’d be lying if I said I plan on coming back often.

Jen, don’t get your ground beef craving panties in a twist over this. This is not a good reason to give them one star, especially since you claim to have been there numerous times and never had any issues. Question: out of those many times that you went to Venue and enjoyed the service, did you ever take the time to write a 5-star review? Yeah, I didn’t think so. But the moment they don’t bend the rules and bow down to your entitled hamburger needs, you go straight to Facebook to trash them. Lame, Jen. Real lame.

There was a reason they could not give you your hamburger and it made no difference that you were having takeout rather than eating in the restaurant. After lunch, any food in kitchen that will not be needed for dinner is removed from the vicinity. That means that your hamburger buns, lettuce and tomato set ups, hamburger patties, etc. were not there ready to be made for you, Jen. That food was in the walk-in, maybe downstairs even, already wrapped up and ready to go for the next day. Or maybe they didn’t even have any patties because they are prepared in the morning for lunch service. Also, there was probably no place to cook your precious patties because the grill was occupied with other food items that were, you know, on the freaking menu.

If something isn’t on the menu and they won’t make it for you, that isn’t bad customer service. It’s just how restaurants work. Menus are created with purpose and the purpose is to tell you your options. To ask for something that isn’t on the menu is entitled, presumptuous and rude. And then to give the restaurant one star for that is bitchy, snotty and indefensible.

There is your lesson, Jen. I hope you can digest it as easily as you can a hamburger and I also hope you will take down your pointless 1-star review. Have fun at Lazlos. I’m sure they’re thrilled to have you…

Facebook Page is Trashing Servers

Hold me back, because someone started a Facebook page called “Consumers Against Tipping” and I am really in the mood to shred some bitches up. First off, their page has a whopping 23 people who like it. My page has 575,748 people which is about 25,000 times more people, so basically, I win. While everyone has a right to their own opinion, the page seems less about the idea of tipping people and more about putting down servers. Servers aren’t the only people in this world who receive tips. Hair stylists, cab drivers, hotel workers, my building superintendent and delivery people also receive tips, but I don’t see one fucking meme about any of those occupations. Just servers. And you when someone insults servers, I take it very, very personally.

While I commend the owners of Consumers Against Tipping on their keen intelligence to navigate the rocky road of creating a Facebook page, if all you are going to do on it is bash me and my people, I’m gonna come after you.

Fuck off.

No, you don’t have to tip. It is not required by law to leave your server any money. However, in this country, when you go out to eat in a restaurant where someone is serving you, there is a social contract and obligation that implies you will be providing some sort of financial compensation for the person who was providing you the service. If you don’t want to tip, then you you can be counted amongst the small group of people who choose to be assholes. And if you start a Facebook page about it, then you enjoy the privilege of being in an even more select group of people who, not only don’t tip, but like to brag about it. That makes you a very rare breed of asshole.

Your little memes are adorable, but really? To assume that the only reason people are servers is because they have no education or drank too much in high school is is a big pile of steaming shit, which, coincidentally, is what I would like to serve you if ever come into my restaurant. Your page is new and will no doubt fade away in a matter of weeks. It takes a lot of work to run a successful Facebook page and the number one requirement for a page to take off is for the subject matter to be something people can agree on. Good luck with that. Although there are people in this country who don’t think they should tip their servers, the majority of people think they should. Thankfully, you and your 23 followers are in the minority. I don’t expect you to change your mind. After all, when one’s brain is the size of a pea, what are they going to change it to, a scuppernong seed? I simply wanted to reach out to you and let you know that I think your page is a fucking joke. And I’m pretty sure plenty of other people do too.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to take my college educated ass to work and help people have wonderful dining experiences so they don’t have to cook their own food or clean up after themselves. That’s what eating in a restaurant is and I know that when I go out to eat, I am happy to tip my server in appreciation for taking care of those things for me. And fellow servers? Please go to their page and tell them they can go fuck themselves. Make sure you tell them Bitchy Waiter sent you.

Oh, and I’m pretty sure that anyone who hates that Facebook page will love my book and you can click here to buy it. It’s called The Bitchy Waiter, because, well, I am one.

Old Man 100% Knows How He Wants His Diet Coke

More and more lately, it seems popular for customers to have their own business cards printed up with all their special needs and requests listed on it in an effort to make life easier for their server. Well, at least that’s what the owners of those cards probably try to tell themselves, but most of us know it’s because they don’t want to waste their valuable time and oxygen on us lowly servers. Case in point is Old Pa Shaw here who is pretty damn specific with his beverage requirements:

Dear server. I would like a large diet coke with 1 inch of Dr. Pepper or Mr. Pipp & 3 limes. Thanks so much. Old Pa Shaw.

So many questions I have for Old Pa Shaw…

  • What made you go with the lovely beach scape photo for your business card? Why not a photo of a crotchety old man sitting on his front porch screaming at children to stay off of his lawn? It would make more sense.
  • Why did you capitalize Dr. Pepper and Mr. Pibb, but not Diet Coke? Do you have something against the Coca-Cola company? Very rude.
  • What if the restaurant doesn’t have Diet Coke? Does the ratio stay the same with Diet Pepsi?
  • And speaking of availability, what restaurant have you ever been to that serves Mr. Pibb? Is that even still around? Were these cards printed thirty years ago?
  • How can you be sure that every restaurant will be using the same size glass to ensure that your “1 inch” measurement remains consistent? An 8 ounce glass with one inch of Dr. Pepper will not be the same as a 16 ounce glass with one inch of Dr. Pepper. Very confusing.
  • Do you provide a ruler for your server to measure the Dr. Pepper/Mr. Pibb? If it’s only three quarters of an inch, will you survive?
  • Is the inch measured before the ice is added to the glass or after? Actually, do you even want ice? This card is not specific enough.
  • Three limes? Do you mean lime wedges, lime wheels, lime halves or whole fucking limes that the server can just shove into a glass? We need specifics!!
  • What kind of name is Old Pa Shaw? Did you used to be on The Waltons?
  • Lastly, what would your feelings be if a waiter gave you this card:

7 Things Smart Servers Don’t Do

When you have waited tables as long as I have, you learn a few things other than how to rattle off the names of ten draft beers and seven salad dressings. There is a strong learning curve when it comes to serving and very often we are only told what we should do in order to be a good server. However, this is a list of things that smart servers don’t do and I think it can help us all lead better lives as we take orders and wear aprons.

Smart servers don’t:

  1. Let their customers make them cry. It’s not worth it. A horrible customer is only in your life for 45 minutes and after they leave, you will probably never have to see them again. We can’t control their behavior, but we can control how we react to it. Let them be assholes and get out of your section as quickly as possible. The last time I let a customer make me cry was in November of 2011 and after it happened, I thought “never again.”
  2. Have their Facebook profile public or have their job listed on it. Don’t do it. The last thing you need is for some vengeful customer who was upset that they didn’t get enough tater tots to look you up on the Internet. If your place of business is listed on your profile then you have to watch what you say about your bad day at work. Lock down your profile and rest easy.
  3. Disrespect the kitchen or BOH. Let’s be honest, the kitchen staff can make your life a living hell. They are working hard for an hourly wage and when the place is slammed and we are making more in tips, they aren’t. Ask them if they need anything to drink, be patient when your ticket times are slow and always say please and thank you. Treat them the same way you would want your customers to treat you.
  4. Adjust credit cards tips. That’s called credit card fraud and not only might you lose your job if you do it, you could also go to jail. It may be tempting to write in another total on the the tip line, but no good is going to come of it. A customer is going to notice that instead of $18 their statement says $28. Is your job and freedom worth an extra ten bucks?
  5. Sleep with a co-worker. It never works out and then you have to spend the rest of your time at the restaurant trying to avoid each other on the schedule. Sleep with someone from the restaurant next door. Nobody at your job wants to hear about how great your relationship is with a co-worker and then have to later hear about what an asshole they are. Look elsewhere.
  6. Worry about their job after they punch out. One of the best things about waiting tables is that we don’t have to take our work home with us. Other than the occasional afterthought of a forgotten side of mayonnaise, our job is one we can leave behind when we leave the restaurant. As for the server nightmares we all have, well, that’s our subconscious and we can’t do anything about that.
  7. Question a bad tip. If you get a crap tip, accept it. Confronting a customer isn’t going to make them suddenly reach into their pocket and hand you another ten dollars. it’s only going to get you in trouble. For every bad tip, there are two good ones in your future.

And finally, one things smart servers should do:

Click here to buy my book on Amazon. It’s called the Bitchy Waiter and I think you will love it.