I get a lot of emails and messages from people who share with me the woes of their restaurants. This week, a server who shall remain anonymous, sent me a message about how awful it is to work at TGI Friday’s as the Endless Apps promotion continues to chip away at her sanity, patience and pocketbook. As I read her story, I knew that her firsthand account of the experience would be better than my secondhand version of it, so please enjoy this rant from a server who is in the trenches at Friday’s.
The past few weeks have been a living hell and show that Friday’s does not give a flying fuck about their employees. I don’t even know how they make money off this slightly-better-than-average buffet, that drives the most awful clientele, because that’s exactly what it is. Let me provide some examples. Last week, a 20-top walked in… to celebrate their friend getting out of prison. (I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried). Now, in a normal restaurant that actually doesn’t want their employees to work for free, this wouldn’t be “as bad” because you could add gratuity. But Friday’s (along with other shitty chains, I assume) have eliminated gratuity so this table was the epitome of a server’s nightmare. Naturally, they all came in for endless apps, which my store now allows the customer to pick two apps for the first round. So this poor server rings in 40 APPETIZERS at once, and we have 2 fryers. Ultimately, she made $4 off this table and therefore literally paid out of pocket to wait on jailbird and his friends.
Last night, I waited on a table of 15 preteen/ teenage boys from a baseball team. I went up to the table, introduced myself, no acknowledgment, so I yelled across the table “is anyone NOT getting water or endless apps?” All waters, all endless, which obviously distracted me from my other tables whose endless apps went 25 minutes because they were stuck behind 30 endless apps from these kids’ table. What should have been a $450 check was ultimately around $160. I actually made $25 off the table (how sad is it that I was pleasantly surprised by that). I have never felt the urge to yell at a 13 year old before that table last night. The best part was, their parents sat at the bar and drank while they watched their kids turn the dining side into a fucking zoo, and didn’t even pay for their kids. (Honestly, after dealing with these kids, I don’t blame their parents for needing a drink.) My pre-comp (pre-endless discount) sales last night were $1,500, and I walked with $160, mainly because I had some really decent tippers earlier in the night.
So, in sum, servers are basically making %10 (if they’re lucky) off their actual sales, doing twice the work, making half the money, and the clientele we’re serving is declining, it’s actually embarrassing to work there anymore. I honestly feel like I work at a glorified Golden Corral or something.