One Hundred Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do! WTF?

There was an entry in today’s “You’re the Boss” blog on the New York Times website entitled “One Hundred Things Restaurant Staffers should never do. (Part 1).” Oh man, I just had this rip a new one. My responses are in italics.


Herewith is a modest list of dos and don’ts for servers at the seafood restaurant I am building. Veteran waiters, moonlighting actresses, libertarians and baristas will no doubt protest some or most of what follows. They will claim it homogenizes them or stifles their true nature. And yet, if 100 different actors play Hamlet, hitting all the same marks, reciting all the same lines, cannot each one bring something unique to that role?

1. Do not let anyone enter the restaurant without a warm greeting. Translation – “I’ll be happy to make you feel warm, cuddly and take you for everything you’re worth.”

2. Do not make a singleton feel bad. Do not say, “Are you waiting for someone?” Ask for a reservation. Ask if he or she would like to sit at the bar. Yeah, but we waiters know you’re on a blind date and are already laying bets if you’re gonna bolt when you discover your internet love is 300 pounds of unwashed manic-depressive goodness.

3. Never refuse to seat three guests because a fourth has not yet arrived. This is complete bullshit and a money loser for the restaurant. What happens when you seat those three people but their friend doesn’t show up for an hour? I’ll tell you what – they’ll eat bread and water while waiting for their friend to get his or her chronically passive-aggressive late ass in gear. The result being that the restaurant can’t turn the table and no one, including the waiter, makes money.

4. If a table is not ready within a reasonable length of time, offer a free drink and/or amuse-bouche. The guests may be tired and hungry and thirsty, and they did everything right. Okay, that might work if your restaurant has a bar or some other space for people to enjoy their “amuse-bouche.” But have you seen how tightly packed restaurants are in Manhattan? Enjoy your free cocktail in that coat closet!

5. Tables should be level without anyone asking. Fix it before guests are seated. Yeah, we had little rubber wedges called “Shuv-Its” to level the table. Whenever I had a customer who whined about their table (After they knocked it askew with their goddamn baby carriage) I’d tell them it’d help them “Shove it.” Got some priceless looks with that line.

6. Do not lead the witness with, “Bottled water or just tap?” Both are fine. Remain neutral. Since when did customers become witnesses? Maybe when the waiter goes postal and indulges in some blunt force trauma fun with a bottle of Perrier.

7. Do not announce your name. No jokes, no flirting, no cuteness. I agree with this one. Telling a customer your name just gives them permission to shout it across the dining room when they run out of bread. But no cuteness? How can I not be me?

8. Do not interrupt a conversation. For any reason. Especially not to recite specials. Wait for the right moment. But if they’re rude and talking on a cell phone for ten minutes – interrupt away. Half the time they’re talking to their therapist anyway. Smashing the phone to bits is a nice touch too.

9. Do not recite the specials too fast or robotically or dramatically. It is not a soliloquy. This is not an audition. So how are the actors waiting tables ever going to get any practice in? How can they bring “something unique to their role?”

10. Do not inject your personal favorites when explaining the specials. So what do you do when a customers asks, “Well, what do you like?” Tell them it’s all good? Something sucks. Customers aren’t that stupid.

11. Do not hustle the lobsters. That is, do not say, “We only have two lobsters left.” Even if there are only two lobsters left. But if you hear a waiter say “the lobster’s been very popular tonight” that means we’re running low.

12. Do not touch the rim of a water glass. Or any other glass. Agreed. You can really never know if your waiter washed his hands after taking a dump.

13. Handle wine glasses by their stems and silverware by the handles. See above.

14. When you ask, “How’s everything?” or “How was the meal?” listen to the answer and fix whatever is not right. Wrong. A good waiter should never ask “How’s everything?” That entertains the possibility that the kitchen produced crap. Perish the thought! Customers need to grow a set and tell the waiter they don’t like their food. We’re not mind readers.

15. Never say “I don’t know” to any question without following with, “I’ll find out.” Aw man, just Google the answer on your iPhone table side. Get with the 21st century.

16. If someone requests more sauce or gravy or cheese, bring a side dish of same. No pouring. Let them help themselves. Yes, the restaurant doesn’t want to be named in a lawsuit when the customer finally has that heart attack.

17. Do not take an empty plate from one guest while others are still eating the same course. Wait, wait, wait. Yeah, but some customers hate having an empty plate in front of them whether or not someone else is eating. What do you do in that circumstance? Tell them they’re being rude? Maybe smashing the plate on the floor’s the answer.

18. Know before approaching a table who has ordered what. Do not ask, “Who’s having the shrimp?” I agree with this. That’s why waiters note the position of the diner on their dupe pad. But what do you do when the customers pay musical chairs? It’s auction off the food time!

19. Offer guests butter and/or olive oil with their bread. Wait a minute. I though Bloomberg banned all fats from New York City!

20. Never refuse to substitute one vegetable for another. So when you run out of that organically farmed heirloom asparagus grown by environmental pot smoking hippies give them nothing.

21. Never serve anything that looks creepy or runny or wrong. Sound like some of the blind dates I’ve seen my customers reel in. Throw it back!

22. If someone is unsure about a wine choice, help him. That might mean sending someone else to the table or offering a taste or two. But if the customer wants to try every wine in the place they’re trying to get drunk on your dime. Happens.

23. If someone likes a wine, steam the label off the bottle and give it to the guest with the bill. It has the year, the vintner, the importer, etc. I guess Mr. Buschel has never worked in place that was kick ass crazy busy. I’d write the info down on a piece of paper. Busy waiters don’t have time for arts and crafts projects.

24. Never use the same glass for a second drink. When the dishwasher’s on his marijuana break and there are no clean glasses to be found, you better believe we reuse that glass. Or somebody else’s! A quick rinse in the slop sink and you’re good to go.

25. Make sure the glasses are clean. Inspect them before placing them on the table. That’s because the lipstick some chicks smear on their mouths has the staying power of grout sealant.

26. Never assume people want their white wine in an ice bucket. Inquire. And make sure not to laugh when they want ice cubes in their Brunello! Snicker, snicker…….

27. For red wine, ask if the guests want to pour their own or prefer the waiter to pour. So just how are we supposed to hustle wine and increase everyone’s profits? I give Buschel’s restaurant less than a year. Again, customers need to grow a set here. If you want to control your intake tell the waiter you’ll do all the pouring.

28. Do not put your hands all over the spout of a wine bottle while removing the cork. Don’t want to give anyone a dose of that H1N1 you’ve been fighting but can’t take time off to recuperate from because your boss is a soulless, mercenary asshole.

29. Do not pop a champagne cork. Remove it quietly, gracefully. The less noise the better. Agreed. But if the customer’s a real pain in the ass aim for their eye.

30. Never let the wine bottle touch the glass into which you are pouring. No one wants to drink the dust or dirt from the bottle. Does that’s that hold true for serving beer too?

31. Never remove a plate full of food without asking what went wrong. Obviously, something went wrong. Have you seen the Brobdingnagian portions some restaurants serve? If you ate if all you’d explode like Mr. Creosote!

32. Never touch a customer. No excuses. Do not do it. Do not brush them, move them, wipe them or dust them. So what do you do if that three martini cougar offers you a handjob?

33. Do not bang into chairs or tables when passing by. I’d agree with this if greedy NYC restauranteurs didn’t pack their guests cheek to jowl like chickens on a poultry farm.

34. Do not have a personal conversation with another server within earshot of customers. But if its the end of the night and you have a romantic couple that just won’t get out, a high volume discussion about genital warts is in order.

35. Do not eat or drink in plain view of guests. I’d agree with this if restaurants weren’t so cheap and actually fed their employees! I worked at one place where they deducted $2 per shift for staff meals and didn’t give us any! “Madam, if your done with your osso bucco may I have it?”

36. Never reek from perfume or cigarettes. People want to smell the food and beverage. Man, I had to deal with waiters who never took showers! You prayed they covered up the stank with a good toke of B.C. Bud.

37. Do not drink alcohol on the job, even if invited by the guests. “Not when I’m on duty” will suffice. Oh give me a fucking break. Without alcohol waiters would be killing restaurant managers and hostesses every day.

38. Do not call a guy a “dude.” Unless he’s a surfer.

39. Do not call a woman “lady.” I prefer the terms “Madam” and “Broad.”

40. Never say, “Good choice,” implying that other choices are bad. Yeah, but some of the options on the menu really do suck.

41. Saying, “No problem” is a problem. It has a tone of insincerity or sarcasm. “My pleasure” or “You’re welcome” will do. Bullshit. People who use these pleasantries are just as likely to be turds like anyone else. “ may smile, and smile, and be a villain.” You’re not the only one who can whip out Shakespeare Mr. Buschel!

42. Do not compliment a guest’s attire or hairdo or makeup. You are insulting someone else. But can you tell a guy when his fly’s open? There are some things I just don’t want to see.

43. Never mention what your favorite dessert is. It’s irrelevant. Translation? You’re only a waiter. You’re nobody. You’re irrelevant. Something tells me Mr. Buschel’s a bit of an elitist. Good luck with the restaurant buddy! You’re gonna have a hard time finding waiters when they read this tripe.

44. Do not discuss your own eating habits, be you vegan or lactose intolerant or diabetic. Yeah, no one wants to know you’re a sickly nuts and twigger anyway.

45. Do not curse, no matter how young or hip the guests. That’s an example of ageism right there! What makes you think old people don’t appreciate salty language? “Happy Fucking Eightieth Birthday Grandma!”

46. Never acknowledge any one guest over and above any other. All guests are equal. Oh please……just kiss up to the person paying the bill.

47. Do not gossip about co-workers or guests within earshot of guests. But if the guests are the parents or significant other of a waiter you hate, let that story about their linen closet/cucumber dildo episode slip out. Ooops. Did I say that?

48. Do not ask what someone is eating or drinking when they ask for more; remember or consult the order. But waiters lose the order slip half the time anyway. I’d much rather ask the customer than deliver them the wrong dish. You know why? Because the restaurant will make you pay for it if it is!

49. Never mention the tip, unless asked. But if they do ask feel free to inquire if they’re related to Ebeneezer Scrooge.

50. Do not turn on the charm when it’s tip time. Be consistent throughout. I’ve found a consistent, “Don’t even think of fucking with me” attitude is usually more appropriate.

Man, I can’t wait to see “Part 2.”


One Hundred Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do! WTF? — 138 Comments

  1. 41. Saying, “No problem” is a problem. It has a tone of insincerity or sarcasm. “My pleasure” or “You’re welcome” will do. Bullshit. People who use these pleasantries are just as likely to be turds like anyone else. “ may smile, and smile, and be a villain.” You’re not the only one who can whip out Shakespeare Mr. Buschel!”

    Sorry, but he’s right.

  2. Steve – I think you need to reread no. 20 – he is saying that you CAN allow substitutions of vegies (but just not to the asparagus!).
    Some points are justified – I guess you just got put off by the general attitude. I do agree that this dream restaurant will either be a massive success or a massive failure – the list leaves little room in between and looks like it’ll be tough on its staff.

  3. oh man, that was so effing hilarious!!! i laughed my ass off. you are on fire when making fun of others (who deserve it!)!! love ya steve!

  4. The fact that I am answering this at 3AM might give you an idea of what I’ve been doing for the past couple hours… But here are my thought on some of those points anyway.

    1. “Hello” works fine for me.

    2. I have never had a server or hostess make me feel bad for being on my own. Then again, I am not offended when a hostess/server simply says, “Table for 1?”

    3. I am the exception to #3. I’ll order alcohol and tip accordingly. And then some, because I’ve ordered alcohol.

    4. Oh HELL no. If I am thirsty, I’ll hit the bar. If I am hungry, I’ll ask if there is some small snack-y thing I can order. And when I say “order” I mean “pay for.”


    6. Here, water is water, unless it’s closing time and you need a water to go.

    7. Does not matter only because I am terrible with ALL names, CEO of my employer down to the mailman. I will remember personal details and conversations, but not names. So, feel free to tell me your name. Not like I’ll be able to tell anyone else.

    8. Certainly interrupt stupidity or rudeness.

    10. I actually trust when my servers say, “I had an order of this for lunch and it’s GREAT.” (I might be at an advantage because I am at my normal restaurant enough that they feel they can tell the truth with me. But I’ve never had a bad meal.)

    11. I don’t go many places with live lobsters.

    12/13. Seems normal to me.

    14. Nothing wrong with asking. But often the only opportunity to say, “Well, this ain’t all that” is when the server comes back around to ask if everything is OK. Chicken/Egg situation.

    15. I would rather hear, “Let me ask.” vs some made up answer.

    18. I’ve been to restaurants where everyone runs food for everyone else. Sometimes you have to ask. Doesn’t bother me a bit either way.

    21. Well, if it looks REALLY bad…

    23. WTF? I don’t even have a steamer for my clothes.

    24. I’ve often offered up my glass for a second libation. My parents drilled into me the “1 glass of water(or other) = 3 glasses of water for cleaning” idea. Right or wrong, it stuck.

    27. Really??

    28. I can see that.

    29. Pop, no pop, I really don’t give a crap as long as 50% of the champange doesn’t end up on the floor on the rare occasion that I order it.

    33. I’m not even in NYC, and bumping into chairs happens. I can deal.

    37. Yeah, RIGHT. I’ve slipped a few bartenders & servers a shot in my time.

    40. Good choice just means good choice. Why on earth would you choose to read more into that?

    41. Really? Perhaps I’m more aware of when I ask of somethinig not 100% in the norm, but when I have been told “No Problem” it has always come out quite genuine. Granted, I don’t ask if the entire kitchen staff can be held hostage for another half hour. It’s usually something along the lines of, “Any chance you have more bread?”

    43. I always want to know the favorite dessert! Because people do NOT lie about a favorite dessert. If the turtle cheesecake is 10x better than the brownie sundae, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY – TELL ME!!

    45. I’m young and I don’t give a rat’s ass.

    46. Yes, charm them all!

    47. I knew I loved you for a reason. :)

    48. I really appreciate when someone asks, “I’m sorry, did you have Coke or Diet Coke?” I don’t feel neglected that they didn’t know if off the top of their head. It’s not like I’m dating the server.

    50. If I’ve not said it before, I love you.

  5. 14. I think he’s at least partially right here, sorry. If you’re going to actually come back to the table and give me a chance to swallow, fine, you don’t need to ask the question. I’ll tell you if something’s wrong. But the run-by “Everything okay? Great!” sucks.

    20. You need to reread that one, I think. I’m not saying he’s right, but your response doesn’t seem to match what he wrote.

    41. He’s absolutely right here, but this is probably a regionalism. If you tell me “no problem,” I’m going to wonder just what the hell is *your* problem.

    Agree (or laughed!) at the rest of them.

  6. Oh please! Sure, the guy is a control freak and his restaurant may be a utopia, but your comments make no sense. Just because your previous bosses may have sucked, doesn’t mean he will too. And judging from your description of waiting staff, apparently all your fellow waiters have been assholes. Which gives the guy all the more reason to make his list.
    Most of your comments don’t have anything to do with his original point, you tried so hard to think of the most far-fetched exceptions to the rules. The fact that you completely missed the point of rule #20 gives me the idea you’re just writing this because you like to hear yourself talk.
    Most of the points on the list are perfectly reasonable in most cases, so get of your high horse and try thinking up better rules if you think you know better.

  7. Man, everybody in Manhattan sounds so uptight and anal-retentive that I fear Woody Allen was far more promiscuous back in the day than previously imagined.

    Come to Charleston for some chicken n’ waffles and some sweet tea. . . and genuine smiles.

  8. wow, I wouldn’t want someone with your hostility handling my food.
    Nothing wrong with the owner’s suggestions but plenty wrong with your reactions. I think Lorian’s got your #.

  9. I have to wonder if this guy ever worked in a restaurant? with real people? perhaps he could have someone develop him an android? void of human emotions and individual characteristics? I also can’t wait to read part 2 of his manifesto and your take on it.

  10. Judging by some of your comments, I don’t think some of you have ever worked in a restaurant. I agree with pretty much everything you said, Waiter.

  11. im a chef, and ive worked in different kinds of restaurants all over nyc during my career. i must say, for the most part, the whiney complaining servers are the ones who are just plain bad at their jobs. blaming customers for your inadequacies just makes it starkly obvious to everyone around you how bad you are. and GOOD servers will probably be lining up around the block to work at that resto. why? because he wants his customers to be happy, and when they’re happy, servers make more money.

  12. I love that he’s a sixty-something year old journalist/off-broadway producer with no restaurant experience. If that’s not a recipe for restaurant success, I don’t know what is.

    His failure will be glorious. That it will be chronicled in the NY Times will make it even more so.

  13. So, read a bit more of his blog, just for the hell of it…It’ll be interesting to see if he can hold onto his convictions after the Hamptons summer season passes…

    What kind of restaurant you starting?


    Fish? And what else?

    Organic vegetables.

    Sure, vegetables, what else?

    Wine, local wines.

    But you’re going to serve some meat, right? Some burgers and steaks?


    You’re nuts all right. What if a party of six wants to come to dinner, but one guy doesn’t eat fish?

    He can go to Bobby Van’s. Or try my monkballs and spaghetti. Or tuna au poivre. Or a great salmonburger.

    No meat at all? No chicken?

    No chicken.

  14. On further reflection, it gives me cause to think that restaurants need to have a different rating scale for type.

    The “dining experience” with the excruciating and glorious interplay of persons of wit and expectation, feints of sniffy outrage and transcendent moments of perfection by all, like a three-act play, or. . .

    Very good food served in a time-appropriate frame, with friendly staff that maintains their sense of distant professionalism and courtesy, or. . .

    Good food, friendly folks, pleasant atmosphere, bare minimum of fuss.

    I don’t think it’s fair to expect all three levels at once.

  15. I love your responses Steve – but this guys just advertising – Don’t fall for it – take it for what it is – He’s playing off of populist sentiment to elicit your (or any for that matter) reaction. When I come across an article written in this vein – I usually turn the page and I’m sure most of the general thinking public does the same. Alright – I might skim and giggle a bit but the page still turns without much effort.

  16. 18. Know before approaching a table who has ordered what. Do not ask, “Who’s having the shrimp?” I agree with this. That’s why waiters note the position of the diner on their dupe pad. But what do you do when the customers pay musical chairs? It’s auction off the food time!

    I wasn’t in a fancy restaurant by any means. It was red lobster. We were seated at a round table and there were 5 of us. The AC was blowing directly on me and, since it was hot outside, I didn’t have a jacket. When the waiter came to bring me a Dr. Pepper, he tried to take the other away, but it was half full. I told him that I didn’t want to be wasteful, and he could leave both glasses, cause I didn’t mind. He made fun of me and left. He was only teasing, but I was in a bad mood for the AC. So my friend’s dad said, “Why don’t we all move two places to the left to screw with him for mocking Hannah? Then Hannah will be out of the AC’s fire.” So we did. And the waiter was great about it. He remembered where everyone sat and we all got a big laugh. He got a nice tip.

    Don’t turn waiters into robots, like this man is obviously trying to do. They’re people, and people aren’t perfect. Customers are people. Customer-Waiter interaction can be good or bad, depending on the mood, politeness level, and humor from both parties. While some interactions can lead to anger on one or both sides, most interactions are what put tip levels over 15% or 20%. If there is no interaction, and things were just good, all the waiter will get is the baseline tip.

    One other little story. Again, I was at red lobster. It was my 17th birthday and it was just me and my other 17 year old friend. We were seated next to the kitchen where the waiters could keep an eye on us. We felt like the establishment sat us there to ensure we didn’t dine and dash, since we were both only 17. The waiter treated us like children. We were nice back, but really? Baby talk? About how we’re all grown up enough to dine on our own? She got a very, very small tip that night.

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  19. Here in Northern Vermont- We have seasonal business, and some of the customers are really uptight. I see where some of his tips are good, but yours, Steve, are so much more accurate in the real world.
    Keep up the good work and come on up and ski sometime!

  20. Classic post. Ironically, I jut wrote an article about the same thing. LOL. I have to say that your #47 was something I should have added. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard waiters doing that.

    @moonbat No kidding. Me too.

  21. even coming from a customer’s point of view, i couldn’t read the whole thing… it was too fucking long. some were good points, but most were just… being bitchy… (?) I can’t seem to come up with the right words. It was just a bit much.

  22. Clearly I must be ignorant (or more willing to believe in the general reasonableness of people), but I am shocked at how many folks think this Buschel guy makes sense. Steve’s take on almost every one of the 50 rules is so spot on. And I’ve never been a waiter — just always, always a respectful customer who doesn’t consider waiters non-human automatons existing for nothing other than my every whim. Geez, you’re having dinner, not being crowned King, fer chrissakes. Oh, I’ve had bad service on occasion, but my experience is that bad service is frequently the result of bad customers (although, of course, some waiters are assholes) blissfully oblivious to their own bad behavior. Everyone just needs to lighten up!

  23. As someone who has been in the industry for over 6 years now I have to completely agree with Steve on his points. Very seldom does a business do well when run by the types who think they “know” everything there is to know about the restaurant industry. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate a consummate businessman as my owner but when they enter “my” realm and start to micromanage my behaviour to a ridiculous extent I find it’s time to call it quits. These types of employers are a utter nightmare to work with and tend to have a epic turnover rate. That being said it’s always a refreshing state of affairs when you’re employed by an individual who has spent more than a year on the frontlines of a restaurant (unfortunately this is a rare, rare breed).

  24. Yeah, but some customers hate having an empty plate in front of them whether or not someone else is eating.

    That’s odd. What I hate is when I have to be protective of my food, when a waiter sees a mostly empty plate and decides he or she can save later work or be “classy” by grabbing it now, either without asking or without awaiting an answer. I shouldn’t be made to feel like an animal in the woods who needs to growl to keep the food I’ve garnered.

  25. 21. Does the kitchen has a similar set of rules that say don’t send out anything creepy or runny?
    23. Your answer is fine but I add, get with the 21st Century most cell phones have cameras – use it.
    25. I’m with you on this one – lipstick is grout sealant. I stopped wearing it when I realized it stayed glasses, even though they had been cleaned. And I noticed this at home where you don’t have the same volume problem.

  26. Since when did customers become witnesses?

    They didn’t. But they also know an up-sell when they hear it, and a blatant one at that… and they don’t actually appreciate it.

    If the manager’s making you do it, sure, do it. But otherwise, customers are quite capable of asking for bottled water if we care… and if we don’t, we’re going to say “tap”.

    Many of the other notes, regardless of snarky replies, are basic professionalism (and others are daft… outside of the high-end fine-dining concept he appears to have for his restaurant).

    Snark is best reserved for the truly deserving; the perfectly sensible point that “waiters shouldn’t be touchy-feely with the customers” (because a lot more customers dislike it than like it) really doesn’t deserve a reply talking about handjobs. There was enough real meat to bite back at that that’s just unnecessary.

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  28. I have lurked for so long but just have to comment on this one.

    On my birthday my brother ordered us a bottle of Dom….the waitress held it between her thighs to open it, dropped it on the floor, picked it back up and kept struggling to open it. Finally got it open and poured what was left (as you can imagine much was lost).

    I refused to leave 20% for the bottle (not for the dinner, just for the champange) and had a real argument with the management over it.

    It really ruined an otherwise nice dinner celebration.

    Love you!

  29. If my party is partially seated, I call the offending party and inform them we are ordering.

    #46 really hit home though. I was completely ignored in a restaurant overseas while all the other members of the party orders were taken. My offense: Being a Jewish female. (Wearing a Star of David). As the manager of the restaurant kindly (?) informed us “We DON’T serve her kind in here.” Needless to say, we were out of there…after the order had gone to the kitchen.

  30. Steve,

    Some thoughts:

    I love the whole thing and can’t wait for the next 50. Hilarious.

    #7: As a customer, I like knowing a server’s name. I would NEVER holler it across the restaurant but I do want to be able to ask for that server again the next time I make a reservation. A good server is hard to find so I like to hang on to them. We have literally stopped going to certain restaurants because of their server turnover. We like to get to know servers.

    #23: Tell them to take a picture of that wine label with that aforementioned iPhone.

  31. 7. Do not announce your name. No jokes, no flirting, no cuteness.

    ^I think that rule is just dumb. When I became a waitress, my manager who was training me pulled me aside and told me to use my cuteness to my advantage for the customers. Even though this could mean be cute physically, she meant to use my personality and act really sweet like the blonde all american girl that I look like. And it did help a lot with the customers if I injected my cuteness (or you can call it personality)…They felt more at home and they felt it was easier to talk with me.

    Flirting is a no no of course. But when a male customer starts flirting with you, what are you going to do? Are you going to throw his flirts back into his face and risk losing that 60 dollar tip? Heck no! Just be nice and polite and act shy. But do not flirt excessively with him or embarrass him. However if he steps over the line then you wouldn’t have a good excuse to tolerate it.

    Lol. Sorry, I’m rambling. But hey, he did make good points. Most of them is just common sense and others make me cringe…I think he’s a bit uptight with some things. I wouldn’t want to work for him!

  32. Sorry, I have to agree with the writer about leaving plates until people are finished. Just tonight I was out eating with friends and the waitress came up, trying to give me a “to-go” box for my food, because I was still eating when most of my party had finished their food.

    Quite frankly, I get really irritated when I have to fight to be able to eat my food. I can ask for a box if I want to take my food home. I can also place my silverware on the plate and indicate that I’m finished with my meal.

  33. good GOD, how uptight this buschel could be?

    the thing about fine dining is…when everybody enjoying their food and laughing their ass off with the conversation.

    I’m an asian which make me just love hawker type of food. Food from the street (like lemonade parlor, hotdog stand or ice cream hawker) which make you feel right at home. I don’t really love fine dining cause i think it’s too much hassle and you can’t be enjoying yourself and getting hanky panky around. Which make me love Starbucks so much cause most of the outlet having really nice staff to take order and chat you up. now, that’s a FINE dining, might not be your high and mighty FINE dining but definitely better gourmet experience.

    I prefer a knowledgeable and friendly waiter/waitress and i want to establish as much connection with people who serve me food to have some comfort level. It’s so boring to be treated like a king, you just want to be enjoyable with people around you. and seriously, ask me if you don’t would be very nice gesture and humble.

  34. i found this whole list ridiculous…yea there are a couple of valid points…which are cancelled about by the rest of the bullshit….

  35. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I just read the article and, as a server myself, wrote a rather long comment on why he has obviously never worked in a restaurant. I proceeded to tell him to read your book and was quite happy to see that you had already read the article.

  36. I went to the link for this and read some of the comments people left and it just made me angry at how presumptuous people are. This list is a bunch of bs and was made by someone who wants to have complete control over his staff. I would rather walk in front of oncoming traffic then work there

  37. After waiting tables full time for ten years I am hyper aware of serving issues. I live in the country & I do believe that noone running restaurants here has ever worked in a city. It would be wonderful if some of these “rules” could make it into these restaurants, others are pure b*&%sh&$. I do get so tired of being rushed through my dining experience & practically having to ignore all the overlooked details that make a dining experience smooth. I long for a nice, quiet, smoothly served meal, I need to get out to the city soon!

  38. Great post. I have worked in a lot of restaurants and these are spot on. Some are obviously ment to be humorous, and uptight people were offended. They should get over it and learn to take a joke. Fantastic post, and I, too, cannot wait for the second post
    ps. I have been known to flirt a little with a table of men and was taught that by bosses. The guys feel good, tip better, and return to the restaurant or night club (not the gentlemen’s club, either)

  39. Yes, as in any environment you have the dolts who shouldn’t even be working in theindustry at all…Just unemployed no talents thinking they can just jump in the lowly server spot until thir high finance position comes back around. They mae it badfor the real professionals.
    The proliferaton of review sites is out of control so rant here food industry workers and review the customers for once.
    These last 10 year the behaviour of the customer has become more and more obnoxious.

  40. My biggest peeve in a dining establishment is the lack of proper English. “Are ya still working on that?” vs “Would you care for me to clear your plate?” “Ya wanna order now or wait for a bit?” vs “Would you like to order now?”.

    I also like to be asked if my meal is up to my expectations (rule #14), and I’d like to be asked before I’m more than halfway done. I don’t expect to have to chase down my server if my order isn’t right.

    Every now and again I get the urge to get back into the waitressing gig – then I read one of your posts and remember Why I quit.

  41. Funny, a lot of that stuff is ‘mandatory’ in almost every restaurant I’ve worked in. So I guess I was supposed to tell my managers ‘sorry, but this guy wrote an article telling me I should NEVER do that.’ LOL

  42. If ‘you’re’ going to publish a blog or a book, you might want to remember that ‘your’ implies ownership and ‘you’re’ is the contraction for ‘you are’.

    Just saying….

  43. wow, its no wonder you spend time writing this blog, “waiting” is really not for you is it? You`ve spent so much time running this down with frankly, paltry jokes, it makes my stomach turn to ever want to attend a place you might have “worked” in!

  44. While you have quite a few comments that I don’t agree with, I do agree that Buschel seems to be too controlling and demanding. He wants his customers to have a certain experience, but not all patrons want the same thing. I like it when my servers are friendly and have personalities. A flirty smile from a cute waiter can make the dining experience more fun, and a cheerful waitress makes me feel more at home than one who absolutely will not make a joke or small talk. I had one Thanksgiving (my first one alone, in a new city) where the waiter would come and talk to me while he inputted people’s orders (I was sitting by his computer terminal thing, and it was a slow night). He gave me some great advice about the city and the meal was cheerful because of him, not lonely. While I wouldn’t expect the same in subsequent visits, I would recommend that restaurant again on the basis of its friendly staff alone.

  45. Too funny. Another amazing, witty post. The points that the article did get right are just common sense. Are you actually supposed to memorize the 100 points or refer to your list? The people who take issue with you just don’t get the point of this blog. Bravo!

  46. If you think the content is lame, then YOU should move on.

    GOD I hate people who leave comments like this. Do you think he’s gonna think to himself, “Oh damn. ‘NotAmused’ thinks my content is lame. I think I’ll cut myself.”

    If you don’t like what you see, shut the fuck up and go read someting else.

  47. The most important thing to take from this discussion is that a delightful dining experience relies on the equal efforts of both the server and the customer. A server cannot make someone enjoy their time in a restaurant. A diner sometimes cannot overcome poor service. Some of the 100 rules are STUPID, but some are the things my wife and I discuss when we try out a new place. She grew up in the business, and it’s truly the littlest details that make or break an experience.

  48. The guys a control freak and he’s trying to create a hostile work envoriment. Not only would I not want to work there, I wouldn’t want to eat there either.

  49. Why are some people so up tight over this article? Obviously some comments made are meant to be humorous.I have been a server for several years now and will say that you shouldn’t follow a prescribed set of rules monotonously. Every table is different and every guest is different, I have found that if you are being nice, having fun, and making sure your guest are well taken care everything seems to fall into place.(Mistakes of course happen and some people seem to honestly want to find something wrong sometimes, like they get satisfaction from it). Mr. Buschel does seem to have an idealized, picky view on how waiters should act. Any real-wold experience I believe would straighten much of that out.

  50. You’re an ass. I’m so glad I’ll never have you as a waiter. Stretching for some humor here? Why don’t you write a real blog entry.

  51. Great comments – I echo just about everything you’ve said. Regarding perfume – customers need to be aware of how irritating and distracting scents can be. Smell and taste go hand in hand, and perfume can ruin an otherwise enjoyable dining experience.

    #20 – In my restaurant, everyone and their grandmother has been ordering sauteed spinach as a substitute for their vegetable. Since it takes a tremendous pile of fresh spinach to achieve an ample cooked portion, we CHARGE EXTRA. Substitutions are welcome, but not always gratis.

    I’ll leave it at that for now.

  52. Wow, I was surprised to discover that I agree with most of these suggestions. Of course, some are also bullshit.

    Honestly, no one would ever be able to enforce any of them anyways so who really gives a shit.

    Here are some things of his rules that I already follow any why:

    – Don’t wait for the entire party to show up before seating a table. Not because the restaurant is losing money but because it will piss the guests off. This does not apply to one single guy waiting for 14 friends. Wait for the late morons to show up so I they don’t all saunter in one at a time and run their server back and forth getting their drinks.

    – Tables should be level without the guest having to ask. This also applies to things not being properly maintained or repaired, which by the way is the owner’s responsibility not mine. So get that shit fixed so I can do my job – serving food to people.

    – I don’t even offer people bottled water because the fact is that if someone wants bottled water they will ask. Besides, I would much rather sell them a martini over any type of water.

    – I never tell guests my name. I doubt they give a shit and I have a name tag on if they do. I also avoid asking them how their day is going because I don’t give a shit. What really matters is how their meal is going to go.

    – You can avoid reciting the specials too fast or robotically by not stating them at all. If these specials are so fucking wonderful why aren’t they on the menu?

    – I do not tell people my personal favorites unless they ask – in which case I pick the most expensive thing on the menu (as do most servers). Of course, if the most expensive thing is not terribly good then I pick an item that other guests seem to enjoy.

    – I don’t hustle anything. If you want lobster, order it. If you want chicken, order it. Just hurry up and make up your mind because believe it or not – I have other shit to do besides stand here while you make such a big decision.

    – You shouldn’t touch the rim of glasses. Wine glasses should be handled by stems & silverware by handles. Everyone knows that. What kind of staff are you hiring that you need to tell them something so basic – homeless people?

    – I don’t know is never a good answer to any question. Replace it with “I’m not sure” and check for your guest. Of course questions like “Do you know where I can find some weed?” or “Where can I find an affordable escort who will let me dress up like a cowboy and anally penetrate her while she is dressed like a pony?” can be answered with “I don’t know.” Just learn to use your judgement.

    – I don’t even understand the problem with someone asking for more sauce. Who the hell pours it and doesn’t just bring it in another ramekin? What the hell kind of place is this going to be?

    – You should always know who ordered what. If using seat numbers doesn’t work for you – give them fitting nicknames next to their meal like below:

    * Blind old guy: turkey
    * Man with wooden leg: fish
    * Old lady who smells like her depends is full: beef
    * Young woman dressed like a crack whore with blue eye-shadow: tubesteak

    I think you get the point.

    – Don’t just offer butter/oil to your guests with bread. Bring it. Who the hell eats bread without butter or oil?

    – Of course you can substitute your vegetable for another. All vegetables are created equal – unless of course, our chef says otherwise. Then, not all vegetables are created equal and you will get what you get.

    – What the fuck kind of place allows food that looks “creepy or runny or wrong” to leave their kitchen? Hire a better chef.

    – If someone is unsure about a wine choice – ask them what kind of wine they normally prefer and then make a suggestion based on that. Do not bring them countless samples. They don’t get samples when they buy their wine at the grocery or liquor store – why would they suddenly get to sample everything at a restaurant?

    Diners: have some balls, take some risk. Live & learn.

    – You shouldn’t use the same glass twice because it is a health code violation and just gross. Table 21 has a giant herpe on her lip, which can easily be transmitted to the eighty-year-old man at the next table- Then Gramps could pass it to his grandchildren etc.

    – Don’t put your hand over the wine spout. Personally, I like to open the wine bottle with my mouth while my hands are behind my back. Old guys eat this shit up and tip me generously. The same goes for champagne bottles.

    – A lot of servers think that touching a guest lightly on the back will increase their tips. The truth is, this only works if the touching involves a hand job. If you aren’t going to give them a hand job why bother?

    – Attempt to not bang into chairs when passing by. Of course, is everyone at the table has their chair pushed into the middle of the walkway and they are sitting with their legs wide open to air out their balls then bump into them repeatedly. Those fuckers totally deserve it.

    – Believe it or not guests don’t want to hear about your yeast infection or manscaping habits – keep that in the back of the house. The same goes for the hostesses STD and the dishwasher’s blackeye. Also, they don’t want to see you eating or chewing gum. NEVER eat off someone’s plate when taking it to the dishwashing area – that is disgusting.

    – Don’t wear a shit ton of perfume/cologne. Hostesses please pass this message along to guests before they are being sat (especially if they are European and/or are wearing loud clothing).

    – Don’t drink on the job UNLESS you are an alcoholic and not drinking would cause you to have DTs. Safety first.

    – Don’t call guests “Dude” “Lady” “Toots” “Princess” – save it for your co-workers.

    – Don’t say “good choice” because who really cares enough to do that? Don’t say “No problem.” Obviously if you are saying no problem then there probably is a problem and your table is full or morons. Roll your eyes instead, it is much less passive aggressive.

    – I don’t even look at my guests most of the time so I really would never compliment them. Besides most of them look like wookies or those freaky bald dogs (both of which are impossible to compliment unless you consider “I like your hairy, hairy, hairy chest” a compliment.”)

    – It isn’t really necessary to tell the guest your favorite dessert because chances are they will probably completely ignore you, choose the shittiest thing on the menu, complain about it, and then have it removed from the check. Dicks.

    – Don’t cuss in front of your guests. You aren’t at a frat party raping some sorority girl.

    – You should be able to recall what a guest is drinking just by looking at it. If not refer to the order/the seat number/ or those cute little nicknames you gave them.

    – It is impolite to directly ask people for a tip – holding your hand out and coughing is just rude. If, however, you find that someone is stiffing you on a credit card slip by not even bothering to complete it – try this (in a nice tone, of course):

    “If you aren’t going to add gratuity to the check, can you please write the total on the total line.” Trust me – people get the point and either add a tip or hand you cash.

    – I totally agree with no turning on the charm when it’s time to get tipped. People see through that shit in a second. If you have already treated your guest poorly continue to do so. Stay consistent – even if the reason you responded rudely to them was because they were yelling at you first. Don’t suddenly start being nice to them once they begin being nice to you. Have a spine. Take a stand.

    These are bullshit:

    – No one has time to greet every patron that comes in. Sometimes, not even the hostess because they are busy filing their nails or eating candy. Making eye contact and faking a smile suffices in most cases.

    – Why would someone feel bad about dining alone? I would love to dine alone. Please watch my two-year old so I can have a nice solitary meal.

    – If a table is not ready in a reasonable amount of time those people have the option of eating somewhere else. They are also more than welcome to go sit at the bar, where in most cases they can order food or an appetizer. In most cases, the check can also be transferred to their server once their table is ready.

    – Sometimes it is necessary to interrupt a conversation because people don’t know how to shut the hell up for 5 seconds. If they did I would not have to interrupt them. BTW, we work in a restaurant not a conference room. Hold your business meeting in a Starbucks, where no one interrupts you by taking your order or serving your food.

    – I know this guy says to ask people how everything is but a good server who works in a good restaurant should NEVER ask an open ended question like that. You should have faith in the fact that you are serving high quality food. I would expect to be asked a question like that at a Chili’s but not in a real restaurant. If you are opening a restaurant like Chili’s then by all means keep this rule.

    – Most restaurants prefer you to remove plates as diners finish for a reason – so they can wash them and reuse them. Most guest prefer for their plate to be removed when they are finished. Who wants to sit at a table with their dirty dishes because Gramma Betty eats slower than a 56K modem loading Ebay?

    – Who has time to steam labels off a bottle of wine. Have your guest take a picture of the label using their camera phone. Most guests would have the sense to do this on their own but a lot are nearly retarded.

    – Who wouldn’t want their white wine in ice? Really, who the fuck are these people? I want names and addresses.

    – Most guests prefer someone to pour their wine. If they wanted to pour it themselves they would just go home a drink wine alone.

    – All guests are not equal. Each guest gets an allotted amount of your time. If they spend their time unwisely, running you back and forth asking for items one at a time – that is their fault.

    Diners: you know everything you need. If your server makes more than two trips to your table bringing you random condiments that you shouldn’t even need, don’t be surprised when your 3rd request is completely ignored. Also, if you are rude to your server while ordering don’t be surprised that your food comes out way later than the tables around you.

  53. I’ve been a waitress for almost six years, and I have to say that everything you said ring true. Love your comments! :)

  54. You are a waiter. Your job is to wait on customers. If you aren’t going to do it properly, perhaps find another profession, no?

    Glad you won’t ever be my waiter. You sound bloody incompetent, not to mention bitter. It’s hardly we paying customers faults, that your skill set only allows you to be a waiter.

    Cheer up and do your job properly love, because *gasp* you might actually derive some pleasure in a job well done! But let me guess, you have to be a wanker because you aren’t paid minimum wage and rely on tips, right?

    Pft! Rubbish. I live in Oslo, Norway and we don’t tip yet as a general rule, our quality of service far surpasses the quality of service I have ever received in the States. Tipping is a plus for a job well done and you certainly don’t seem like you do yours well.

  55. Pingback: Waiter, there’s a distortion in my headline « Changing Way

  56. wow, some people need to calm the hell down. Seems like the majority havent ever been on the front lines…

  57. Hi Steve. You’re the best.

    This Buschel dude is an idiot, and anybody who has the least bit of understanding of how a restaurant operates knows that. “Yes Madam; I’ll steam the label off that bottle of Woodbridge for you. Fuck yeah! No problem! Okey dokey! You betcha you guys!” Bruce is in for a rude awakening.

    KTF is right about the 129 Cardinal Sins; except that Ben Chekroun equally addresses the entire restaurant – level tables & chairs, perfect linens & silverware, hosting procedures, working lightbulbs – as well as table maintenance, guest relations, and that I should not appear to be too hungover (to name just a few). As you know, there is a lot more that goes into executing a successful dinner service than what most people realize. It’s supposed to be that way. It’s like a magic show, and if everybody knew how the trick worked it wouldn’t be that special anymore.

    These standards of service are easy to execute when a restaurant has a silent owner, employs experienced management, is making money, and is fully staffed, fully stocked and fully prepared for anything that might happen – including the second coming of Christ.

    Most of the time it ain’t like that, and we’re often left to improvise (read: bullshit our way through it). It’s frustrating to us as professional servers when we don’t have the tools/support to do our job properly.

    It’s equally frustrating to deal with ill-informed, self-entitled fucktards who think they know it all and yet haven’t walked 1/2 a mile in our non-slip shoes while battling plantar fasciitis (read: 85% of the folks who have commented on the original story over at the NY Times). So yeah, we take full advantage of one the few perks that come with being a professional server – complaining.

    Bruce is one of these fucktards. He and his manifesto and his fish only restaurant can suck my balls.

    @Lisa from Oslo can suck my balls AND a big fat Viking dick.

    @Waiting: I want to party with you.

    Steve, you are still the best. Congrats on the book and your new life! I would be totally happy if I ever had the pleasure of having you as my server!

  58. One thing restaurant staffers should do:

    Take my order and bring me my food and take it away, politely and kindly.

    One thing restaurant staffers should never do:

    Fail to take my order and bring me my food and take it away, politely and kindly.

    What restaurant patrons should always do:

    Appreciate when restaurant staffers take their order and bring them their food and take it away, politely and kindly.

    Lots shorter; lots simpler.

  59. I’ve been a server for 10+ years and while I agreed with a few of Bruce Buschel’s “rules”, most of them I laughed at. I was glad I don’t work for him. What really struck me were the comments to the Mr. Buschel’s rules. They made me feel that us servers just can’t win…

    Some people want a friendly, chatty server. Others want a quiet, never-to-be-seen server.

    Some people want to know your name, and some don’t.

    Some people want to know the server’s favorite dishes, others could care less.

    Some people want you to take their plate the second they’re done. Some want you to wait to take it until everyone has finished eating.

    What’s a server to do?? What works for some doesn’t work for others, just as in every other scenario in life.

    The most important rule a server can know is the one I’ve lived by for years now…

    “you can’t please everyone, no matter how hard to try”

    I just try to read my tables and choose one of my multiple server personalities to fit them best and get the most money out of them.

  60. I’ve been a server for 10+ years and while I agreed with a few of Bruce Buschel’s “rules”, most of them I laughed at. I was glad I don’t work for him. What really struck me were the comments to the Mr. Buschel’s rules. They made me feel that us servers just can’t win…

    Some people want a friendly, chatty server. Others want a quiet, never-to-be-seen server.

    Some people want to know your name, and some don’t.

    Some people want to know the server’s favorite dishes, others could care less.

    Some people want you to take their plate the second they’re done. Some want you to wait to take it until everyone has finished eating.

    What’s a server to do?? What works for some doesn’t work for others, just as in every other scenario in life.

    The most important rule a server can know is the one I’ve lived by for years now…

    “you can’t please everyone, no matter how hard to try”

    I just try to read my tables and choose one of my multiple server personalities that will make them happy and get the most money out of them.

  61. Steve, I love your blog (this post included.) Suzanne, I share your attitude, all tables are different. To Lisa from Oslo: I’ll wager that most servers work for 4 to 6 hours a day, 4 or 5 days a week in one or more restaurants. The fact that you assume that this is the only “skill set” that I (or any of my brothers and sisters,) posess only heightens our elitist a-hole radar. I’d be delighted to hear what you think we do with the remaining 18-20 hours of each day. (PRETTY sure it’s not responding to a blog that we’ve clearly never read.)

  62. The fact that the NY Times gave this first time restaurantaur a chance to act as an expert on being the “Boss” of a restaurant, is an example of the awesome decision-making that is causing their subscription numbers to plunge into the toilet. This guy is one of those how-hard-can-it-be pricks that thinks he’s an expert since he’s been a customer before. We’ll see how many of these rules he sticks with, when he realizes the majority are costing him profits and staffers.

    I can’t wait for his blog entry about Gordon Ramsey coming in to help his failing business. I hope he cries.

  63. Lisa from Oslo, Norway, it is common to tip 15% in the US since servers do not make a living wage. Just wanted you to know since many Europeans are seen as “cheap” when eating out in the US and not leaving a tip.

  64. Actually, econbiker, and Lisa (aka VCS) from Oslo: tip 20% of the total bill for good service.

    Also, econbiker, we do make a living wage. We make that by busting our asses and receiving a 20% tip on the total bill before any discount/coupon/promotion. Neat-o!

    Fuck Gordon Ramsay walking into Bruce’s destined-to-fail fish only joint. I want G-Man to walk into my apartment, pop his shirt off and … um … give me a high five.

    I still want to party with Waiting.
    I REALLY want to hang out with Suzanne. You humble me woman, you really do. Spanx! (STFU paddle? wow! you rule.)
    Steve, you’re still the best.

  65. I read that story and thought this guy wants robots, not waitstaff. If I had a waiter who was that reserved, I would probably wonder if I had done something to make them angry or at least unhappy with me as a customer. Clearly I need to go to a dining establishment where there is more emphasis on fun than this guy’s place.

  66. I guess #51 will be “don’t forget to offer every guest a rim job”

    what a fucking douche bag, i bet he’s never waited tables. maybe he should try dealing with some of the bullshit that i put up with.

  67. Yeah, his only restaurant experience is that he is a CUSTOMER. Judging from many of the comments here, would only want 1 or 2 of you as my server.

  68. Cheers, Nightmare 85. You have a typo/grammatical error in the word “typo’s.” Also, “then” should be “than.” Further, you failed to capitalize the first word in the second sentence and then ended all three sentences with an exclamation mark.

  69. As a longtime reader and fan, I just have one thing to say: if this was the first post I’d ever read by Steve, I wouldn’t have stayed.

    Hoping this was just down to a bad day…

  70. I normally really love your entries, but I found this one very off-putting. It was extremely snide. The article could have been well-critiqued without resorting to high school level cattiness. You’re better than that.

  71. To No. 17 Do not take an empty plate from one guest while others are still eating the same course.

    There is no discussion about this! Never take the empty plate before everyone is finished. The comment on this point reflects the commentor’s lack of education.

  72. I think #7 is regional. When I moved from NYC to Austin 4 years ago, I was surprised at how much more I enjoyed eating out when servers would talk to me. If I wanted an automaton to take my order, I’d be talking to the clown…

  73. My husband and I have owned a restaurant for 11 years. He’s the chef, I’m the front. We seat 60. Some of this stuff is common sense and most servers I have worked with have it. My servers are warm and fun and that is expected at our place. After 11 years we count many patrons as our friends and hugs are expected at the door and table. Not all rules apply across the board. A few things, waiting for the whole party to arrive. On many occasions I will have a confirmed party and I arrange the tables accordingly.I seat the first few guests at a big table and after 45 minutes it is clear the last half isn’t coming. In the mean time the smaller party has spread out over 3 tables so now I have a table of 5 taking up 25% of the restaurant. I would much rather seat them in the bar or that being full bring them drinks while we wait to get a better count.
    As to asking “you had the crawfish etouffée”? People do move around, sometimes they end up at someone else’s table and on a busy night it can be confusing. I can’t imagine anyone being put off by that.
    I have always treated my patrons as I would want to be treated and I can’t stand to have an empty dirty plate in front of me while waiting for my chatty friend to take the first bite of her dinner. Take them away!
    Maybe it’s just me but I don’t think I’d want to work let alone eat in such an uptight, sterile enviroment.
    On the other hand, our restaurant probably isn’t for everyone but purple isn’t either.

  74. Is #17 a law or something? I can’t imagine anyone enjoying a night out with a dirty plate in front of them. Is it just something you have too endure for society’s sake? Like corsets?

  75. Most of these complaints are from lazy assed servers that don’t have a stake in the business. I hope you never work for me.

  76. I don’t know what is with managers, dictating what is good service and what is not. If you recieve good tips, 20% of your sales or higher you are doing a good job. People generally do not tip high if they r unsatisfied by the service.

  77. Lisa from Oslo…thanks for the comments…your bile warms my heart.

    If McDonald employees legally have to be paid minimum wage, there’s no two ways about it, those of you who choose to work at establishments were you aren’t being paid minimum wage, are lacking some type of skill set.

    But carry on, flame away, bash my elitism, revel in your less-than-minimum wage careers. It’s a happy world for all!

  78. Geez. I thought Buschels’ rules were a bit stuffy, but mostly conducive to getting a good tip for a job well-done from people like me. Whoever runs this blog, though… remind me never to eat at the restaurant they work for.

  79. Too f-ing funny. I think you revealed too much truth about eating out.

    Please post a list of 100 things a customer should never do to avoid extra throat oysters in the soup.

  80. I’m exhausted now. I couldn’t even think of reading Part II. I’m so glad I knew I’d be a crappy server before I even tried. I’m so glad I developed computer skills early. I don’t know how you guys do it.

  81. So Mr Waiter reveals his true colors and deleted my comments… Makes me sorry I spent money on his book if I’m not allowed to express an honest opinion.

  82. To all the Empty Platers: The customer is always right- unless he isn’t. You do not take away the plates until the last person is finished so as to not make that person feel rushed or out of place. There may be a reason for his dalliance. Problem is that the rest of the party needs to play along, especially the table’s host, from whom the server should take his clues.

    If the host indicates the plates should be cleared: you clear the plates. If there is no discernable host and the rest of the table is glaring: you clear the plates. Otherwise leave them there. If one doesn’t know how to behave when dining out it’s a yp- not an mp.

    What is intolerable (to my delicate sensibilities anyhoo) is to serve the next course while any customer is still working on the previous- unless specifically asked to do so. Do not ask, but keep an eye peeled.

    Granted this will usually only apply to fine (or at least pricey) dining and that the house provides enough plates. btw: TGI Friday’s is not fine dining even if they have enough plates.

    re: flirting and touching. Hooters is also not fine dining. Sometimes flirting and touching are part of the job description. Figure out where you work and work your tables accordingly. If your boss is giving handjobs to customers you’re likely gonna need some ChapStick. Ditto if he has a stick up his ass, like Mr. Buschel and a few commenters here, though the application may differ.

    Lisa@Eurotrash. Learn the culture before shooting your mouth off. Try not to be the Ugly European.

  83. “But occasionally you’ll run into a schizoid patron who’ll never makes eye contact with you. Freaky.”

    Hey, you know what? Fuck you. My husband has Asperger’s and finds it very difficult to make eye contact with close friends and family when he’s talking, much less a complete stranger in a restaurant. He doesn’t even like ME looking him in the eye for long. And calling people “schizoid” is patently offensive anyway.

  84. i,ve spent three hours last night,and three hours today reading both these columns.
    there was a lot i learned.

    what ive noticed after over 13 years in the
    business is the insane when to take the dishs

    invariably the ones who complain the most
    about taking dishs before everyone is done
    are the slow eaters.
    1. because it points out there lack of social
    awarness.they expect everyone to bow to them.
    2.they eat extremely slow to jerk off there
    fellow diners.a way to control something when they cant control everything.
    3.this is for the gabbers.what your all done,im not even rude of all of you.

    unless you have a medical condition or are elderly,fast eaters slow down,slow eaters speed up.
    meet in the middle.

    thanks for the chance to rant regards

  85. Wow. we had the original posted in our service station at work. Even in our corporate environment, we found this guy obnoxious. We all read it and found it haughty and creepy, it certainly sounds as though the author either has the brownest nose on the planet, is utterly gratified by self-abasement, or has never endured the suffering of being a server. Sounds like your sterotypical “IhaveanMBAinHospitalityMgmtfromCornellandanArmanisuit” kind of restauranteur.

  86. Pingback: NY Times list of do’s and don’ts illustrates divide between guests and service industry - The Jolly Inebriate

  87. I find people who make decisions all day do not want to make decisions while dining out. It is the difference between being a waiter and an order taker. When you are in the business long enough, you know people who will come to see you and will make magic happen without mentioning anything. As a co-worker once said, “good service is like air: invisible and everywhere”. Sadly, it is hard to teach. I am 50 years ol and I beat my head against the wall. I was taught by the strictest of european gm’s but in this day and age, pretty trumps everything. The restaurant manager schools that turn out managers have no idea what service is about. I wish you new kids good luck every place now wants to use an applebees mentality

  88. Your comments on his list are funny.
    Other people’s comments are odd. I think they are taking this too seriously. I’m not sure why they think you didn’t get number 20. I think a light-hearted cynicism is a good way to keep your sanity as a waiter.

  89. I love how some people are saying did this guy ever actually work in a resturaunt?? I just want to laugh and say of course he did most of this shit this guy says gets said in the back of the house daily. Most of the stuff he writes sounds like any resturaunt I’ve worked in.

  90. Steam the wine label off the bottle?? You’ve GOT to be kidding!! Who in the hell has that kind of time during a dinner shift? I feel sorry for anyone working under this guy.

  91. Steve, I love your work, but your blog, and especially your book, have multiple typos. Just one example:

    19. Offer guests butter and/or olive oil with their bread. Wait a minute. I THOUGH Bloomberg banned all fats from New York City!

    I’m wondering if the publishing company had a proof-reader?

  92. I’ve never worked in a restaurant.

    To all those folks who think wait staff like him are assholes:

    Q: Who fucking made them that way?

    A: Motherfuckers like you with an over-inflated sense of entitlement.

  93. I love this more than sliced bread. I have so many favorites i can’t name them… Amazing and thank you for saying them out loud…. A bartenders version is soon to follow..

  94. You are an idiot. This how you can tell when someone is just a server verse someone who actually cares about their career.

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  96. I have had receptionists say, “JUST one?” where “one?” would be sufficient. As for asking, “Is everything okay?” I think it is inappropriate between placing an order and receiving it. After you’ve had a chance to taste, i.e. evaluate if it is okay, then and only then is it appropriated to ask if it is okay.
    Sometimes when a waitress asks if everything is okay and I haven’t been served,I ask them what do I have that could be okay or not okay. Some of them don’t get it. Some do.

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