100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do (Part 2) WTF?

Here we go again!

100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do (Part 2)

By BRUCE BUSCHEL

This is the second half of the 100 do’s and don’ts from last week’s post. Again, this list is for one particular restaurant, mine, which is under construction in Bridgehampton, N.Y., and will, with any luck, open this spring. I realize that every deli needs a wisecracking waiter, most pizza joints can handle heavy metal, and burgers always taste better when delivered by a server with tattoos and tongue piercing(s).

Not even a hundred suggestions can cover all the bases, so one is grateful for the many comments following the 50, including striking “you guys” from the restaurant lexicon and making sure the alcohol order is taken lickety-split. Thanks for all of the help.

51. If there is a service charge, alert your guests when you present the bill. It’s not a secret or a trick. I agree. But if your customer’s been a hard drinking obnoxious fool go for the double tip! That’s when a waiter writes the total (Including the automatic gratuity) on the back of the check and circles it – often scrawling smiley faces and effusive “Thank yous!” as a distraction. Then when the inebriated customer stupidly adds a tip on top of it you shout “Ka-Ching!” Dishonest, I know, but occasionally satisfying. The lesson here? Always examine your bill!

52. Know your menu inside and out. If you serve Balsam Farm candy-striped beets, know something about Balsam Farm and candy-striped beets. And know all those brand name adjectives are usually marketing bullshit.

53. Do not let guests double-order unintentionally; remind the guest who orders ratatouille that zucchini comes with the entree. Am I wrong or is a simple side of zucchini different than ratatouille? Besides, I like ratatouille. Got a problem with that? Fucking food police.

54. If there is a prix fixe, let guests know about it. Do not force anyone to ask for the “special” menu. Agreed. If you don’t tell little old people about that prix fixe they’ll beat you to death with their walkers.

55. Do not serve an amuse-bouche without detailing the ingredients. Allergies are a serious matter; peanut oil can kill. (This would also be a good time to ask if anyone has any allergies.) Waiters are neither physicians or psychics. It’s a customer’s responsibility to tell the waiter if they’re suffering from a food allergy. Should we start offering Benadryl as an amuse-bouche? Next thing you know we’ll be running pre-dining blood tests on the patrons.

56. Do not ignore a table because it is not your table. Stop, look, listen, lend a hand. (Whether tips are pooled or not.) But what happens if the restaurant owner chronically understaffs his or her restaurant to save on overhead? Take care of your own tables! When the shit hits the fan it’s every waiter for himself.

57. Bring the pepper mill with the appetizer. Do not make people wait or beg for a condiment. Ah yes, the infamous pepper mill. Comes in handy as a club. Just think of the customers as baby seals.

58. Do not bring judgment with the ketchup. Or mustard. Or hot sauce. Or whatever condiment is requested. Do all your snickering in the back. “That guy wanted ketchup on his duck! What a tool!”

59. Do not leave place settings that are not being used. Unless the customer thinks their imaginary date’s eating with them.

60. Bring all the appetizers at the same time, or do not bring the appetizers. Same with entrees and desserts. This only works when the kitchen’s got their act together. If an app’s getting cold while I’m waiting for the chef to whip up the other dishes I’m bringing it out while it’s still hot.

61. Do not stand behind someone who is ordering. Make eye contact. Thank him or her. But occasionally you’ll run into a schizoid patron who’ll never makes eye contact with you. Freaky.

62. Do not fill the water glass every two minutes, or after each sip. You’ll make people nervous. True. With all these rules a waiter in Buschel’s restaurant will probably be nervous enough as it is.

62(a). Do not let a glass sit empty for too long. Use this as opportunity to up-sell more overpriced bottled water!

63. Never blame the chef or the busboy or the hostess or the weather for anything that goes wrong. That’s because chefs will always find a way to make it the waiter’s fault. Bastards.

64. Specials, spoken and printed, should always have prices. If you have to ask you can’t afford it. Specials are almost always more expensive than printed entrees. Use your head.

65. Always remove used silverware and replace it with new. Especially when that kid jeeped up on Ritalin’s been throwing his forks on the floor every ten seconds.

66. Do not return to the guest anything that falls on the floor — be it napkin, spoon, menu or soy sauce. But if a guy lets a condom slip out of his pocket be sure to return it wearing thick Hazmat gloves. Drugs on the floor? You just got your tip in advance!

67. Never stack the plates on the table. They make a racket. Shhhhhh. I prefer to deal them out like playing cards.

68. Do not reach across one guest to serve another. I used to work with a waiter who liked to “accidentally” clip obstreperous customers in the head with a tray. He was my hero.

69. If a guest is having trouble making a decision, help out. If someone wants to know your life story, keep it short. If someone wants to meet the chef, make an effort. Here’s a a restaurant axiom I’ve always lived by – a waiter controls the table. Time is money. If a customer’s dithering use your Jedi skills to plunge into their mind and make them order something. If someone wants to meet the chef? Make sure he’s not drunk, banging the hostess and has wiped the cocaine residue from underneath his nose. And if a a customer wants to know my life story? My book is available at fine retailers for about ten bucks. Autographs are extra.

70. Never deliver a hot plate without warning the guest. And never ask a guest to pass along that hot plate. But if that Ritalin brat wants to touch the plate? Consider it a teachable moment.

71. Do not race around the dining room as if there is a fire in the kitchen or a medical emergency. (Unless there is a fire in the kitchen or a medical emergency.) I worked in a place where the owner always blocked the fire exits with equipment and extra tables. If the restaurant caught fire we all knew we we’re gonna burn. Why run?

72. Do not serve salad on a freezing cold plate; it usually advertises the fact that it has not been freshly prepared. I had the reverse problem at a restaurant I once worked at. Because the owner was so cheap we never had enough salad plates. When it got crazy the salad guy would arrange the salad on plates red hot from the dishwasher. You better believe I threw those greens into the blast chiller.

73. Do not bring soup without a spoon. Few things are more frustrating than a bowl of hot soup with no spoon. How about a straw? I like the taste of plastic!

74. Let the guests know the restaurant is out of something before the guests read the menu and order the missing dish. And take away the satisfaction of getting a guest all hyped up about a dish and then saying “Oh, so sorry. We’re out of that?” Life is about small pleasures.

75. Do not ask if someone is finished when others are still eating that course. Use that moment to sell more booze!

76. Do not ask if a guest is finished the very second the guest is finished. Let guests digest, savor, reflect. How much reflection does a customer need? In 24 hours we all know where that food’s going.

77. Do not disappear. Unless you’re getting that handjob from the three martini cougar.

78. Do not ask, “Are you still working on that?” Dining is not work — until questions like this are asked. What you should say is “Are you still enjoying your entree?” That’s waiterspeak for “You done yet?”

79. When someone orders a drink “straight up,” determine if he wants it “neat” — right out of the bottle — or chilled. Up is up, but “straight up” is debatable. Sad but true. I once ordered a dirty martini “up” got warm vodka and olive juice “neat” in a rocks glass. Disgusting.

80. Never insist that a guest settle up at the bar before sitting down; transfer the tab. A restaurant should have a policy to transfer bar tabs to checks in place before they open their doors for the first time.

81. Know what the bar has in stock before each meal. Waiters should know. They dip into the bar’s “stock” all the time.

82. If you drip or spill something, clean it up, replace it, offer to pay for whatever damage you may have caused. Refrain from touching the wet spots on the guest. Just tell that three-martini cougar the “wet spot” will come out with salt and club soda.

83. Ask if your guest wants his coffee with dessert or after. Same with an after-dinner drink. If they’re Americans they’ll want coffee with dessert. If they’re Europeans? They’ll want coffee afterwards and you’ll know your tip’s gonna suck.

84. Do not refill a coffee cup compulsively. Ask if the guest desires a refill. Control the customers’ caffeine intake. They’re usually uptight enough as it is.

84(a). Do not let an empty coffee cup sit too long before asking if a refill is desired. And if you do refill it, give them decaf.

85. Never bring a check until someone asks for it. Then give it to the person who asked for it. But if the table’s camping out and the restaurant manger is breathing down your neck because he’s got a line of hungry customers spilling out onto the sidewalk – drop that check! Turn and burn baby!

86. If a few people signal for the check, find a neutral place on the table to leave it. Drop it like a hockey puck and run!

87. Do not stop your excellent service after the check is presented or paid. True. Rapid personality changes are usually indicative of a borderline personality disorder. Many hostesses suffer from this.

88. Do not ask if a guest needs change. Just bring the change. And if they’ve been a pain the ass give them a wad of singles reeking of stripper crotch.

89. Never patronize a guest who has a complaint or suggestion; listen, take it seriously, address it. Yeah, I’ll admit I had a problem with this.

90. If someone is getting agitated or effusive on a cellphone, politely suggest he keep it down or move away from other guests. Buy one of those cell phone jamming devices. It’ll also stop the waiters from compulsively texting and watching porn on their iPhones.

91. If someone complains about the music, do something about it, without upsetting the ambiance. But how about when waiters complain about the music? I was forced to listen to Nessun Dorma so many times that it induces seizures when I hear it now!

92. Never play a radio station with commercials or news or talking of any kind. Call me blue collar, but I always thought a TV above a restaurant’s bar added a touch of class to the joint.

93. Do not play brass — no brassy Broadway songs, brass bands, marching bands, or big bands that feature brass, except a muted flugelhorn. I think Bruce had a traumatic incident while at band camp.

94. Do not play an entire CD of any artist. If someone doesn’t like Frightened Rabbit or Michael Bublé, you have just ruined a meal. If they don’t like the Bob Dylan CD I’ve got playing, screw ‘em. The man is a god.

95. Never hover long enough to make people feel they are being watched or hurried, especially when they are figuring out the tip or signing for the check. I agree with this. But when you’ve got to turn that table, hovering with a homicidal gleam in your eye can be a valuable weapon.

96. Do not say anything after a tip — be it good, bad, indifferent — except, “Thank you very much.” But when you get home input all your cheap tippers into the “Shitty Tipper Database.” Oh damn! Bitterwaitress took it down. Coward!

97. If a guest goes gaga over a particular dish, get the recipe for him or her. That’ll go over real well with the chef on a busy night Bruce. Have all the recipes for the items on your restaurant’s menu pre-printed so your customers can make it at home.

98. Do not wear too much makeup or jewelry. You know you have too much jewelry when it jingles and/or draws comments. You are a soulless automation without a personality. Don’t forget that.

99. Do not show frustration. Your only mission is to serve. Be patient. It is not easy. That’s why waiters drink while working! It’s for your protection folks!

100. Guests, like servers, come in all packages. Show a “good table” your appreciation with a free glass of port, a plate of biscotti or something else management approves. Trust me, it’s more fun to give the customer something management doesn’t approve of! Just don’t get caught. Free scotch always upped my tips.

Bonus Track: As Bill Gates has said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” (Of course, Microsoft is one of the most litigious companies in history, so one can take Mr. Gates’s counsel with a grain of salt. Gray sea salt is a nice addition to any table.)

Microsoft listens to their unhappy customers? Window’s Vista. Enough said.

I know I ragged on you Bruce but believe me when I say I never want to see a restaurant go under. Not even yours! Waiters need all the jobs the can get. And who knows? Maybe I’ll visit your restaurant and review it on my blog! My best wishes for your success.


Comments

100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do (Part 2) WTF? — 66 Comments

  1. Miya #375 from the NYT Comments said it best;

    “I don’t understand the whinging vitriol from servers who feel insulted that they are expected to serve. No one forced you to take such a crummy job and it’s not my fault that you have chosen to be complicit in your own exploitation. It’s not my responsibility to subsidise your existence beyond the 15% of my tab, if you have earned it, 20% if you have gone beyond my expectations. I’m not made of money, either.
    If you have done nothing to earn it, that’s not my fault either. Look for another job if you’re so seething with resentment you can’t even carry out the minimal duties of service and politeness expected of you. From the way some of you behave while hustling for tips, it looks as if porn might suit you better.
    And yes, I waited tables one summer, too.”

    Followed closely by ACW #237

    “Chris A @ #197 (and the other unhappy and hostile servers): You seriously need to reconsider your line of work. Do you think the rest of us in other professions and trades don’t encounter rude, arrogant, ignorant, and/or obnoxious clients/customers? Not everyone is temperamentally able to shrug it off, which you have to learn to do. Most jobs are lousy. The boor has the money and you don’t. Life is unfair. Deal with it. You don’t have to be Uriah Heep, but you should remember that yours is not the only eatery in town and you are not the only person your boss could hire to do this job.

    I blame the “self-esteem” movement in which these 20somethings were told from the day of their birth that they were the centre of the universe and were given gold stars just for existing, reminded always that they were “special” and catered to. Now they’re out in the world of work and this is backfiring. Surprise Surprise and Good Grief.

    I agree that American restaurants should adopt the European practice of adding a service charge to the bill. It should be posted at the entrance. There is, or should be, always the option to tip in addition.”

  2. Did you actually write this and the part 1? I really enjoyed your blog in the past, but these two things are just you acting like an a**hole. Not that funny.

  3. Lisa, I don’t want to see a service charge added separately to the bill, but I’d gladly see restaurants start paying their staff a proper wage and then including the cost of doing so in the prices they charge me.

  4. I’m not sure why everyone hates on waiter about these comments. I think that they’re funny and true. Fact is that Mr. Bruschel should read some books by customer service pros like Danny Meyer. If he did he would understand that as a boss, if you look after your employees and treat them with dignity, respect, and love, they would bend over backwards and do the same for their guests. In fact the better you treat your staff the better they will treat your guests and your business. If you create a great work environment for your staff you will attract top-notch people who will not need these tedious and obnoxious rules.

    100 things restaurant staffers should never do is a joke. Mr. Bruschel will end up attracting low-level degenerates who will need a couple hundred more rules in order to keep them in line. This is a man who clearly has a low level of respect for his staff. Bosses like this cannot even run a hotdog stand let alone a restaurant. I bet anyone a hundred bucks this restaurateur either smartens up or closes his doors within a year.

  5. I think this is funny. It drives me nuts that servers and bartenders don’t know up drinks from neat drinks. Up are usually cold in a cocktail glass not over ice. Neat usually refers to the drink poured right out of the bottle. It simple bar terms.

  6. Yeah, I don’t think Steve’s out of line with this at all. A business that kisses up to its customers at the expense of its employees will have lots of customer service issues, and a major turnover problem. *cough*Disney*cough* A business that kisses up to its employees won’t have any problem with its customers, because people who are genuinely enjoying their job are willing to put in the extra effort that makes the customer’s experience enjoyable as well.

  7. Some of these long-winded naysayers should think about starting up their own blogs… Lighten up, people. Life’s way too short to argue with everybody you don’t agree with. Just sayin…

  8. I have many thoughts on Buschel’s list (as I work in the industry), but think it wise to direct you to my favorite video blog right now – a waiter on YouTube who says what so many of us in the industry think and feel.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/YourDailyTip

    He’s sort of the Waiter Rant of YouTube! Whereas Buschel teaches waiters how to do their job better (at least in his eyes), this waiter teaches people how to be better customers, and what to look out for when they are dining. He’s funny, nice, angry, cute, bitter, and charming!

    I’ve seen his channel grow in a matter of months from 20 subscribers to over 650… but I would like to see it grow even more. He deserves it, I think!

  9. I love the stacking plates one. It’s like he talked to my husband. When we finish a meal, especially on a tiny table, I stack the plates to make it easier for our busperson or waitperson to take it away. Bad habit I got into when I was in high school traveling overseas and our group finish our meals, pass our plates and silverware down to the end of the table, neatly stacked so our waitstaff would think we were nice Americans rather than Ugly Americans.

  10. So, Lisa, what you are saying is, you couldn’t come up with an original thought or comment, so you copied and pasted 2 really long ones from another thread. I get it. You go ahead and give yourself a nice pat on the back for speaking your (?) mind, lol…

  11. Professional servers are very very good at what they do, and we know more about the art of fine dining service than anyone – especially Bruce Buschel. Professional servers are in high demand and can earn quite a living. No professional worth her salt would work for this self-righteous idiot.

    Why is he so obsessed with giving away so much free shit? That’s an awesome business plan. He has no idea how to run a restaurant or a staff, although he should get a fucking trophy for “Outstanding Micromanager”.

  12. # 93. a muted flugelhorn…..really had to laugh at that bit of micro-managing. if you’re slammed, are you really going to put yourself further in the weeds by actually paying attention to that?….

  13. This is for Lisa and all others who just don’t seem to understand the ” the whinging vitriol from servers who feel insulted that they are expected to serve.” It’s vitriol isn’t from the fact that waitstaff is expected to serve, it’s from condescending patrons who feel that the waiter is beneath them simply because of the nature of the job. I’m not a waiter, but I do serve food in a hospital that has “room service”. Let me tell you, put a menu in front of people and many (not all thankfully) become entitlement freaks. People complain when it comes early, late, without something that’s not on the ticket (either because they didn’t order it or it’s not on their diet.) portion size or any number of things that I can’t control. I can only imagine how much worse it is for a real waiter who has to deal with some entitlement jerk who thinks he’s better then the person who is waiting on him simply because he’s a lawyer and not a waiter.
    Futhermore, have you read the title of the blog that you’re reading? It’s called Waiter rant, not waiter love. People sometimes need a place to safely vent a little steam from a frustrating job. If you don’t like it start your own damn blog.

  14. Never bring a check until someone asks for it.

    I never understood this. In many restaurants, they bring out your dessert, then disappear. How am I suppose to leave when you won’t even give me the opportunity to ask, let alone deliver the check? I’m sure they don’t want me getting up and interrupting them on the floor or bypassing them for the hostess in order to beg for my check.

  15. “84. Do not refill a coffee cup compulsively. Ask if the guest desires a refill.”

    As a small child, I remember a waiter filling my mother’s half-filled teacup with coffee when she wasn’t looking. Yeah, asking would have helped.

  16. This is great, very funny! you all need to lighten up! These days 15% would be a decent tip, but all you cheap bastards leave 10% and 5%….listen,DON’T go out to eat if you can’t afford the Waiter!!!! It’s part of the meal otherwise go to McDonalds

  17. Ah the internal monologue… I say these things all the time when I read about how I should run my store… its much easier to write about it… get off your butts and actually do it :-)

  18. I love your site; not sure if I’ve ever commented!

    For the most part, I can understand your responses to these often inane mandates of this guy Bruce, who seems to want to live in the best of all possible worlds. Well, that’s just not possible! Never gonna happen.

    My specific commentary:

    66) Drugs on the floor! That reminded me of when I worked as a medical secretary/ assistant and one patient brought in a single pill of each of the meds he was on. On his way out, he dropped a couple on the floor, and was long gone before I had a chance to clean the exam room. I recognized one pill to be a 20 of oxycontin. Let’s just say I picked it up off the floor…

    68) Thank you for using the word “obstreperous” quite well in a sentence.

    70) I hate it when waiters warn me about hot plates. I know we live in a litigious society (much to my chagrin – I detest this about America), but never has a plate been too hot for me to handle. Maybe I have asbestos hands, but that whole litany makes me cringe. Admittedly, I’m a rather small woman, but still. I cook all the time at home, and routinely burn myself. What’s the big deal about a hot plate? In Europe no one warns you about a hot plate. People need to fire a neuron on their own every now and then. I don’t sue as a hobby. Don’t treat me like a moron.

    73) About soup, all I can say is that my biggest peeve is when it arrives at any temperature less than scalding. Because I always specify that I want my soup very hot.

    78) I feel rushed most of the time as a diner in most restaurants in the US. It wasn’t until I visited Europe that I realized this. My fiance and I do not order on the cheap – generally we get at least one bottle of good wine, we order bottled water, pre-dinner drinks, appetizers, entrees, post-dinner drinks. I liken the experience to renting a piece of real estate for the duration of our stay. I don’t like to be rushed, and I abhor the attempted clearing of plates before we are both finished. I want to swat away the waiter’s hand! (And next time I may do just that…)
    Don’t rush me, and you will be rewarded.
    Fortunately, we have several restaurants that know us by now, so this is less of an issue. But please. What do we have to do? Order $15,000 worth of booze right off the bat?

    93) Brass? Wtf is wrong with this guy? Who cares?

    97) Agreed. Write to your local paper if you want the recipe, or email the restaurant directly. That’s no responsibility of the server.

    Again, love your blog and can’t wait to read your next book. Sorry about the loss of Brown Eyed Girl, but there are more fish in the sea (though I’m not sure if fish have brown eyes…) Lobster do! (or are they black?)

  19. Candystripe beets suck; I don’t care if they are heirloom. The common red tastes better.

    I ran into the not-able-to-transfer-tab business for the first time last week. There’s no good excuse for it; they actually would have let us eat in the bar, order from the full menu; but we preferred the dining room because it wasn’t full of giant flatscreens playing football games at 150 decibels. And this at a place that has been in business for 30 years.

  20. These addendums to the “rules” are both hilarious and true.
    And to the lady who supported the comment about whoever “waited tables for one summer”- yes, no one forced us into these jobs. We picked them for one reason or another. But that one summer obviously didnt teach her the true depravity that comes along with waiting. No one forced me into it, but no one will let me out either as for some reason servers are undesirable job candidates in every other profession. You’ve obviously never experienced the soul crushing experience of self-important a-holes rotating through your section for an entire evening, feeling like they dont owe you anything and that you in fact should feel priveleged to be in their presence because you are obviously too stupid or un-qualified to do anything beside wait tables, or why else would you be doing it, when in fact, you are in school trying to support yourself around a demanding class schedule and a 9-to-5 simply isnt an option, and you are “rewarded” by these people with 10 percent tips all night no matter HOW amazing you are because, in their opinion, if you wanted to make more money, you’d get a better job, right? Or for some reason, in this modern and informed era, they think you make more than 2.13 an hour. Which you dont.
    And I’m not some spoiled brat who thinks everyone should pat me on the back for doing simple every day activites. Yes, I dress myself, and it’s not noteworthy. What I am is someone who’s worked hard to maintain a cheery personality and give my guests everything within reason when they are at my table. I am someone who can make you feel like the most important people in the whole world, get your order right, give you whatever type of service you want, and still get NOTHING in return. I am someone who does my job right, and does it well, and has never seen anything beyond minimal rewards. I will have the highest sales and the most glowing guest compliments and still not be able to pay my bills. I work hard and get frustrated when I dont see results. You would too, regardless of what your career is, if your work ethic is as high as mine.
    And dont act like a career change never crosses a servers mind. It’s a daydream of ours that gets us through any given day. Unfortunately, it’s simply not as easy as it sounds.
    Today is my first day in 8 years I can say I am not a server, and god willing, I’m never going back. Even without my experience, my mom taught me at a very young age that you never mess with people who poke you with needles or serve your food. And your attitude towards the service industry is you just begging for someone to take “special care” of your plate.
    Remember, the world needs ditch diggers too. If there were no servers, who would be responsible for your service when you want to take a night to relax? And more importantly, who would you look down upon to make yourself feel better?

  21. as a veteran waitress (10 years) and counter help at a bakerey (15 years–family owned), i have to say that this is great. if you want your server to be nice to your face, we have to say some shit behind your back, and this is one of the places we go to do this. NOT ALL PATRONS ARE ASSHOLES, but about 25% of people i would deal with on a given shift felt that they were either superior to me or that i was a servant. for me to be able to be nice to them, thoughts like the waiters would go through my head all night long. if you are offended by what steve says in this blog, you are probably part of that 25% and you should think of how you treat your server, because most of us are educated, intelligent people and for many this is a second job to support or student loans or keep us out of the red. if you are offended, just don’t read the site, it’s not for you.

  22. In regards to the poster named Courtney: I freaking love you. Lol. You hit the nail on the head when you were responding to that other poster. I was going to rant about that myself, but you did a much better job and pinpointed everything correctly. :) You’re awesome.

    I think this segment written by Mr. Bruce was more retarded than the last. I will not ask anyone if they have allergies. They should be able to tell me that and it would waste time if I did. I will not be their personal pharmacy. Just some of these things really pissed me off…I feel sorry for whoever has to work for him.

    Also, my boss was always too anal to give customers free things…so on our busy nights in the winter, if I took a hostess shift, I would make miniature hot cocoas and decorate them quite nicely to give to the waiting tables. The customers loved it. Then one day my boss caught me…Ugh…apparently me making these little mini cocoas to appease customers when I had the free time was not appreciated by her. However, the customers loved it and the waiters liked the idea so much that they would ask if i could give it to their tables whenever it got really busy. :)

  23. This site is hilarious! I love it! I have a humor site as well and I’d like to exchange links with you. Let me know if this is possible.

    Sincerely,
    Jason

  24. I once dated a guy who was the picture of #69. He could NOT make up his mind. He always made the poor server go through the specials at least twice – after the first time he would say “What was that second special?” “And what was the last one?” “The first one, that sounded kind of good, what was that?” Then…”Can I get the special #1 without cilantro and with the sauce from the third special? But with mashed potatoes instead of a vegetable?” Then….”No, I changed my mind. I’m having (cheapest item on the whole menu).”

    Then the other complaints would start. Wanted to switch tables. Found a speck on his silverware. Didn’t like sitting in a breeze. Didn’t like enchilada sauce on his enchiladas.

    I broke up with him in large part because dining with him was so incredibly painful for everyone involved – except him. He was happy as a clam wasting the server’s time.

  25. Have to disagree with you on #60. I’m not going to eat my appetiser until everyone’s is brought out and it will go cold a hell of a lot quicker on the table than it will under your heat lamp. Also it highlights to the customer that the restaurant hasn’t got its act together. You want people thinking that about your place?

    Also your comment on #64 makes you sound like a twat.

  26. I have to disagree with you about 64. People who are at a fine dining restaurant for a special occasion who are used to less fancy establishments will probably expect a special to be cheaper or comparable to the regular menu items. And do you want to be the snobby waiter who looks down on them for not understanding the price of the special? Just like it’s no fun to be looked down on by the customers when you’re the server, it really ruins a customer’s night when the waiter looks down on THEM.

  27. So customers who expect to get what they order and are paying for are now “entitlement freaks”?

    Christ on a cracker.

    I used to love ya waiter, but this is making you look like an asshole.

  28. Zayrina, the “entitlement freaks” are the customers who belive that the right to verbally abuse their waiter is included in the price of their meal. Example: After inquiring whether a customer wanted his “up” drink chilled (#79), he said to me, “what are you, stupid? Figure it out.” This person is an entitlement freak. A more appropriate answer that you might get from a customer who is not an entitlment freak, would be “yes, I would like my drink chilled.” A server’s job is to find out what you want and bring it. If simple questions elicit abusive answers from you, you are an entitlment freak.

  29. I hope that bruce’s new place plans on staying open year round. He is in for a real treat out here in the wonderful Hamptons. The #1 thing that clueless people should not do, open a restaurant in Bridgehampton in this economy with a neanderthal mentality.

  30. DO NOT refill my water glass unless I ask or confirm it is okay. I cannot stand it when waitstaff constantly refills the glass, or grabs it and refills without time for me to say no thanks. This is not just because it might feel intrusive, some people like the taste of lemon in their water, or maybe have added sugar to it. So when you refill my glass without asking and then don’t bring me more lemons, I get aggravated!

  31. People need to get a life. Why is everyone so negative?

    I mean if you don’t like it then fine but why do they have to post it? It’s more than clear that waiterrant has a large following so why add unnecessary negativity to it?

    It seems like some people just enjoy trying to bring other people down.

    I love this site and I love all your blogs. Well written or not, no one is perfect.

    Support or bugger off!

  32. Pingback: “100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do” sparks vitriol, praise | Aprons & Icons | torontolife.com/daily

  33. @ karen – why you cheap bitch. if you want lemonade order lemonade. Only the lowest tackiest trash make free lemonade with the lemon and sugars. In my ten years as a server I always knew to just flat out ignore the table doing that. if they are too cheap to order a drink they are too cheap to tip. F-em

  34. OK, this dude seriously needs to make up his mind. In number 69 he says to “help the guest out” if they’re having trouble making a decision, and the last time he said to keep your opinions and favorites to yourself because basically nobody cared. Schizoid much?

  35. 85. Never bring a check until someone asks for it

    While this might be true out in New York, it is definitely not in some parts of the country. I work in a restaurant in Milwaukee and guests always expect their server to bring the check automatically at the end of the meal. It would be considered poor, or slow service here to have to ask for the check

  36. OK, since the comments appear to have been gutted, let’s try this again:

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

    As the wife of a man with mild Aspergers I find this *DEEPLY* offensive. My husband can’t even look close friends and family in the eye, much less total strangers at a restaurant. He doesn’t even like ME to look him in the eye for long.

    And in any event calling people schizoid is patently offensive. Schizophrenia is a very serious mental illness and denigrating people with it like this disgusts me.

  37. Huh. I like and agree with almost all 100 items. Guess paying customers think differently from snarky, burned out employees (and man, were the comments on the NYT ever defensive and paranoid).

  38. “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it”?

    Fucking bullshit.

    Steve, you have your head up your ass. I’m sorry you were ever published. It’s all be downhill from there.

  39. It is true, you treat your employees well, the customers will come and keep coming. In my office, we have very little turnover, why? We are treated well. We have tons of staff wellfare events, lunches, fun days and jeans days. And as a manager said to me as we were talking about some changes that were coming up, if someone isn’t happy here, they need to look elsewhere for a job. Sure, some of the procedures are a pain but we are treated well and it is like a dysfunctional family. I can say that of all the places I have worked, this is the best. Sure I could use some more money but my boss is nice to me, my coworkers are pleasant and I have fun almost daily.

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  41. “DO NOT refill my water glass unless I ask or confirm it is okay.”

    Karen, since you are probably descended from royalty, or live off the trust fund your grand-pa-pa left, you may not be aware that if a restaurant manager sees your water glass constantly allowed to drop below half-full, some poor peon server may be out of a job, or relegated to the “hillbillies and foreign people” station for a week. We’re just trying to keep our bosses happy, and pay the rent. It isn’t our intent to ruin your life by filling your glass before the exact moment you wish it to be refilled.

    Honestly, we don’t care if you choke to death while you try to stuff as much focaccia as possible down your throat with a bone-dry water glass. We’ll pick your wallet clean while the paramedics try to revive you, and tell everyone about it at the bar after work. We just want to avoid getting chewed out by the boss and we are honestly trying to make sure that you don’t run out of water. 9.99999% of people want a full water glass. Because we are usually serving 12-16 guests at any one time, can we be forgiven for striving to do what most people want, and that which our managers want us to do?

    If you have needs that particular, may I suggest you find a handful of the finest dining establishments in your city, become a regular known by name, and show the staff how you like to be treated? Reward them by spending gobs of money and tippping like a rock star spending the record label’s money! Your water glass will get exactly the attention that you desire, and even the managers and owners will know your name. “Oh, that’s Mrs. Thorntonbiscuits and she doesn’t like her water glass refilled!”, they’ll say in hushed tones as you enter the dining room. Problem solved, I think.

  42. The more I read your blog–the less I eat out. For real. I am always polite and tip well. But your vitriolic musings—and snide comments (trying to be cool are you?) put me off.

  43. Congrats on all the snark. Hey – if you want better pay, try getting a different job. Your attitude in a perhaps a bit less justified give your high level of professional attainment. I save my 10% tips just for dicks like you.

  44. “Your attitude in a perhaps a bit less justified give your high level of professional attainment.”

    I save my instructional DVD; “Writing Sentences That Convey Content”, for high-school dropouts like you! The blog is called Waiter Rant. If you don’t want to read snarky waiters ranting, go read real estate agent rant, or salesdude rant!

    I’m planning to drop by Douchebag Blog later today and complain that they spend too much time talking about Ed Hardy shirts, pecs, leasing a BMW, and hair gel.

  45. Agree with many of your comments on the rules, but yeah — strongly disagree with the “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” comment on 64 (although I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to always list prices automatically). As mentioned, less fancy restaurants don’t necessarily have more expensive specials. And while I can guess, I don’t always know how much more different specials will be in different restaurants than the regular menu; and sometimes, even if I can afford it, I’ve used price to determine which special I’m going to get.

    62, on hovering waiters: once, I went with my parents to a relatively upscale restaurant. I ordered iced tea to drink, which came in a nice, tall bottle that the waiter opened and poured for me, leaving the bottle behind. I drank about half the glass when the waiter came by and refilled it from the bottle; it surprised me since I figured I’d refill it when the glass was empty, plus the glasses weren’t all that big, but, ok. He did the same a few more times… and then, after the third or fourth time (tiny glasses, seriously), leaned over and (paraphrasing) whispered, “You could do this yourself, you know.” Being a pretty quiet and self-conscious teen in an upscale place, I pretty much gulped down the last half of the glass each time it hit midway from that point on. And the sonofagun smiled at me whenever I refilled it myself, like I figured I would’ve done anyway…

    What I don’t get is if I did do something that bothered him that I didn’t realize, is that that just seems like the strangest “revenge” ever — it bothered me, but it also made him just seem to be kind of crazy. And if I didn’t… what???

  46. UGH #78, that’s my biggest complaint about waiter(ess)s. especially if I haven’t been working on my food for 15 minutes, and they come up to me, seeing me taking a bite, then ask “Are you still working on that?”
    The last time I went to one of my favorite chinese restaurants, the waitress set down our entree’s i got my daughter’s plate ready, and just started dishing mine out, she comes up “Are you going to need a box?”
    I told her “After i get done eating, yes, but as you can see, I’m just starting.”
    Ten minutes later, same thing, I’m cutting into my chicken, she asks “Are you still working on that?”
    I just gave her the look that asked “What do you think idiot?”
    By that point I’d only had my food on the table for 15 – 20 minutes. I felt rushed, and within the next 20 minutes it took us to finish eating, she asked us 3 more times if we were still working on our food, or needed boxes. My husband left a tip on our $20 food bill, I’m not sure how much he left, but I can assure you, it wasn’t much.
    it’s bad when a server does this. especially if the place has only 3 other diners in it. I told my husband if she came up one more time, i was going to bitch slap her. if the customer has only been sitting 30-40 minutes, with a two year old they’re trying to feed too, is it really so bad? just wondering.

  47. “Never bring a check until someone asks for it”

    As the parent of a “Ritalin brat” let me say if it is a family with kids, please ignore this advice. Please, please offer to bring the check. When the server disappears after the entrees have been served, and the “Ritalin brat” gets crazier and crazier because he/she has finished the food and is bored, the whole family just wants to GET OUT – but we need the check to do so, so please bring it. And, just FYI – well I could go on and on about how ADHD is a disability and not brattiness (even though, yes, it looks just like it). Ritalin actually will calm the kid down, not rev him/her up.

  48. Just throwing this out there… Bill Gates is one of the worst tippers ever, a buddy of mine worked @ Changs in Bellevue Wa… in which Mr Gates often visited, he never tipped over 3% ….

  49. I love how some customers look for reasons to not tip accordingly. Servers try to making every guest happy but when another guest is so demanding and asks such stupid questions they ruin it for all. I wish there boss’s didn’t pay them for there work and then they would see how it feels. Point is leave the damn 15% and if your think your server really worked hard at your table throw a few extra bucks.

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