Chef Clay's Waitstaff Post

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by admirralsdoll, Nov 22, 2002.

  1. admirralsdoll

    admirralsdoll

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    I dont really understand what Chef Clay was trying to say in his post about Waitstaff

    What are you exactly saying the waitstaff is like

    Are they just stupid people, uncaring or what

    I know myself as a waitress and future tea room owner I dont fully know what the cooks and chefs totally do but I know my job and it is to know about the food and pleasing my customers. In return most kitchens dont know what my job involves. I know from my experience the kitchen always seems to have problems with asking about food items. I know how to cook and all that but sometimes there are ligite reasons why we ask certain questions about things and no one needs to get all hyper when we do ask. All I know is that one day there needs to come a time when the kitchen staff and waitstaff can work as one and not so much against each other. The kitchen I deal with now is messed up also. Ask one person a question then they tell u to ask someone else and just goes down the line til you then find a manager who then gets it taken care of. Waste about 2 minutes of my time and theirs just because they dont wanna communicate. Now thats a crock. I am not a mean person nor do I have stupid questions or am mean to anyone in the kitchen.

    I could just go on and on on this subject and I wont.
     
  2. chefclaycollins

    chefclaycollins

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    Ahhh, so the other half does live! I was waiting for a post like this!

    Really, in all truth, I wasn't trying to bash on servers. I am married to one that is very good, after all. At the time I was merely frustrated with the way the wait staff works here. Unfortunately, as I think we all know, there are people that should NOT be waiting tables, that do! And on the other side of that, there are many people that should not be allowed to cook, that do!

    I think that it's hard for some one like you or I to go into work, and put everything we have into something, only to be slapped in the face by some dumb *** that thinks they are something they are not.

    What I would like to say, is that I hope most people don't have to go through what I (and obviously you!) are, and that if you ever become an owner/manager, don't hire people like that!

    No offense to you!
     
  3. cape chef

    cape chef

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    When you can take the pebble from my hand, then it will be time for you to...........
     
  4. chiffonade

    chiffonade

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    People don't patronize restaurants for the waitstaff (except at Hooters). They do so for the food. If the waitstaff is friendly, expedient, knowledgeable and doesn't drop the plates, they deserve tips. However, tip sharing should be mandatory and enforced by laws. It's ridiculous that a waitress can saunter home with $100 in tips on a good night and the cooks, the reason people dine at a particular restaurant, can go home with a ridiculously low hourly wage. Unfortunately, it's up to the owners of the establishment to implement such rules - but you can bet the owners who do keep their cooks a whole lot longer than those who don't.
     
  5. phoebe

    phoebe

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    I agree that what chefs are (aren't) paid is criminal. But if the FOH isn't comfortable, I'm not likely to return. A few nights ago, we went to a restaurant we'd heard some buzz about. It's not close, and, on a weeknight, traffic was pretty miserable. We had appetizers, main courses and desserts. My main course was really wonderful and my dessert was very good (yes, I shared with my husband whose food wasn't all that great). However, the hostess was very welcoming and when we paused at the two-person tables she showed us, she immediately ushered us over to more pleasant four-person tables. Our waiter was knowledgeable, attentive and interesting. We engaged him in conversation--he came from the former Czech Republic--and he added a lot to our evening. He also talked up a special regional dinner that is served every Wednesday night. The upshot is that we will brave the traffic and chance the food again because he and the hostess made the evening so enjoyable. Of course if all the food had been bad we wouldn't go back. But it wasn't uniformly wonderful either. So the FOH made the difference.

    And Admirralsdoll, you might enjoy a FOH autobiography called
    Waiting by Debra Ginsberg.

    Just my two cents. :)
     
  6. chefclaycollins

    chefclaycollins

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    Know, here's my take on FOH. I actually think that what they do is more important than the BOH. I could cook the perfect dish, and if the server taking it to the table already messed up it doesn't even matter! The fact of the matter is that most people (in my area at least) for some wierd reason, could really care less WHO cooked there food as long as some one nice brought it to them.

    The reason why I get so mad at the servers at my work is, because they only do the absolute minimum, no more. This is just laziness and I HATE that! I want some one selling my food that cares what they are doing, and knows how it was cooked! To me a person that makes the kind of money they do SHOULD!
     
  7. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    I had the pleasure of dining at a hotel restaurant one fine morning. It wasn't my choice, so I had to go along with it. They had a breakfast buffet, but the server failed to inform us that it was the only choice we had. So we wait.

    After about five minutes we figure it out, so we had over to the buffet. There were no plates at the buffet and there was one guy manning an omelet/pancake station. I had to track down the server to tell her that there weren't any plates. Meanwhile, the other members of the group were standing at the buffet waiting for plates.

    The server goes up to the cook who is busy making omelets and tells him that there aren't any plates. He says he's busy making omelets. She says he should have had plates there. He shrugs, she's for some reason, mad.

    We're still waiting.

    The server walks into the kitchen, the cook keeps making an omelet. Someone else walks up to the omelet station and orders two pancakes. The server walks out of the kitchen. She asks the cook, "we don't have a dishwasher today?"

    The cook replies "it's just me right now."

    The server walks back into the kitchen. In the meantime, we wait for our plates.

    The cook finishes one of the omelets and starts on another. "Here are some plates, he says," grabbing some from the stack he has sitting beside the burners. He hands them out one at a time. One for each of us. I'm so honored.

    Kuan
     
  8. suzanne

    suzanne

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    Ah, the eternal flame between FOH and BOH. :p

    Have a look at On the Rail, a site for restaurant professionals of all parts of the house. This kind of thread is right up their alley! Although it's probably more restrained than some of theirs! ;)
     
  9. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Here's what will get you no tip from me:

    Blaming the kitchen for the food being slow

    Telling me the food is slow coming out because it's busy

    Not coming back within a minute to check if everything's OK

    Not waiting to for me to finish chewing before I can give you an answer

    Not affording my wife the proper respect

    Talking too much about yourself

    Lying to me

    Not watching the 86 board, or not using it, or sinply having no clue about what's 86'd

    As you can see, most of proper service has to do with good manners and basic etiquette. I suggest to those who want to move to better establishments that they read a book on etiquette.

    Kuan
     
  10. admirralsdoll

    admirralsdoll

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    Thanks for all the nice stories everyone

    Hey Kuan when u say dont blame the kitchen for the food being slow and it is the kitchens fault then what should we say to a customer??

    Not starting anything just wanted to know your opinion
     
  11. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    I say don't blame anyone, whether or not it's true. Most of the time someone screwed up, but the customer does not want to hear it. You can't make it so by saying so. A lot of people think that simply saying that someone else is to blame for the screwup makes it less of screwup or something. Say something like "I'm sorry for the delay, we're doing our best. Is there anything I can do in the meantime before your meal arrives?"

    Kuan
     
  12. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    How many times have we had this discussion. The reality is that both parts are equal, you cannot have one without the other. I think were there are issues is that most of the people who are on the line and in the kitchen that is their career whereas many people in the front of the house are the exact opposite, it is very rarely someones sole desire to be a server. What I have found is that both areas depend greatly on who is in charge. If you have a lousy front of the house managers then you will probably have lousy service. Go to the source, that is were you will find most of the problems originate.
     
  13. w.debord

    w.debord

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    Off of Nickos remarks....honestly I don't ever see anyone "trained" to do thier job anymore. Do any of you?

    Everywhere I've been, I've seen that and experienced that. First day waitstaff (or what ever position) follows whom ever is on shift (good worker or not) and basicly they chat. The newbie only learns where things are and what they can assertain themselfs. The trainer doesn't "teach" how to do anything, just locations.

    This happens in every position.

    The new cook follows the old cooks example. "these waitresses are dumber then a box of rocks" is what the new guy is taught....and he proceeds to continue the tradition of the kithens attitute.

    The manager or the chef....well, they got promoted when the last guy left or got fired and they still don't know exactly what's expected of them. Heck they don't even know what their exact title is sometimes.

    On and on this goes. No one teaches, no one educates the people under them, etc...

    One day the owner says cut back, the chef cuts back (not really knowing where they are supposed to cut things). The next day the owner complains that the job it's up to snuff and the chef is frustrated he's doing the best he can with-out help.....

    Today it's up to each of us to be leaders, no one asks it of us. No one shows us what's wanted and or tells us were doing a good job. But some of us stick our necks out there and try. Then your co-workers complain that your "bossie" or trying to take over. What ever happened to organization, and team work? Everyone just sees that as a threat.

    Ask your boss for a job decription and they just mumble a few words....you never get an answer.

    Sorry, but tell me this isn't so.
     
  14. joshua tomczyk

    joshua tomczyk

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    Check out The Restaurant Doctor
    http://www.restaurantdoctor.com/
    He has been the single largest influence in my chosen style of management.
    Check out "Articles" section under "Resources for the Hospitality Industry"
    I have heard all sorts of excuses as to why it will not work but I have never heard anyone that really tries it say it doesn't.
     
  15. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    W. DeBoard you hit the nail on the head. I was just having a discussion with an old friend about how the art of mentoring is practically a lost art.
     
  16. peachcreek

    peachcreek

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    Like the old joke: "Last week I could'nt even spell "cook", now I are one"......
    There used to be a time when even "non-skilled" had to be trained and apprenticed. What was that called? Oh yeah, UNIONS! Too bad there was never an on-the-job alternative to union training and apprenticeship programs. What is that other old saying? "Throwing away the baby with the bathwater?'.
     
  17. chefclaycollins

    chefclaycollins

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    You know, the funny thing is that I consider all employees of my kitchen, my commis. The sad thing is that the floor manager/owner does not, she is very famous for "training" people for a night, like you described. The sad thing is that this weekend it came back and bit her in the ***. The waitstaff couldn't turn the tables and what usually is a very profitable weekend for her ended up like any other weekend. I keep trying to explain that the more time and effort you put into your employees the more money they will make you, but she doesn't understand!
     
  18. ironchefatl

    ironchefatl

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    At one time in my life I was the AKM at a mexican restaurant with mostly 18-20 year old kids as servers. Yes they were lazy to a degree, not well trained by the other "kids", and little to no attention to detail. Patience in a virtue. The fact is you don't get any where by telling them they are stupid or yelling. This is true in any kitchen. When servers made mistakes I told them the correct way, three times if I had too, showed them on the computer how ring things in so my spanish speaking staff would know what to cook. I told them when they think they might have made a mistake to tell me, ad we would figure it out. This gained the trust of the servers that I would not yell and scream at them. The KM on the other hand would yell and scream and ended up looking like a big baby in front of KIDS. Show them respect and then when they do not live up to thier side remove from the floor, and send them home for the shift.