nightmare waitstaff

Discussion in 'Professional Catering' started by monkeymay, May 22, 2002.

  1. monkeymay

    monkeymay

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    So yesterday I worked as a hired hand for a friend whose company has been catering the Microsoft X Box event this past week. Kitchen staff was great - passed appetisers and buffet for 1500, ready to rock at 6 pm sharp. The catering company did not hire the waitstaff, they were contracted from an outside source . As we gathered them together to give a breakdown of the items being served, where they were passing, etc. it became apparent that these people had possibly never served before. The staff was predominately Hispanic, Armenian, and Phillipino, and just getting through the language barrier of trying to describe the food to be passed ("This is beef tenderloin on croustade, with a horseradish cream and beet and fennel slaw"????) would have been comic (we laugh now) if the stress wasn't so high in trying to pull off this event.

    Highlights?

    -Waitstaff arguing with you over what trays they would take
    -The guy wearing black wraparound sunglasses while he served, who ignored all requests to remove them until my friend removed them for him ;)
    -The food descriptions that became a game of 'telephone'- by the time the servers got to the floor the blueberry profiteroles had become cheese puffs!(and other various interpretations of god knows what)

    The guy coordinating the waitstaff was so overwhelmed that finally my friend
    stood in middle of the party, in chef coat with radio headset, and directed like a traffic cop at a busy intersection!

    The main push for the food was the first hour, when all the big wigs and press came through, after things tapered off and the Microsoft swag came out (a niftly napsack with an XBox game controller inside). The waitstaff were picking up the napsacks and carrying them while they were serving food!
    Some had two or three on their back, AND eating the food off the tray, while
    they were passing!!
    It was @#*%*# unbelievable!!! :mad::bounce: :bounce: :bounce:
    We can laugh now...

    Just another amusing little story from the glamorous world of catering.
     
  2. coolj

    coolj

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    That sounds like something right out of a movie. It's funny, but I understand what you must have gone through.
     
  3. monkeymay

    monkeymay

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    Thanks CoolJ - it WAS comical in a really perverse sort of way.

    What doesn't kill us makes us stronger and funnier, I hope!:)
    Thanks for letting me vent.

    Monkey
     
  4. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    I didn't know weather to laugh, sympathize or just shake my head and think but for the Grace of God go I.....then renew my vow to never work with unknown staff. I subbed in for a friend of mine that had a benefit. The staff was hired by the hostess and had cooked and served for her before. "I was incharge".GRRRREAT. After the outdoor buffet dinner the dessert was served indoors...the waiters had asked at the tables who wanted coffee<not many takers> then when people started milling around they would not serve coffee....we had to stop everything in the kitchen and pour/serve coffee, find cream and sugar....
    Or the helper that washed dishes at a fancy dinner and left a layer of grease on the plates that the hosts found when they returned from Denver 7 days later.
    Or getting someone that walks in the door and wants to know when they can leave....and how much they will be paid (I had a generous set party rate I had told her)
    ****Rude lesson to learn....it's not the food, it's the presenter that makes or breaks it. Mediocre food will be ok, bad service won't fly. Who'd a thought.
     
  5. chefteldanielle

    chefteldanielle

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    In great dismay do I read your post..
    It's true.. It is pretty hysterical now, but at the time you just want to kill everyone.
    Not literally ofcourse.
    I had a guy attempt to steal my cambros when he was leaving a party.
    One of my assistants walked out to the van and there he was loading my double cambro, 2 slabs of marble with cheeses on them and a couple of silver trays in his suv..
    Now is that enough to rip someone's head off?
    He was a student at the local college and was thinking about starting his own catering business I guess.
    This happened 2 weeks ago.
    Iam still in shock and ready to quit.

    Danielle
     
  6. shawtycat

    shawtycat

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    That sucks Danielle! :mad: What an @#%hole! Next time let him load the car, take his plates down....then use your cell to call the police and scream "Ive just been robbed!" Tag your stuff with your name and company logo! I got the local cops to tag the expensive stuff in our house. That'll teach them to try taking your property. Grrrr!
     
  7. suzanne

    suzanne

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    Chin up, Danielle! It's going to get a lot worse!! You can't possibly imagine all the bad things that can happen. Just think how much you learn from experiences like that.

    Then again, if that sort of thing REALLY DOES make you want to quit, perhaps you should sit down and examine why you're doing this work. It's not the only thing you, with your training, could be doing.
     
  8. monkeymay

    monkeymay

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    Hey Danielle-
    It's with great dismay I read your note. I didn't mean to freak anybody out- it was meant as a funny little story about the madness of our business.Within hour after this event our staff was all
    laughing their ***** off at the sheer folly of everything.
    One of the hard things about this business is the cynicism and gallows humor that develops regarding human behavior- you think the worst of everyone and nothing people do surprises you. But it does take a few hard lessons to develop such a thick skin. And you know what? Not everyone wants the hide of a rhinocerous. And that's okay-
    there are plenty of other areas in this business to explore.
    But catering can be totally great.I catered solid for 6 years with a high profile company that did everyone- all the movie stars, all the rock stars, and everyone in between, saw everything and participated in just about everything that I saw;).
    But I burned out, tore my body up really good, and swore I'd never go back to catering. But it creeps up on me, through the restaurants I've run and the clients I have on the side that make it worth my while. And when I do it, I know what I'm in for, (even though I may ***** about it the entire time:D ) and if at the end of the day the food was great, the table looked good and the client was happy, then I consider myself a lucky girl indeed. Don't be too discouraged. Sometimes when I'm driving home late at nite and reviewing the day's events in my head, I laugh aloud to think of the things that I'm able to do and what an amazing life I lead.
    Stay strong.

    Peace - Monkey
     
  9. shimmer

    shimmer

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    I used to work at this restaurant where the head waiter would call me names and yell and talk about "HIS" customers. It got so old and so fast. Sometimes it was in fun, sometimes it wasn't. On one particularly stressful day (the waitstaff shared my fridge over by the salad station) I got something out and slammed the door on his head, not intentionally although he thought it was and at times I wish it had been.

    :D

    Suffice to say, he was not a problem after that. I do not normally recommend physical violence. But you can only take so much!

    By the time I was hired there, I was the only kitchen person he even talked to because the cooks had threatened him with bodily harm if he ever talked or disrespected them. :rolleyes:

    So now I can't remember what this thread was about, but I wanted to share my accidental head injury story anyway.

    ~~Shimmer~~
     
  10. angrychef

    angrychef

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    Hi monkeymay, your little tale is too comical and true. I hardly work offsite parties, but when I do, it usually is most of the hired-out floorstaff that behave the way you just described. I wish they could be taught some proper food handling education and hygiene(ex:don't lick your fingers after sneaking in an appetizer from you tray) and have some real interest in what they are serving. I do have to say that in the kitchen we do get some weirdos once in a while when we have to hire temp. cooks.;)
     
  11. monkeymay

    monkeymay

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    Angrychef- I've worked with those weirdos too!
    But I think that's another thread called "Freaks I have met in the Kitchen":lol:

    Speaking of freaks, I am on my way to Las Vegas for the Memorial weekend to cook for a client who's just bought a new house. He's having an opening party- 50 to 150 people (he doesn't quite know), just wants to make sure there's enough food either way!!! This should be pretty funny...
     
  12. leo r.

    leo r.

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    MonkeyMay,the problem with poor waiting staff exists over here.I seen waiters/waitresses who are good at three things:
    1)Eating.
    2)Sitting down.
    3)Going home.
    One waiter i saw broke into a sweat tying his shoelaces.:D
    This same person went face down into a strawberry Pavlova because he was too busy leering at some of the waitresses.

    I must be lucky,these jackasses are few and far between where i work now.I`ve found most of the waitresses/waiters i meet are industrious people.
    Not all service staff are aspiring actors/actresses.
    BTW,i once saw someone who pretended to be a chef.This @%*+hole tried to skin a Brie for cheeseboards.One apprentice jackass, at a college here in London,somehow confused Parmesan cheese for ground almonds.This was for a Bakewell tart,he was duly presented with the first slice!!
    Good luck,it can only get better,it can`t get worse,Leo
    :chef: