Red Writing Hood

Joined Jan 29, 2017
So, first off, big thanks to this forum and especially those folks on here who are always willing to give their two cents. It has been extremely valuable, either the ideas, or simply just validation. One thing I have learned being a chef is the only ones you can truly trust are your peers ( your staff have no freaking clue ).

Anyways, on to my dilemma. 

I recently taken a chef position at a fairly well established pasta/pizza joint in a small town. The business has been owned and ran by the same folks for 18 years, with a name change and face lift last year ( so it is really a brand new business ).

The owner is kind of a juggernaut. And in that, they have developed some rules that have, I believe, have screwed up the local following.

We do a lot of accommodating, for the most part ( gluten free options, vegetarian, vegan ) but when it comes to "red writing" , it becomes a problem. It is one thing to add certain things to a pizza, but overall, the customer can't make their own.
I mean, I get it..... but at the same time, I really don't. I have done this for twenty years, and yes, most cooks are complete fools and can't cook their way out of a riddle, but isn't this the hospitality business?


A customer wants a mushroom and cheese pizza , so instead of us having a custom function on the pos, the FOH SOP is to order a pizza with mushrooms and write no this and no that in order to get a pizza with just cheese and mushrooms...... which is MORE red writing than just Custom Pizza: Mushrooms ( it also costs more for the customer ).

To further explain this, they also do not do wine tasting . You can order  a wine, and if you do not like, they will eat it. Does this make any damn sense to anyone? If you look on our yelp ( not that yelp is god or anything ) , there is so many bad experiences that actually start off with the fact they couldn't do a tasting . The owner feels that it is the customer trying to rip him off......

So, am I crazy? Should I bring this up, or should I just let it be?

I have a passion for this industry, and accommodating is just part of the game. It has never bothered me, and I know from experience , it just makes you famous in a small town, which is KEY in getting the locals to come in during the off season.
Joined Feb 17, 2010
I live in a small town that is a tourist destination. Sure it's nice to have that influx of tourist dollars, but when they leave you must have the locals coming there too. Without them you are screwed.
Joined Jun 27, 2012
By wine tasting do you mean the waitperson splashes a couple of fingers in a glass and the house allows them to send it back if it is not "pleasing" to the palate?

If so...a frickken nitemare waiting to happen.

What happens if they go thru 4-5 bottles?

Does the house still eat the cost?

Altho if this has been going on for the past 18 years and the place is still standing...NBD I s'pose.

Joined Oct 31, 2012
A custom button on a POS is not hard to put in, if you have managers' access. If the owner doesn't know how, the POS rep should be able to explain it. If he doesn't want to, why not? But anyway, a simple enough fix. 

Can you explain the tasting part? I don't really understand that dilemma. I'm familiar with the standard buy a bottle or glass and a "tasting" where you taste various wines but usually people know in advance what kind of wine they like so order as Zinfandel or Reisling, etc. when having dinner. 

So customer orders a glass of whatever, you pour a full glass, the customer doesn't like it, you take the full glass back and throw it out? 
Joined Jan 29, 2017
Bottle sales are final, but most restaurants will give you a taste (1 oz) before buying a glass or bottle. We don't give a taste, and if you don't like it, glasses are tossed and I a!m fairly certain bottles are used for pours , or the sale on bottles are final
Joined Aug 15, 2003
You work at a pizza place where the customer can't order a custom pizza? That makes no damn sense. Why not just have a base cheese pizza that you can add toppings to? That is pretty standard, no? I would absolutely bring that up.

I'm going to clarify that when you talk about wine tasting portions you are talking only about wines offered by the glass. So the bar has open the bottles already, I'm assuming, for service and can easily pour a small amount for the guest to try before they purchase a glass. I don't know why the owner would be opposed to this, especially if people complain about it. I wouldn't worry about getting "ripped off" either, in my experience this doesn't really happen and I think it would be pretty easy to tell if someone is trying to game the system. I also think 1 oz is a lot for a tasting portion...more like .5 an ounce. 

So yeah, why wouldn't you bring it up? The owner is paying you to help run his you imagine that he doesn't want to hear your opinion about things that could be improved? I don't understand...part of your job. Does the owner just want a yes man? 

Just an aside, I would caution you because I was easily able to identify where you work (took about 2 mins of googling) and you wouldn't want your posts to get back to your boss. Not that you've really said anything wrong, but just be careful, now and in the future. 
Joined Jun 27, 2012
Bottle sales are final, but most restaurants will give you a taste (1 oz) before buying a glass or bottle. We don't give a taste, and if you don't like it, glasses are tossed and I a!m fairly certain bottles are used for pours , or the sale on bottles are final
I'll take that answer.

Fairly standard with the rejects chalked on the blackboard as nitely "specials" to recoop the cost...I have had a taste of some great juices I would not buy for myself this way.

By the glass NP.... dump it....if it becomes a nitely trend maybe someone in charge should thing about switching out for something more palatable to the masses.


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