The FOH vs BOH War? Whaddaboudit?

1,006
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Joined Feb 6, 2002
Im a cook who also waited tables. I think some cooks and waiters/waitresses need educating on how each others jobs really are.

We both stand around at slow times or clean our knives, cutting boards, tables etc. We both work the long hours. So what if the FOH has air conditioning! After running back and forth from the kitchen to the table you are so hot you dont feel the A/C.

Contrary to cooks belief the waiter/waitress does not get more money. Ive had days where Ive made $100 extra and days where I only made $5 bucks. I dont see what the bi*****g is all about. Everyone is overworked the same.

Shawtycat

PS
If the server takes a while to pick up an order....dont ring that bell 10,000 times. They are probably with that obnoxious customer who wants you to make him wild rice pilaf.
 
1,389
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Joined Jul 24, 2001
I have followed such discussion before.
I don't know what happens in the States but I think is more over the same with Europe.

I think I could be an excellent waitress. I have a nice smile, I am smart enough to sell the menu, my arms and feet are strong enough, I know Baroness' Von Staff Savoir Vivre by heart.

BUT

I would never do that job even for the Jewel of the Crown.
I'd rather wash dishes 12 hours a day in " Boundy" ( This is how we called the first rest I worked, because it reminded us of the ship Boundy...) than work a day as a waitress.

Clients are very harsh on waitors and waitresses. Some people bring the worse of them just because they pay a couple of dollars.

Eating out, seems to be for some people, their only opportunity in their social life, to show how smart they are. And they choose the waitor as the only witness to their smart case.
They show off their knowledge of kitchen by shouting to the waitor that a dish is wrong or not authentic... All of you know that.

In addition, they must feel horrible for serving what others create. Think! Their job is to carry other people's creations. I think this is the reason that very often they sabotage the kitchen. They wish they were cooking instead of serving.

Waitors tell a lot of lies with cold blood , yes. They blame it always on the kitchen.

But I wonder how many of the "characters" I have met here would love to do this job.

Come-on!! You are creative people! You are cooks, you cannot make such such thoughts for workers. You have a status, they have nothing.

After all if you cannot tolerate this situation, stop cooking and start serving.

You may start beating me now.
 
1,244
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Joined Sep 21, 2001
Yes Sir, folks! Come see "The AMAZING PEACHCREEK"!
He Cooks.
He Busses.
He Waits tables.
He crawls on his belly like a reptile.....(they pay me well). How can he do it? Facing the EVIL TWO HEADED CUSTOMER! THE SNOTTY CRACKER-THROWING KID! THE RABID FOODIE! THE PARTY OF 40 WITH SEPARATE CHECKS! OMG! MAKE IT STOP! RUN! HIDE IN THE KITCHEN TILL THEY GO AWAY!
 

kuan

Moderator
Staff member
7,067
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Joined Jun 11, 2001
There are tons of debates like this. Marketing vs R&D, Technical vs Sales, Engineering vs Production, the list goes on. Managing through these differences is one of the challenges you have to go through as an owner. I posted those snippets above to show that at least in Minnesota, servers make more money than cooks. This doesn't mean I'm on the side of one or the other. In fact, I'd love to see both get more than just lip service for their hard work.

Kuan
 
1,006
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Joined Feb 6, 2002
I get 275/wk over here and sometimes my mother in law forgets to pay me. Doesnt bother me....I just bring the grandkids over because I KNOW shell end up taking them shopping. Cute lil buggers you know.:lips:

Anyway I heard that the CIA has a policy where students learn to wait tables before graduating. I think that is a good idea. I heard some of the students say that they would rather be in eye deep in the weeds in the kitchen than wait on a table of obnoxious customers. I personally feel bad for our waiters sometimes. I try not to yell too much when Im given 20 different orders and they wanna know why its taking so long. I tend to limit my comebacks to "FU you SOB"
 
1,389
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Joined Jul 24, 2001
Peachcreek, if I have understood well by your posts, you are the owner of the restaurant.

So, in a way, you can do what ever you wish. I know that this, "doing what ever you wish" cost a lot but at least you sleep well at night :)
The problem is for the employees that have not so ...hmmm different bosses :)

Khuan I agree 100% with you. It's the same with our profession. Judges hate lawyers because they think that they make a lot of money. Lawyers despise judges because they are paid a fortune to be judges just because they failed to be succesfull lawyers ...

This story never ends

:)
 
1,065
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Joined Dec 8, 1999
Shawtycat, if you are seriously using that kind of language with the waitstaff you work with, you are part of the problem, not part of the solution. Just my opinion, though.
 
1,586
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Joined Jan 5, 2001
Pardon the clichés but one should not be finding the grass greener on the other side if one is comparing apples and oranges.

A waiter is a salesman, and a cook is a cook. If one needs someone to pick on, they will always find just that. Cooks are underpaid, yes. Is that the waiters' fault? Nope. So leave them alone. By the same token waiters need to respect a cook's craft.

I think any organisation does much better when employees mind their own business and focus on improving their own skills and minding the things that are in their control.

And as for cooks having status over pay, don't even get me started!!:chef:
 
732
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Joined Dec 12, 2000
I just stick with a lesson a former manager taught me when I was bussing tables, and that was to check you problems at the door, even if you are having a problem with another employee and you desperatley want to beat them, wait until you get in the parking lot after your shift, but during work, you are working together, personal differences aside. because the guests should never know that there is a glitch in your game.
 
427
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Joined Jan 21, 2002
The waiter gets the tip for bringing out such nice looking food. S/He says "Thank you". The chef/cook is in the back going WHAT?!?! Is it fair, no. Part of me can't blame the waiter/waitress for getting more money (at times) because of public naivity. I mean aside from cook, chefs and food connoiseurs who actually credits the chef/cook with the creation of their meal? I believe that people do eat with their eyes first and want to thank the one who physically brought them the food. Sad, yes. But true. Not to take away from the possible great service that the FOH staff provides but it is a slap in the face (sort of) to that cook/chef.
 
1,006
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Joined Feb 6, 2002
Considering that the waitstaff is my hubby....Im sure he understands what happens when I get irritated. I think he does in on purpose so I can "Make it up to him later".
 

kuan

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Joined Jun 11, 2001
Once again, no offense to anyone here or anywhere for that matter. Some people think way too much of themselves. There are tons of chefs who think they're the sh*t, me included (someimes) :D :D But it's egos which clash, and not much else.

I think too many people have migrated to the culinary profession because they feel they need an outlet for their creativity. Many go to cooking school but find out afterwards that the real world isn't really the place that they had envisioned. Take a look around your hometown and ask yourself how many restaurants need a chef. I mean a real chef if you know what I mean, not a plain kitchen manager. How many places actually have a real chef where they only need a kitchen manager. Do you think that might be a part of the problem? How would you feel if you were Rembrandt but weren't allowed to paint anything but children's pictures?

I'm not saying all chefs are Rembrandts (see above comment about egos) but I think the frustration lies in not being able to express themselves. Anyway, back to the FoH/BoH issue. Most servers aren't professional servers. Maybe in the old days people would make this their lifelong profession, but not anymore. OK, maybe at the Ritz or Four Seasons, but I hardly see people who have been in the business as servers for more than the length of their college career. For most servers it's something they do to make ends meet while waiting for a "real" job to come along. Until then, they just collect a few bucks here and there so they can spend it on dollar draw night.

So we can see the cause of friction here. Chefs aren't compensated that well for their creativity, or what they FEEL is their creativity. Some of them have a higher opinion of themselves than they should. Some who are truely creative don't feel like they have a proper outlet to show their craft. Many servers and FOH personnel are there only to make ends meet. Few of them ever have aspirations of becoming a full time server so they don't care about advancement and career development. We end up with a team of people who have diametrically opposed lifelong objectives and goals and THIS, is what ultimately causes the discord.

That's all folks

Kuan :)
 
4,508
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Joined Jul 31, 2000
Kuan, That was so well put. I can't add a thing.

Does anyone remember the live chat I did with Kristi Royce last year? She is a consultant for just these types of issues.

I have spent a good deal of my career dealing with the FOH/BOH issues, I assure you they will never go away, But..they can be modified in your restuarant to suit the needs of the Chef/cooks and custumers.

If you go to the cover page of cheftalk and scroll down to the bottem left you will find some info on Kristi Royce.

Maybe also the chat is somehow archived somewhere on the site.
 
618
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Joined Jul 18, 2000
its funny that the BOH/FOH has come up again. Not that i look for this sort of argument.

From a practical point of view, i suppose that because the FOH have people skills, that is why they are out there. However, the fairly common practise of tipping does tend to raise its ugly head. Why you ask?' easy:

Tipping (well in Aus, that is) is more of a expression of appreciation, rather than a mandatory practise.

I dont begrudge the fact that, because someone has provided exemplory service that they should be penalised. However, due to the fact that most FOH staff tend to be transitional; and generally make that fact quite well known, that they are on the path to bigger and better things, that can generate a certain amount of friction within the BOH (who, i suppose, feel trapped by that type of environment (my theory and from time to time, even i have felt that way)

Like i said, im not going to begrudge the fact that they have provided the aforesaid service, but explain that for what ever reason, a chef who does 40 odd hours + as opposed to the casual 18 p/week worker should fade into insignificance just because they are not out there sweet talking the customer.

I really dont care much for a cut of the tips, personally, im more interested in feedback, whether or not im doing my job properly. But given a vexatious situation where, the potwash crew used to get a cut of the types and then the funds dried up, its more a position where i want my crew looked after (regardless of my own situation) because, the wheels would not turn without them

anyway, my 2 cents worth.
 
127
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Joined May 1, 2001
When I was in London over Christmas, I noted that several restauarant menus had a notice about tips being "fully distributed", by which I assume they meant that trhe BOH got a share.
 
846
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Joined Nov 29, 2001
Some of the animosity between the waitstaff and kitchenstaff stems from the lack of tip sharing. When all is boiled down au sec, these facts are undeniable:

Waitstaff are a "delivery system" for the product created by the kitchen staff. The decision of where to dine is made nearly 100% based on what food will be set before the diner, not necessarily who delivers it. (With the exception of Hooters Restaurants.)

Why is it then that a waitress can leave a restaurant with $300 in tips on a Friday or Saturday night, while the person who created the food leaves with $56 a day?

Add to this the fact that most waitstaff don't respect the chef as much as she/he feels she/he should be respected and you've got a tinderbox.
 

kuan

Moderator
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Joined Jun 11, 2001
Yeah but then there's the flipside. It's kinda funny actually, the kitchen staff just sat back and laughed a little at this one. One fine summer weekend our hotel played host to a seed growers convention. 500 farmers, three days. The first night they were there they drank us out of Bud light. They then proceeded to drink all the Miller lite in the house, and when THAT ran out, they complained. We were giving away free appetizers at the bar and ran out of every popper, crab rangoon, mozz sticks... you get hte picture. Total take for the bartenders that night?

Right around $3!!!

Next morning, breakfast. About 300 ate at the breakfast buffet at $8 a person. Total sales for the restaurant were around $2500 that morning. Total shared tips for 5 waitstaff and 2 bussers? Something like $1.58... :p :eek: :D :) Mind you, these are servers who are used to taking home $300 every brunch! So you see, there IS retribution sometimes. :)

The next morning they had a planned breakfast buffet and summarily ate all the bacon, sausage, eggs, hashbrowns in the house. We weren't laughing then! Once again... retribution! Now I sit back and think boy, how stupid could we have been. Like a pound of bacon a person would be enough for them... sheesh!

Kuan
 
1,244
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Joined Sep 21, 2001
What waiters say about your seed growers.
"They come to town with a clean T-shirt and a $100. bill and don't change either"......
 
846
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Joined Nov 29, 2001
You're talking about a specific event (one which I'd probably not take on again) featuring a bunch of cheap idiots who probably don't know any better. Ack! How frustrating that must have been.

I'm referring to a regular sit-down restaurant, open 7 days. The particular one I'm referring to is Seasons in Durango, Colorado. It's the best restaurant in Durango (with both units of Ken & Sue's closing in quick - Henri's is an expensive joke). The guy who owns Seasons is a greedy idiot spending more time opening satellite restaurants than taking care of his people. The kitchen works off recipes which is why the food is consistent. The Chef and Sous Chefs are the only ones compensated in a decent manner.

If a diner doesn't make it a point to walk back to the kitchen and place a tip in the hands of a kitchen staffer who will divide it amongst the kitchen staff, the kitchen doesn't get tipped out unless it's built into the rules by the owner. It's no wonder the kitchen staff hates the waitstaff but tell me, why on Earth would the waitstaff hate the kitchen staff when the waitstaff goes home with all the money?
 

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