Eating Out at a Restaurant (Round 2… Because It’s That Important)

Everyone… and I mean everyone… should either work in a restaurant at one point in their lives, or at least be knowledgeable about the restaurant industry so they know how to dine out. You don’t realize how much you suck at it until you’re on the other side.

Here are a few guidelines:

  • If there is someone standing at the front of the restaurant, they will seat you. It’s not your job to seat yourself, it’s theirs, that’s the point of a hostess, that’s what they get paid to do. If there is a hostess stand but no hostess, just hang on two seconds, they will be back (I promise).
  • Give your server a minute to introduce himself/herself, their just trying to be nice/do their job, it’s rude to bark drinks at the person who has just barely approached your table, it gives them a bad impression and will thus make your service worse. They will ask you shortly what you want to drink, just be patient.
  • Be conscious of how fast you drink your drinks or how often you ask for a refill – their are a pain in the ass, especially when it’s busy.
  • If you want a side of ranch, ask for it when you order. There is nothing more annoying than being accosted mid-walk (possibly by a table that’s not even yours) to get you ten sides of ranch.
  • Not every server in the restaurant is there to serve you. If you need something, instead of asking the first person you see to get you something, ask them nicely if they would mind grabbing your server for you.
  • There are often days when a restaurant is just out of every-effing-thing. It’s not the servers fault. They probably feel super awkward telling you all the shit their out of anyways. They are not in charge of stock, don’t take it out on them.
  • If your food came out wrong, it is also not always the servers fault (yes, they might have rang it in wrong, but don’t jump to conclusions). Let them apologize and fix it for you. I guarantee you that they are not out to fuck up your food and ruin your life… unless maybe you’re a total asshole (which you obviously won’t be after reading thing, right?)
  • Do. Not. Snap. Your server is not a dog. A kind hand motion to catch their attention will do the trick.
  • If you’re over 15 or so, don’t order off the kids menu (usually it’s under 12, but we’re not food nazis). When you’re a table of three 40-something-year-old men, ordering off the kids menu is tacky and cheap and makes you look like an ass. Especially if you assume you get the complimentary dessert then get mad that your server brought your drink in a kids cup. Yes, people, this actually happens.
  • Not all restaurants include big-group gratuity (my restaurant, for instance). On parties larger than 8 or so, restaurants often include a 20% automatic gratuity. You know why? You guys were probably hard as fuck to take care of. However, make sure you check the receipt to see if they do or not. Getting $0.00 on a $350.00 bill just because they assumed gratuity was include is not fun.


Tipping (yes, this deserves it’s own category):

  • Yes, your server has certain parts of their job that they have to do, like greet a table in their section. But in no way does a server have to be friendly, careful with your food and drinks, or come back to check on you and make sure your food’s good. They do that because they’re making tips. Theoretically, better service = better tips.
  • Do you know why servers make minimum wage (and in some states, a separate “server” minimum wage that could be as low at $1.50 per hour)? Because the government assumes they make tips. Think about that real quick. While your job might be “professional”, I guarantee you that working in a full restaurant with 8 table sections is 100x more strenuous and hard-labor oriented then anything you do in your little cubicle. Yes, the base job description of being a server is not too complex, but you try working in a restaurant on a full section on a busy night and see how “easy” it is then. That’s why tipping is absolutely necessary.
  • Does the law say you have to tip? No. Does the law say we can’t accidentally cut our finger in the kitchen, then en route to wash your hands and bandage your cut, accidentally get a few drops of blood in your food, not notice, and bring it to your table for you to enjoy? Nope.
  • That one sounded a little bit grotesque, it was just an example. Personally, I would never do that. But lets just say you’d be lucky to have me as a server.
  • If your food is somehow discounted (maybe you friend got you the hook ups), tip off of the original bill, don’t be a dick and tip off of comped food, because it may be $0.00.
  • 20% of the entire bill should be your base tip, for example $6 on a $30 tab. If you service is noticeably shitty because your server was just not friendly and obviously didn’t care about crap, use your judgement, but do not go below 10%, remember what we’ve been discussing this entire post? If your service is really good, go above 20%!! You’ll make the servers night, I promise. Even leaving $5 on a $15, that’s almost a 30% tip, and it was literally only $5 more dollars out of your pocket!!

Bottom line: don’t be a dick, be understanding, know that 99% of the time the servers just want to make rent, etc.

Thank you and happy restaurant-ing.



Dream Dinner Date

Have you ever thought about ‘if you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be?’

If I could meet, and briefly talk to, anyone in the world, it would be Barack Obama or Paul McCartney. However, if I could sit down over a plate of pineapple fried rice (my favorite dinner dish) and a glass of Merlot, it would be Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The first movie I ever saw him in was Along Came Polly, ya know, that mediocre rom-com with JenAn and Ben Stiller? He played a flamboyant child-star who is stuck in his glory days. I automatically had him pinned as a random one-hit actor who might appear as a guest start occasionally but never really make it big… this was before I was ever immersed in movies and culture. The next few years prior I began to gain more insight into movies, music, culture, etc. and I realized what an incredible human being Mr. Hoffman was.

Capote and The Master hold spots in my heart as some of the most insightful films I have ever seen. Philip Seymour Hoffman carries himself with such prestige and professionalism in both rolls, I can not even begin to explain. I could go on forever discussing both movies, but that is aside the point of this entry.

Honestly, I don’t exactly know how to discuss exactly why I want to have dinner with this virtuoso, he just seems so intelligent and astute.

This post was a little prosaic, but I felt the need to discuss it. Have a good day.

How To Dine-Out… The Right Way.

This is a long one, but I think it’s something everyone should really know, so bare with me… I tried to make it interesting/funny, which probably didn’t work out too well.

One activity that almost everyone in the world participates in is going out to eat, whether it be every day, nce every six months, a super-high-end-fancy fine dining restaurant, or a local taco shack, almost everyone does it. Similarly to retail, we don’t always think about the people working at these places and what they do to make sure we get what we want.

I work in a casual lunch/dinner restaurant, which also happens to be a big corperation – there are a lot of them all over. There are ups and downs to working for a large corperation, but that’s aside the point. I’m here to explain to all you ignorant restaurant-goers what it’s really like to work with the general public, because ya’ll suck.

My position at this restaurant is hostess and takeout. That means I’m either the one at the front of the restaurant taking names for the waitlist and bringing you to your table, or the one handeling all of the orders that people place to take-out.

Tip #1: If the host tells you there is a wait, but you see some empty tables, do not assume she just doesn’t like you or the way you smell and thus does not want to seat you at those tables. More than likely they are either reserved (for people smart enough to make a reservation) or the host is dealing with all the people at the front first, and then planning to make their way down the list and seat all of those tables with people that are ahead of you.

It is honestly the most annoying thing when people think they know your job better than you. Yes, sir, I see that there are empty tables, I will put your name down and you will be sat after the 50 people ahead of you. No, sir, you are a middle aged father here with your family, a wink and a few nice words will not get your name put at the top of the list.

Tip #2: The host choosees where you sit… you do not. But then again, the customer is always right, so you are allowed to say that you don’t like your table. However, when you first arrive at the restaurant, don’t tell the host you have a party of 2 then proceed to sweet talk your too-young-for-you girlfriend by saying “where do you want to sit, honey? A booth, upstairs, by the window?” That is you taking my job away from me… if you got to choose where you sat, what would be the point of a host?

A host is supposed to rotate between servers. This means that each server is designanted a section of the restaurant (usually an area with 5-10 tables) that they are responsible for. The host’s job is to make sure each server is sat equally by rotating through the sections. Servers often get mad at hosts for not seating them, they also need to understand this rule. Yes, the point of a host is to greet and seat, while rotating servers. But if there is something seriously wrong with your table, you are allowed to speak up.

Side note: My absolute favorite people are the ones who realize they’re being annoying and say “I’m so sorry but if it’s at all possible to sit elsewhere I’d really appreciate it.” I’m an understanding person, if you’re nice about it then you’re golden. It’s the self-riteous people that are the worst.

Tip #3: A wait time is an estimate made by the host by determining which tables will be getting up (usually by seeing who is finishing their meal/paying their check). Sometimes, especially if you work in a place with TV’s and there is a game on, people take longer and like to linger after they finish their meal. This can result in a scewed wait-time, someone might be done eating after an hour but continues to sit and hang out for another hour, messing up the wait time. Please try to be understanding of the wait time and realize that the host, contrary to populat belief, is not God, and they are most likely trying to seat you as soon as possible because they really just don’t want to deal with you anymore.

That’s all I have for you right now, but more might come up as I experience continued ignorancy in the restaurant industry. Everyone should really work in a restaurant at one time in their life, because, like I said, eating out is something we all do, and one should know how to treat the staff.

All in all, use your brains and be understanding when it comes to a complicated restaurant experience. Working with the general public is one of the toughest things to do out there. It takes a whole lotta restraint not to punch the shit out of every other person we deal with.