A Splash of Humor and a Dash of Asshole

Dear Waitstaff

Dear Waitstaff,

I am choosing to write this letter in order to make your lives in the restaurant easier. First off, please do not touch food in the kitchen unless it is on a plate in the pass. I know that you might think that pan of rice might need a quick stir or taste. Don’t touch it, on second thought don’t even look at it. Next we ask that you never touch our equipment. I know and you know my knives are sharp and sick as hell you don’t need to pick it up to find out. And you know this, son. Another favor I have to ask is please don’t order food when we are busy or 5 minutes before we close. I realize you had a hard shift and are dying of hunger, next time all we ask is to wait till you don’t see us totally weeded. Or if you choose to try and order at above said times, please offer a reasonable bribe. A simple ” I will spot you a cocktail after work” should suffice. Next, we don’t give a shit if you got tipped a buck fifty on an 8 top, but I’m sure your fellow front of the house stallions would love to hear your sorrow. In closing, we really do like you guys. We know you guys have to deal with a hole customers quite often or the lady that is pissed she just found a ladybug in her beautiful organic greens. I don’t think our requests are too much to ask. Much love, and no hard feelings.
The Kitchen Staff

P.S. Thanks for always having cash when were thirsty at the bar after work.


3 responses

  1. teleburst

    Dear Pirate,

    Thanks for letting us know that we shouldn’t mess with your Meeze or your gear and we should *never* get caught behind the line. We should know this. But please don’t object when I taste the soup at the beginning of the shift. Y’all make the soup de jour every day and I really *do* need to know if it was made by a smoker who has lost the ability to salt the food properly or if it’s unusally spicy for the type of soup that we usually offer (plus, I sorta need to know how to describe the flavor profile beyond the fact that it’s “root vegetable garlic cream soup” – if it’s oregano-centric, I need to know that, just as I need to know if it’s a “sweet garlic flavor” rather than a more “bitter garlic flavor”).

    If the food is coming out a little slower than normal and you give me a timeframe when it will be in the pass, please don’t tell me what you think I want to hear. It doesn’t help anyone for you to tell me that it will be 5 minutes if it’s really 10 minutes, because I’m going to tell the guests “about 5 minutes” if you tell me that. They are already a little concerned about the food and, believe it or not, an extra 5 minutes *does* matter to them at this point. If I know that it’s going to take 10 minutes, I have some strategies I can employ to keep them happy.

    I realize that your pay scale is different than mine. Chances are really good that I’m making quite a bit more money than you. *Right now*. But, while you might be looking to move up the culinary food chain and end up being an executive or sous chef somewhere, it’s likely that my income is going to be pretty stagnant. I don’t get raises in general. Sure, I might be able to move up the food chain myself and get a job in a fancy restaurant and make more money, but I’m always at the mercy of the guest. I find it telling that, while I’ve seen waiters move to the back of the house, I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone in the kitchen move to front of the house despite the fact that they can make more money. We each do what we’re comfortable with and most kitchen people (whom I highly admire for working in hot, dangerous and sometimes sloppy conditions – sloppy in the respect that end of shift cleaning duties are messy and not fun) would rather swab the deck than to deal with a pissy, entitled guest. But I also feel that that we in the front of the house should never talk about what we make in the presence of kitchen people, just as kitchen people shouldn’t suggest that they get bribed for doing their job properly, or complain about the fact that they don’t get tipped for their hard work. After all, you get your hours – there are times when we come in and work for a few hours at 2.13 an hour only to leave without a table because the business just isn’t there. Plus, you folks get a reliable paycheck whereas we get none. While on the whole, we make out like bandits, ever try to pay your rent during a slow period relying on a zero paycheck and half of the normal tips?

    Please don’t get mad at me when a table comes in 5 minutes before (or, for that matter, after) close. If they come in after close, it wasn’t me who told them that they could eat. In fact, I’m probably madder than you are because, once you get the food out, you’re done – I’m there for up to another hour.

    We like and respect you guys and gals as well, and some of us secretly wish that we could be pirates too. I know that sometimes it doesn’t seem like we do. We waiters can be self-absorbed, pompous assholes sometimes. Sometimes we forget that getting yelled at by the kitchen is in some ways a form of love and inclusion since that’s the way that you interact with each other . We walk a tightrope between the guest, the management and the kitchen and we don’t always handle it the best way. So I hope that you understand that we’re human as well. We really *do* appreciate when you have to fix our screwups or expedite something on the fly which messes up your finely tuned, on-the-edge production. We really *do*.

    We love you guys and gals. No disrespect intended at all.

    Yer pal,


    “So You Want To Be A Waiter” blog

    March 22, 2010 at 3:17 pm

  2. Well said on both ends. Take comfort in knowing that everything that happens, good or bad, is my fault.

    Your GM

    March 23, 2010 at 1:54 am

  3. Well said on both ends. And you can both take comfort in knowing that everything that happens, good or bad, is my fault.

    Your GM

    March 23, 2010 at 1:56 am

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