Tales from the Restaurant

Tales from the Restaurant
Where you'll find all the restaurant dirt you'll ever need.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Should I open the Woodford Reserve?

I asked myself this confrontational question as I contemplated the way the evening had gone up until this point. At half past midnight, I seemed to be the only person in sight who had spent his Saturday night completely alone.

Even though the waiter's schedule is entirely parallel with the shot-ripping, beer-guzzling party monger's social agenda, at no point in time is he ever guaranteed anyone will join him in drowning his sorrows.

In the absence of company, my loneliness gave way to linear philosophical thought. I pondered freely about the questions my guests asked me earlier on in the evening. Most guests aren't douche bags intentionally, but I get the questions "Where do you go to school?" and "What's your major?" almost fifteen times a night. When I answer, people unanimously seem so surprised, as if the combination of my well-spoken demeanor and self-declared bachelor's degree should have by now placed me ceremoniously atop the pile of money located in the executive office of the Boston Daily Monocle.

People don't often realize that the work of a journalist (or any other similar field it seems) is a negligible paycheck compared to the instant money of a classy waiter. In fact, the average news anchor makes less than the fat, hairy dude who handles your complaints at the McDonald's located in your neighborhood ghetto.

...not to mention the fact that journalism in particular is harder to get into than Michael Jackson's funeral.

I forget who said it first (or best), but a bachelor's degree isn't so much a passport as it is a lottery ticket. Just because you have one doesn't mean you have any inkling of entitlement.

Given the way things seem to be, it's easy for someone with great qualifications to get stuck in a one-year, two-year, or fifteen year rut as a waiter, limiting himself to the mercy of nuclear white families or lobster-eating foreigners until some "better" comes along. And someone involved in the business as long as I have may as well have begun to equate the adjective "better" with the noun "myth."

Monday, December 7, 2009

Racism and Overstaffing; A Recipe for Success!

On any given Monday, you typically don't see too many restaurants full to capacity. That luxury is only seen on weekends. This is common knowledge, and one doesn't have to be qualified in management or restaurant mechanics to arrive at this conclusion. The restaurant at which I am employed had over eleven people working a Monday night dinner. Let's just let that sink in for a moment.

Finally, after two and a half hours of pretending to punch in orders at a terminal (but instead playing Texas Hold 'Em on my cell phone), I was given a table of three Asian people, a young male student who was evidently taking his non-English speaking parents out for dinner.

If there's something that creates a stereotype, it's when certain people consistently do the same thing over and over completely independently of each other.

In this case, they ordered lobster...which is what all Asians who visit this particular restaurant do.

After a lobster between the three of them and God knows how many tap water refills, I dropped the check.

On the credit card device at the table, the options for gratuity are twenty, eighteen, and fifteen percent. Because of the fact that I assumed I wouldn't be tipped well, I left them the machine on this screen, but because of the grace of God and Murphy's Law (not to mention the tenacity of people who refuse to tip well), I was left under ten percent of the total.

Because this was my only table of the evening (and because of the fact that I had to tip out the support staff), I left my shift this evening with less than five dollars.

I would have made more money today if I had been making Air Jordan sneakers in a warehouse in Indonesia.

Such is the business I've committed my life to.