Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Usually, when most servers quit their jobs it's not to join the Peace Corps. It's not to become a part owner in a new start up website. I find that most people who leave are in search of that restaurant that is actually well-run. Usually the sentence that follows when asked why you're quitting is "I'm tired of this bullshit." So it got me to thinking, is there such thing as this perfect Holy Grail restaurant out there? Would you actually have servers sticking around, and caring about their job if there was? And what do most employers do wrong that forces employees to leave? I've come up with a partial list of reasons that stop a restaurant from being successful.
This is my memo to every boss I've had.

Respect your workers. It's hard to care about your job when they don't care about you. This means not scheduling someone to work until 4am, and then have them come in to open the following morning to work a double. It means taking things into consideration. When someone requests a religious holiday off, don't make them work it because "it's only a request, not a guarantee." Don't talk down to us. There's nothing worse than a manager who makes themselves seem so much better than their workers.

Rotate the schedule, and keep in mind seniority. New kids always get screwed. That's how it works. Better sections and schedules go to the people who have been there the longest. But even workers with seniority are going to have to take a shit shift once and a while, otherwise you wont get new people to stick around. The best sections should go to the hardest workers, as a reward an incentive to keep it up. Know who your good workers are. You should be aware when someone just can't hack it. Don't put this person in the busiest section and your best server in the worst. Common sense.

It is required by law to give us breaks! It's amazing to me how many jobs I have worked in this industry where the managers completely ignore the law. I've worked 6 hours, 8 hours, 12 hours, doubles, overnights, and never gotten a break! (ok I'm kidding about the overnights) No break=angry workers.

Know how to prepare for service. No one likes to have to tell their customers (and they are customers NOT GUESTS) that they have run out of the the special of the day. Customers take it out on servers tips, especially if you are out of several items. Have your delivery truck come in on a Wednesday. You'll be able to make it through the busiest weekends then, and come Sunday you wont be out of every item on the menu.

Staff the floor appropriately. If it's dead send people home. Don't waste our time. Servers go crazy when there are 10 people on the floor at there only needs to be 3. If by some off chance it gets busy after the floor is cut, help out for a minute. That's what a boss is there for. Going along with that, just because you are helping your servers doesn't mean you get to dip your hands into our tip pool. It's illegal.

Staff the kitchen appropriately. When you're paying servers pocket change, there is always an abundance of them. It's no surprise that since the kitchen is making an hourly wage, there are never enough of them. This makes them angry, and ticket times slow, which makes customers angry and tips go down.

Servers are not custodians. You need to hire someone to scrub the floors, clean the toilets, the sinks, the windows, the walk in, the freezer and anything else you try and classify as "side work." If you try to force us to do this after we are closed, when we are only making 3.85 an hour, we will do it half -assed. Side work and closing duties only go so far, then you need to start paying us more.

More to come. What do you guys think? What are some reasons why you quit your server job? Has anyone ever worked somewhere that was really running smoothly? Bigger question, if so how long did that actually last for?


Blogger Xtine said...

I didn't quit - I was fired before I could.

The owner's son - the "manager" - was in back, playing cards with two other family members (who were supposed to be on the floor as waiters). I was taking care of their tables, because I knew I'd get the tip. Most of our customers were awesome.

I was getting swamped, so I went back there, told the mgr that he needed to start doing his job because I couldn't keep up any more, tossed new tickets at the other two, and told them I was too busy to take care of theirs.

I didn't find out for over a year later exactly why I was fired (from someone who still worked there): "humiliating" the owner's son in front of his family members.

I actually had the owner ask me what I was cleaning (rice), ask how it got wedged in the booths (customers are messy), and told to not let the customers make messes.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Emmy said...

I only make 2.13 an hour, it sucks pretty bad. :(

7:21 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

I've quit because my tables were held open all night on Valentine's day waiting for a party that arrived 1.5 hours late. They were apparently friends of the management, so they held all 3 of my tables up for 3 full hours on the busiest night of the year, after 3 hours of holding the tables open for the reservation. Their meal was comped, and they left me a whopping $10 on what was nearly $350 worth of food and wine. The manager they were friends with refused to compensate me for being there all night for $10 in tips, so I walked out and never went back.

I quit a restaurant where we were given TWO table sections on the weekends, even when those tables were only 2-tops. There was literally no way to make any money.

I quit a restaurant because I was written up for giving a free cup of coffee to my boyfriend, because he had come to pick me up and was instead forced to wait for me for 30 minutes so we could have some kind of retarded, unscheduled, off-the-clock meeting.

I quit a restaurant because I was hired for a certain (lucrative) shift to cover for a pregnant woman who was planning to leave the industry. When she finally left, the shift was given to a stupid, worthless little twat who was sleeping with one of the owners.

I quit a restaurant because the manager yelled at me for showing up puffy-eyed and crying to a shift just after I heard that my great-grandmother had died. He told me that next time I needed to give him more notice.

I'm not in the industry anymore.

5:01 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home