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US waiters' worst conduct - Page 17

post #241 of 538
Mr P,
Are all offenses equal before the law? "Are you still working on that" is a worse offense than too-warm wine is worse than "folks," IMHO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethpollock
c)\tNo one will ask if I have any questions about the menu. Waiters, unless told otherwise, should assume
the guest to be a regular patron and/or knowledgeable about food. To assume otherwise is demeaning.
Menu says "asparagus." Menu, not specials. It's May, in Germany. Quick, what color is it?


Quote:
sophisticated diners drink wine with their appetizers.
Cool, I thought that just made me a lush.

Quote:
Expresso,
Espresso. If you're going to be this critical, you'd better be perfect.

Quote:
YOUR MISTAKES HIGHLIGHTED IN YELLOW; YOUR SCORE ____________________
Yeah, I'd do this at a top notch place, just for fun, and only if they were horrendous. Other than that, I don't take myself seriously enough.
post #242 of 538
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabienne
That level of "family atmosphere" is certainly not unheard of in French 2 star restaurants, and Michelin lets them keep their stars...

Being nice to children is fine and customary. I once saw the staff at a starred place in Paris be extraordinarily kind and friendly to a child about 6, who was eating a dozen snails. But to approach a table and announce: "My name is Jean-Pierre" would be contrary to French dining customs and traditions and an insult to all things French.
post #243 of 538
...as would working at all.
post #244 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiger02
I don't remember the others, but the manager's name is Mario; he is Don Alphonso's son. He ties the greatest four-in-hand on the face of the planet.
LIAR!
post #245 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethpollock
Being nice to children is fine and customary. I once saw the staff at a starred place in Paris be extraordinarily kind and friendly to a child about 6, who was eating a dozen snails. But to approach a table and announce: "My name is Jean-Pierre" would be contrary to French dining customs and traditions and an insult to all things French.

The "introduction" would probably not go that way, but the staff might refer to themselves and other staff by first name if necessary in the course of a conversation.
post #246 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethpollock
e)\tAgain, while we are on the subject of menus, the word "entree" is a French word, meaning to "come in" or "enter." It is also used on the menu in France, and in every other country, except this one, to mean, obviously, the "entering" dish, or the appetizer Doubt this? See over for bills from two Paris restaurants. Long ago, someone simply made a mistake in this county, in thinking "entree" meant the main course. Now we seem to be stuck with the improper use of the word. It is not feasible to try to correct the entire American public as to its error. Nor is it possible to try to explain this American mistake to the rest of the world. However, now that we get a few foreign visitors, restaurants should avoid the confusion that the use of the word results in. Restaurants should simply leave the term "entree" off the menu. Waiters should be instructed to use the words "appetizer" and "main course" or "main dish," instead of mentioning the word "entree."
yeah this one bugs me.
post #247 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethpollock
It appears to me that some of the posters on this thread, mainly ex-waiters, really do not have much knowledge as to this topic, other than their own limited personal ones, because they have not been fortunate enough to have eaten in many of America's grandest restaurants, nor have they traveled outside this country much.
So to sum up this disagreement between the two "camps," it appears that there is basic agreement that the service at the finest USA restaurants (French Laundry, Jean-George, Le Bernardin, etc.), along with many ethnic establishments where use of English is limited, is pretty much like all European restaurants, in that waiters do not exhibit the behavior I have complained about. It also seems pretty much admitted that my claim that 30-40 years ago, any other type of behavior was virtually unknown here, too.
So, it seems that it is acknowledged that the behavior that I dislike stems from "studies" that giant restaurant chains have done about what appeals to, or could be fostered upon, middle-American and lower types of customers (not the French Laundry, Jean-George, Le Bernardin, etc. type of patron), to put them at ease to some extent, but perhaps most importantly, get them to order more and out more quickly (increase "volume"), and thereby increase profits.
We are down to a disagreement as to whether the former type of service (at the finest USA restaurants, European restaurants and in all USA restaurants in former times) which I will hereinafter call the Old-Europe Service ("OES") is right and whether the treatment that giant restaurant chains foster on everyone, because they assume them to be terrified hicks, which I will call giant chains' hick service ("GCHS") is wrong.
I am not kidding. I submit that it is wrong to offer GCHS to the giant restaurant chains' customers. More money usually buys better things and better service. Since French Laundry, Jean-George, Le Bernardin, etc. cost more, it is apparent that the OES that they offer is "better" service. So why cannot everyone get the OES treatment? If you think that the middle-American and lower types of customers do not deserve the OES treatment that the richer and more sophisticated customers at French Laundry, Jean-George, Le Bernardin, etc. receive, I submit that you are a snob. Giant restaurant chains deserve to be continually criticized for putting increased "volume" and increased profits ahead of having their waiters give everyone the OES treatment that the richer and more sophisticated customers in this nation receive.
I wrote the BOR to try to end this problem. If thousands would copy it, or something similiar, and leave it behind at restaurants that offend; or orally complain to management, things might improve.



Okay, I'm going to try this one more time, without any sarcasm (or at least I'll try to do it without sarcasm). I will admit up front that I have not eaten at the same number of upscale restaurants as you, nor have I had the pleasure of visiting continental Europe. I have also never waited tables. However, I have dined in my fair share of "good" (or "fine" or "grand" or whatever) restaurants. In some of those restauarants, I have observed the behaviors you listed. In some, I did not.

The topic you have posted on is a legitimate and interesting one to me. Should "good" service in American restaurants mirror that which exists in fine European restaurants? Further, should every restaurant with wait service in the U.S. (presumably other than a diner-style restaurant) have the same level of service, regardless of whether the restaurant in question is a "chain" and regardless of the socio-economic status of its usual patrons?

To me, this is where you went wrong with your arguments:

- Categorizing the behavior of the wait staff as "the worst." Sorry, but the items you listed might annoy you or might even annoy all of us, but they are not "the worst" things a waiter or waitress could do. I listed some of what I considered the worst in a previous post, so I won't rehash those here.

- Attempting to label as fact that because service is done a certain way in Europe (or even in certain restaurants in the United States), that this is the only correct way to do it. In everything (from technology to wait service) there will always be innovation. Sometimes this innovation is good, and sometimes it isn't. However, to simply dismiss something new or different as bad, in my opinion, demonstrates a narrow mind, a lack of experience, and an unwillingness to learn.

- Making the assumption that any culinary styles or advances made in the United States are per se inferior. See the above regarding a narrow mind and a lack of experience. I particularly like the portion of your bill of rights relating to coffee. Sorry, but from time to time I enjoy an espresso, and from time to time I enjoy an American style coffee. I want the option to be there. Frankly, if espresso is the only coffee you're drinking, you're missing out on some wonderful coffees (might I recommend Kona or Jamaican Blue Mountain? - probably not Kona, as it is American in origin). I'll even have a cappucino from time to time in the evening (and, by the way, one of the finest (if not the finest) Italian restaurants in Hartford, Connecticut's South End was serving cappucino in the evenings more than 25 years ago, and continues to do so to this day). And, yes, Hartford is not New York, so please save your comments regarding my inexperience.

- Not grasping the simple fact that the wait staff in restaurants do the things that annoy you because they've been instructed to, at the potential cost of their jobs. Further being unable to grasp the fact that the reason restaurants require their waits staff to do these things is because they've conducted surveys and focus groups and are responding to the opinions expressed therein. Do you honestly think that American restaurants are doing all of these things to spite their customers? Does this seem like a good business plan to you?

- Attempting to turn the "snob" label around by stating that those who disagree with you are snobs because they think a different level of service is appropriate for the "lower classes." To me, this shows your utter failure to grasp most of the arguments that have been put forth in this thread. You seem to feel that there is a large group of people in the U.S. who are ready to revolt due to poor wait service in restaurants. As has been stressed here time and time again, restaurants engage in the behaviors you detest because their patrons, on the whole, like it. No one was saying that everyone doesn't deserve equal restaurant service. What was being said is that people deserve the service that they want. Many restaurants in the U.S. have determined that such service includes some or all of the behaviors you find so objectionable. You seem to think that everyone wants the service you prefer, but that they simply aren't complaining about it. I would argue that you are in the minority here. People either like the service or just don't feel that the behaviours rise to the level where a complaint is necessary.

- Having a holier than thou and condescending attitude toward everyone in this thread who takes a position different from yours. Perhaps this is the way you treat people on a daily basis. Perhaps you only do it on internet message boards. Whatever the case, it is rude behavior. I was raised to treat everyone with dignity and respect, regardless of their social standing. Given your behavior toward people in this thread, I think I should put together a "bill of rights" regarding how to raise a child and submit it to any parents with whose children I am forced to interact.

To conclude a long post, I think your attitude and pronouncements have turned what could have been an interesting thread into a fire storm. It's a pity. Perhaps you'd like to try again sometime.
post #248 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiger02
The very best service I have received anywhere in the world was at Don Alphonso 1891 in San Agata dei Due Golfi on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. It's not even close--they went out of their way to seat operationexpat and me when we showed up underdressed () and without a reservation, brought us into the library after the meal for a spot of homemade limoncello, invited us to their jazz bar in Positano, drove us to the bus stop on the edge of town, and then went back and picked up the shopping bag we had forgotten. This is a Michelin 2 star restaurant, second most expensive meal I've eaten. The hostess, manager, and waiter all introduced themselves by name; the sommelier did not. The specials were all printed in the menu and the waiter was happy to answer all questions--genesis and minutiae of ingredients, complementary dishes, translation of fish names. My memory is a bit hazy but I believe they referred to us as 'amici.'

That's my ideal of service.
Tom


for years, my favorite place was a tratoria with extremly good and authentic roman food, run by a couple and their sons. as we were regulars, we would get hugs and kisses from the staff when we came in, they would joke with us, and they would make stuff for us that wans't on the menu, if we asked.

granted, this was not fancy food, but this is the type of service that I am most happy with, I would love to find a place near me with the level of italian food and service.
post #249 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrotter
for years, my favorite place was a tratoria with extremly good and authentic roman food, run by a couple and their sons. as we were regulars, we would get hugs and kisses from the staff when we came in, they would joke with us, and they would make stuff for us that wans't on the menu, if we asked.

granted, this was not fancy food, but this is the type of service that I am most happy with, I would love to find a place near me with the level of italian food and service.
Let's see, the Chicago mob was run by Jews, so you might have better luck finding matzoh balls than meat balls. Mazeltov!
post #250 of 538
KP,

I don't have a lot to add to what JBZ said, but let me try

1. there are two very good food critics that I like - alan richman from GQ, and Daniel Rogov http://www.stratsplace.com/rogov/home.html. Frankly, I don't know how well traveled AR is, but DR is extremly well traveled, and although he writes for an Israeli newspaper, he is extremly well regarded internationally as a wine writer and critic. both of these men are, what my mother would refer to as "menchses". they are nice guys. they know how to have a beer and a sausage every now and again. you might look into it.

2. I guess this whole thing comes down to one question "is the ideal you have one way of doing things, or is it the best way"?. it seems to me that, for no real reason, you have decided that your way is the best way. you are sure that there is good backing for this, as far as I can see, because that is what a tire company would agree to.

3. there is a good chance that I am one of the only people here who really can compete with you, in terms of number of meals eaten outside of the home, and that is due simply to the amount of work travel I do. I would not presume to suggest that I have eaten in the types of fancy resteraunts that you have - I have eaten in less than 5 michelen starred places - but I have eaten in a wide range of eating facilities in more than 60 countries, for an estimated 7-8,000 meals. I am just laying groundwork here - believe me, having survived pepper pot stew in Lagos is not exactly something to brag about. What I would suggest, however, is that while in a certain grouping of resteraunts in France might want to do things in a certain way, that might not be the only way to do it. I would suggest that you can find a great deal of variations on the type of coffee served after a meal around the world, you can find a great deal of variations in the types of vegetables served with meals, and in what order they are served. life is full of variations, and sometimes you are better served by enjoying them.

4. I hate to put it this way - but if the large chains didn't find that what they were doing was good for the market, they wouldn't do it that way. they are in it to make money, and they do that by providing the people what they want.
post #251 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiger02
Let's see, the Chicago mob was run by Jews, so you might have better luck finding matzoh balls than meat balls. Mazeltov!


are you suggesting that there is a city in the US that doen'st have enough jews and italians, friend?
post #252 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrotter
are you suggesting that there is a city in the US that doen'st have enough jews and italians, friend?
Good point, meatballs should be covered. Just don't try to get a decent pizza
post #253 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrotter

4. I hate to put it this way - but if the large chains didn't find that what they were doing was good for the market, they wouldn't do it that way. they are in it to make money, and they do that by providing the people what they want.

Would you say that those "Large chains" have been gradually influencing mid-range restaurants in the US in how service is performed?
post #254 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabienne
Would you say that those "Large chains" have been gradually influencing mid-range restaurants in the US in how service is performed?
In my experience, large chains are mostly *replacing* mid-range restaurants in the US. Most of the remainder tend towards friendlier, more familiar service. Genuinely, as they are local places that have a solid field of regulars. This goes for exurban US for the most part, don't have much experience with mid range places in big cities.

Germany definitely has a strong mid-range category, where service ranges the extremes, from high school girls to old pros.
post #255 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabienne
Would you say that those "Large chains" have been gradually influencing mid-range restaurants in the US in how service is performed?


yes, for good and bad. in 2 major ways

1. if you are a small businessperson, and smart, you should be looking at what big competitors do and copy it - they have the money for research, and you don't.

2. the big companies are crushing out the small ones, making them fight harder, cut corners and compete harder.
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