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US waiters' worst conduct

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by kennethpollock, Apr 24, 2006.

  1. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member

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    KP - if you had any desire of getting agreement from me, you could have started with the italian resteraunt issue. how come these places call themselves italian resterants and don't make any italian food?

    You guys are being disingenuous. When I go to the "China Sun" I know that I am going to get Americanized Chinese food. In fact, even in Hong Kong and Shanghai, if you go to a restaurant where the waiters speak even passable English, you are probably not getting the real deal. And Ken, that was Atlanta, 20 years ago. What did you really expect? I doubt that it would have been possible to even get the ingredients necessary to make real Northern Italian food.
     
  2. globetrotter

    globetrotter Well-Known Member

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    You guys are being disingenuous. When I go to the "China Sun" I know that I am going to get Americanized Chinese food. In fact, even in Hong Kong and Shanghai, if you go to a restaurant where the waiters speak even passable English, you are probably not getting the real deal. And Ken, that was Atlanta, 20 years ago. What did you really expect? I doubt that it would have been possible to even get the ingredients necessary to make real Northern Italian food.


    yeah, but that is a matter of taste. I find it hard to eat italian and indian food in america, because I have eaten so much good food in each place, and it is hard to get authentic food here. frankly, I probrably have never really enjoyed authentic chinese food - the most authentic places I have eaten in almost to be able to say I ate there, and the places I have enjoyed the most in hong kong and mainland have probrably not been the most authentic. I am sure that american italian food has its merits, its just not my kind of food.
     
  3. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

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    the more authentic the Chinese food, the more bland the taste.

    Not a fan.
     
  4. aybojs

    aybojs Well-Known Member

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    the more authentic the Chinese food, the more bland the taste.

    Not a fan.


    What about Szechuan and Hunan (haven't had legit versions of the latter, but it's supposed to be spicy... the former definitely is)? I think you're mainly referring to Cantonese.
     
  5. LabelKing

    LabelKing Well-Known Member

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    Cantonese food isn't bland. It's the Chiuchow cuisine, which is. Most Westernized versions of Chinese food tend to be Cantonese in derivation, and Chiuchow is lumped together with the Cantonese because of regional margins.
     
  6. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

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    What about Szechuan and Hunan (haven't had legit versions of the latter, but it's supposed to be spicy... the former definitely is)? I think you're mainly referring to Cantonese.
    the one exception I would make is for Singaporean Chinese food, which is generally pretty good (thanks mostly to the Peranakan influence of Straits Chinese who borrowed heavily from Malay and Indian cuisines in developing their own). This however, is not 'authentic Chinese'
    Cantonese food isn't bland. It's the Chiuchow cuisine, which is. Most Westernized versions of Chinese food tend to be Cantonese in derivation, and Chiuchow is lumped together with the Cantonese because of regional margins.
    I certainly dont think anyone could accuse me of eating 'westernised versions' of anything, having dined in greater China in everything from CNY vegetarian midnight feasts in people's homes, to some of the regions finest restaurants, and (more regularly) to some of the dirtiest gutter stalls few kwei lo would dare tread
     
  7. old dover trad

    old dover trad Well-Known Member

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    ONCE IN MY YOUTH a waiter spilled MANHATTAN chowder all over my WHITE PANTS when I was out on a first date I was so embarrased. When the bill came I thought maybe the waiter would of taken it off but he didn't I should of said something but I didn' t want to leave a bad impression. We never had a second date but I don't blame what happened with the waiter it's too bad maybe things could of turned out differently.I'm not sure why she didn't return my calls but I guess it wasn't meant to be. I still think I shouldn't of had to PAY FOR THE CHOWDER.
     
  8. whoopee

    whoopee Well-Known Member

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    I can't imagine the numerous cuisines of China being bland at all, but if you don't grow up eating (and maybe idolising) certain cuisines, they can be hard to appreciate.
     
  9. VMan

    VMan Well-Known Member

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    ONCE IN MY YOUTH a waiter spilled MANHATTAN chowder all over my WHITE PANTS when I was out on a first date I was so embarrased. When the bill came I thought maybe the waiter would of taken it off but he didn't I should of said something but I didn' t want to leave a bad impression. We never had a second date but I don't blame what happened with the waiter it's too bad maybe things could of turned out differently.I'm not sure why she didn't return my calls but I guess it wasn't meant to be. I still think I shouldn't of had to PAY FOR THE CHOWDER.

    That is unbelievable!

    If I was head of that restaurant, your entire meal would have been comped, plus you would have been treated to a bottle of wine, and the cost of your pants would have been refunded.

    What poor customer service.
     
  10. mdk

    mdk Active Member

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    ONCE IN MY YOUTH a waiter spilled MANHATTAN chowder all over my WHITE PANTS when I was out on a first date I was so embarrased. When the bill came I thought maybe the waiter would of taken it off but he didn't I should of said something but I didn' t want to leave a bad impression. We never had a second date but I don't blame what happened with the waiter it's too bad maybe things could of turned out differently.I'm not sure why she didn't return my calls but I guess it wasn't meant to be. I still think I shouldn't of had to PAY FOR THE CHOWDER.

    Maybe it was because your case of voice immodulation.
     
  11. j

    j Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    ONCE IN MY YOUTH a waiter spilled MANHATTAN chowder all over my WHITE PANTS when I was out on a first date I was so embarrased. When the bill came I thought maybe the waiter would of taken it off but he didn't I should of said something but I didn' t want to leave a bad impression. We never had a second date but I don't blame what happened with the waiter it's too bad maybe things could of turned out differently.I'm not sure why she didn't return my calls but I guess it wasn't meant to be. I still think I shouldn't of had to PAY FOR THE CHOWDER.
    Is that the RED, or the WHITE?
     
  12. Tokyo Slim

    Tokyo Slim Well-Known Member

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    Where Eagles Dare!
    Maybe it was because your case of voice immodulation.

    That was hilarious. I laughed for five minutes. Welcome to Styleforum.
     
  13. Nantucket Red

    Nantucket Red Well-Known Member

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    Is that the RED, or the WHITE?

    Manhattan clam chowder has a tomato base. New England clam chowder has a cream base.

    The secret family recipe for "Mrs. Derrendinger's cheesecake" is completely unrelated.
     
  14. Tokyo Slim

    Tokyo Slim Well-Known Member

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    Is that the RED, or the WHITE?

    Ace Ventura, Pet Detective quote.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. mdk

    mdk Active Member

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    That was hilarious. I laughed for five minutes. Welcome to Styleforum.

    OH, IT'S FUNNY TO YOU. IMAGINE, IF YOU WILL, COLIN, A LIFE IN WHICH YOU HOLD YOUR BABY DAUGHTER IN YOUR ARMS AND TRY TO EASE HER BACK TO SLEEP. HUSH HUSH. GO TO SLEEP. DADDY LOVES YOU. OR IMAGINE YOU'RE AT CHURCH WHISPERING A SECRET AND SILENT PRAYER TO GOD. "OH, PLEASE, DEAR GOD. WHY HAVE YOU DONE THIS TO ME? I HATE YOU, GOD. PLEASE TAKE AWAY THIS TERRIBLE AFFLICTION. AND ALSO LET ME FIND A BAG OF MONEY." THAT IS MY HELL, COLIN. I WOULDN'T WISH IT ON ANYONE! MAYBE ON YOU, COLIN, BUT NO ONE ELSE.
     
  16. old dover trad

    old dover trad Well-Known Member

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    May 22, 2006
    Is that the RED, or the WHITE?


    YEs it's the RED if I was lucky I would of ordered the white but if you've ever seen the Born Loser's Coat of Arms broken glasses and a bad hand of cards you would know where I'm coming from.

    Thanks Versace I think you would make a great restaurant owner let me know so I can be the first customer I promise not to wear shorts.
     
  17. kennethpollock

    kennethpollock Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Atlanta
    From a Seattle newspaper, 6 years ago:
    http://www.seattleweekly.com/food/00...d-robinson.php

    Are you being served?
    Ten things I wish every waiter would stop doing.
    By Kathryn Robinson

    Dominic Arizona BonuccelliYears of restaurant reviewing have left me somewhat jaded on the subject of service, which, judging from the numbers who get it wrong, must be extraordinarily difficult to get right. I have worked in a restaurant, and I am well familiar with the challenges that afflict the best of waiters: testy patrons, kitchen politics, unexpected slams, late busers, hosts who seat every 7pm reservation in your section, and on and on. Waiting tables is one of those hard, sweaty jobs that—done right—demands you make it look effortless, and that is no cakewalk.

    But every so often, when the moon and stars are aligned, a waiter waltzes into my life and restores my faith in how fine, even artful, service can be. He is efficient, but not robotically so, evincing actual personality, but not cozily or artificially. Instinctively she senses when to be available and when to disappear. He knows everything there is to know about the food.

    She is, in short, a pro. To inspire more waiters to follow in her estimable footsteps, I've compiled the following list of service gaffes I would deeply love to never encounter again (sort of like the Zagats' Diners' Bill of Rights, only solely about service).

    It's not world peace. But it could be a better evening out.

    Introduce himself.

    This cheesy practice, pioneered by "service-oriented" chain restaurants in the '80s, sought to establish individual rapport between server and patron but wound up delivering only the cheapest counterfeit of intimacy. Why on earth would a diner need to know her waiter's name is Tim? Might she need to shout for him across the restaurant? No, no, no: This first-name-basis routine—still performed, unbelievably, in more than a few places around town—is an immediate signal to the diner that the service will be rote instead of reflexive; that personal regard will be faked instead of felt. The practice thus accomplishes exactly the opposite of what it intends, as insincerity usually does.

    Leave me standing stupidly at the door because it's not her job to greet guests.

    How many times have you lingered in the foyer, the host having decamped for who knows where, while waiters scurry past without saying a word? Would a smile and a "someone will be with you in a moment" kill them? Probably no single gesture is more off-putting to a diner than a complete lack of welcome—and no gesture is easier to provide.

    Know nothing about the menu.

    Now, I'm no salesperson, but it seems to me that rule number one in that game must be: Know your product. This is why the number of waiters who know zip about the food they're serving amazes me. No idea about the preparation methods, the side dishes, anything. For goodness' sake, sample the food you're serving! If you can't because of dietary restrictions, ask the chef for details! The chef can't promote his food to every table; it's your job to represent it for him. Be a vegetarian waiter in a steakhouse, if you like—but please, don't act like one.

    Touch me.

    Some study reportedly once revealed that waiters who touch patrons lightly while serving them get bigger tips. I am happy to report that this has only happened to me twice. Let me hasten to add that both waiters got small tips.

    Sit down with me.

    A trendlet sprouted in the early '90s in certain jumpy, youth-oriented restaurants in which waiters sat down with diners to take their orders. I haven't seen this stupid little affectation in ages, but its first cousin, Inappropriate Familiarity, is alive and well in restaurants all over town. Just last week a waitress stood at our table and told us all about her trip to Montana. (Before we'd gotten our order in, no less.) I've had servers who've begged my pardon for overhearing, then plunged forth with commentary on whatever my table had been discussing.

    Far be it from me to demand poker-faced efficiency from waiters; I want a waiter to be a human being, to have a sense of humor, to discreetly interact with the ebb and flow of my table's conversational dynamics. But the key word is discreetly. A good waiter reads her table and interacts accordingly, leaving the moonstruck lovers to their private bliss and the arguing colleagues to their argument, gently entering in only when a particularly gregarious or food-loving table gives the signals. Sorry if that seems like you're being treated like the help. You are the help.

    Respond to "What's best on the menu tonight?" with "It's all good!"

    Grrr—this one really sets my teeth on edge, for it reeks of PR when what you're looking for is substance. The fact is, some dishes are simply better than others. The best waiters not only know everything about their menu, they reveal a refreshing candor about it that provides gentle but firm direction. At the risk of seeming like a restaurant nerd, there is something wonderful, even thrilling, about being in the hands of such a maestro. I recall a wonderful dinner at the Post Hotel at Lake Louise in which our waiter—an old-school career waiter, a real pro—settled my indecision with an easy flourish. "Oh, get the veal tonight," he decreed, describing it as so fresh and decisively glorious that any hesitation was completely erased. That was a memorable meal, partly because the veal was decisively glorious, but also because I left with the feeling the waiter was in cahoots with my pleasure in eating it.

    Ask how everything is.

    You know the drill: The waiter saunters by midway through your dinner to ask, "How is everything?" and you have to stop your conversation to assure him that everything's fine. I call this the "fishing for compliments" portion of the meal, and a lot of otherwise fine waiters practice it. A great waiter, by contrast, knows that such an inquiry does not justify an interruption of the meal, but merely an alert proximity. He may walk slowly by the table, making reasonably sure that the diner knows he's there, just in case he's needed. That's enough.

    Remove my partially eaten meal without asking.

    I know that servers have my best interests at heart here, but please ask before taking. What if I want to swab the rest of my bread around in those last traces of sauce? What if I want a doggie bag? Please don't just assume I'm done—it makes me feel awfully piggy to have to beg for my plate back.

    Assume I don't want dessert (or wine, or to hear the specials...).

    A lot of women, I'm told, are never offered dessert at all. Perhaps so few want it, waiters consider offering it wasted energy. Please don't make that assumption. If dessert is part of your restaurant's menu, it should be offered regardless of your chances of selling it. Same goes for wine, cocktails, and the evening's specials, which for some reason I've lately had to drag out of my waiters.

    When taking a cash payment, say "Do you need change?"

    It ain't nothin' but a cheap ploy for a big tip, you transparent little operator, you, and making a patron feel cheap for wanting her change back is tawdry. Just make the change, already. And then let the diner decide if you were worth it.
     
  18. RJman

    RJman Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I'm going to throw this one out:

    The smiley face on the bill, often from young female servers at hip or attemptedly hip bars and restaurants, apparently since it supposedly leads to bigger tips. Wow, I guess it means you liked me.
     
  19. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Well-Known Member

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    I personally don't let myself get overly bothered by poor service from waitstaff, I just tip accordingly. There was a long thread a year or so ago about my belief that a tip is a gratuity given at the discretion of the diner, not something that is entitled to the server just for delivering your food to the table.

    Contrary to people's beliefs, most waiters and restaurant managers enjoy serving me, because I don't like to wait at all and as such am generally ready to order immediately, have very few questions about the menu, and do not linger at the table longer than necessary.
     
  20. cuffthis

    cuffthis Well-Known Member

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    New Hope, PA
    As someone who now earns his livelihood in the restaurant business, I feel I must respond to this. My responses to your comments are as follows:

    1. Introduce himself. I wholeheartedly hate the "Hi I'm so and so and I'll be taking care of you" BS. Rule #1 in our training for new servers - you say that and you will be fired, immediately. I absolutely hate that line. You come to my table wearing a company shirt and an apron - no shit you're waiting on me. That's pretty obvious. I didn't think you came over to my table to wash my car.

    But our servers are told to mention their name at the end of their original greeting (which contains the phrases "Welcome to DH. Have you dined with us before? Our menu includes many 1/2 size entrees, etc."). After greeting the table and getting a preliminary wine or other drink order, they are told to leave the table by mentioning something along the line "If you have any additional questions, my name is so and so".

    The only reason I instruct our staff to give their name as it makes asking for them easier instead of blurting out "hey bud" or "waiter". They give their name LAST, AFTER going over the most important things.

    2. If a staff person of mine did this, they would be terminated, period.

    3.See #2.

    4. See #2

    5. See #2. This actually happened once at DH. The person was terminated in the middle of her shift on an incredibly busy Saturday night. Zero tolerence for this crap.

    6. We tell our staff to make recommendations to customers based on what they like but stress the fact that they should be focusing more on asking customers what wines they want and then basing the menu choices on that.

    7. I think it is fine to ask customers how everything is. At DH, the servers don't do this though. My wife and I, as the Proprietors, do. Many times, people will not confront their server with issues. But they will with another person, especially with the ultimate decision makers. You got a problem? Let us know, we care and will fix it, immediately.

    8. See #2. This rule also applies to all staff, including food runners, bus help, hostess, etc.

    9. See #2. Suggestive selling is the way for restaurants to maximize per cover $. Don't hate me for admitting this. It is after all a business. That's why we offer you, in this order, "Sparkling, Still or tap water?".

    10. See #2. Although the last time someone paid cash at DH was during the Carter Administration (obviously exaggerating, lol).



    From a Seattle newspaper, 6 years ago:
    http://www.seattleweekly.com/food/00...d-robinson.php

    Are you being served?
    Ten things I wish every waiter would stop doing.
    By Kathryn Robinson


    1.Introduce himself.

    2.Leave me standing stupidly at the door because it's not her job to greet guests.

    3.Know nothing about the menu.

    4.Touch me.

    5.Sit down with me.

    6.Respond to "What's best on the menu tonight?" with "It's all good!"

    7.Ask how everything is.

    8. Remove my partially eaten meal without asking.

    9. Assume I don't want dessert (or wine, or to hear the specials...).

    10. When taking a cash payment, say "Do you need change?"
     

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