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US waiters' worst conduct

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

  1. Mike

    Mike Senior member

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    Waiter Rant is a pretty entertaining blog written by a NYC waiter if you want to see things from the other side.

    Thanks for recommending this site. The guy writes well, and it is very entertaining. I've spent a bunch of down time reading the backlog of stories.
     


  2. kennethpollock

    kennethpollock Senior member

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    There is a lot of “corp-speak” going on here, by people who may be too young and inexperienced in fine dining throughout the world to know what they are talking about, but who are just parroting back stuff written by publicists or pencil-pushers in the American restaurant "industry." Real people do not talk this way. I mean phrases like:
    (a)\ta certain style of waitservice being your preference,
    (b)\temployee builds a relationship with the client,
    (c)\tways to keep people coming back to your establishment,
    (d)\tmake people understand that you CARE they are doing business with you,
    (e)\tintroduce yourself and be as helpful as possible,
    (f)\tthe sales or services industry with training in customer service,
    (g)\tcritiques about aloof servers,
    (h)\tpeople in the U.S. tend to enjoy informal, overtly friendly behavior in their service experiences,
    (i)\tbeing meticulously formal can often come across as cold and disinterested,
    (j)\tlistening to the market,
    (k)\tresponding with behavior most conducive to winning the favor of the market.
    I am not talking about mom and pop local restaurants 30-40 years ago; I think of them as modest joints. I am talking about the behavior at better restaurants, but it makes little difference as the service was pretty much the same everywhere, regardless of whether you were spending $5 per person or $25 (to convert to today’s price levels, multiply by 3-4). The service was silent and efficient, but not curt. It certainly was not overly "familiar."
    I have never worked in a restaurant, but I have many friends in the business.
    I do not think that all restaurant customers are hicks; my complaint is that so many USA restaurants today treat them (including me) as if we are. My comment about air-heads was reserved to the aspiring artist/model/film star type of WAITER. Druggies referred to people who do not realize that the “treatment” they get is always identical and has nothing to do with true friendship (really, with a waiter who expects to only see you once?). If a waiter says the exact same things to you that he and all of the other servers in all 250+ places in the chain say to every customer, because the boss insists, is this being friendly to you or merely robotic? Do experienced diners really think this is true friendship towards them on the waiter's part?
    In a prior post in this thread, I mentioned that my wife and I have become so friendly with some of our regular waiters that we have taken four of them to dinner. Obviously, there has been friendly and informal banter with them. I am not going to engage in such banter with a robot, however.
    “Four or five star restaurants” refers to the Mobile Guide, which I do not agree with. The Michelin Guide, the best, only goes up to three stars. I have only eaten in 4 of them in Europe and two in NY. In France, I prefer 1-2 stars, as many are less used to having American customers. I am not the food snob you make me out to be.
     


  3. tiger02

    tiger02 Militarist

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    I wonder if cuffthis has an opinion?
     


  4. Mr. Checks

    Mr. Checks Senior member

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    Thanks for recommending this site. The guy writes well, and it is very entertaining. I've spent a bunch of down time reading the backlog of stories.

    So did I. Great stuff, and a bracing reminder of my days in the service industry. Don't miss it.
     


  5. Fabienne

    Fabienne Senior member

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    So did I. Great stuff, and a bracing reminder of my days in the service industry. Don't miss it.

    I have good memories of when I was a waitress. The only stressful thing was understanding cocktail names (my English was tentative back then). But I had an ally in the German bartender (aspiring opera singer in NY city) who would decrypt the wondrous appellations for me and keep me out of trouble.
     


  6. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    I see a definite Raymond Carver influence in that waiter blog.
     


  7. Bouji

    Bouji Senior member

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    I would like to make it known; I am in the Fabienne, Label King, and Kennethpollock camp, on this one.
    Living in London, I can honestly say that what Mr. Pollock claims about the standard of service in European establishments, on a broad level I agree, but times are changing here too, gone are the days when you can get truly proper service even in the mediocre places. It's not to the extent to this sickly sweet, brain hammering annoying level of service that I experience Stateside, but in a different way. In a way that the Champagne-Socialists (Gauche caviar" "Limousine liberal" or "latte liberal") of this thread are likely to be with me on, they are in a more technical sense, bad servers, they don't clear plates on time, have to be called to take my order, get orders wrong. Luckily we have not got into the culture of first name greetings, lest I articulate TGIF, but that is as good as being in America anyway.
    I’d also like to remind you that dining in a restaurant is not a technical experience, it is supposed to be enjoyed (by those who know how; this is why being comfortable does not come into the picture). So, with regard to the marketing argument, false.
    You may take objection to the Champagne-Socialist label, which I put towards members on this thread, whom I choose not to mention, however, for this there is ample prudence. A restaurant is traditionally (and don't get on high-horses with me; I'm in my late 20s, although, of course a hard-line Tory supporter) an establishment, into which a group of people go, to enjoy fine food, and one and other's company, for the upper and middle classes, and the role of the wait staff, is to provide discreet, efficient service. I think this has been mentioned, but you are not there to make friends with the wait staff. If that was an individual's aim, perhaps an escort service is better suited to that sort of individual.
    I would also like to make a disclaimer, that in 'real-life' I would not involve myself in such an argument, I would distance myself from individuals with such liberal, socialist, or champagne socialist views. However, this is the internet, and I feel that we Conservatives are in the minority, and a voice of reason has to be heard out.
    I would, most of all like to make clear that I do not have objection to such service when I am in TGIF, or such and establishment. Also, when I travel to America, it can be novel at times. Perhaps such behavior suits America, and in this I am speaking out of turn, because cultural differences need to be accounted for, after all, America is a liberal land compared to Europe. Such behavior by wait staff does irritate me, but as with everything, I’m willing to put up with it when I am in America, or an American style place here.
    I just hope it does not come here in a big way!
     


  8. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    I was unaware that TGI-Fridays was a french restaraunt... [​IMG]
    I was unaware too. Oddly, I've never been to that restaurant, which I suppose is a blessing in a very patched disguise.
     


  9. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    Bouji, we know Oscar Wilde said it best: 'America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.'
     


  10. Bouji

    Bouji Senior member

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    Bouji, we know Oscar Wilde said it best:

    'America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.'


    Indeed.
     


  11. whoopee

    whoopee Senior member

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    "Only" is no longer accurate.

    Americans seem to want to be friends to all classses and all people. I recall a bathroom attendant at a restaurant/hotel trying to chat with me while I was standing in front of a urinal. It seems it would've been snobbish not to respond .
     


  12. Bouji

    Bouji Senior member

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    "Only" is no longer accurate.

    Americans seem to want to be friends to all classses and all people. I recall a bathroom attendant at a restaurant/hotel trying to chat with me while I was standing in front of a urinal. It seems it would've been snobbish not to respond .


    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     


  13. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    "Only" is no longer accurate.

    Americans seem to want to be friends to all classses and all people. I recall a bathroom attendant at a restaurant/hotel trying to chat with me while I was standing in front of a urinal. It seems it would've been snobbish not to respond .

    The idea is nice but the realization is usually tragic.
     


  14. VMan

    VMan Senior member

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    Whether I'm getting a $4 burger at a grill-type restaurant, or a $7 Chinese buffet, or a $75 dinner at an upscale restaurant, I'd want the same treatment - a genuine smile, not being too forward or pushy, and respectable service. I'm sure they'd love the same out of me, and I always give them that respect. How they clear the plates, drop off the bill, read the specials (how much work is it to ask them to repeat a certain part?), state their name, or recommend menu items is up to them, so long as they follow some sort of broad 'norms'.

    I'm not trying to impress anyone, or prove myself better. I'm just out for the food, drinks, and to have a good time. It would relax me a lot more as well to see the waiters at least in a happy state of mind than walking like pretentious zombies.
     


  15. Tokyo Slim

    Tokyo Slim In Time Out

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    I may be inexperienced in what you would like to call "fine dining throughout the world", but I've worked in exactly 3 restaraunts more than you, Ken. And I've eaten out three or four times a week for the last, oh I don't know, seven years? That makes me somewhat of an expert compared to you on the way service is viewed and executed by the industry. You are allowed to have your viewpoints, and I am allowed to have mine, but unfortunately for you, only a small amount of people feel as you do. It's not going to get any better for you when dining out, only worse. Because of the way restaraunts are run and what the majority of the customers visiting typically want, the particular type of "service" you desire will be harder and harder for you to find. You can complain about it, but for gods sake, stop blaming the people who are trying to do their jobs. Blame the other customers who eat out and through their patronage, comments, and tipping tell people in the industry that they desire a more friendly and intimate style of service. Blame the restaraunts who train the waiters to do this. Blame America for being a more liberal and less socially structured society than Europe.

    Ironically, in Japan, you would pay MORE to get my kind of service than you would yours. Having a waiter or waitress (they are usually women) to sit with you, talk to you, and fill your food and drinks, make conversation, and give the customer a complete dining EXPERIENCE is a luxury. So as far as I know, only in Europe (according to you) do they treat service people as background noise, one half-step above indentured slavery.

    Modern restaraunteurs realize that people can go anywhere to eat, and what seperates one restaraunt from another is the experience. This includes the atmosphere, the service, the overall presentation, and the food. Most people realize that when someone asks "how are you guys are doing" it is not an insult to the female members of your party, nor is it intended to insinuate that you are of any particular lower social status, it is merely a query as to if you are ENJOYING YOURSELF. Which is the entire point of going to a restaraunt in the first place. This is a positive thing, and anyone who nitpicks this and gets offended has far too few REAL problems in their life.

    Some people are just too damn uptight to enjoy themselves I think.
     


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