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US waiters' worst conduct

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

  1. kennethpollock

    kennethpollock Senior member

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    what I don't understand, mr pollock, is what you believe the motive would be for a markeitng department of a place like, say, chilli's, to prepare poorly worded surveys. what possible interest would it be to the resteraunt chain to change the service americans get in resteraunts, if they didn't think that it would encrease their revenue. having been part of the sales department of a major corporation, I would guess that the marketing people in a corporation like chili's or Fridays, probrably knows more about the american dinning public than you know about your wife or kids. they probrably know how many seconds it takes to read each section of the menu, what is the wording most likly to get a person to purchase dessert, and, exactly what kind of interaction the average american dinner wants with his wait person.

    My father worked in an analogous field once, doing time and motion studies, helping a department store chain save a few pennies here and there. With hundreds of thousands of transactions, it added up.
    IMO, a lot of restaurant chains go to outside companies for these studies and even the ones that have their own marketing departments are stuck with the problem that these people, being paid to make suggested changes, have to come up with something to justify their own existance. In addition to suggesting a better placement of the ice machine, etc., they tackled the "waiter situation" and decided to change the concept from that of a borrowed servant for the evening to that of a corporate "pitchman" or hyped salesman. Then, to sell the idea to management, they needed to survey to prove that the public really liked these changes (although even you agree that most of posters on this thread dislike quite a number of them). Hence, the suveys to give them the answers they wanted to hear.
     
  2. Etienne

    Etienne Senior member

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    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.
    When I was living in the US, the "introduction" was probably the thing I found the most difficult to adapt to in restaurants.
     
  3. Fabienne

    Fabienne Senior member

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    As I understand it, the American usage of entree stems from an archaic meaning that placed it after the fish course. It would be what we today would consider a main. Regardless, I find starters, main courses, etc. to be more logical and direct terms than appetizers, entrees, etc.

    Within a traditional French meal around the 17th century, the entrÃ[​IMG]e was actually the second and/or third course (it came after the soup and/or the hors d'Å“uvre), then came the "rôti" (roast, pheasant, etc).

    I don't think the American usage is such a huge mistake after all. Over time, a blurring between that second or third dish and the "roast" probably occurred, that would be my guess.

    You find a lot of similar examples in QuÃ[​IMG]becois French and the French mistakenly make fun of the QuÃ[​IMG]becois for their usage of a word, whereas in fact, our Canadian cousins simply have kept the original meaning, whereas the French in France decided to move on in various ways.
     
  4. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    My father worked in an analogous field once, doing time and motion studies, helping a department store chain save a few pennies here and there. With hundreds of thousands of transactions, it added up.
    IMO, a lot of restaurant chains go to outside companies for these studies and even the ones that have their own marketing departments are stuck with the problem that these people, being paid to make suggested changes, have to come up with something to justify their own existance. In addition to suggesting a better placement of the ice machine, etc., they tackled the "waiter situation" and decided to change the concept from that of a borrowed servant for the evening to that of a corporate "pitchman" or hyped salesman. Then, to sell the idea to management, they needed to survey to prove that the public really liked these changes (although even you agree that most of posters on this thread dislike quite a number of them). Hence, the suveys to give them the answers they wanted to hear.




    KP - you do seem like a reasonably bright man. If I remember correctly you are a lawyer. I am not talking about the insulting tone of your statement, just in terms of making sense to you - if somebody suggested to you that lawyers obviously prefered to create more tax problems for their clients rather than clear up problems that accured, or that litigators prefered to lose cases rather than win them, because it gave them more time to be with their families, you would assume that person was joking or a fool. what you are suggesting is that people, usually extremly well educated people, who make perhaps 2/3 of their overall anual income based not on the hours they sit in their chairs but on the value they generate, in dollars and sense, for their corporations, are, en masse, falsifying data that would result in more revenue for their corporations, and thus more income for themselves, because they have a secret agenda to have waiters introduce themselves?

    is that what you are suggesting, sir?
     
  5. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    Within a traditional French meal around the 17th century, the entrÃ[​IMG]e was actually the second and/or third course (it came after the soup and/or the hors d'Å“uvre), then came the "rôti" (roast, pheasant, etc).

    I don't think the American usage is such a huge mistake after all. Over time, a blurring between that second or third dish and the "roast" probably occurred, that would be my guess.

    You find a lot of similar examples in QuÃ[​IMG]becois French and the French mistakenly make fun of the QuÃ[​IMG]becois for their usage of a word, whereas in fact, our Canadian cousins simply have kept the original meaning, whereas the French in France decided to move on in various ways.



    I find those types of words fascinating, where a word has changed meaning in different coutries and cultures. you get that in many ex-colonies.
     
  6. Margaret

    Margaret Senior member

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    As I understand it, the American usage of entree stems from an archaic meaning that placed it after the fish course. It would be what we today would consider a main. Regardless, I find starters, main courses, etc. to be more logical and direct terms than appetizers, entrees, etc.

    I LOATHE that term 'starters' -- it reminds me of TGI Friday's or something. Ugh. [​IMG]
     
  7. Margaret

    Margaret Senior member

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    KP - you do seem like a reasonably bright man. If I remember correctly you are a lawyer. I am not talking about the insulting tone of your statement, just in terms of making sense to you - if somebody suggested to you that lawyers obviously prefered to create more tax problems for their clients rather than clear up problems that accured, or that litigators prefered to lose cases rather than win them, because it gave them more time to be with their families, you would assume that person was joking or a fool. what you are suggesting is that people, usually extremly well educated people, who make perhaps 2/3 of their overall anual income based not on the hours they sit in their chairs but on the value they generate, in dollars and sense, for their corporations, are, en masse, falsifying data that would result in more revenue for their corporations, and thus more income for themselves, because they have a secret agenda to have waiters introduce themselves?

    is that what you are suggesting, sir?


    I. love. this. thread. Where's my popcorn?
     
  8. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    I. love. this. thread. Where's my popcorn?


    I live to entertain.
     
  9. Violinist

    Violinist Senior member

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    What is "blush" wine?

    I went to a martini bar that's supposed to be half decent, and on the menu they had glasses and bottles of "Fat bastard" wine. Kind of strange...
     
  10. kennethpollock

    kennethpollock Senior member

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    KP - you do seem like a reasonably bright man. If I remember correctly you are a lawyer. I am not talking about the insulting tone of your statement, just in terms of making sense to you - if somebody suggested to you that lawyers obviously prefered to create more tax problems for their clients rather than clear up problems that accured, or that litigators prefered to lose cases rather than win them, because it gave them more time to be with their families, you would assume that person was joking or a fool. what you are suggesting is that people, usually extremly well educated people, who make perhaps 2/3 of their overall anual income based not on the hours they sit in their chairs but on the value they generate, in dollars and sense, for their corporations, are, en masse, falsifying data that would result in more revenue for their corporations, and thus more income for themselves, because they have a secret agenda to have waiters introduce themselves?

    is that what you are suggesting, sir?


    I am a litigator and earn 90% of my fees on a contingency basis; it therefore is economically senseless for me to do useless work on my files. However, it sometimes seems to me that some of my adversaries, who are usually being paid by the hour, do over-work their cases.
    I doubt that there is any agenda to have waiters introduce themselves, but I think there is one, on the part of bean counters who work for huge corporations, to turn what at least one person in this thread called creating a form of art (tasteful dining with proper service, etc.) into the equivalent of selling soap suds or used cars, with all the phony and hyped hoopla that usually accompanies same.
     
  11. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    I am a litigator and earn 90% of my fees on a contingency basis; it therefore is economically senseless for me to do useless work on my files. However, it sometimes seems to me that some of my adversaries, who are usually being paid by the hour, do over-work their cases.
    I doubt that there is any agenda to have waiters introduce themselves, but I think there is one, on the part of bean counters who work for huge corporations, to turn what at least one person in this thread called creating a form of art (tasteful dining with proper service, etc.) into the equivalent of selling soap suds or used cars, with all the phony and hyped hoopla that usually accompanies same.



    KP - we are getting somewhere. on the one side, yes, this is exactly what is happening, marketing people are taking what was an art form, and turning it into something that more people will want. in the process, those people who value the art will be disappointed, but a larger number of people will enjoy it. that is exactly what marketing people do. but do not, for a second, pretend that they are doing this for any reason aside from creating a product that would appeal to a larger market, and generate higher revenues. keep in mind that most of these people, these bean counters (which is actually not the case, I would think that bean counter is a term usually used for accountants not marketers) as you call them, are probrably as well educated as you, as intellegent as you, and probrably more greedy than you. and their compensation in based soley on how many people they can get to come to their resteraunts and buy their food.
     
  12. Saucemaster

    Saucemaster Senior member

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    I. love. this. thread. Where's my popcorn?

    Me too. GT is on fire. I'll bring the soda.
     
  13. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    Me too. GT is on fire. I'll bring the soda.


    enjoy it while it lasts - in 2 weeks I will be starting to work and won't have time for this kind of stuff. [​IMG]
     
  14. Arethusa

    Arethusa Senior member

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    What is "blush" wine?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blush_wine Why it is inappropriate to order in a resstaurant is beyond me. Then again, I don't drink.
     
  15. Tokyo Slim

    Tokyo Slim Senior member

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blush_wine Why it is inappropriate to order in a resstaurant is beyond me. Then again, I don't drink.
    Well it obviously falls into one of the three reasons why things suck (by Ken): Americans invented it, so it couldn't be correct It is what people of lower social status drink They do not serve it in Michelin rated restaraunts.
     
  16. Matt

    Matt Senior member

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    My father worked in an analogous field once, doing time and motion studies, helping a department store chain save a few pennies here and there. With hundreds of thousands of transactions, it added up.
    IMO, a lot of restaurant chains go to outside companies for these studies and even the ones that have their own marketing departments are stuck with the problem that these people, being paid to make suggested changes, have to come up with something to justify their own existance. In addition to suggesting a better placement of the ice machine, etc., they tackled the "waiter situation" and decided to change the concept from that of a borrowed servant for the evening to that of a corporate "pitchman" or hyped salesman. Then, to sell the idea to management, they needed to survey to prove that the public really liked these changes (although even you agree that most of posters on this thread dislike quite a number of them). Hence, the suveys to give them the answers they wanted to hear.

    well then all these restaurants will go out of business with all the annoyed customers who keep leaving.

    Excuse me while I look around for Outback Steakhouses with boarded up windows (which ironically would make them look far more outback).
     
  17. AlanC

    AlanC Senior member

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    Excuse me while I look around for Outback Steakhouses with boarded up windows (which ironically would make them look far more outback).
    You just like it for the authentic Australian cuisine. [​IMG]
     
  18. Matt

    Matt Senior member

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    You just like it for the authentic Australian cuisine. [​IMG]
    going home in September for a week, really cant wait to eat real food again [​IMG]
     
  19. Nantucket Red

    Nantucket Red Senior member

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    KP - we are getting somewhere. on the one side, yes, this is exactly what is happening, marketing people are taking what was an art form, and turning it into something that more people will want. in the process, those people who value the art will be disappointed, but a larger number of people will enjoy it. that is exactly what marketing people do. but do not, for a second, pretend that they are doing this for any reason aside from creating a product that would appeal to a larger market, and generate higher revenues. keep in mind that most of these people, these bean counters (which is actually not the case, I would think that bean counter is a term usually used for accountants not marketers) as you call them, are probrably as well educated as you, as intellegent as you, and probrably more greedy than you. and their compensation in based soley on how many people they can get to come to their resteraunts and buy their food.

    Let's cut to the chase and call this process the commodification of the dining experience, which is essentially what is happening. The dining experience is being turned into a prepackaged commodity that is a completely uniform, known quantity.

    When this process is complete, arcane [​IMG] social codes of dining, such as putting both your knife and fork on the same side of your plate to signal that you've finished eating, will fall by the wayside, replaced by an egalitarian "can I get that out of your way for you?" Then we will all be able to rejoice in getting the same standard of service.[​IMG]
     
  20. aybojs

    aybojs Senior member

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    Blush wines get looked down upon because they're much sweeter than basic red and white wines, to the point of having a fruity flavor, and often tend to be the drink of choice for the younger crowd and less experienced wine drinkers. They're also limited to the cheaper brands; you'll never see a really expensive high end white zinfandel, for example. This isn't something I pay too much attention too, since most forms of alcohol snobbery, especially with wine, annoy me greatly, but that's the general reason.

    Also, I totally disagree with the "food is art" notion. I dine out for one reason only: I like to eat good food. I don't really care how pretty the tablecloth is, how intimately lit the dining room is, how stealthily the waiter can perform his work, or whatever fancy amenities an expensive restaurant tries to offer. All that matters is whether food tastes good, consists of quality ingredients that have been prepared well, and is served in portions that make the cost of the meal worth it. It's not that I don't appreciate the effort or enjoy places that provide a quality ambience, but everything should take a back seat to the quality of the food. Ten times out of ten I will take a cheap, sketchy taqueria or Chinese wok over a pretentious fancy joint that emphasizes presentation over food quality, serves up bite size portions of the same bland continental food, has aloof waiters who act like I should be honored to be allowed in their restaurant, and charges me out the ass on top of it. It's eating, not art; all that counts is the food, and the rest is just a matter of details.

    And while globetrotter beat me to making the general point, it's pretty amusing to see how far into denial someone will go to avoid coping with the fact that his opinion is in the vast minority, and not because of rampant ignorance and stupidity and the part of everyone who disagrees with him. Let's see, which sounds more logical: a) owners who want to take advantage of a large general market responding to customer feedback of said market by adjusting their restaurant management habits accordingly or b) a vast and malicious conspiracy involving shady marketing departments and middle managers working to spite traditionalist diners and subvert the concept of a restaurant by brainwashing the ignorant masses like us (who cannot think for themselves and can only parrot what is foisted on them by the aforementioned conspirators) into believing that only familiar and informal service is acceptable? You don't need a 180 on the LSAT to figure out which is the more viable conclusion.
     

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