Author Topic: Top 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do
vn_parsonjackrussell 
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Subject: Top 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do
This should be a must read for all restaurant staffers:

http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/29/one-hundred-things-restaurant-staffers-should-never-do-part-one/?em
One Hundred Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do (Part 1)
By Bruce Buschel
Start-Up Chronicle

Herewith is a modest list of dos and don’ts for servers at the seafood restaurant I am building. Veteran waiters, moonlighting actresses, libertarians and baristas will no doubt protest some or most of what follows. They will claim it homogenizes them or stifles their true nature. And yet, if 100 different actors play Hamlet, hitting all the same marks, reciting all the same lines, cannot each one bring something unique to that role?

1. Do not let anyone enter the restaurant without a warm greeting.

2. Do not make a singleton feel bad. Do not say, “Are you waiting for someone?” Ask for a reservation. Ask if he or she would like to sit at the bar.

3. Never refuse to seat three guests because a fourth has not yet arrived.

4. If a table is not ready within a reasonable length of time, offer a free drink and/or amuse-bouche. The guests may be tired and hungry and thirsty, and they did everything right.

5. Tables should be level without anyone asking. Fix it before guests are seated.

6. Do not lead the witness with, “Bottled water or just tap?” Both are fine. Remain neutral.

7. Do not announce your name. No jokes, no flirting, no cuteness.

8. Do not interrupt a conversation. For any reason. Especially not to recite specials. Wait for the right moment.

9. Do not recite the specials too fast or robotically or dramatically. It is not a soliloquy. This is not an audition.

10. Do not inject your personal favorites when explaining the specials.

11. Do not hustle the lobsters. That is, do not say, “We only have two lobsters left.” Even if there are only two lobsters left.

12. Do not touch the rim of a water glass. Or any other glass.

13. Handle wine glasses by their stems and silverware by the handles.

14. When you ask, “How’s everything?” or “How was the meal?” listen to the answer and fix whatever is not right.

15. Never say “I don’t know” to any question without following with, “I’ll find out.”

16. If someone requests more sauce or gravy or cheese, bring a side dish of same. No pouring. Let them help themselves.

17. Do not take an empty plate from one guest while others are still eating the same course. Wait, wait, wait.

18. Know before approaching a table who has ordered what. Do not ask, “Who’s having the shrimp?”

19. Offer guests butter and/or olive oil with their bread.

20. Never refuse to substitute one vegetable for another.

21. Never serve anything that looks creepy or runny or wrong.

22. If someone is unsure about a wine choice, help him. That might mean sending someone else to the table or offering a taste or two.

23. If someone likes a wine, steam the label off the bottle and give it to the guest with the bill. It has the year, the vintner, the importer, etc.

24. Never use the same glass for a second drink.

25. Make sure the glasses are clean. Inspect them before placing them on the table.

26. Never assume people want their white wine in an ice bucket. Inquire.

27. For red wine, ask if the guests want to pour their own or prefer the waiter to pour.

28. Do not put your hands all over the spout of a wine bottle while removing the cork.

29. Do not pop a champagne cork. Remove it quietly, gracefully. The less noise the better.

30. Never let the wine bottle touch the glass into which you are pouring. No one wants to drink the dust or dirt from the bottle.

31. Never remove a plate full of food without asking what went wrong. Obviously, something went wrong.

32. Never touch a customer. No excuses. Do not do it. Do not brush them, move them, wipe them or dust them.

33. Do not bang into chairs or tables when passing by.

34. Do not have a personal conversation with another server within earshot of customers.

35. Do not eat or drink in plain view of guests.

36. Never reek from perfume or cigarettes. People want to smell the food and beverage.

37. Do not drink alcohol on the job, even if invited by the guests. “Not when I’m on duty” will suffice.

38.Do not call a guy a “dude.”

39. Do not call a woman “lady.”

40. Never say, “Good choice,” implying that other choices are bad.

41. Saying, “No problem” is a problem. It has a tone of insincerity or sarcasm. “My pleasure” or “You’re welcome” will do.

42. Do not compliment a guest’s attire or hairdo or makeup. You are insulting someone else.

43. Never mention what your favorite dessert is. It’s irrelevant.

44. Do not discuss your own eating habits, be you vegan or lactose intolerant or diabetic.

45. Do not curse, no matter how young or hip the guests.

46. Never acknowledge any one guest over and above any other. All guests are equal.

47. Do not gossip about co-workers or guests within earshot of guests.

48. Do not ask what someone is eating or drinking when they ask for more; remember or consult the order.

49. Never mention the tip, unless asked.

50. Do not turn on the charm when it’s tip time. Be consistent throughout.

Next week: 51-100.

 

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shaggynuts24 
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Subject: Top 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do
#7 i like when waiters/watresses are cheerful

#10 i like to hear their opinion

#40 is just silly

#41 is silly too

#43 opinions can be good

 

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Subject: Top 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do
i love the service at the mansion and at steven pyles old place. anything less at either of those places would have been very out of place.

i dont expect to get the same service at more family friendly type places. i do expect good service even there tho.

i am comfortable in both settings.



one thing i do not tolerate well is being rushed. i do not want more than one plate on the table at a time...as in if im not finished w/ teh appetizer dont bring me the salad or the meal. if the meal has more than one part, dont bring me part 2 w/ part one still in front of me. i hate that. that is soemthing i think places need to make sure they instill in the training.

 

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deadcactus 
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Subject: Top 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do
I used to frequent a specific Chili's enough to have gotten to know one of the waiters, because he served me and my then girlfriend several times. I learned he was an avid skydiver, had a good sense of humor, and that one of his favorite dishes was the same as mine. One of the best experiences with a waiter I've ever had.

Had that been the service I recieved across the street on one of the few occasion I could justify dropping $100 on a dinner for two at Fogo de Chao, I would have been pretty damn upset.

Why? Because eating at Chili's is about a decent meal and having some social fun. If I'm accross the street dropping what (on my budget) is a substantial ammount on a meal, it means the purpose of the dinner has shifted. Whether it's business or a romantic evening, the dinner is now about me and who I'm with. The waiter's job is now to be as invisible as possible while still making the meal run smoothly.

I agree with the 50 rules posted so far in regards to a formal setting. And while some of them address points that would not personally bother me, they will bother someone and should therefor be avoided. Many of them go out the window in a more casual setting though...

 

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Gaevren 
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Subject: Top 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do
^^ agreed with what monsieur cactus said, point for point.


38.Do not call a guy a “dude.”

39. Do not call a woman “lady.”

"sir" and "ma'am" work beautifully 99% of the time. The only time they don't is when you get some feminazi who freaks out at being called "ma'am".

 

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pkhere 
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Subject: Top 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do
for formal dining, yes

for casual dining, no

 

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Lyli 
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Subject: Top 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do
Gaevren posted:
^^ agreed with what monsieur cactus said, point for point.


38.Do not call a guy a “dude.”

39. Do not call a woman “lady.”

"sir" and "ma'am" work beautifully 99% of the time. The only time they don't is when you get some feminazi who freaks out at being called "ma'am".


Really?

I hate being called ma'am, it makes me feel about 80 years old. It has nothing to do with being a "feminazi" as you put it, and how ridiculous you would say that.

 

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shaggynuts24 
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Subject: Top 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do
Lyli posted:
Gaevren posted:
^^ agreed with what monsieur cactus said, point for point.


38.Do not call a guy a “dude.”

39. Do not call a woman “lady.”

"sir" and "ma'am" work beautifully 99% of the time. The only time they don't is when you get some feminazi who freaks out at being called "ma'am".


Really?

I hate being called ma'am, it makes me feel about 80 years old. It has nothing to do with being a "feminazi" as you put it, and how ridiculous you would say that.


i say yes ma'am/sir to anyone over 30

 

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vn_parsonjackrussell 
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Subject: Top 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do
shaggynuts24 posted:
Lyli posted:
Gaevren posted:
^^ agreed with what monsieur cactus said, point for point.


38.Do not call a guy a “dude.”

39. Do not call a woman “lady.”

"sir" and "ma'am" work beautifully 99% of the time. The only time they don't is when you get some feminazi who freaks out at being called "ma'am".


Really?

I hate being called ma'am, it makes me feel about 80 years old. It has nothing to do with being a "feminazi" as you put it, and how ridiculous you would say that.


i say yes ma'am/sir to anyone over 30


these rules are more for upscale dining but many have a place in a chili's style environment

i personally think nothing wrong with sir and ma'am - it's polite and has nothing to do with age of person being called sir and ma'am; if you don't like it grow up

 

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pkhere 
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I like being called ma'am, it shows respect. It doesn't mean about age.

 

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Lynea 
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Subject: Top 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do
#7 - I think it's silly to not at least introduce yourself if you are wait staff. There's nothing cutesty or overly friendly about that in my opinion.

#40 seems silly.

#41 is spot-on, though. No one in the service industry should ever utter the words, "No problem" because it infers that there was a problem.

 

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Lokkie_the_Fierce 
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Wow, and I thought I was picky ... sheesh people.

 

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vn_parsonjackrussell 
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Subject: Top 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do
100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do (Part 2)
By BRUCE BUSCHEL
Start-Up Chronicle

This is the second half of the 100 do’s and don’ts from last week’s post. Again, this list is for one particular restaurant, mine, which is under construction in Bridgehampton, N.Y., and will, with any luck, open this spring. I realize that every deli needs a wisecracking waiter, most pizza joints can handle heavy metal, and burgers always taste better when delivered by a server with tattoos and tongue piercing(s).

Not even a hundred suggestions can cover all the bases, so one is grateful for the many comments following the 50, including striking “you guys” from the restaurant lexicon and making sure the alcohol order is taken lickety-split. Thanks for all of the help.

51. If there is a service charge, alert your guests when you present the bill. It’s not a secret or a trick.

52. Know your menu inside and out. If you serve Balsam Farm candy-striped beets, know something about Balsam Farm and candy-striped beets.

53. Do not let guests double-order unintentionally; remind the guest who orders ratatouille that zucchini comes with the entree.

54. If there is a prix fixe, let guests know about it. Do not force anyone to ask for the “special” menu.

55. Do not serve an amuse-bouche without detailing the ingredients. Allergies are a serious matter; peanut oil can kill. (This would also be a good time to ask if anyone has any allergies.)

56. Do not ignore a table because it is not your table. Stop, look, listen, lend a hand. (Whether tips are pooled or not.)

57. Bring the pepper mill with the appetizer. Do not make people wait or beg for a condiment.

58. Do not bring judgment with the ketchup. Or mustard. Or hot sauce. Or whatever condiment is requested.

59. Do not leave place settings that are not being used.

60. Bring all the appetizers at the same time, or do not bring the appetizers. Same with entrees and desserts.

61. Do not stand behind someone who is ordering. Make eye contact. Thank him or her.

62. Do not fill the water glass every two minutes, or after each sip. You’ll make people nervous.

62(a). Do not let a glass sit empty for too long.

63. Never blame the chef or the busboy or the hostess or the weather for anything that goes wrong. Just make it right.

64. Specials, spoken and printed, should always have prices.

65. Always remove used silverware and replace it with new.

66. Do not return to the guest anything that falls on the floor — be it napkin, spoon, menu or soy sauce.

67. Never stack the plates on the table. They make a racket. Shhhhhh.

68. Do not reach across one guest to serve another.

69. If a guest is having trouble making a decision, help out. If someone wants to know your life story, keep it short. If someone wants to meet the chef, make an effort.

70. Never deliver a hot plate without warning the guest. And never ask a guest to pass along that hot plate.

71. Do not race around the dining room as if there is a fire in the kitchen or a medical emergency. (Unless there is a fire in the kitchen or a medical emergency.)

72. Do not serve salad on a freezing cold plate; it usually advertises the fact that it has not been freshly prepared.

73. Do not bring soup without a spoon. Few things are more frustrating than a bowl of hot soup with no spoon.

74. Let the guests know the restaurant is out of something before the guests read the menu and order the missing dish.

75. Do not ask if someone is finished when others are still eating that course.

76. Do not ask if a guest is finished the very second the guest is finished. Let guests digest, savor, reflect.

77. Do not disappear.

78. Do not ask, “Are you still working on that?” Dining is not work — until questions like this are asked.

79. When someone orders a drink “straight up,” determine if he wants it “neat” — right out of the bottle — or chilled. Up is up, but “straight up” is debatable.

80. Never insist that a guest settle up at the bar before sitting down; transfer the tab.

81. Know what the bar has in stock before each meal.

82. If you drip or spill something, clean it up, replace it, offer to pay for whatever damage you may have caused. Refrain from touching the wet spots on the guest.

83. Ask if your guest wants his coffee with dessert or after. Same with an after-dinner drink.

84. Do not refill a coffee cup compulsively. Ask if the guest desires a refill.

84(a). Do not let an empty coffee cup sit too long before asking if a refill is desired.

85. Never bring a check until someone asks for it. Then give it to the person who asked for it.

86. If a few people signal for the check, find a neutral place on the table to leave it.

87. Do not stop your excellent service after the check is presented or paid.

88. Do not ask if a guest needs change. Just bring the change.

89. Never patronize a guest who has a complaint or suggestion; listen, take it seriously, address it.

90. If someone is getting agitated or effusive on a cellphone, politely suggest he keep it down or move away from other guests.

91. If someone complains about the music, do something about it, without upsetting the ambiance. (The music is not for the staff — it’s for the customers.)

92. Never play a radio station with commercials or news or talking of any kind.

93. Do not play brass — no brassy Broadway songs, brass bands, marching bands, or big bands that feature brass, except a muted flugelhorn.

94. Do not play an entire CD of any artist. If someone doesn’t like Frightened Rabbit or Michael Bublé, you have just ruined a meal.

95. Never hover long enough to make people feel they are being watched or hurried, especially when they are figuring out the tip or signing for the check.

96. Do not say anything after a tip — be it good, bad, indifferent — except, “Thank you very much.”

97. If a guest goes gaga over a particular dish, get the recipe for him or her.

98. Do not wear too much makeup or jewelry. You know you have too much jewelry when it jingles and/or draws comments.

99. Do not show frustration. Your only mission is to serve. Be patient. It is not easy.

100. Guests, like servers, come in all packages. Show a “good table” your appreciation with a free glass of port, a plate of biscotti or something else management approves.

Bonus Track: As Bill Gates has said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” (Of course, Microsoft is one of the most litigious companies in history, so one can take Mr. Gates’s counsel with a grain of salt. Gray sea salt is a nice addition to any table.)

 

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Subject: Top 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do
but he started out w. good intentions! tongue


i like those also

 

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Batorixxx 
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Reply to Part 1:

Very well put together list you've got there. The only change that comes to mind for me...

"34. Do not have a personal conversation with another server within earshot of customers."

I personally think within vision of customers should be added. When I am sitting there enjoying a meal, but need more drink or any other request, it is very bothersome to see my waiter/ress behind the bar laughing it up with other staff.

Wanted to get that in before I forgot it...now to read part 2...

 

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"If a guest goes gaga over a particular dish, get the recipe for him or her."

That's odd to me. I've never waited before, but I always assumed, that in most cases, getting the recipe would be completely inappropriate. Heck, I've had a hard time finding out what brand tea restaurants used for their sweet tea before :P

 

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Subject: Top 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do
-Aleister- posted:
"If a guest goes gaga over a particular dish, get the recipe for him or her."

That's odd to me. I've never waited before, but I always assumed, that in most cases, getting the recipe would be completely inappropriate. Heck, I've had a hard time finding out what brand tea restaurants used for their sweet tea before :P

Same, ever since Neiman Marcus charged me $250 for a cookie recipe I've never asked again.

 

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Subject: Top 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do
Daimar posted:
-Aleister- posted:
"If a guest goes gaga over a particular dish, get the recipe for him or her."

That's odd to me. I've never waited before, but I always assumed, that in most cases, getting the recipe would be completely inappropriate. Heck, I've had a hard time finding out what brand tea restaurants used for their sweet tea before :P

Same, ever since Neiman Marcus charged me $250 for a cookie recipe I've never asked again.


There is a restaurant that my Mom loves going too in Boulder. She would always order the same thing Jumbo Stuffed shells stuffed with Fresh Seafood and a White clam sauce.

During my last visit back I called them up and asked what the ingredients were and the chef told me and then gave me the recipe without even asking. I think it all depends on the place... it also helped when I told him I lived in Florida and wanted to try the recipe there on fresh ingredients.

 

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-Aleister- 
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Subject: Top 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do
I'm sure it is different restaurant to restaurant... I'd just think it was rare at a 4 or 5 star restaurant (which is what this list seems geared towards). Just meant it seemed odd to tell wait staff that as a 100% rule this is something they should do every time. Giving out a recipe would likely get them fired in many upper tier restaurants and thus seems like very poor advice.

 

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