Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Stop your messing around...

Better think of your future! A Message To You Rudy, The Specials

So I went and saw that movie Waiting. It made me think of that song with lines like "It's time you straightened right out" and all. Rob McKittrick had written quite the screenplay, which he showed to the right people where it was bought and sold I forget how many times before it was actually a movie. Which he then directed himself, good for him. Rob worked in a Bennigans restaurant, which I used to know very well. For years, I lived by myself in a large apartment building that was DIRECTLY across the street from a Bennigans. Now I HAVE worked in places that were as "corporate" as say Bennigans. Rob worked in one in Orlando, Florida from what I have heard. I read his blog and a few others that he is linked to quite extensively. I will be adding most to my list of links, but only as a reference to the crappy job that they do. My MAJOR problem with this movie was that it was so negative to the restaurant industry. I happen to love restaurants. I don't care about waiting on people seeming "demeaning." I have the ability to assuage even the biggest dickhead, and the smarts and knowledge to mind-fuck and turn the tables on the dim-wits who start/try to start shit. I have been around. To me, people who are sitting in your section/bar have the money (thank God that we live in America, the land of the market economy, and vibrant enough to have like 50 thousand places to eat out anytime you want to!) and they USUALLY have the disposition to have someone serve them in a timely fashion, and pay them to do it. In places like Bennigans, TGIFridays, Ruby Tuesdays, and their ilk, that isn't always the case. Those places take almost anyone applying to serve and hire them based on their willingness to work and learn. Where I work, no matter what age, without experience, you are not hired or at the very least hired as a busser (which in this movie were played hilariously by Andy Milonakis and Max Kasch) if you show up there. Even as a busser, you are then expected to do things to help you "learn" like food-runner and expediter. You can work your way to server after learning the ropes and menu in a process that is likely six months long. At a Ruby Tuesdays, tell them that you can only work odd Thurday evenings, and Sunday afternoons and you likely have a new part-time job. Ok, maybe it's not quite that bad, but you get the picture. The often-trashy clientele (obviously not all of the people who dine there are trashy, just a much higher percentage than you care to know) lead to bad attitudes in the already sub-par staff. It all leads to the general experience that one can expect from the chain restaurant you choose to dine in. For anyone who cares, go eat lunch at Bennigans, and then dinner at Ruth's Chris. Or Vice-Versa. Have a lunch at Legal SeaFoods/McCormick &Schmick's, and then have dinner at Red Lobster. Which experience cost more? Which did you enjoy more? Where would you rather dine? Which place had better food? Service? These are all corporate places, all have strict rules and guidelines for their employees, and all are huge money-makers. One was the basis of this movie. All of these places are very busy (usually) and their owners are ultra rich people. This begs the question, though. Where would you rather spend your money? The last time that Alli and I stopped off at a Chili's, my burger was woefully over-cooked, Alli ended up with horrible gastro-intestinal malfunctions, and I wrote a viscious e-mail, detailing our sub-par food, crappy unknowlegable waitstaff, (I asked "How big is the big beer?" and this is no exaggeration, [waiter holding his hand up over the table] "It's about this big as compared to this big" [now lowering his hand.]) and overall terrible experience. There was never even the slightest response from their corporate HQ. At Legal SeaFoods, we had to re-order the appetizer because we had a hard time comprehending just how fucking good that Ipswich whole bellied clams were. NO SHIT, we needed two orders of fried clams, possibly the worst freaking app ever to realize what gold we had just bitten into and discovered. If you ever go to a Legal SeaFoods, you have to try them. If you have ever eaten New England fried clams and loved them, these are the best. There can be and is a difference. First of all, does the chain serve fresh or frozen? THIS makes such a huge difference. Eat at Ruby Tuesday's, and the at an Outback. (Outback is hardly in the league of Ruth's Chris, but just better than Ruby's and much pricier is all.) Which steak was better? Can't tell because you get your steak well done? Stay in Tuesday's, it costs a hell of a lot less. Whose salad was better? Apps? Let me tell you! Outback's were fresh (and hence cost more) and Ruby's came from the freezer, were defrosted and arrived "fresh" after sitting in plastic bags and micro-waved. Or worse yet, try a Chi-Chi's[basically down to their last few franchises, I wonder why?] and a Chevy's. OH Mama! What a difference in Tex-Mex chain food!! The point is, eat in the chains that are low-end only if you are starving. They sometimes do a decent burger and have ok junk food, but don't, don't, don't go there looking for exceptional service, exceptional food, or worse yet, an experience to remember. I always go there expecting the worst, and am OFTEN surprised to find myself enjoying the experience. I always respect my (often brand new and fresh to the business) server, never really ask for anything weird (my only request off of a menu is to exclude mayonaise. I was sickened by it as a child and have never cared for it.)

What I am trying to say is, that I found the movie cartoonish in most ways. Each person in the film was really just a caricature of a real person, (waiter, cook or guest) but also very real. I give the movie my hearty approval since it is about my job, and was also pretty funny. The people in the movie can be found at literally every corporate restaurant. I never played the "meat gazer" game, but amazingly enough had heard of it. I often hung out with Bennigans servers/bartenders, so I ain't trying to poo-poo on the chains at all! I am just trying to say, "it's time you straightened right out!" and moved on to the upscale places. There should be no "Naomi" in your restaurant, because if you want to work in a restaurant, you should move out of chains or get to the really good ones. That is part of the problem, though. So many people who work in restaurants think of it as an in between job, and not as a career. They stay put at crappy restaurants because this isn't a "real" job to them. So if they don't move up, then they should expect the "redneck" often, and the "total biatch" all the time. At least in the "upscale" ones, their checks are usually so much more that they discourage the crappy/ignorant diners to the extent that they realize they can't afford to eat there, or that the two-top that never tips over ten percent must divvy up $10 on the $100 tab that they created. I have seen tables of people get seated where I am working now, look over the menu for a few minutes and then head straight for the door. Why order a filet mignon well done and pay $25 for it? I will just sell you my belt for half of that price. The prices at my restaurant often eliminate about half of the riff-raff that come into a low-end chain.

On a slightly different subject, I read Rob's blog extensively, and it so reminded me of Hollywood Animal by Joe Esterhas. For all of us out there who want an insiders/insiders view of Hollywood, I would have to WHOLEHEARTEDLY suggest that you read Rob's blog, and if you are still interested, then read Hollywood Animal... What a fickle-ass bitch Hollywood can be!
To all of those people's blogs that I will in the near future link to that complain about stupid shit customers, I say grow the hell up and get another career, or move up in the world. The water feels really good at upscale places. Try to learn cool shit about food, wine and liquor, and this job really ain't so bad!! Will there be ignorant assholes in your section, even at the "good" places? Sadly the answer is yes, BUT the best part of it is there is a way to feel better about things. TONIGHT, I heard a waitress say to the line cooks, "If this fucking bitches shit ended up picked up off of the fucking floor, I wouldn't say anything about it!" Well guess what?! I'll bet that their steak was picked up off of the fucking floor. So we do get the idiots at every level, JUST DON'T FUCK WITH US!! Most of us don''t mind serving, and most of us love to make money off of serving you HONORABLY! You keep reading stories and watching movies about crappy servers from these chains that have to deal with SERIOUSLY, the dregs of human waste. You should expect what you pay for.
Also, if you tip 10%, please expect really bad service when you go back. If you tip less, you should PROBABLY not go back to that restaurant. I assure you, your food and drinks have been "doctored." If you do go to these chain places, converse with your waiters and tell them how hard and how much you apprecaite their service, and watch out for how good a time you can get. Tip 15% if everything was OK, 20% if you had a good time. That is all that they ask for. Better yet, tip well someplace and get known as a good tipper and watch them fall all over as they serve you. Almost noone, and that even means celebrities gets better service than another waiter/bartender. When I worked in DC there was a time where I could eat and drink for hours without having a tab. Massive tips ensued.
This movie wouldn't be as interesting if it weren't for asshole negelcting motherfuckers...It is just interesting enough to show how funny it is sometimes. Nearly every waiter has waited on these people. SO think about it next time you need to send your food back. Have a pleasant disposition, never get hostile, go ahead and send it back and expect it cooked correctly, just do it smiling and things will go your way. Twice a night I get re-cooked/cooked-up food and nothing ever happens to it. Every once in a while, though along comes the idiot who thinks themselves so vastly superior, and I so small...BuHWAhahahaaa!!


At Thu Nov 03, 07:56:00 PM, Blogger Tammi said...

Rob is one of my best friend's son. His humor reminds me so much of yours. I really think y'all would be great friends.

And you're right...always be polite. You never know what happens behind those swingin' doors. Hell I've waiting on a few tables myself. ;-)

(and for what it's worth - thanks for this. We are very proud of him)

At Mon Nov 07, 05:50:00 AM, Blogger Yankee Tech in Germany said...

What is the "meat gazer" game; this is something I have never heard of.

Second I love your point about going to a better restaurant for better food; it is true to no end. It is one of the few reasons why I loved going to the Rock Salt in Seattle, and to the Keg/Black Angus for a good steak. They know how to cook it, it is never frozen and the best part is you almost never have to sit next to 4 screaming carpet rats.


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