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Everything posted by ScoopKW

  1. Most of us in this thread think that $2.13 per hour plus a large tip percentage is a ridiculous way to earn a living. The problem is people like fvandrog, who basically represents the vast majority of foreign tourists, along with homegrown cheapskates. Those of us who DO have a little empathy for our fellow man need to tip more and more to subsidize the tightwads and to keep up with inflation. Which is why 20% is the new "standard" and that's going up fast. We'll be at 25% before too long. Annabelle: http://washingtonpolicywatch.org/2013/04/16/politifact-rates-national-restaurant-association-s
  2. I agree with all the replies. If you're trying to break into the industry, they're offering you a shot. Take it. Either you'll like it and can start the climb to where you want to be. Or you won't like it and you can just skip that job when you update your resume.
  3. All well and good. But how is ANYTHING going to be accomplished when the National Restaurant Association lobby is shoveling money at our legislators to make sure the minimum wage stays at $2.13 for tipped employees? The culinary unions (of which I'm a member) cannot compete. And the legislators ALWAYS favor the big corporations over the workers. That's just how it is here.
  4. (my bold) Scoop, do you have a citation for this statement? Aren't you lumping all restaurant owners in with Union bosses? The National Restaurant Association is the primary reason tipped employees are still sitting at $2.13/hour. This is the lobby that fights tooth and nail against any kind of wage hikes. They have the most to lose, after all. Google ANY story about "minimum wage" and "National Restaurant Association" and you'll get your citations. As for other recent replies: 1) Edward J -- You seriously overestimate the power unions have. We get it. You HATE unions. But so few front-of-ho
  5. This happens occasionally where I work as well. We send them something from the menu that we can make FAST. Then we send it, "with the chef's compliments." We have several 1-minute appetizers. That's what we usually send. They don't really want something free at the end of the meal. They want something free RIGHT NOW. They're hungry, after all. They also notice that people who sat later than they did are getting their food first. That's the problem that needs to be fixed. Put something nice in front of them in a gigantic hurry and it's likely you'll mollify them. That's what "on the fly" means
  6. The restaurant owners all shovel money at our government making sure none of that happens. Do you have any suggestions that would actually work in the USA?
  7. It was a German guide to the Florida Keys. It was specific to the Keys. The only other place mentioned was Miami, and only the airport. Can't remember the title though, sorry. This was 25 years ago.
  8. You don't have to go back too far: "what is difficult to wrap one's head around is the fact that wait-staff nationwide hasn't done anything to change the status quo." What, exactly, can America's wait staff do? Rise up with pitchforks and torches? Hold a general strike? To suggest that they can do anything at all is to greatly overestimate a citizen's power in the United States.
  9. You have said in previous threads about American tip culture that you are loathe to visit the USA because of the way tips work here. I'm going completely from memory here, because we're talking about older threads and my Google-Fu isn't up to scratch today. But we've had this debate many times. And it's always the same thing from visitors. "Why don't the servers just rise up and demand better." As if that's an option. Frankly, I think the way foreigners regard our tip culture is unfair. There's no other way to put it. "We don't have to pay so much where we live, so we shouldn't have to pay it
  10. I am simply at a loss. From the tone of your post, you are looking at us in America as a city dweller looks at a farmer, covered in "dirt/dung/chicken-bodily-fluid." To put it as bluntly as I am capable, your tone is condescending. You and several other EU, UK and Canadian members have asked for a simple, honest and direct answer to why you need to tip your servers in America when you don't have to do so at home. You have been given that answer time and again by Americans who work in the trenches of the restaurant business. I consider my post, #139 to be the definitive answer. That's why we t
  11. But I had no problem with the religious tracts as such, my problem was that they were usually left instead of a financial tip, and neither my landlord nor supermarkets accepted those as currency. I just couldn't see why someone who spent eleven bucks on dinner couldn't manage even a dollar as a tip. When I first went off to university, the town where I ended up was tiny, and the restaurant was pretty much the only place I was considered old enough to work. So, absolutely, no force was involved in my getting a job there, but my options at the beginning were few; as soon as more reliable ones sh
  12. This point is the problem I have. I f it is expected to pay 20% tip - even when the service is unacceptable - and basically everyone does pay 20% - where is the insentive to work hard. The tip will be there anyways, even if they do a bad job, because it is expected of the patron. Other considerations - cash from day one, not having to claim (all of) it on taxes seem quite ligitimate, but working harder to get better tips, I'm sceptical. Servers who cannot handle this work don't last long in the industry. And they don't make a profession out of it. And if you read the whole thread you will disc
  13. I disagree. Every country has their "screwage" for visitors. The cost of a cup of coffee sitting in a piazza in Italy compared to buying it at the counter for instance. It's silly that the same coffee costs fives times more if I want to sit down to drink it. The VAT in the UK. It's ubiquitous. And VAT adds FAR MORE to the cost of one of my trips to England than tipping at restaurants adds to a foreign visitor's US visit. The difference is, I pay the tax without complaint. I knew about the tax before arriving. My options are either "pay" or "not travel to the UK." You know how things work in Am
  14. The difference being that your server in the UK makes a decent salary before tips. Here in America, the server makes next to nothing (with only a handful of cities, like San Francisco, bucking the trend). Your server also does not have the equivalent of the NHS -- they usually have to pay out the nose for health insurance on their own. Or, more likely, they do without. And the government taxes them on what it thinks they should be making in tips. If you undertip, the server pays more in taxes than they receive in tips. They are basically PAYING to serve you. If you don't like those facts, by a
  15. I've yet to work in a kitchen where "Behind!" isn't S.O.P. I don't know how many times I was about to swing around with a pan full of flaming-hot stuff to my plating area when I stopped myself because someone said "behind." Otherwise, someone -- perhaps both of us -- would end up splashed with scalding hot oil. And when I swing around with something hot, I say, "swinging around hot." I also find myself saying "corner," "corner out," and "timer," every day. Furthermore, we call back instructions to the expediter. Basically, our kitchen sounds like the dialog of a WWII submarine movie, except w
  16. Say "Behind" as you approach someone from behind. Do. It. Every. Single. Time. Never forget to say behind. Or you could cause an accident, potentially a serious accident. (As any pastry cook who works with hot sugar can attest. Learn how to dice an onion/shallot quick. Do a lot of them. I'd also practice bias cuts on carrots/celery. And I'd Google the "how to peel garlic with two metal bowls" video, if you don't know that trick already. Get in the habit of grabbing pan handles with a tea towel. Every. Single. Time. Just assume the pans have been in a 500f oven. They probably have. You won't be
  17. I say it is a commission. Servers in the US are not very different from car salesmen -- they make a pittance of salary/hourly wage and must sell in order to make a decent living. The good ones upsell without being pushy. "Chef fired the new harvest of scallops for us before we opened. And let me tell you, it was the sweetest scallop I've ever tasted." Or, "We just got the first legal kobe ribeyes that were imported into the US. They're not on the menu yet. But we have six available." That sort of thing. When done right, the server is your "buddy," giving you insider info about the menu. When d
  18. I completely agree that nobody should feel required to tip for bad service. I almost never get bad service when dining out -- and it doesn't matter where I am. I just seem to have a knack for it. I have a good craich no matter where I go. I chalk it up to always being genuinely enthusiastic. It's just my nature. But I do have a problem with "culturally, that's a million miles from where I come from." I travel often and extensively. I have had cultural "problems" with the way things are done elsewhere -- but I suck it up and "do as the Romans do" because that is what is expected of me. I am not
  19. First of all, I don't hate unions. I'm in one. The union gives me job security, and keeps my employer from exploiting me. (Having to work overtime without the overtime pay, or similar shady practices.) I'm in a restaurant that doesn't NEED any of that, so I find the union to be largely irrelevant. But I know my history -- organized labor has largely been a force of good. Kids now go to school, not to work. We have weekends, and a 40-hour week. Overtime is an accepted part of the US employment experience. Frankly, I feel sorry for the cooks and servers who aren't in a union. The cooks make anyw
  20. Canada has the same tipping culture as the US? News to me. Canadians are just about the worst tippers on earth. Ask any server in any tourist town in the US.
  21. Comments? Sure -- how exactly do you expect this to change? It would be GREAT to have the kind of apprenticeship programs they have in Europe. But do you seriously think ANYTHING is going to change here? Not when for-profit "universities" can fleece the unknowing out of so much money. (I have co-workers with high five-figure debt. At least cooks in Las Vegas make around $40K.) You may as well post about how you're against mass murders. Opinion won't change the crazy gun culture we have in this country. And opinion isn't going to change the tipping culture we have here. Our government isn't goi
  22. It's the United States -- you expect things to be logical? It would also be logical if we switched to the centigrade scale and used the same system of weights and measures as the rest of the world. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that to happen, either. Our tradition in the restaurant industry is to pay servers next to nothing. And then to expect the diners to pay the servers' wages. The only thing I find appalling is people who don't tip because they don't like the system. People who don't like the system should not participate -- they should eat someplace where tips are not part of the
  23. I'm with you on this one. It's the sanctimonious attitude that bugs me, not the words/incantations. Lately, I respond, "And may the force be with you."
  24. We hire a "mystery shopper" company to send folks to eat at our place. They critique us to the mystery shopper company. That company passes the results to us. We make adjustments.
  25. Then there is a swath of fast food joints that no longer fit the bill. What I can't understand is the restaurant owners alienating such a large portion of their market. I'm Mr. Lefty Liberal, but when I open my place, I'm not going to call it the "Gun Control, Socialized Medicine, Free Speech, Gay Rights, Sex-Ed, Tax-the-Rich Bar and Grill for Atheists and Agnostics." If you want people's business, make your place as uncontroversial as possible. I'll bet Papa John's, Chic-Fil-A, Darden Group and all the rest are feeling the pinch of a ticked-off market.
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