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Teri Everitt

Rules of the Restaurant Universe

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Just some observations:

1. Things that need to be watched/stirred constantly while cooking take twice as long when you REALLY need that bathroom break.

2. Place an order for some desperately needed item or ingredient, ordering a few other things to make up your minimum. On delivery day the only item your supplier shorts you will be whatever thing you based your entire order on.

3. If a freezer or fridge is shared by cuisine and pastry, one group will feel they need more fridge space and cover any free space with their mise.

4. Customers that request to speak with you personally or on the phone will assume you have ALL day to talk to them. Of course this will happen mostly when your coworker is sick and you are working alone.

anyone else got any?


If only I'd worn looser pants....

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My belief is that if you do the prep, work hard, and don't cut corners, the Culinary Gods will help you, no God can help you if you fail to to do these 3 things.

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Just some observations:

1.  Things that need to be watched/stirred constantly while cooking take twice as long when you REALLY need that bathroom break.

2.  Place an order for some desperately needed item or ingredient, ordering a few other things to make up your minimum.  On delivery day the only item your supplier shorts you will be whatever thing you based your entire order on.

3.  If a freezer or fridge is shared by cuisine and pastry, one group will feel they need more  fridge space and cover any free space with their mise.

4.  Customers that request to speak with you personally or on the phone will assume you have ALL day to talk to them.  Of course this will happen mostly when your coworker is sick and you are working alone.

anyone else got any?

You obviously work in a really small restaurant, right?


Mark

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The customer is never more interested in what you can cook for them than when you're trying to make yourself a meal.

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these things don't happen as much as we might let on, but these are my favorites:

-a guest complaining about a dry piece of fish they ordered well done,

-a guest insisting on being seated at a table in the server's section who just got triple-sat and then saying "where's our server?!?!"

-a guest inquiring about booking a large party 8 months from now at 7:45pm on the friday of restaurant week

-a guest complaininig about blandness when requesting no salt, pepper, butter, cream, oil, etc...

-servers complaining about bad tips on the same shift that bussers/runners tell me those same servers only gave them 1/2 the tipout they should have

-opening a pack of 61" tablecloths and trying 10 IN A ROW before you get one that's presentable (this happened last week)

-servers complaining about having too many tables at a time AND too many servers on the floor during every shift

in all seriousness though if this stuff didn't happen i suspect that our work would be as boring as an office job... this ridiculousness is what makes our job a challenge and truly fun. it always makes me laugh when i picture what a non-restaurant person would do to try to handle one of these situations.


Sandy Levine
The Oakland Art Novelty Company

sandy@TheOaklandFerndale.com www.TheOaklandFerndale.com

www.facebook.com/ArtNoveltyCompany twitter: @theoakland

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Let's face it. When you work in a restaurant, you have to believe in Murphy's Law.

What can go wrong, will go wrong and at the worst possible moment.

I believe that, as above, proper prep will always protect you from some of the worst things that could happen...that table of 20 walk-in's that appear just as you start to clean up for the night.

Some of the rules I have learned.

90% of people do not know how to properly order: steak, fish or martinis.

If you are running a special Happy Hour Promo, most people will show up in the last half hour. (This has happened to me running an oyster special. You stand around for 2 and a half hours with your thumb up your ass and then, Boom! You are 25 dozen oysters behind)

On a busy night, you will always have one server that constantly screws up.

The grease trap always backs up at the wrong time. (Is there ever a right time?)

The stuff you are looking for in the walk-in is always hidden behind something else.

You will always forget what you came into the fridge for once you get there.

(I call this, "walk-in memory loss syndrome.")

The perversity of the universe tends to a maximum. It is a hostile place that will kill you if you don't show the proper respect.


"Why then, the world is mine oyster, which I with sword, shall open."

William Shakespeare-The Merry Wives of Windsor

"An oyster is a French Kiss that goes all the way." Rodney Clark

"Oyster shuckers are the rock stars of the shellfish industry." Jason Woodside

"Obviously, if you don't love life, you can't enjoy an oyster."

Eleanor Clark

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1) your reach ins will never go down on a day the restaurant is open but rather on Sunday the one day you are closed (this has happend to me 5 times now)

2) On a busy prep day the one thing that you thought you had enough of and did not prep ahead will be the one thing that everyone orders.

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On a busy night, you will always have one server that constantly screws up.

The stuff you are looking for in the walk-in is always hidden behind something else.

You will always forget what you came into the fridge for once you get there.

(I call this, "walk-in memory loss syndrome.")

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA :laugh:

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You will always forget what you came into the fridge for once you get there.

(I call this, "walk-in memory loss syndrome.")

I like the title "Destinesia" for this syndrome - reaching your destination then forgeting why you weny there. :wink:


Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

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Just a couple:

- Even if you haven't eaten in days, as soon as you begin prepping/cooking the line nothing sounds good to eat.......

-Servers complain about everything you put out for employee/family meal. Even if it is extra filets from last night's party! "Ewww! We served this last night!" I used to tell them if they don't like what is being served then they should put a pb&j sandwich in their pocket before they come to work.

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...you will sell the most of whatever you have the least of...

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Just a couple:

- Even if you haven't eaten in days, as soon as you begin prepping/cooking the line nothing sounds good to eat.......

-Servers complain about everything you put out for employee/family meal.  Even if it is extra filets from last night's party!  "Ewww! We served this last night!"  I used to tell them if they don't like what is being served then they should put a pb&j sandwich in their pocket before they come to work.

We had such a problem with this that I started ordering GFS lowest grade vegan stuffed green peppers. Shut them up pretty quick.

www.azurerestaurant.ca

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-Servers complain about everything you put out for employee/family meal.  Even if it is extra filets from last night's party!  "Ewww! We served this last night!"  I used to tell them if they don't like what is being served then they should put a pb&j sandwich in their pocket before they come to work.

We had this problem too.

Chef had us put out a buffet of sliced meat and cheese and the cheapest ass sliced bread. Mayo and mustard in portion packages. No lettuce, no tomatoes.

When the servers asked about it, the chef said, "We've changed the staff meal to the STFU meal. And if you don't like it, you can shut the f--- up!"

The whole kitchen was rolling on the floor laughing their asses off and when we were done, we had our steak dinners.

Now, when one of the new servers complains about staff meal, the senior servers tell them to shut the hell up. :laugh:


"Why then, the world is mine oyster, which I with sword, shall open."

William Shakespeare-The Merry Wives of Windsor

"An oyster is a French Kiss that goes all the way." Rodney Clark

"Oyster shuckers are the rock stars of the shellfish industry." Jason Woodside

"Obviously, if you don't love life, you can't enjoy an oyster."

Eleanor Clark

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-Servers complain about everything you put out for employee/family meal.  Even if it is extra filets from last night's party!   "Ewww! We served this last night!"   I used to tell them if they don't like what is being served then they should put a pb&j sandwich in their pocket before they come to work.

We had this problem too.

Chef had us put out a buffet of sliced meat and cheese and the cheapest ass sliced bread. Mayo and mustard in portion packages. No lettuce, no tomatoes.

When the servers asked about it, the chef said, "We've changed the staff meal to the STFU meal. And if you don't like it, you can shut the f--- up!"

The whole kitchen was rolling on the floor laughing their asses off and when we were done, we had our steak dinners.

Now, when one of the new servers complains about staff meal, the senior servers tell them to shut the hell up. :laugh:

At least they get something. The FOH doesn't get anything where I work.

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-Servers complain about everything you put out for employee/family meal.  Even if it is extra filets from last night's party!  "Ewww! We served this last night!"  I used to tell them if they don't like what is being served then they should put a pb&j sandwich in their pocket before they come to work.

We had this problem too.

Chef had us put out a buffet of sliced meat and cheese and the cheapest ass sliced bread. Mayo and mustard in portion packages. No lettuce, no tomatoes.

When the servers asked about it, the chef said, "We've changed the staff meal to the STFU meal. And if you don't like it, you can shut the f--- up!"

The whole kitchen was rolling on the floor laughing their asses off and when we were done, we had our steak dinners.

Now, when one of the new servers complains about staff meal, the senior servers tell them to shut the hell up. :laugh:

At least they get something. The FOH doesn't get anything where I work.

then you would work in the only restaurant where FOH doesn't cmplain about the staff meal they get!

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Applicable to pastry only: (sorry, it's all I know)

On the day that you really need a cool kitchen, (like when prepping 200 chocolate garnishes), the line guys roast 12 braisiers of bones and leave them all over the counters.

The chef de cuisine will demand all your eggwhites to clarify consomme just after you fill the oven with meringues.

You look high and low for your best copper sugar pot only to find that it is holding some server's stolen tomato and beans lunch under a napkin.

Some line guy thinks it's funny to eat the last container of vanilla ice cream right before a kids' party.

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As soon as the service tech shows up, a broken appliance will start working again. As soon as the service tech leaves, it will resume being broken.

(I don't work in a restaurant, but have seen this happen in several places where I've trailed.)


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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As soon as the service tech shows up, a broken appliance will start working again. As soon as the service tech leaves, it will resume being broken.

(I don't work in a restaurant, but have seen this happen in several places where I've trailed.)


Edited by Teri Everitt (log)

If only I'd worn looser pants....

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-Servers complain about everything you put out for employee/family meal.  Even if it is extra filets from last night's party!  "Ewww! We served this last night!"  I used to tell them if they don't like what is being served then they should put a pb&j sandwich in their pocket before they come to work.

We had this problem too.

Chef had us put out a buffet of sliced meat and cheese and the cheapest ass sliced bread. Mayo and mustard in portion packages. No lettuce, no tomatoes.

When the servers asked about it, the chef said, "We've changed the staff meal to the STFU meal. And if you don't like it, you can shut the f--- up!"

The whole kitchen was rolling on the floor laughing their asses off and when we were done, we had our steak dinners.

Now, when one of the new servers complains about staff meal, the senior servers tell them to shut the hell up. :laugh:

At least they get something. The FOH doesn't get anything where I work.

then you would work in the only restaurant where FOH doesn't complain about the staff meal they get!

I have worked both BOH And FOH.

BOH... There are days on the line when you are behind on prep and you need to make staff meal, the chef only wants you to use some questionable chicken or beef that is more gristle than meat, a box of pasta (Sysco, and the restaurant doesn't even use pasta) and thats it. Jesus had an easier time with the loaf's and fish. The waiters are sitting there folding napkins laughing and complaining about the hundreds of dollars they made last night. You are sweating through your whites, your f*%king Bernaise just broke, and it's 15 min till service.

FOH...You come in a little early so you can set up and not eat standing up, and chew as you walk. The owners take money out of every pay check for your meals. You just want a vaguely balanced meal, made with ingredients that aren't going to make you sick. There have been meals, made with meat so old that I was sure was going to cripple the whole staff. I pictured an Airplane (The movie) scene, Waiters doubled over with stomach cramps, while Buss boys puked in the corners and in bussbins. How about a salad that isn't all frisee for a change. The cooks are in back eating the best bits of everything. The poach the oysters from the half chickens, nibble bits of fillet, asparagus spears dripping with butter and lemon, they dip crusty bread in rich sauces, (and wash it down with the beer that was supposed to be in the beer batter) and point fingers in our gaunt and hungry faces.

The way to avoid this on the FOH side is if you are a bartender. You chill the beer extra for the cooks, and maybe slide them and extra couple and food appears like magic.


A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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Something I learned while catering and then started noticing everywhere else:

The Bad News: Even if you've planned well and you're extremely organized, you will still, inevitably, run out of time.

The Good News: If you've planned well and you're well organized, somehow it all gets done.

myers

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When I have something incredibly important to do on my day off, someone calls in sick, or just no shows.

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You will always forget what you came into the fridge for once you get there.

(I call this, "walk-in memory loss syndrome.")

Douglas Adams came up with a good name for this in his book "The Meaning of Liff"

so sample definitions (all based on english place name

WOKING (participial vb.)

Standing in the kitchen wondering what you came in here for.

WEMBLEY (n.)

The hideous moment of confirmation that the disaster presaged in the ely (q.v.) has actually struck.

ELY (n.)

The first, tiniest inkling you get that something, somewhere, has gone terribly wrong.

GODALMING (n.)

Wonderful rush of relief on discovering that the ely (q.v.) and the wembley (q.v.) were in fact false alarms.

You can find more here http://folk.uio.no/alied/TMoL.html


Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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Something I learned while catering and then started noticing everywhere else:

The Bad News: Even if you've planned well and you're extremely organized, you will still, inevitably, run out of time.

The Good News: If you've planned well and you're well organized, somehow it all gets done.

myers

Corollary: What you initially thought would take the longest amount of time to complete doesn't. What should arguably be the quickest item to make suddenly is the longest. The laws of conservation being what they are, however, dictate that everything will be ready when the event starts.

And for my own ...

Any item that is available to you (think fresh herbs) ANY other time you've ever looked for it will somehow be impossible to find the day before your event and will require a trip to six different stores to track it down. Grumble .... :hmmm:


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At least they get something. The FOH doesn't get anything where I work.

then you would work in the only restaurant where FOH doesn't cmplain about the staff meal they get!

Crazy. I've never once complained about family meal, but I've seen some pretty bleak situations, so I'm thankful whenever something edible is on offer.

I worked at a very expensive, fancy restaurant where the official policy was that there was never any staff meal, whatsoever, aside from what the cooks could steal for themselves. Even if servers wanted to order an item at full price and box it to go at the end of the shift, they were not allowed to do so. I waited tables there for almost a year, and not ever being able to scrounge something to eat was an issue on a number of occasions.

I worked a double shift on Valentine's Day, which amounted to 14 hours on my feet without a break, and the GM put in some food for me, because during the time that I might have gotten a break to go get something to eat, Evander Holyfield came in, and there were other events that necessitated my continuing to work. . . I asked for a small order of chicken francese, and when it came up in the window, a Sous Chef snarled at me that if he'd known the food was for me, he wouldn't have cooked it.

I really, really despised all the enmity between BOH and FOH at all those fine dining places I worked, and I'm so glad that I never have to go back to working in that environment again.

My own restaurant versions of Murphy's Law:

- If you work in a place that has 1/2 price meals, and you're working a 12-13 hour double with just barely enough of a break to eat a sandwich, a guest will ask specifically to be seated at a table in your section at the precise moment that your food comes up in the window.

- If you try to sneak a crust of bread in the waitstation during your shift, a Sous Chef will walk around the corner just in time to catch you at it, and then he'll say, "You're going to get fat from eating all those carbs." Every time.

- If you're working in BOH, the mornings that you are the most hung over will always be the mornings that there is something rank-smelling and unidentifiable in the walk-in, and even if you remember what you went in there to get, it will always take you far too long to find it.

- Guests planning private parties and buyouts will always, always ask for a fruit that is far out of season to be part of the dessert menu.

Oh, I could go on and on. . . And perhaps I will, later. :raz:

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