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the best service in the city


Andrew Morrison
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Is it now de rigueur to add 20% to the after-tax total?

Being a server myself, maybe I'm not the best person to answer this but I think I will anyhow :hmmm:

I never look at the amount before tax when I am dining out. I look at the final total and tip on that. Now, is 20% the norm? It is for Americans :laugh: Seriously though, tip what you feel is appropriate. I do. For the longest tiime I tipped 20-25% regardless of service, keeping in mind that I am a server myself. I no longer do that. If I receive great service, wether it is a a local pub or a fine dining restaurant, I tip 20-25% on the final bill. Average service, average tip, @15%. Poor service, poor tip (10%). Lousy service, I tip enough to cover a servers tip out to support staff, which is usually about 5%.. NEVER feeel obligated to tip more than you think a server deserves just because it is the norm. On the other hand, great tips are very much appreciated when exemplery service has been provided :biggrin:

I appreciate that, because I hate to undertip, yet I hate to feel as though I am overtipping in the vain hope of receiving better service the next time I go to a particular restaurant. Of course, some inebriated overtipping is going to happen, but by the same rule, some inebriated undertipping may also occur.

And if I have been the recipient of stellar service, I do tip appropriately.

I was a bit affronted by the sudden change in demeanor at the place I mentioned, though, especially as I had tipped quite well at several visits in the past. I think being snooty at a tip that is somewhere between 15% and 20% is poor manners.

Cheers :smile: and rest assured, I'm normally at 20% on the total :wink:

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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Is it now de rigueur to add 20% to the after-tax total?

Being a server myself, maybe I'm not the best person to answer this but I think I will anyhow :hmmm:

I never look at the amount before tax when I am dining out. I look at the final total and tip on that. Now, is 20% the norm? It is for Americans :laugh: Seriously though, tip what you feel is appropriate. I do. For the longest tiime I tipped 20-25% regardless of service, keeping in mind that I am a server myself. I no longer do that. If I receive great service, wether it is a a local pub or a fine dining restaurant, I tip 20-25% on the final bill. Average service, average tip, @15%. Poor service, poor tip (10%). Lousy service, I tip enough to cover a servers tip out to support staff, which is usually about 5%.. NEVER feeel obligated to tip more than you think a server deserves just because it is the norm. On the other hand, great tips are very much appreciated when exemplery service has been provided :biggrin:

I think being snooty at a tip that is somewhere between 15% and 20% is poor manners.

Cheers :smile: and rest assured, I'm normally at 20% on the total :wink:

Being snooty at ANY tip, whether it is 8% or 15%, is such an unprofessional response. While it is not always pleasant receiving a small tip when providing excellent service, everythiing always has a way a balancing out. I've had guests who have left me a great tip even though the service was not a good as I would have liked it to be. I can honestly say I have even gone so far as feeling a bit guilty :blink:

Derek

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West. You pay for it, and they deliver. I've never had a hostess come out to greet me at the taxi before. Waitstaff and sommelier know their stuff.

Tojos. But I'm a very old customer of his, so I don't know if everyone gets the same. And only I'm taking about the sushi bar.

Earls. Please don't laugh. I wish all chain restaurants had as consistantly dialed-in staff as Earls. Keg has also done well in this regard but I haven't been there in a long time (they just opened one in Hong Kong, so I guess I could go here, but I'll be back in Van. in 1 week anyway...)

Re editor's (get a name, dude! We're all friends here. Most of the time, anyway) scenario "...you then are forced to wait 20 minutes at the bar for your reserved table..." etc:

If I'm forced to wait 20 min for a reserved table, I walk. I'll walk after 10 minutes, unless someone with decent people skills intervenes with a tall cool freebie and/or a good story. I'm on time, I don't no-show without calling well in advance, I drink like a fish, I eat like a hungry eGulletter and tip like a rich dumb American tourist (even though I'm not. Rich or American, that is). And if the place is any good I'll probably be back. Don't park me at the bar.

Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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sorry about the name, but it's all i can afford right now considering the content of my soon-to-be-released site and what i do for a living. you can call me whatever you like, like bad name guy or scared of being fired guy, whatever.

Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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from in the door to out the door, true service is holistic in it's approach. i think that as a philosophy, it should be pounced upon in this town and policed by gm's as their top priority.

That's an important point ... that it's a philosphy. The question is, is it obtainable? Not just here, but anywhere.

editor, since you made the point, what establishments in Vancouver meet your requirements, or come the closest?

A.

In my humble opinion, it is a philosophy. It is obtainable. Perhaps not in many establishments, but it is obtainable.

The finest service I have ever experienced in my life is at Le Gavroche... In London... Not Vancouver.

The managing director there, Silvano Giraldin, has trained many of the top notch service staff not only in London, and around the E.U., but many that have gone on to spread the 'Roux ethic' worldwide.

This gentleman has the proper philosophy that has produced award winning service for decades. He knows what he is doing, therefore he can teach others. Unlike most maitre d' who think they know... and there are PLENTY of those!

I am speaking of a fine dining establishment here. However, the philosophy translates to ANY type of establishment. Great service is great service. Poor service is not acceptable (in my opinion) anywhere where you are paying for a proper meal!

Paula

"...It is said that without the culinary arts, the crudeness of reality would be unbearable..." Leopold

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so then, if it is attainable, why are so many of vancouver's "best" restaurants so inconsistent?

is it because we live in a culture where a life in service means something different than it does in the e.u?

because the folks serving in vancouver have other gigs and dreams on the side: "i'm really an actor, writer, artist, student... and serving you is only temporary." (?)

is it management? are we all caught staring at the bottom line rather than focusing on our customers' needs?

are servers and their service poorly policed by management?

is good, holistic from-in-the-door-to-out service under-appreciated here and therefore not that big a deal?

Edited by editor@waiterblog (log)

Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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so then, if it is attainable, why are so many of vancouver's "best" restaurants so inconsistent?

is it because we live in a culture where a life in service means something different than it does in the e.u?

because the folks serving in vancouver have other gigs and dreams on the side: "i'm really an actor, writer, artist, student... and serving you is only temporary." (?)

is it management? are we all caught staring the bottom line rather than focusing on our customers' needs?

are servers and their service poorly policed by management?

is good, holistic from-in-the-door-to-out service under-appreciated here and therefore not that big a deal?

Editor, I think it's a combination of things...

Re A life in service here vrs the EU: Agree 100%. I don't think the average person would view "professional waitperson" as a desirable career choice.

Re Servers having other dreams: I think most people could say about themselves "I'm really a <insert your personal dream here> at heart", and are only engaged in their current career by economic imperatives. I don't think that negates ones ability to deliver good service.

Management's bottom line focus and/or poor supervision: Here lies most of the responsibility, IMHO. Management's responsibility is to a) hire well, b) train well, and c) create a working environment where your staff can perform. All of which is easy to say, but hard to execute. It's no different than any other business, really. Hire for attitude, train well, and get out of the way and let your staff deliver.

Some restauranteurs know how to get a team of people performing at a high level consistently, some don't. I suspect that is one of the differences between those who have a long track record of running successful restaurants and those that can produce great food but go out of business.

Edited by Vancouver Lee (log)

Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.

www.leecarney.com

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Greetings,

Having been on both sides of the tips for 30yrs

"treat others how you want to be treated"

I have found the key to being a hit with one's guest , is to determine how to treat them as THEY want to be treated.

When I'm on my game, I try and "mirror" the client. If there non-verbal, I try and keep my chat to a minimum. If there up and giddy, I do the same.....

NLP, "neuro-linguistic programming " is form of training usually offered to higher end sales, but should/could be considered by industry pro's

Grats,

We in the industry do lot to screw up the grats system.

We often over tip when we are out. Setting a poor example (Pavlov's Dog)

I have worked 10 rest. over 30 yrs, I have yet to hear a server who got a poor tip say.."what happened here, what can I learn from this..." They just start cursing the client.

As mentioned before, here in Canada , servers are on stand-by to any other career.

Up until a few ago, I always tipped 15-20% , ......

One night 6/7 yrs ago, out for dinner with my wife......food was great , service was completely off....I just snapped, left No Tip

I had a cold sweet, I can't believe how nervous I was....

I left a large note on the back of the receipt......

I don't think I slept that night, it was bizarre...

From that day, after having broke my cherry....I do it regularly, always leaving a note.

Recently, out with friends, food great, service just OK, left 10% to the servers,

and snuck 15% to the chef and kitchen staff......

Again, had cold sweet, but it just felt right......

Peter

Dress British Think Yiddish

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I'm really enjoying this thread ... good dicussion on Vancouver service staff.

because the folks serving in vancouver have other gigs and dreams on the side: "i'm really an actor, writer, artist, student... and serving you is only temporary." (?)

Is that really the case here? Are we really Hollywood North in that respect as well?

One night 6/7 yrs ago, out for dinner with my wife......food was great , service was completely off....I just snapped, left No Tip

Peter, you scare me dude :laugh:

There are many great forums on tipping already going:

The Concept of "Pooling Tips"

Waiter's Tip Tricks

Tipping for Take-out

Feel free to continue the conversation there.

A.

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I'm really enjoying this thread ... good dicussion on Vancouver service staff.
because the folks serving in vancouver have other gigs and dreams on the side: "i'm really an actor, writer, artist, student... and serving you is only temporary." (?)

Is that really the case here? Are we really Hollywood North in that respect as well?

One night 6/7 yrs ago, out for dinner with my wife......food was great , service was completely off....I just snapped, left No Tip

Peter, you scare me dude :laugh:

There are many great forums on tipping already going:

The Concept of "Pooling Tips"

Waiter's Tip Tricks

Tipping for Take-out

Feel free to continue the conversation there.

A.

"Peter, you scare me dude" :laugh:

Hey Daddy-A

Now I know I'm at home. :wink:

I thought this particular forum was " the best service in the city"

Living in Western society, generally we won't verbalize our displeasure.

Tipping is one way of communicating our dis/pleasure with the service.

Charlie Trotter's in Chicago(Rob Fennie trained there), ALL staff on salary.

Grats are pooled into the collective HR fund.

Thanks for the other links, will check out.

P.

Dress British Think Yiddish

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Earls.  Please don't laugh.  I wish all chain restaurants had as consistantly dialed-in staff as Earls.

I've also been pleasantly suprised by the service at Earl's. My needs and expectations are never very great there, since I will typically go on a Friday night, when I'm burned out from the week, and all I want is a burger and a beer (or two). The staff are always pleasant, friendly and efficient, the burger is good, and the beer is cold. All I want.

I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself. - Johnny Carson
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Earls.  Please don't laugh.  I wish all chain restaurants had as consistantly dialed-in staff as Earls.

I've also been pleasantly suprised by the service at Earl's. My needs and expectations are never very great there, since I will typically go on a Friday night, when I'm burned out from the week, and all I want is a burger and a beer (or two). The staff are always pleasant, friendly and efficient, the burger is good, and the beer is cold. All I want.

I agree. I've eaten there a lot (I have a client who loves it and wants to be taken there every time we get together) and the service is almost always good. The food is pretty decent given the price point, too.

Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.

www.leecarney.com

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As a former "Earls girl" I must say, they do strive for consistency in service, and it is always good when I have eaten there. I recall one time my boyfriend and I were there, the manager, out of nowhere, came over and told us that she was terribly sorry, and that Kris' chicken and ribs, combo would be taken care of because they had a problem with the forno oven and the food would be another five minutes. We were quite taken-aback as we had JUST finished our appetizers and were perfectly content. In hindsight, it was a much better approach than leaving us eventually looking around, wondering where our food was. The free dinner was probably unnecessary though, as appreciated as it was.

My biggest pet peeve when dining out is being ignored. I am perfectly aware of it if someone is slammed and I have patience for that, but if they can't even quickly say "I'll be right with you" with an apologetic smile as they breeze past, I'm a little put off. The worst time I remember this happening was recently at Hy's in Whistler. I don't expect my server to know that this is the first time I have ever ordered a steak at a restaurant, having been a veggie for 13 or so years, but I do expect her to do a quality check regardless. The service was outstanding right up until the food came. My "medium well" steak (sorry guys) was bleeding all over the plate. I finished everything else on my plate and managed to eat half my boyfriends fries before she came by, and even then I had to flag her down. That sucked. It happened to be an anniversary night that I had been planning for quite some time and I don't get the opportunity to eat out at the finer (read: expensive) dining establishments of BC all that often, so it was quite a dissapointment. I know what it is like, having a full section and everyone wanting your attention, but seriously, there's nothing worse than desperately trying to make eye contact with someone and they clearly avoid you.

That being said, a smile and a gracious attitude will make up for almost any screw up with me. The only thing that really affects the tip I leave is the servers attitude. If they are friendly and approachable, that's all I need. Mistakes happen and I totally accept that, but pretending they don't is probably the biggest mistake a server can make.

"Never eat more than you can lift" -Miss Piggy

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As a F&B Director and GM I have a few comments to make about service. (Some off topic but slightly related)

Rule #1: ownership must establish one clear vision of service; which in my case is "service before self = integrity." Too many servers, managers, sommeliers etc. have inflated egos and heightened sense of importance. The bottom line is that the guests, whether rich, making ends meet, or comfortable, come to an establishment to have their needs anticipated, be given personal recognition, and made to sincerely feel welcome. Going out to dinner is a big deal. People plan ahead for special occasions which only raises their expectations further. Guests are also spending after tax dollars.

Rule #2: Managers during service need to lead service and be cogniscent of every section, table and guest in a room. Standing at the door all night doesn't help. Guests like to see ownership and presence regardless of the establishment.

Rule #3: A manager must be in touch with the inherent strengths and weaknesses of his or her team. Some waiters can handle big sections and some can not but compensate by being better and more mature at focusing on VIP tables or special needs clients. (VIP for high maintenance). I see service like a basketball game with every player working together, helping each other and backing up when need be. A manager must also spend a lot of time before service setting up the sections and tables properly to ensure proper flow and, also, be willing to become incorporated during service to help pick up the slack or relieve a server who is being tied down at a table for extended periods of time. In essence, the manager is the point guard; strong servers are the power forwards and support staff are the bench who see regular playing time. At the end of the day if you can foresee the flow of service before it starts you usually have a great night.

Rule #4: Standards of service and protocols. By supplying a team with a Job task checklist during training and steps of service program you can ensure a professional level of service from the get go. It sounds corporate in thinking but it works and ensures that the technical side of service is organized and competent. It is also beneficial to create a mentoring or apprentice program for servers (pairing juniors with Captains over a season then moving the junior up to a server level).

Rule #5: When guests are upset you must acknowledge them and correct the problem before they leave. Far too many situations can become confrontational as egos pop up and are not willing to admit fault. I work in a hotel environment where unhappy guests can lead to a serious loss of revenue when they decide to check out early and not be willing to pay for the room night.

The best thing that could happen to the watering game is to make it legit. Provide full salaries by incorporating grats in to T4 income. A number of high end restaurants in the states are doing this now as the pressure is placed on the owner to provide tip info to the feds. It is going to happen in Canada as the CCRA looks to go after lost tax revenue from the hotel and restaurant sector. I have seen enough audits (and subsequent bankruptcies of servers) to know that it is better to be honest then to get nailed. (Speaking from experience).

A great waiter can make 50k a year and I see no reason why an establishment could not track earnings for a year then determine the set salaries in the following years.) This last statement is off topic but I have seen several properties that are doing this and it works well. Servers now have more legitimacy from banks, access to more credit, better RRSP contributions and, ultimately, the security in knowing that they don't owe to the Gov't when they come knocking on the doors. (just talk to the servers at the Sooke Harbour house about the high 5 digit tax bills they got in 2001.

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As a F&B Director and GM I have a few comments to make about service. (Some off topic but slightly related)

Rule #1: ownership must establish one clear vision of service; which in my case is "service before self = integrity." Too many servers, managers, sommeliers etc. have inflated egos and heightened sense of importance. The bottom line is that the guests, whether rich, making ends meet, or comfortable, come to an establishment to have their needs anticipated, be given personal recognition, and made to sincerely feel welcome. Going out to dinner is a big deal. People plan ahead for special occasions which only raises their expectations further. Guests are also spending after tax dollars.

Rule #2:  Managers during service need to lead service and be cogniscent of every section, table and guest in a room. Standing at the door all night doesn't help. Guests like to see ownership and presence regardless of the establishment.

Rule #3: A manager must be in touch with the inherent strengths and weaknesses of his or her team. Some waiters can handle big sections and some can not but compensate by being better and more mature at focusing on VIP tables or special needs clients. (VIP for high maintenance). I see service like a basketball game with every player working together, helping each other and backing up when need be. A manager must also spend a lot of time before service setting up the sections and tables properly to ensure proper flow and, also, be willing to become incorporated during service to help pick up the slack or relieve a server who is being tied down at a table for extended periods of time. In essence, the manager is the point guard; strong servers are the power forwards and support staff are the bench who see regular playing time. At the end of the day if you can foresee the flow of service before it starts you usually have a great night.

Rule #4: Standards of service and protocols. By supplying a team with a Job task checklist during training and steps of service program you can ensure a professional level of service from the get go. It sounds corporate in thinking but it works and ensures that the technical side of service is organized and competent. It is also beneficial to create a mentoring or apprentice program for servers (pairing juniors with Captains over a season then moving the junior up to a server level).

Rule #5: When guests are upset you must acknowledge them and correct the problem before they leave. Far too many situations can become confrontational as egos pop up and are not willing to admit fault. I work in a hotel environment where unhappy guests can lead to a serious loss of revenue when they decide to check out early and not be willing to pay for the room night.

The best thing that could happen to the watering game is to make it legit. Provide full salaries by incorporating grats in to T4 income. A number of high end restaurants in the states are doing this now as the pressure is placed on the owner to provide tip info to the feds. It is going to happen in Canada as the CCRA looks to go after lost tax revenue from the hotel and restaurant sector. I have seen enough audits (and subsequent bankruptcies of servers) to know that it is better to be honest then to get nailed. (Speaking from experience).

A great waiter can make 50k a year and I see no reason why an establishment could not track earnings for a year then determine the set salaries in the following years.) This last statement is off topic but I have seen several properties that are doing this and it works well. Servers now have more legitimacy from banks, access to more credit, better RRSP contributions and, ultimately, the security in knowing that they don't owe to the Gov't when they come knocking on the doors. (just talk to the servers at the Sooke Harbour house about the high 5 digit tax bills they got in 2001.

James , you are the man ! In my enlightened dicatorship it is slightly different but yet still the same.

Rule #1. First the guest, then the rest. Seems simple doesn't it. When I was a younger man, I would let ego get in the way. Now, I have realized it is not about me or what I want, it is about the guests and how we can make them happy. I need to remind myself of this every once in a while but it is just "refreshing the basics"

Rule #2. Restaurants can't be run from home offices. Period.

Rule #3. It is like George Orwell's 1984. Everyone is equal but some of us are more equal than others. Some can handle the big tables and big sections but everyone has something to contribute to the overall fabric of the staff. If everyone were the same, it would not be any fun would it ?

Rule #4 What gets checked gets done. There are checklists for opening and closing the restaurant. Start at the top and work your way down. What affects the guest gets done first. This is a constant battle royale. The guests are not impacted by the fact that you do not have a backup of sliced limes but they certainly notice if the walkway has not been swept or the washrooms have no toilet paper. I am relentless in this. I often wonder what the breaking point is for the staff - how many days in a row are they going to hear this before they finally get it. It has been seven and a half years , and I still am saying everyday " have you sewpt outside yet ? " I'll let you know when the breaking point is.

Rule #5 This one sounds real heavy handed but it is very, very simple.

"As long as you do exactly as I tell you, you will never, ever be wrong !!!"

I might be wrong but as I pay the price in all cases, that's Ok. If anything goes wrong, incorrect wine, overcooked food, waited too long for a table, next table too loud, too hot, too cold, anything, it comes out of my pocket, not the staff's. I am also big enough to admit when I am wrong. ( I sound like the Fonz - I was wr wr wr wr wr wrong - ok there I said it, now get back to work or I will send you to bed without any gruel ! )

I have tried letting the restaurant run as a somewhat democratic society but have realized that the enlightened dictatorship is the best way to go. I have everything on the line here, my restaurant, my house, my future and my family's future. Although I agree with James that the service industry needs to be taken seriously, most servers do not take it seriously. ( There are a exceptions - I do not want to invoke a riot ) They still show up without equipment, coming in at 11:59 and 59 seconds for a Noon shift in a crumpled shirt without any pens etc. The few serious service professionals are cherished and held onto. We do whatever we can to keep them as long as we can. Lots of people use the service industry as a stepping stone on the path of life, but if you decide to stand on that stone for a few years, take it seriously. Do the job to the best of your ability.

I am not going to sway in the way I want things done. For every rule there is a reason, and one day I might tell you that reason but 8:00 on Friday night is not the time for you to tell me the way you did it at _________________ ( insert any other restaurant's name here ). Two years from now people do not remember that the blond waiter was an idiot and he screwed up their night, all they remember is that they are not coming back to your restaurant. ( BTW, the blond waiter left a year and a half ago and the only constant in the restaurant is the owner. )

Ok , I have to get back to work now !

More on this later, I am sure.

Neil

Edited by nwyles (log)

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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james, i agree totally about your service philosophy, especially about managerial omnipresence. in my experience, it simply doesn't happen that way. i wish it did. without a manager on the floor at all times, things like standards are the first to go the way of the dodo.

as for taxes...let's just not talk about it.

Edited by editor@waiterblog (log)

Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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editor, Neil & James,

Great discussion! But we need to find a way to get it back onto the subject at hand (i.e. Who has the best service in Vancouver / Western Canada) or this thread may get moved, and thousands will be confused (where did that thread go?). Feel free to start up a thread in General Food Topics ... especially regarding the tax situation. The many many FOH people on eGullet will be interested in that!

A question: What places in town implement these "rules" the best? I agree with many here that Earl's does a great job of using a system to keep their service extremely consistent.

This from the Where've You Eaten Lately? thread:

chambar: massive floor changes happening in this belgian fusion bistro. we hear the night manager josie has gone and andre from lumiere in is charge.

This is exciting news! So just what does Andre have to do to get Chambar firing on all cylinders?

A.

Forum Narc

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editor, Neil & James,

Great discussion!  But we need to find a way to get it back onto the subject at hand (i.e. Who has the best service in Vancouver / Western Canada) or this thread may get moved, and thousands will be confused (where did that thread go?). Feel free to start up a thread in General Food Topics ... especially regarding the tax situation.  The many many FOH people on eGullet will be interested in that!

A question:  What places in town implement these "rules" the best?  I agree with many here that Earl's does a great job of using a system to keep their service extremely consistent.

This from the Where've You Eaten Lately? thread:

chambar: massive floor changes happening in this belgian fusion bistro. we hear the night manager josie has gone and andre from lumiere in is charge.

This is exciting news! So just what does Andre have to do to get Chambar firing on all cylinders?

A.

Forum Narc

Hey man, why are you so heavy ! You are really bumming me out.

Seriously , I had a server not follow my instructions today - I counted to ten and I was still very mad so that is why I wrote the post. By the time I was finished, everything was better. I skipped therapy and went right to egullet ! I am better now. :biggrin:

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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little birdies tell me there are some changes on the way at chambar with staff. they're all great folks, some of them real pros. as to specifics, i can only speculate. for starters, streamlining and policing the service would be great. opening up for lunch again would be smart. as far as nico's food is concerned, i hope they don't change a thing. perhaps going the route of no reservations would be an idea they could pursue to keep the buzz afloat...

and yes, please no talk of taxes ;-), it'll have us waiters in a swift panic!

the consistent service at earls, for me personally, is dwarfed by the uniform plasticity of the ambiance. give me originality, like the HSG, and i'm a happy diner. give me cookie cutter slush and i'm out the door, good service or not.

Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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Ah taxes... they are more of an issue than you think these days as I have come to learn through a family member (works in investigations at the CCRA) that they are going to heat up audits once again. I leave it open to my staff but give them the option to have it go to T4. On Vancouver Island when the lay offs come in the winter it helps them out. This a hot topic, but I feel strongly that when everyone (mainly higher end hotels with longer term staff) starts playing on a level playing field there is a stonger sense of professionalism (i.e. I make minumum wage and grats or I make 45 k a year plus benefits etc.)

Back to service now: if an establishment is a going concern and it goes a long way to create a system that has mature (not under 25 lets say) servers who have life experiences (that they can relate with a maturing clientel) that can act as a mentoring system to commis or juniors then you start creating a good succession program, just like in a kitchen. There a tons of young people going through the college hospitaltiy programs that would jump at the seasonal postions. But is depends on the type of eatery.

I could go on and on but it would open up a very heated debate. Although I do have a good story:

A number of years ago I ate at the Moustache cafe (no longer open). I had the worst service: it started out like this...

1. I ordered a bottle of Pinot Gris. The server brings it to me. I ask for white wine glasses. The server tells me that the glasses on the table are the best glasses they have (they were giant 26 oz fish bowls). Server then brings me miniscule glasses...

2. I order Red wine (around $100) The server replaces tiny glasses with same tiny glasses. I ask for red wine glasses, The server mentions that he did not think that I would enjoy the glasses... ego is going off.

3. Food is excellent... until dessert

4. Staff are sitting at a table near by while we wait for dessert menus.... 5 minutes, 10 minutes... 15 minutes.. I ask for the check

5. I pay the bill....

6. no grat. (I was nervous, bad karma, improper etiquete etc) But the waiter was a boob and he did not even have a clue that we (our table) were all industry folk over for the Playhouse festival even though our chef went to compliment the kitchen and chat with them throughout service.

7. Maitre'D runs down the street and confronts us... it gets worse from there.

Unfortunately it is easier to remember a bad experience than a good one. I have, over time, become adverse and phobic about retail stores, car lots, restaurants etc. I find that I am more comfortable walking in to Wendy's than the average restaurant as I know exactly what kind of service I will get and what it will cost me.

There has to be an extension of training and a professionalization of the service industry. Chefs go to school, train, spend a fortune on travel, equipment, and work for peanuts until they get up the chain.

Managers, some of them, give up serving for lower salaries to take assistant positions, pay for a BCOM or whatever, take all the heat (which we love) to make a difference.

Sommeliers now spend a lot of money on tuition and they get the accrediation to be a pro, although they should focus a bit more on customer service in the program.

So I ask the question, why can we not have similiar guidelines for front of the house? Once servers or establishments get the technical side of service down, the reporting relationships established, the support structure, the heirarchy in place and the respect (which works boths ways) then the servers become better,stronger, faster and now have more time to work their magic at the tables.

As for service in Vancouver... the best I have ever had wasat West. :biggrin:

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So I ask the question, why can we not have similiar guidelines for front of the house?

The now defunct HIEAC actually ran a Food and Beverage accreditation program, it involved Serving it Right, Food Safe, Super Host, a wine component (taught by M.Davidson), a solid food component (taught by DuBrulle instructors), an independent "silent shop", an exam and a certificate.

The problem is that for the most part those doing the hiring couldn't care less about accreditation, or even know that it exists. As a professional closer to 40 than 30, I cannot tell you the number of times I have been told by managers/restaurateurs that they wouldn't consider hiring someone like myself because:

1) Too much experience (read too old)

2) Too good for the establishment - don't laugh I've heard it

3) Would upset the "staff dynamic"

4) Twice (at least they were honest) "I don't want waiters who know more than I do"

When I have been a manager I made it a point to interview every applicable candidate who came in the door - some of my best hires were people who never would have made it past the hostesses 5.5 out of 10 criteria that many establishments use for initial screening.

''Wine is a beverage to enjoy with your meal, with good conversation, if it's too expensive all you talk about is the wine.'' Bill Bowers - The Captain's Tavern, Miami

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Le Crocodile! Very polished server a few years ago. Attentive without being overbearing, knowledgeable about the dishes, and he expressed sincere interest in our group. We left telling ourselves that the very expensive meal was worth every penny.

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Le Crocodile! Very polished server a few years ago. Attentive without being overbearing, knowledgeable about the dishes, and he expressed sincere interest in our group. We left telling ourselves that the very expensive meal was worth every penny.

One of the best and most consistant rooms in the city. Food prices are very reasonable, but as you always have two starters, a main and dessert with wine as well as an amuse, two cocktails, sparkling water, champagne cocktail and foie gras every time, the bill can add up ( oh wait, that's what I always eat ) :biggrin:

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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