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ludja

CEOs notice how others treat waiters...

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Nothing is a bigger turnoff than seeing someone with power (or not) treat waiters with disrespect or arrogance at a restaurant. Apparently many CEO's feel the same way and use commonly this to evaluate the character of a prospective hire or business partner.

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Odland isn't the only CEO to have made this discovery. Rather, it seems to be one of those rare laws of the land that every CEO learns on the way up. It's hard to get a dozen CEOs to agree about anything, but all interviewed agree with the Waiter Rule.

They acknowledge that CEOs live in a Lake Wobegon world where every dinner or lunch partner is above average in their deference. How others treat the CEO says nothing, they say. But how others treat the waiter is like a magical window into the soul.

And beware of anyone who pulls out the power card to say something like, "I could buy this place and fire you," or "I know the owner and I could have you fired." Those who say such things have revealed more about their character than about their wealth and power.


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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My Executive Director takes all final-stage job candidates out to a restaurant (individually). She told me about a potential hire who had been unfailingly charming throughout the interview process but who behaved very poorly toward the servers. Discrimination and sexual harassment in the hospitality industry is one of our priority areas so you can imagine the impression that made.


My fantasy? Easy -- the Simpsons versus the Flanders on Hell's Kitchen.

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Obviously, you should always treat people with respect in any situation.. But now I would like to pose another scenario..

What if a potential hire was to be bullied or intimidated by a waiter.. For instance if the order was screwed up, or the waiter was being rude, or the "fly in my soup" scenario.. Would a CEO think less of a hire for not being able to express themselves in a polite but productive manner..

Would a CEO want someone on his team who is not willing to politely stand up for themselves?


Edited by Daniel (log)

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Nothing is a bigger turnoff than seeing someone with power (or not)  treat waiters with disrespect or arrogance at a restaurant.  Apparently many CEO's feel the same way and use commonly this to evaluate the character of a prospective hire or business partner.
Odland isn't the only CEO to have made this discovery. Rather, it seems to be one of those rare laws of the land that every CEO learns on the way up. It's hard to get a dozen CEOs to agree about anything, but all interviewed agree with the Waiter Rule.

They acknowledge that CEOs live in a Lake Wobegon world where every dinner or lunch partner is above average in their deference. How others treat the CEO says nothing, they say. But how others treat the waiter is like a magical window into the soul.

I've only known two CEO's of major firms. One, a recently retired head of one of the country's largest food and beverage companies, who's from my home town and whose father worked for my family's engineering company, and the other my cousin's husband from the Netherland who recently sold his international wharehousing business to an Austrian concer.

The fact that both came from humble beginnings may help to explain it. The CEO from my hometown started off selling pots and pans door-to-doot, and my cousin's husband began wotking ar his company driving a forklift.

I've seen them both is social settings, and they were as gracious and considerate of others as anyone could be, and I know they both raised their children with particular emphasis on being polite and respectful to all others

I can only imagine how they would react to boorish behavior on the part of a employee or prospective employee. :shock:

SB (class shows) :wink:

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I've only dined with CEOs a handful of times, and I don't recall anything in particular about their behavior. But I've been with lots of Cs of something, and Directors of something, and they certainly have been a mixed bag. This seems to me like one of those polls where they all say that Kipling's "If" is their favorite poem....

Edited to add: That I wholly hope it is accurate, and that folks take a lesson from it. I don't mean to detract from the message at all. Should be required reading in every MBA program in the country!


Edited by Dignan (log)

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It kind of bothers me that everyone keeps duping this link on various fora. It's as though we assume that CEO's are a form of aristocracy privileged to act with noblesse oblige.

They're just people. Sometimes good people, sometimes bastards. They got where they were by selling product and themselves.

And the idea that waitstaff are magically special fairies granting opportunities for self- aggrandizing kindness is galling as well.

If the waiter is a jerk, the waiter deserves anyone's disdain.

If anyone treats anyone as an inferior without provocation, they're a jerk.

And if a CEO needs a pat interactive litmus-test situation, if he can't figure out that the person he's with is a jerk from general behavior, then that CEO is going to be conned by most of the con-men who try to con him.

But somehow this juxtaposition of the anointed and the servile has meme-wormed itself into most of the places I go to read and discuss opinions. Which I think says something about how we're starting to sense the impending feudalism being created by those running the "free world" these days.

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And beware of anyone who pulls out the power card to say something like, "I could buy this place and fire you," or "I know the owner and I could have you fired." Those who say such things have revealed more about their character than about their wealth and power.

Who the hell writes this stuff? Who in their right mind would say such a thing while meeting a potential employer?

That's about as useful as "Beware of anyone who wears a William Shatner masks to dinner, appears to have asthma and kills the waitstaff with a big sharp pointy, stabby knify thing."

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Not only have I been with people who have said they'd get someone's job, when I was a waitress I heard it a few times. How someone treats any service staff is how I gauge thier decency as a human being. You don't have to be a wuss, though. Standing up for yourself doesn't have to be confrontational.

The CEOs of big companies I know and have dined with are delightful people and decent in social settings; I like to think they would be fawned over by service staff if they were just anyone else. Of the smaller companies, or privately-held, maybe not so much. But that's my own experience. Maybe it's a matter of confidence.


"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

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This topic is one that is near and dear to my heart, because I am a secretary -- the clerical equivalent of waitstaff. Certainly there are significant differences between the two positions, but similarities also exist.

After a particular incident, my sixth grade teacher, with fire in her eyes, pulled the door to the classroom shut and proceeded to tell us what she thought of our behavior that day. Her final words were something I've never forgotten: "Integrity is measured by how you behave when no one's watching."

One's behavior toward waitstaff, clerical staff, janitorial staff, etc., is close to "no one's watching" because these are the people who have the least power. No one who "counts" is watching.

How can I say this... I consider a person's behavior toward anyone who is lower on the socioeconomic ladder, a measure of their integrity. It doesn't matter whether the person is a CEO, a middle manager, or a secretary. There's always a pecking order of some sort.

One of my previous positions was working for an attorney who is one of the most brilliant people on the planet. (Seriously.) He is active in a religious/cultural community that is known for its service and humility, and well-respected in these parts. He is revered by peers and clients to be "the world's nicest guy."

His secretaries, behind his back, call him "asshole." Needless to say, he goes through two or three secretaries a year. As far as I'm concerned, his integrity level is near zero.

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I judge potential dates and friends by their restaurant etiquette, not the knife and fork stuff but the please and thank you stuff. It really does tell everything about a person and how they interact with the world around them. There have been times where I've dismissed my conclusions and been bitten in the ass in the end.

At the table

the good ones are good

and the bad ones are bad.

thats it.


does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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I'm not a CEO, but I think that observing someone and how they treat wait staff is very telling about their personality.

I had a co-worker who was condescending and abrupt in her dealings with waiters and waitresses. A small group of us would sometimes go out for lunch or for dinner and her behavior got to be quite cringeworthy. She would talk to the staff in a rude way, be overly demanding about her "needs" and gesture to them as if they were dogs being called over for some doggie chow.

After a while, it was too much for me and I stopped going out to eat with her and the group. And I began to put a distance between us at work (we'd had a fairly friendly rapport). I began to see that she really wasn't that nice of a person after all.

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This is close to the topic but I had an interview some years back and got the job but was shocked at the interview process.

After two interviews the employer wanted to meet for lunch to do the official offer. He reccomended a place and he also suggested I order this certain dish. Some pasta dish. I agreed we ate, nothing to it. He offers me the job and tells me that he offered it to me becuase of how I seasoned the food. Meaning I tried it first then adjusted rather than just dumping salt on it. Which to him said that I was willing to try things another way before just making my own changes and doing it my way. I found out that lots of employers have done this in the past and it was a shock to me. I guess you can tell alot about a person based on food choices and habits, more than I normally would have thought.

I've often been disgusted and stopped dating a person after they treated a server bad or made a ridiculous scene at a restaurant.

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The ironic thing about this is that some people feel that one way to impress their dining companion (date, prospective employer, whatever) is to be a jerk to the waitstaff. I've seen it happen any number of times, with the usual scenario being a young man who thinks that scolding the waiter will impress his date.


--

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Unfortunately, in my experience, treating admins or waiters well--especially during the interview process--merely means that someone has enough social skills to act properly at proper times. What happened *after* they're hired can be completely different. After all, one usually doesn't get very far up the corporate ladder if one doesn't know how to kiss up and be charming when necessary.

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This is close to the topic but I had an interview some years back and got the job but was shocked at the interview process.

After two interviews the employer wanted to meet for lunch to do the official offer. He reccomended a place and he also suggested I order this certain dish. Some pasta dish. I agreed we ate, nothing to it. He offers me the job and tells me that he offered it to me becuase of how I seasoned the food. Meaning I tried it first then adjusted rather than just dumping salt on it. Which to him said that I was willing to try things another way before just making my own changes and doing it my way. I found out that lots of employers have done this in the past and it was a shock to me. I guess you can tell alot about a person based on food choices and habits, more than I normally would have thought.

I've often been disgusted and stopped dating a person after they treated a server bad or made a ridiculous scene at a restaurant.

nocturnalsunshine (love the name!),

I think this is a great litmus test, as it goes beyond social skills and gets to the methods involved in a person's thinking, though in this case I would liken it more to a person's gathering information before acting rather than doing things his "own way."

However, I think he was on the right track -- and I'll keep that one in my back pocket. :)

As far as the treatment of service staff goes, that's a litmus test for any kind of relationship for me, whether professional or personal. There is simply no place for being rude to others as a way of life, no matter where they are in the pecking order. When they deserve it, by all means let them have it, but this should be the exception rather than the rule. For me it's still a very last resort.


Jennifer L. Iannolo

Founder, Editor-in-Chief

The Gilded Fork

Food Philosophy. Sensuality. Sass.

Home of the Culinary Podcast Network

Never trust a woman who doesn't like to eat. She is probably lousy in bed. (attributed to Federico Fellini)

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