Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Anatomy of a restaurant part 1

Anatomy of a restaurant part 1

As someone who has worked in the food service industry for about 18 years I have experienced a lot. I have seen countless people come and go, only to see them re-appear at the next restaurant down the road and then the next one and the next one…... I have worked in a few myself including the two that I work in currently in numerous capacities from busboy, to room service attendant, to server, to bartender, to banquet setup person, to dishwasher, and even as a manager at times. The name above the door may change and certainly the names on the nametags of the people working inside these places change constantly. However, for the most part I have come to the conclusion that in a LOT of ways every restaurant is pretty much the same. Here are some of my observations about that and the different types of people you come across if you are there for just a short time. Mostly i am talking about cooks, servers,bartenders,managers and even bigwigs in the restaurant industry. However, i strongly suspect and even know to a degree these types of people exist in many other industries as well. A lot of these people can be classified in a certain way as you will see below. Some classifications seem more prevalent in servers than say bartenders or cooks but often they can be found in any part of the restaurant.

There are several different types of workers. It would probably take me 4 posts to cover servers alone. I classify some of them as follows in NO particular order.

  1. Houdinis…...
FBI profile: Usually between the ages of 18 and 24
-probably has had at least 4 jobs in the last 3 years
-most likely still lives at home with his/her parents or with 4 roomates in a 3
bedroom apartment.
-likely to be attending “college” to which he/she shows up for maybe
1 in 4 classes.
-Is probably almost ALWAYS 15 minutes late for work minimum
-Begins every other conversation with "dudeee i got SOOOOO trasheeed last

Houdinis are Most prominent in the server staff but certainly not limited to it. How to spot them: Most of the time their hair probably has a ‘fell asleep with it wet and since I was running late again this a.m. didn’t do anything with it’ look. NOTE: The female versions of Houdini may be a tad harder to spot hair wise thanks to scrunchies, hair clips, and the like but don’t worry. If you think you may have a female Houdini on your hands skip the hair and look at the make up. If there is a definite lack of make-up whereas there is normally plenty that is a dead give away.

Something about Houdini’s uniform is almost always screwed up badly enough that they should be sent home. (which is exactly what they are often hoping for) For example, in the server case of Houdini's ,,,,,Their apron probably looks like a potential scratch and sniff version of the menu. This is because they forgot to take it out of their car and have mommy wash it for them. Houdini does as little as he can get away with doing as often as he can get away with doing it. When there is something that needs to be done He or she(no no ladies I am not leaving you out of this I just don’t want to type he/she over and over again and have my blog mistaken as a transvestite hangout). ::::enter Seinfeld voice here:::: NOT that there is anything wrong with that! Anyways, as i was saying when there is something that needs to be done Houdini disappears like Dracula when the sun comes up....

They are the ones whose food you constantly get stuck running because they are never in the kitchen when it comes up. Likewise, you get stuck pre-bussing, and or bussing their tables because if you don’t all the tables in yall’s section will be dirty the next time it is your turn to be sat causing you to get skipped in the rotation. They are the one’s whom when you are stuck with them as your zone partner you spend all day looking around and asking “where the hell IS he/she???
However, once the work is done and all that is left is to pick up the tip from the table Houdini can and does re-appear out of nowhere like the statue of liberty during the David Copperfield magic hour.....
Hostess versions of Houdini's are the ones who are NEVER at the door when someone walks in. They are the ones who walk by the ringing phone 3 times rather than answer it, and always seem to be in the bathroom at the worst possible moment.
Manager versions of Houdini's may also be referred to (at least by me) as "keys" or even "cops". Have you ever seen your keys laying around the house 14 times or been driving down the road and passed 16 policemen within 10 minutes? If so, then i am guessing you have also experienced NEEDING those keys or a cop and NOT for the life of you been able to find them. Relax, men in blue,,,,,,my best friend is a cop so i am allowed to give him grief. If you really are upset by that joke, by all means feel free to write me a ticket or ten. My name is Bill......Bill Kirby.

Worker type # 2 MOE’s

We will call him/her MO because MO is short for MoooooooLASSSSSSSESSS. As in slower than.....

FBI profile: Probably did a lot of drugs when he was a kid
-may still be doing a lot of drugs currently
-usually tall, (at least 6foot) and skinny(no more than 160lbs)
-probably male but Female versions of Mo's are anything BUT
unheard of.
-almost always 80% legs.
-you begin every other conversation about him with the term "dudeee he must
be sooooooo trashed"
How to spot them: Remember how your parents and teachers used to tell you that drugs kills brain cells? Mo here was the poster child for that anti-drug campaign. He ambles along throughout the restaurant even in the most weeded of times as if he is walking through the park on a nice spring day and enjoying nature. Mo’s are not limited to servers at all. In fact, more often than not He is most likely your busboy or dishwasher. He can be found walking around the restaurant and giving credit where credit is due generally does a pretty damn good job. He just takes for freaking EVER to do it. Sometimes, as a reward for doing said good job Mo is given a chance to be a server, or a line cook as some sort of reward for a job well done. One thing you can count on though. As slow as Mo is, he always always always finds a way to be in front of you somehow. He is the restaurant version of the old lady in the fast lane. You know the one that drives 32mph in a 65mph zone with the left blinker on for mile after mile when you are in a hurry. Need to get in the computer ? There is mo in front of you punching stuff in like the computer is making him spell out ‘diet coke’ instead of just pushing the button that says ‘diet coke’. Whenever there is a doubt about spotting them, just LOOK where you need to get to in a hurry. Like the aforementioned old lady , sure as shit he will be in front of you. All that is missing is the old lady’s bumper sticker reading “ I may be slow but I am ahead of you’ to taunt you. Cook versions of Moes are the ones who take 9 minutes to ladle a cup of soup into the bowl and put it in the bowl regardless of whether it is busy or not. Manager types, are the ones who when you need change, a void, or are ready to check out and go home get side tracked 14 times on their way to doing so and forget about you or HAVE to take a smoke break before being able to do so.

That will do it for now, hope you enjoy and comments as always are welcome. More later


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the insights you are offering to the industry , raring to read more!

briliantdonkey said...


Thanks for stopping by and glad to hear that you enjoyed it. I will definitely have more though i don't know exactly when.


Anonymous said...

Cool blog, interesting information... Keep it UP »