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Showing posts from 2015

Cover My Shift!!!

The anxiety of trying to get your shift covered at a serving job ranks up there with wondering if the pee stick is going to turn positive or negative after a long night of having shots with your coworkers, and you ended up hooking up with one of them.  Eventually, the pregnancy scare turns out to be negative, you get your shift covered, and everything is right with the world. But trying to get your shift covered is never easy.  Especially when you feel like you go out of your way to cover other people's shifts when they ask, but when the time comes for you to ask them, it becomes an entire ordeal. "Hey Steve, would you be able to cover my shift next Wednesday night?  My parents are going to be in town," I asked last Saturday night. "I might be able to, but I won't know until Tuesday.  Can I get back to you then?" Steve replied. "That's cutting it close," I said.  "Would you be able to tell me by Monday?" "I can't

The Bitter Bistro Book: Chapter 1-- The Bitter Intro "Go Home!"

Here is a sample from my upcoming book, "The Bitter Bistro."  If you're looking for a positive read, stop right now and put on your Anthony Robbins CD.  This is as negative and bitter as they come.   the bitter intro:  go home! Thousands of hopeful comedians, actors, and writers move to Los Angeles every year.  Los Angeles needs more of these people like Kim Kardashian needs another husband for publicity.  Hasn’t anybody learned from the previous thousands of people who moved here and failed?  I’m speaking from experience.  15 years ago, I was the same idiot.     I was living in Santa Barbara, working full-time as a bartender, and I wanted to be on Saturday Night Live.  This should already tell you what kind of moron I was, because SNL shoots in New York, and I wanted to move to Los Angeles.  I figured I'd move to LA, start doing improv and stand-up comedy, and Lorne Michaels would come-a-calling.  He didn't.  And nobody else did either.  I probably

1 Fish 2 Fish Whole Fish Means the Whole F#&king Fish!

People don't know how to read anymore, or they are reading selectively.  Whatever the case, customers are not using their brains and are making themselves look like idiots.  Sounds like any Friday night in the restaurant biz. I had a lady order the Dorade.  It says on the menu that it is a "whole fish."  This means, that when the fish arrives at the table, it will be looking at you.  No, it won't be swimming or moving around on the plate, but it will have a head and a fin and other parts that would necessitate us calling it a "whole fish." I even repeated back to her that she was getting the Dorade, the "WHOLE fish."  She confirmed that was what she wanted.  I put in her order.  Guess what?  When her entree arrived, she freaked out. "Is everything okay," I asked. "This isn't what I ordered," she replied. "Didn't you order the Dorade," I asked. "Yes.  But they didn't filet it.  Why would y

The Waffle Versus the Egg

"We're vegetarian.  We don't eat egg or egg white," they told me for the tenth time in less than an hour.  I get it.  You're from a part of the world that worships cows and you don't consume animal products, but you are getting on my last nerve.  And I was on my last nerve over two hours ago. Your dietary restrictions, whether based on religion or allergens, are fine with me.  But please stop making it the responsibility of the server or the restaurant to cater to your needs. This couple came in for just desserts.  The woman ordered a hot chocolate.  But she said she's vegetarian, but somehow she is okay with milk.  Then her husband came in and joined her.  He said he's vegetarian.  He wanted to know what desserts we had that didn't have any egg or egg whites. But before I left to get a dessert menu, he stopped me and ask me to have the chef make sure that he would have an eggless waffle ready for him when he comes in for breakfast the next

The Butter Knife

I've noticed that the majority of customers that come into my restaurant know which silverware to eat with for each course.  But this blog is not for the majority of customers that come into my restaurant, it is for the the people who live life on the edge, by trying to cut their steak with a butter knife. I'm talking about the short knife that is on the edge of the small bread plate that is to the left of your salad fork.  Sorry, I know I just dropped a lot of knowledge just now, but try to keep up.  If it were up to me, we would just use sporks and a steak knife for everything.  But that is not the world we live in. We live in a world where a customer yells at me to bring them another knife, or asks me why their drink is taking so long to get to them, and I have to point out that the knife and drink that they asked for the first time, is sitting right-in-fricking-front-of-them. "Anything else I can get for you right now?  I didn't think so." Pay attent

#TBT Throw Bad Tips

It's like quicksand.  Meaning, that the more I struggle to get out of the restaurant industry, the more I sink into to it.  At this moment, I can't even get fired from my current gig, and I'm not even knocking on wood. Summer can be a lonely time for those of us that work far from the beach.  As I write this, any server working in a Santa Monica restaurant has made at least $200.00 for a lunch shift.  And if you didn't, you probably still made more than I did on my night shifts. I have almost come full circle at my current restaurant.  I helped open the place 9 years ago, and it was the busiest and most profitable gig I have had to date.  It wasn't perfect, but at least I knew that all I had to do was make it to the end of the shift, and I would somehow see the light.  And that light being at least $300.00.  Nowadays the light is very dim.  But the new light at the end of the tunnel is a complete renovation of the space.  That's right.  Soon I'll be op

Don't Forget Your Teeth

An older lady was dining with her husband, granddaughter, and her granddaughter's boyfriend one night, when the old lady turns to me and says, "What do you have that's soft to eat?  I forgot my teeth." Who the hell forgets their teeth?  Let me get this straight, when you looked at yourself in the mirror before you left, you didn't notice something was missing when you smiled? "I know how you feel," I said, "sometimes I forget my phone.  I feel lost without it."  She just looked at me as if she didn't know what I meant by that because she still uses a rotary phone.  (Look it up.) I explained that we have soups that she could have, but she was concerned about her choices for salad.  She and her family were using a Groupon, so they had to select from the items on the prefixed menu. "Is the salad soft?" she asked. "I could have the kitchen chop it fine for you.  That would make it easier to eat." I replied.  I

LA Times Doesn't Want You to TIP Your Server!

The minimum wage is Los Angeles is supposed to be raised to 15 dollars by the year 2020.  LA follows other cities like Chicago and Seattle by making the minimum wage more tolerable to the increasing costs of living. This could be fantastic news to those of us who work in the service industry.  That would mean that many of us WOULD actually be getting money on our paychecks.  If you still live under a naive rock, servers don't get money on the paychecks because all of it is taken out for taxes because the wage is so low.  And even lower in places on the East coast like New York and Pennsylvania. I have come across more than the usual backlash about tipping, and even worse, people wanting to do away with tipping all together.  While making a better wage does sound appealing, doing away with tipping is going to sacrifice the dining experience all together. Case in point, an article written by a man who doesn't work in the service industry.  Perhaps at one time, he did--whe


Yesterday was National Waitstaff Day.  A day of remembrance, and sovereignty.  Where people were asked to, "be nice to your waiters and bartenders, and tip them 20 percent.  Much like Mother's Day, and Father's Day, we now need another "special day" to remind people to be nice to people who serve their food and drinks.  This world is ridiculous.  I would rather customers just be nice, and if they don't, then just be the assholes that they always are, and then we servers just talk about them in the side-station. Here's an example of how customers can get into our heads and make us feel like we are idiots: The other night, a man and a woman were sitting in my section.  Right away, this sounds like how all of my stories start.  The man starts questioning me about the food. "My wife and I only eat fish.  We don't eat meat," he stated. "The Branzino and the Salmon are both delicious," I answered. "I think I'm going

Customer's Got Talent

America's Got Talent?  Hell, no!  Customer's Got Talent!  Seriously, customers can do it all:  Bitch.  Praise.  Complain.  Eat.  Criticize.  Argue.  Drink.  And, make funny sounds. The other night, I had a couple sitting in my section and they were celebrating the man's birthday.  I got roped into the usual conversation about "what else do you do besides wait tables?"  And I know, you never know who knows whom in this town, so I try to be nice when answering the question, but when I tell people that I'm a stand-up comedian, it just opens the door to people saying they have always wanted to try stand-up, and has them trying out jokes and random material on me, and it usually leaves me just staring at them. Well, the man decided to tell me that he's getting back into acting.  Specifically because he's very good at making certain sounds.  To be honest, not something I hear everyday.  And, I'm also good at making certain sounds.  Especially a

Server Tweets of the Week

Some people in the service industry that I follow on Twitter say the best things.  Here are some of my favorites over the past week: #hostesslife — Shiftgig (@shiftgig) May 15, 2015 The teller at my bank just asked if I could get her a job at work after she deposited last nights tips for me 😂 #ServerLife — Bitchy Waitress (@1bitchywaitress) May 15, 2015 Me: Cocktails & appetizers? Them: No! Just came from a cocktail party. We'll share one dinner. #HowToAnnoyYourServer — Shit Servers Say (@ShitServersSay) May 14, 2015 Well you know we can't have mother's day happen without me ranting!!! People, it's not our fault.... Ro's... — Ro Delle Grazie (@RoDelleGrazie) May 12, 2015 Until next time... Server's don't pay their rent with compliments. "Bitter.  Party of 1?  Your table is ready." ITUNES STITCHER TWITTER FACEBOOK IT DOESN'T GET ANY BITTER T

Mother's Day Veterans

Yes, the service industry survived another Mother's Day.  That is such a weird way to start my conversation with you.  It's like surviving a World War, but putting yourself voluntarily through it EVERY year. I actually didn't have to work during the "brunch" this year.  Instead of working brunch, I was able to ACTUALLY brunch with my mom and family.  But for some reason, the dinner reservations at my work were just as busy as the brunch reservations. First of all, Mother's Day is supposed to be a day to celebrate your mom, the woman who birthed you, and who suffered raising you in this crappy world.  I just think it's (almost) funny that we want to add to the suffering of motherhood by bringing your mom to brunch in a busier than normal restaurant.  With food that is pricier than normal.  With servers who are stressed out more than normal.   It's too crowded; it's too expensive, and there are too many moms. Here are two of my favo

We're Ready to Order!

Whenever a customer tells me that they're ready to order, it usually means that they need another 15 minutes to decide what the hell they want.  I can understand being indecisive and having a hard time trying to decide between one or two things, but some people act like they're picking a college.  (thanks Lou Santini.) And then guests will ask me what I like.  I tell them three items that I really enjoy on the menu.  Then they ask me about something I didn't mention.  I tell them it's not in my top three.  Now I'm somehow in an argument about why I didn't mention EVERYTHING on the menu. Here's how a conversation went with a table the other night: Customer:  "We're ready to order." Me:  "What may I get for you?" Customer IMMEDIATELY looks back at the menu and says nothing for 2 minutes. Me:  "I'll give you another moment." Customer:  "That's not necessary.  I told you that we're ready to order

Assuming Makes An Ass Just Out of Me

Everybody has their favorite cocktail.  Their drink of choice.  A love for their libations.  Whatever!  Whether somebody is rough around the edges, gay, black, nerdy, white, female, or tranny, I've served every cocktail around the sun to everybody, but I can usually tell what type of drink goes with the person. The other night I "assumed" wrong.   A man and woman were sat in my section.  The woman excused herself to go to the ladies room.  I approached the gentleman, (50's) glasses, with distinguished grey hair, welcomed him, and asked him if I could get him a drink. "While my date is in the restroom, I'll order for both of us.  A Strawberry Basil Martini, and a Makers' Mark Manhattan up," he politely requested. I put in their drink order.  His date, (early 40's) pretty, Asian, arrived back from taking her dump. I got the drinks from the bar, brought them to their table, and placed the Strawberry Basil Martini in front of th

The Traitor Lobster Benedict Arnold

The evil Benedict reared it's ugly head again.  This time fooling a customer with a poached egg on their Lobster Benedict.  And the customer exclaimed, "I didn't know there are poached eggs on Lobster Benedict.  I don't want no poached egg." I don't even know where to begin with this.  Who the hell doesn't know that there are poached eggs on ANYTHING Benedict? And to make things even better, it actually said in the description of the dish, that it had poached eggs. Now the customer is just dumb and can't read.  And that's no way to go through life. Plus, you just wasted Lobster.  That's a crime in itself! I offered to make things better, but she pulled the old, "I'm not hungry anymore" line on me.  At this point, I was fine with that.  Seriously?  You don't go to a restaurant hungry, and then suddenly not be hungry.  That's not how it works.  You are mixing up your emotions.  You're still hungry, but now

Wine O Confusion

Do you know the difference between red and white wine? In case you don't, let me help you.  Red wine is RED.  White wine is WHITE.  Doesn't that sound simple?  I thought it did.  However, the customers that I had the other night did not agree. They ordered a bottle of Pinot Noir.  That is a red wine.  The fact that the word "Noir" is in the name of the varietal should tip people off that that the wine is going to be a darker color.  I did my usual schtick of presenting the wine to make sure it was the right one that they ordered, including pouring out a taste, and so on and so forth.  They both agreed the wine was good and correct and when I left the table, the man and woman BOTH had a glass of red wine in their wine glasses.  I repeat, the color of wine in their glasses was the color RED. Later I went back to the table to check on everything and they say that the wine wasn't the one that they had ordered.  They said that they ordered a bottle of white wi

Micro-Manage This!

Control freak.  Bossy.  Obsessive compulsive.  Nit-picky.  Micro-manager.  Call them what you want, I can't stand any of them.  Being a manager is already a disliked position in a restaurant, but add the word "micro" to it, and now you've got somebody who will stay on you like stink on shit.  And they really enjoy the smell of shit. I work with one of these... (ahem)... people.  And I don't know why I ahemed them, but basically this person is a major pain-in-my-ass.  Sure, the intentions might be good, but when a server is trying desperately to do their job so they can make money in order to pay their bills, the last thing we need is somebody getting in our way of making that money. There is a thing called, "The Steps of Service," that most of us servers try to follow with each table.  That's the rapport that I am trying to establish with each guest that is sitting in my section.  I am trying to get you to like and trust me, and then I can do m

Bike vs Car. Car Weighs More, but Bike Acts Like Car

I drive through Beverly Hills when I go to work.  Besides the usual annoying things like Bentleys, Porsches, and Maseratis; me having to ignore all of the texting and driving--because apparently if you have money, you're exempt from this law.  That leaves me with the bicyclists, and they are the worst of the bunch.  They are the worst because they think that they're cars too. Since when does a bike outweigh a car?  I got A's in Chemistry so I'm going to confidently say that a car outweighs a bike.  Even if the person riding the bike is morbidly obese, my car still outweighs the bicycle package.  But bicyclists still act like they are a semi-truck driver, barreling down the road, on the way to make a delivery to the supermarket, while peeing in a wide-mouth-jug. My last encounter involved a guy riding his bike right in the middle of the road.  Just to give you a visual, there are two lanes going in each direction.  But those two lanes are packed with cars desperate

Waiter? My Teeth Are in the Bread

When things get awkward between a server and the guest, they get REALLY awkward.  Sometimes the problem can be solved with some sort of diplomacy, and other times the server can only walk away and blog about it the next day. Last night was the latter.   I had an older gentleman and his daughter sitting in my section.  I wasn't sure if she was his daughter or not--but it didn't gross me out as much to think of her as his daughter--so I just went with that. After they had ordered, I brought them the bread.  It's a mix of baguettes, crackers, and stuff.  Next thing I know, the daughter is waving me over. "Is everything okay?" I ask. "Not really."  She motions to the gentleman.  "He bit into the baguette and broke his front teeth off." Sure enough, the man showed me where his front teeth used to be, and they weren't there.  But the whole time I'm thinking of what to say in this moment.  I've handled a lot of si

A Review About Yelp by An Elite Yelper

The following post is my interpretation of what a review of Yelp would look like by one of their "elite" Yelpers. A friend of mine told me about Yelp a while back so I decided that I would give it a try since I have nothing better to do with my life.  You call this a helpful website?  First of all, the color scheme is all about the red.  Some of it is white, but it's mostly red.  Way to try hard at picking colors, Yelp!  I don't know about you guys, but red doesn't say "helpful," it says "I'm mad as hell." Seriously?  I'm missing "The Real Housewives of Portland" to do this right now. God!  I need a cocktail. Anyways... You would think that Yelp would be more welcoming to having people come to their website to use it.  And I know what the hell I am talking about, I use websites all the time.  All I do is go to the browser thingy and type "www" and then whatever I'm looking for and (BAM!)... internet

The Dine LA Syndrome

Everybody wants a deal these days!  Well Dine LA is back, and the deals are-a-flowing, and the cheap customers be-a-coming.  Dine LA should be better known as the "I can't afford to eat at your place, but now I can... but I still can't afford to tip. Or maybe it's the, "I don't know how to tip," syndrome.  Whatever the 'drome, these people need to realize that just because they already paid for their deal, they are still receiving great service, and therefore, they should show their appreciation.  And not by just saying that the service was wonderful.  Hello?  "Servers don't pay their rent with compliments," anyone? And to make things even worse, we are also offering a Groupon deal as well.  Dine LA plus Groupon is a recipe for tip disaster.  The disaster being no tip, and customers still wanting exceptional service.  Even though most of them have never dined in a nice restaurant before.  But they probably have watched "Top C

The Golden Duds

I would be happy to be nominated for a Golden Globe.  I would be even more happy to win one.  The red carpet looks fun, and I know that the show is long and drawn out, but at least I would get to kiss the ass of directors and actors I would want to work with, instead my usual ass kissing of my managers so I can get the days off that I need from the restaurant. But the people who like to act like they are somebody, when I don't know who the hell they are, have got to go.  And go fast! I waited on some people attending an after party for The Golden Globes and it was like having my gums scraped.  First of all, these people were at a Golden Globes *after party* while the Golden Globes was still on!  If you're anybody, you go to the after party, AFTER the show is over. There were a bunch of punks acting like they owned the place as if they're the next boy-band-sensation; some weird-hippy twins who seemed like they played the "ghost twins" in the second Matrix m