Monday, March 28, 2005

Notes From A Disgruntled Ex-Server

As much as I've tried to block out the wretched years I spent whoring myself out to the food service industry, my previous misery continues to haunt me. Those tipless shifts, drunken nights and hungover mornings are now far enough in my rearview mirror to revisit them one last time, in a hopeful attempt at ridding myself of these awful memories.

While I was in college, I worked at a number of different restaurants, across the entire spectrum of size, location and clientele, from corporate to family-owned. Some of my "credits" include Joe's Crab Shack, Houston's Restaurant, Bonne Terre French Bistro and PF Changs (for three days).

Throughout my miserable journeys, one thing always remained pretty much the same - the make-up and dynamic of the restaurant's staff. I found that, no matter what kind of restaurant you work in, there are certain archetypical figures who are as ubiquitous as toothpicks on the hostess' stand. We will now examine some of these characters, and what their presence means in the wonderful world of food service.

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The Head Waiter

Common Aliases: Preston, Ty, Jason, Cody

Vital Stats: If a Restaurant were Hollywood, the Head Waiter would be the movie star (and yes, there is a certain irony that so many aspiring movie stars are just Head Waiters). While not necessarily most powerful in title, the Head Waiter is the most recognizable and connected member of the restaurant community. He's the restaurant's face to the public, he's who the rest of the staff looks up to and emulates, he's the constellation around which everything else revolves. He decides where to go out drinking after work, and who gets to come along. He's worked at the restaurant for at least a year and, despite being the laziest and most irresponsible member of the staff, somehow manages to make about 3 times as much as everyone else does in tips, which is something he makes sure to brag about at the end of each and every shift. The Head Waiter has had sex with every female employee at the restaurant, except the fat ones, who he only allowed to blow him when he was drunk. The Head Waiter is usually out of college, and is just working at the restaurant until "the whole acting thing" or "the whole band thing" or "the whole DJ thing" finally works out.

Is Sleeping With: Everything With a Vagina

Wants To Be Sleeping With: Men

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The Bitchy Waitress

Common Aliases: Nikki, Lizzie, Rachel, Tanya

Vital Stats: While not as powerful as the Head Waiter, the Bitchy Waitress is still his female counterpart. Overworked, perpetually stressed out and pissed off, the Bitchy Waitress would usually be pretty cute if you cleaned all the food and desperation off of her. The Bitchy Waitress is always complaining that she doesn't get enough hours (even though she always seems to be at work) and is convinced the rest of the restaurant is out to get her. She needs the extra shifts so she can pay the note on her leased Camaro (which is yellow). After work, she continues being bitchy until she's had 8 or 9 Smirnoff Ices, at which point she looks for the lucky guy who's going to give her her next abortion. The Head Waiter nailed her a long time ago, which is an unspoken point of contention between them. Always has her drinks paid for by the Cocktail Wannabe or The Party Dudes (see below). The Bitchy Waitress is waiting tables until she decides whether she wants to go to Beauty School or audition for American Idol ('cause she's way better than those sluts).

Is Sleeping With: Whoever Bought Her Last Drink

Wants To Be Sleeping With: Brian the Manager (so she can get more shifts)

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Brian the Manager

Common Aliases: None, its always some dude named "Brian"

Vital Stats: This guy enjoyed waiting tables so much, and had such a rocking time working as the Head Waiter at a TGIFridays back in the 80's (you should have been at Fridays in the 80's, dude - it was nuts), that he changed his major to Restaurant Management and devoted his entire life to working in food service. He's since become an anal-retentive/obsessive-compulsive, determined to pay so much attention to details that the boys in corporate will recognize his commitment to excellence and make him a General Manager at his very own restaurant. He spends the majority of his day walking around and asking patrons "Is everything ok?" or standing by the food prep line to make sure the waitstaff isn't pilfering dinner rolls. Also, he actually believes in the corporate slogans within the company training materials.

Is Sleeping With: The Aging General Manager at TGI Fridays, Where He Still Goes After Every Shift

Wants To Be Sleeping With: The Aging General Manager at TGI Fridays, But Back In the 80's When They Were Young and She Wouldn't Give Him the Time of Day

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The Party Dudes

Common Aliases: Eric, Matt, Tim, Brandon, Trey, Joe

Vital Stats: These dudes live to party and wait tables to live. They are steadfast in their dedication to the Head Waiter, the restaurant, and getting wasted. Their lives - and their tips - are spent in an endless haze of sex, booze and self-loathing. While at work, the Party Dudes spend most of their time trying to figure out where the Head Waiter wants to go drinking, then convincing every chick in the place to come along, too. Usually still in college, these guys always think waiting tables is just a temporary way to subsidize their partying ways, but are later confronted with the reality that they've become 30 year-old alcoholics who've spent 10 years working at a dead-end job and have nothing to show for it other than a couple of DUI's and an ever-expanding beer gut. Most of their modest mental faculties are expended on devising ways to convince underage Hostessluts to have to sex with them. When all else fails, they turn to thier plentiful supply of date-rape drugs and cheap hooch.

Is Sleeping With: Whichever Hostesslut Passes Out First

Wants To Be Sleeping With: The Deluded Bartendress

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The Deluded Bartendress

Common Aliases: Becky, Nina, Shannon, Kim

Vital Stats: The Deluded Bartendress is a decent-looking woman in her mid-to-late twenties who has become so used to the fawning and adulation from the drunks she serves, that she has actually come to believe that she is The Most Beautiful and Desirable Creature On the Planet. Whether she's taking a drink order or waiting for her tipout from the waitstaff, she treats everyone she encounters like they are lucky to be in her presence. Despite the fact that she's still living under crushing debt and a hasn't had a relationship longer than 2 weeks, she persistently buys into the illusion of her own Royalty. The Deluded Bartendress has come to expect nothing less than a 100% tip, and she likes to casually mention to the lowly waiters that "one time this business dude left me $1000 on a $10 tab". The Deluded Bartendress rarely socializes with the other members of the waitstaff, instead choosing to hangout in expensive nightclubs, where she mistakes everyone ignoring her for deferential respect.

Is Sleeping With: The Staggeringly Naive Notion That Being a Semi-Hot Bartender Will Take Her Far In Life

Wants To Be Sleeping With: Tom Cruise

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The Cocktail Wannabe

Common Aliases: Jerry, Jack, Jimmy, John

Vital Stats: Ever since seeing Tom Cruise in "Cocktail" when he was 13 years old, this guy has aspired to be one thing and one thing only - a total douchebag who throws shit around behind the bar without realizing that it ceased being impressive or cool about a month after the movie "Cocktail" left theaters. This guy really believes that the patrons of Chili's in Little Rock, Arkansas want to see him throw rum bottles around before making their Frozen Fruity Freezer Fruits. He pisses off most of the waitstaff, who are constantly subjected to his libation trickery before being given the drinks they need to serve to their increasingly impatient customers. Despite having dedicated his life to the art of bartending and being able to juggle a bottle, a glass and several pieces of citrus fruit at once, the guy can't mix a drink to save his life.

Is Sleeping With: A poster of Tom Cruise In Cocktail

Wants To Be Sleeping With: Tom Cruise In Cocktail

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The Hostessluts

Common Aliases: Kelli, Cassie, Tiffany

Vital Stats: The Hostessluts are usually in high school, which makes them naive enough to be easy targets for the lecherous ways of the Party Dudes and other predatory male restaurant workers. Usually somewhat attractive, these girls typically have low self-esteem, which is amplified by their insecurity about being in social situations with older guys. The most tragic aspect of these waiter groupies is how young they have to suffer the misfortune of contracting various sexually-transmitted diseases. This usually turns them into bitter, jaded man-haters by the time they get to college, where they eventually become lesbians, in their final effort to forget the disgraces of their past.

Is Sleeping With: Whoever Happens Across Their Nubile, Inebriated and Completely Unconscious Young Bodies

Wants To Be Sleeping With: The Head Waiter

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The Mexicans In the Back

Common Aliases: Juan, Jose, Jorge, Speedy Gonzales

Vital Stats: Despite having to spend their lives in the slop of rich white people's uneaten, wasted food, the Mexicans In the Back have a startlingly positive outlook on their lives. As long as they can send most of their below-minimum wages back to their starving, impoverished families, they don't say much or complain about anything. Their one true pleasure of the job is using their native tongue to make fun of the waitstaff, who are oblivious and generally ignore them.

Is Sleeping With: The 84 Other People Living In Their 1 Bedroom Hovel

Wants To Be Sleeping With: Heat

And there you have it - an intimate look into the employee make-up of about 95% of the restaurants you're eating at. So next time you sit down and order that Chilean Sea Bass, remember - these are the people who are preparing it for you.

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