The Top Signs That You’re An Old Restaurant Employee:

* You refer to decaf coffee as “Sanka.”
* At night, you need a flashlight to read anything, much like all your customers.
* People constantly confuse you for the owner (even though you’re wearing an apron).
* You’re really, really interested in the restaurant’s retirement plan.
* You’ve ever said, “You know, when I first started serving, there was no such thing as a gluten allergy!”
* You’ve ever worked at the Ritz.
* You not only serve Cobb Salads, you love eating them.
* You bought your uniform at J.C. Penny’s.
* Your son works with you.
* No guest ever calls you “young man.”
* You frequently visit the restaurant’s stash of reading glasses….for yourself.
* Much like the guests, you too used to use Equal-brand sweetener in your coffee. Ha! Equal. Does anyone use Equal anymore?
* You know what a Denver Omelet is.
* You’ve ever worked at a restaurant that served margarine. By the way, about margarine: that was a good experiment gone horribly wrong, right? So much worse for you than butter.
* Mother’s Day for you is also Grandmother’s Day.
* You get really, really hungry for dinner around 4:30 pm. And need to sleep by 8.
* You opened your restaurant. Your 20-year-old restaurant. You opened your 20-year-old restaurant. You were there for the opening of your restaurant, as an employee, two decades ago.
* You have to use the big letters on your iPhone. Okay, this is just a general sign that you’re old but….seriously. The moment you need to read your text messages with 2-inch-tall letters is the moment you need to consider a permanent visit to “Golden Acres Retirement Home: Senior Living for Active Seniors!”

Oh, and one more thing: you frequently regale your coworkers with stories of how glorious serving was in the 80s. The 19-freaking-80s. YOU TELL STORIES ABOUT WORKING IN THE 80s?! WTF. If I hear one more story about how glorious the champagne-and-coke fueled halcyon days of restaurants in the 1980s were, I’m gonna unscrew my eardrums with my wine key. Really. I get it. You made boatloads of cash tips in the 1980s, when you had to manually walk your food tickets over to the kitchen and when you could do rails of white lines during your shift because we were all doomed by nuclear war anyway. Great. By the way, does anyone remember how insanely anti-Japanese everyone in America was in the 80s? “Gung Ho,” “Rising Sun,” and “Long Duk Dong,” anyone? Wow.

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The FIVE RESTAURANT GUESTS Who Deserve Their Own 1-Hour Specials on Comedy Central and/or Need to Audition for Last Comic Standing IMMEDIATELY:

The FIVE RESTAURANT GUESTS Who Deserve Their Own 1-Hour Specials on Comedy Central and/or Need to Audition for Last Comic Standing IMMEDIATELY:

(1) The guy who always says, “I guess you can tell I didn’t like it,” whenever you clear his plate. See, that’s HILARIOUS because if he didn’t like the food, why did he eat all of it? Genius! He actually really liked it but said the opposite. Comedy gold! Seriously. Louis CK needs you to write some jokes him. Really. Larry David called–he wants you to know that you can play Jerry Seinfeld in the re-make of the Seinfeld TV Series.

(2) The gal who always says, “I’ll take one of each!” whenever you offer up a list of drinks including martinis, margaritas, manhattans, and Merlot. Again, serious comedy chops on display here. This gal *might* have been a former cast member of the legendary Improv group Second City in Chicago. It’s funny because there’s no way she really wants to order four or more drinks at once! No one ever really orders that many drinks at a time! Side-splitting, really. Amy Schumer better take notice. Whitney Cummings could have used you on her NBC TV Show–she might’ve avoided cancellation.

(3) The veritable King of Comedy who says, “Oh, we didn’t order that” when you try to drop the bill off to him. So funny. SO FUNNY. Again, how do you come up with these gems? The Dwarves of Durin’s Folk could search near Smaug for a century and not find such a gem of comedy. See, I am trying to get you to pay the check–and yet you innocently and blithely claim to have never ordered a check! Like a check is something you order or not order! Even Doge says Much Joke and Very Irony. How–how on Earth do you not have a 1/2 hour comedy sketch show while that hack Jim Jeffries does? And I thought Nick Kroll was funny! Compared to you, Nick Kroll is like Tilda Swinton doing an impression of Jay Leno. Seriously. That means you are very funny.

(4) That prodigious humorist always exclaims, “Job Opening!” whenever a server or busser accidentally drops a glass. Such originality! Cutting-edge stuff, really. What I like most about your particular brand of humor is that you find such wit and drollery EX NIHILO–completely out of nothing. Please, Captain Originality, tell us where you find these platinum nuggets of comedy? And the timing! Oh the timing! Right after the glass drops, you’re the first (or third) to loudly proclaim, “Job Opening!” So good! So good! It’s almost as though you’ve had that chambered for a month. Almost. Almost.

(5) That satirist-cum-nutritionist who pseudo-naively asks, “Is this fat free?” whenever you drop off a double-cream cheesecake with a side of heavy handmade cream for dessert. Now THAT–that is funny. It’s NOT fat free–it’s actually over 50% fat–and yet you ask the opposite. Opposite humor: never not funny. What are you doing eating a FIFTH course at this restaurant when you should be headlining at Caroline’s Comedy Club in New York? Why is Seth Meyers the host of late night when you’re still available? How ON EARTH did Dave LaChapelle get a chance to abandon a sketch show on Comedy Central when you, YOU should have had that chance first?

Seriously, all of you–get the f*** out of here! Comedy does not age like fine wine! Your literal pearls of Great American Restaurant Comedy are wasted on the mundane like us! You need to do live shows at the Jon Lovitz Comedy Theater or at the Brea (or even, if you dream….The Ontario) Improv! GTFO! And yes, here’s your check! TURNS OUT YOU DID ORDER IT!

Fighting Over The Bill

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In so very many ways, it’s endearing and touching that you insist on paying the entire dinner bill for your friends and family.  I especially like when an adult son absolutely demands to pay the bill for his elderly parents.  Touching, really.  So why do you all always ruin the moment by FIGHTING OVER THE BILL?

I wish I had such problems when I go out.  Whenever I eat at elegant restaurants like 21 Oceanfront or The Ritz Restaurant, there’s no fighting over the bill.  No.  Whenever the waiter presents the bill to my table, my date—usually a jejune blonde whose occupation is something like “hostess” or “personal assistant”—freezes like Hermione plagued with the Immobulus spell.  She does not move.  Her hand will not move towards the bill.  There is no motility of any part of her body towards the bill.  So that’s my life.  She, like a restaurant manager during the lunch rush, just sits there like a statue.

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But you….you go in the opposite direction.  It’s literally D-Day with you when the bill comes.  Seriously.  There’s less conflict in the Gaza Strip then there is at your table when I present the bill to you.  I drop the bill in the middle of the table like any sane waiter would do.  Then it happens…..you, your son, your dad, and your grandfather all lunge towards the bill like Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Count Dooku lunging for a lost lightsaber after a two-hour-long Force duel.  By the way, how do both Anakin and Obi-Wan lose to a super-old Count Dooku?  I mean, I know that Dooku is also Saruman the White but you would think that The Chosen One Who Will Bring Balance to the Force and the Jedi Master Who Trained Him could beat a 65-year-old out-of-practice and disgraced ex-Jedi, right?

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After the grab for the bill, the pleading begins.  “Waiter, sir, waiter—you must not, you CANNOT, allow my 95 year old grandfather to pay this bill!  He’s on Social Security!  He can’t even afford to buy dog food!”  “Sir, you must not allow my son to buy me dinner!  He bought dinner last time and four of the previous seven times.  Therefore, I must purchase dinner this time to even the score!”  “Good sir, allow me to purchase dinner for my father, grandfather, and great grandfather!  They all raised me from when I was a baby inflicted with jaundice to the man I am now.”

After the pleading comes the threats.  Yes.  The threats.  I am literally doing my job and I am getting threatened by four upper-class scions and patriarchs of South Orange County.  “Waiter, if you let my son pay this bill, I will never come here again!”  “I will personally get you fired and ensure that you never work in this town again if you let my father pay the bill, even though he’s just being a good dad by trying to pay the bill!”  “I’ll cut my own eye out!  MY OWN EYE OUT if you do not let me pay this bill.”

After that comes The Assault of the Cards.  This is where they literally just start pelting you with Credit Cards, much like the Apostle Paul was stoned by Romans in The Book of Acts.  I’ve literally taken American Express Black Cards to the face from Octogenarians desperate to prevent their kids from paying bills.  They’ll chase you, too.  You’ll tell them, “Hey—I’ll come back in 10 minutes after you figure this out.”  But no.  They’ll chase you.  They’ll chase you through the restaurant trying to get you to take their card.  You know when Bodhi chases Johnny Utah on foot in Point Break?  That’s what happens to me on a daily basis in a fine-dining two-story restaurant, only I’m a better actor than Keanu Reeves and the chasers are a little more alive than Patrick Swayze.  (Too soon?)

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So anyway, I will now always adopt the “Drop to Youngest” rule.  I’ll drop the check to the youngest adult male member of the family.  While I doubt this will prevent all the fighting, at least I won’t accumulate any more J.P. Morgan Chase Infinity Chairman Diamond Card scars to my delicate skin.*

*By the way, you never get pelted with Discover Cards.  Seriously.  No one who has a Discover Card insists on paying the bill.  Whenever I get a Discover Card, I always have to pause and think….”Wait….What is this?  Is this a Credit Card?”

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The Wonders of Korean Barbecue

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Why Cook-it-Yourself Korean Barbecue is the Worst:

1. It’s 95% cooking your own food and 5% eating the food. Seriously. This is in contrast to regular restaurants, which are 0% cooking your own food and 100% eating your own food.
2. They have buttons on the end of their tables that you push to get the waiter’s attention. This is like the ones on airplanes that you push for the Flight Attendant’s attention. This button really has only one use: to annoy the waiter or flight attendant.
3. Your clothes and hair will smell like Korean Barbecue. By smell, I mean “be infused down to the root of the fibers with the scent of Korean Barbecue, to the extent where you must go home, wash all your clothes, take a shower with three times the normal amount of shampoo, and steam-cleam the inside of your car, which has absorbed the scent of Korean Barbecue from you.” Seriously. There is nothing you can do after Korean Barbecue but shower and laundry.
4. You’re never quite sure if your meat is finished cooking or not. You’re either going to have a sumptuous dinner of fresh beef and chicken or a really bad case of botulism-laced-with-salmonella.

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5. Your annoying friend will insist on 2/3rds of the grill to grill vegetables. Seriously. Even when you have two pounds of Angus beef queued up for cooking, she’ll start grilling brocolli and root vegetables.
6. They’re going to give you about 20 tiny plates of pickled vegetables. Oooh. If there’s a vegeatable out there, they’re going to pickle it, put it in a tiny plate, and give it to you. Yup.

This all (except #3 and #6) applies to Shabu-Shabu, too, by the way. Ta-di-la.

How Women Should Behave on Restaurant Dates.

As a full-time server, ex-Management Consultant, empathic enabler of the estrogen-inclined, and frequent restaurant patron, I’m uniquely qualified to dispense advice on how women should behave on restaurant dates.  Today, I’m here to provide some wisdom to all twenty-something ladies on How To Behave When You’re on a Restaurant Date.  Unlike my other services, this advice is free to you.*

I’m writing this as a simple numerical list so it’s easy to digest.  You’re welcome.

(1) Since we both know the guy’s paying for the date—this is America, after all—always order less expensive items than what he orders.  If he gets a bowl of soup, get a cup; if he wants a glass of Jordan Cabernet, ask for the House Chardonnay; if he gets a Filet, try the Steak Salad.  Either way, the meal’s going to cost him a good $200+; at least show that you are considerate of his finances.  We’re still in an economic recovery, you know.  Also, let’s be perfectly clear:  since you’re not paying, you have no say in how much to tip.  If I drop $300 on you for dinner, it’s my choice if I want to leave $30 or $60 for the BroSurferDude CommunityCollegeWaiter who’s too lazy to get a real job.

(2) Dress to impress but not to distract.  A nice dress from Guess.com or a pair of flirty super-short-shorts paired with a long sleeve top and five-inch platform pumps are great for summer dining on a heated patio.  Too often, however, I’m out with some otherwise nice lady who thinks that a bra-shirt and lucite stilletos are appropriate for fine dining.  It’s not.  Try to class it up with a low-cut mini-blouse that still covers up SideBoob and remember that crotch-shots are something to be avoided, not celebrated.  Also, a Happy Trail is something you should see while hiking, not when eating seafood on the waterfront in Newport Beach.

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(3) Don’t eat any carbs during dinner.  Don’t eat any free bread, don’t eat any croutons, avoid all starches, and never, ever get pasta.  It’s not that we think you’re skinny; it’s that we want to preserve the illusion that you’re still trying for that elusive weight of 119 lbs (if you’re 5′ 6″ with 32DDs).

(4) Don’t be jealous when your date stares at other, often prettier-in-a-different way girls in the restaurant.  Women are like computers; even if a guy has an HP Elitebook with DreamColor display, he’s still going to eye that super-slim and shiny Apple MacBook Air with a crystal-clear 13″ HD Panel.  Okay, women aren’t like computers in that they’re not very good at math.  But otherwise, the analogy is apt.  Anyway, if he’s staring at other girls, that should just motivate you to dye your hair blonde and save up for a pair of bolt-ons, right?  I wish we had tax-deductible Breast Implant Savings Funds (BISF).  There’s an tax loophole I could support….quite literally.

(4) Oh yeah.  About those six-inch heels.  Love ’em.  Keep on wearing them.  But please, please—be sure you’re able to walk in them with the same adroitness as Secretariat does galloping down the homestretch of the Kentucky Derby.  There’s nothing more awkward than seeing a woman walk down the main hallway of a restaurant with heels that she’s not used to wearing.  My advice is to always wear six-inch heels, even to Hot Yoga Class.  Is there a Cold Yoga Class?  I would prefer a cold yoga class.  I dislike sweat.  Oh yeah.  That reminds me.  Repeat after me:  “I will not wear Yoga Pants to Sunday Brunch.  I will not wear Yoga Pants to Sunday Brunch.”  (Unless you’ve got a 22″ waist).

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(5)  Okay.  This one has a little less to do with what happens in the restaurant and what happens before and after the restaurant.  First, when a guy says he’ll pick you up at 5:30 pm, please be ready by 5:30 pm.  You know when NASA says they’re launching the Space Shuttle at 19:00 Eastern Time?  They have a little count-down timer that’s accurate to the 360th of a second.  So I can never understand how, if you’re given a full day to prepare for a date (since you only work 12 hours A WEEK and dropped out of Junior College) and you don’t have to navigate traffic to get to some chick’s house in the poor part of Irvine (yes, there is such a thing), you can’t be perfectly ready at 5:30 pm.  Also, I really feel like since I’m the one driving, I feel like I have every right to leave the engine running while I wait for you.  And I should control the music; it’s my car, after all.  Finally, as an individual who’s spent all my life fighting for Equal Rights for Women, I don’t open doors for dates.  It’s just another way that chauvinists try to keep women down, and I’m not standing for it any longer.

(6) The purse.  Ahh, the purse.  If we park right outside the restaurant and then go directly into the restaurant, why do you need to carry a 25-lb. purse with lipstick, mascara, eyeliner, blush, foundation, concealer, hairspray, a comb, lotion, a brush, pocket hair dryer, 30-day-supply of tampons, hard candy, gum, chapstick, sunglasses, broken sunglasses, and iPhone?  Why?  What exactly is going to happen during your 75-minute dinner?  Worst case scenario is that you need to go to the car (in a very nice neighborhood) to get something, right?  By the way, though—and by the way—here are two things you’ll never find in your purse:  charger for your phone that you never charge AND any sort of way to pay for dinner.  Feel free to carry at least $2 to tip the valet.  Seriously.

Anyway, I have to go to work now so I can afford to over-pay for more restaurant dates.  The least you can do is follow all this free advice.  It’s FREE!  This advice is free.  You know what’s not free?  The $15 Martini that you took a sip of and left behind.  Really.  That $15 could have fed 15 starving kids around the world.  I always felt those commercials were a little off.  It’s only 10 cents a day to feed a starving child?  Really?  So we could feed 100 million kids for a year for only $36 billion?  That seems way low.  Way low.

* This article is for entertainment purposes only and in no way represents the true opinions of the author, the same way that the Harry Potter series doesn’t represent J.K. Rowling’s true feelings about Wizards.  So yeah.

Allergic to allergies.

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Unrelated news:  I’ve decided to start a FundAnything campaign to fund an IndieGogo project to kickstart a Kickstarter for my new crowdfunding site, “CrowdSourceYourCrowdFundingSite.com.”  And if you believe that, I’d like to introduce you to my recursively-taught course, “Recursions in Recursivity.”

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Anyway, I had a guest today who stated she was allergic to “bony fish” but not other types of “fish.”  How about sharks?  Eels?  No?  Only bony fish?  Okay.  This is officially starting to get ridiculous.  I didn’t know I needed a PhD in Zoology with a B.S. in Botany and an M.D. in Allergic Medicine, all along with a Psych. Doctorate in Hypochondria and a minor in Munchhausen-by-Proxy, to be a lunch server at a mid-upper-range restaurant in South Newport Beach.  Not a single day passes where someone doesn’t tell me about some exotic new allergy they have.  “I’m allergic to green almonds but not marcoma almonds.”  “If you blanch your spinach in canola oil, I’ll die, but if you it’s sauteed in peanut oil, I’ll actually live an extra year.”  “As long as your sourdough bread is never stored in the same room as wheat bread, my throat won’t close up and choke me.”  “If I even see a drawing of a pig, I’ll turn into a werewolf.  Seriously.  Reading Animal Farm gave me lupus.”

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Okay.  First of all, too much information.  I don’t want to know and I could not care less.  That means that on a scale of how much I could care, I am at the bottom and cannot care any less because caring less is literally impossible.  Second, you just said you have gluten and dairy allergies and just ate about 700 calories worth of bread and butter.  And finally, no, you don’t really have an allergy.  You have an aversion.  I have an aversion to heavy (120+ pound) girls; it’s not an allergy.  I have an aversion to progressive rock, Phish, and country music.  It’s not an allergy.  I know you failed out of your remedial English course but you know what the word allergy means.  Seriously.  English is my second language and I’m teaching you about semantics and vocabulary?

I had another guest today ask me “what kind of cream” is our coffee cream.  Seriously?  Are we some sort of insane restaurant that puts goat cream in our milk?  It’s cream made from my own personal male breast milk.  Happy now?  And exactly what answer were you hoping for?  Here’s the solution:  skip the cream in your coffee.  It’s the last thing you need.  In fact, skip this entire meal.  From your body fat, you seem like you’re certainly not allergic to anything.  So there is that.

Hmmm…..let’s see.  Let’s see.  Had another guest ask if our rice is Indica or Japonica…..asked if our beans were Inferior or Superior…..had a guest tell me to make sure that none of her food touched any cephalapods, though gastropods were okay…..had to basically diagram the molecular structure of our sauces to a guest, as if I were Niels Bohr…..etc., etc.  And it’s so funny how I never heard about any of these allergies until I started working in Newport Beach.  I’ve only heard of peanut and shellfish allergies and lactose intolerance.  Intolerance, not allergies.  Like you’re intolerant of tipping more than 16%.  Douche.

Here’s the thing:  if Darwin’s not on your side, I don’t know what to do for you.  Some of us are to destined to naturally survive and prosper and some of us–you, really, I guess–are meant to be selected out of existence.  It’s harsh but it’s true.  So you can either get on board with the rest of the human race and get over your out-of-control hypochondria, or you can continue to let your anxieties ruin all your experiences.  You can spend the rest of your inheritance (as I know you’ve never worked a day in your life, as you’re allergic to work) on meals you enjoy or meals you fear.  The choice is yours.  And oh, here’s your deep-fried peanut-butter-and-shrimp-cheese-melt sandwich.  Enjoy.  Douche.

 

Welcome to the 21st Century.

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So this always happens to me.  And by “always,” I mean, “every single time to the point where I nearly giggle at my table when it happens,” which is ALWAYS.

A guest will briefly look but not read the menu and then ask me, “You know, when I first came here many years ago, when this was a different restaurant with a different owner and different chef, probably before you were born, you used to make this great Pork Chop Salad [or whatever] for lunch.  Can you still make that?”  So look.  LOOK.  I understand that you’re completely unable to change and that you always order only one thing from each restaurant that you attend.  But look.  LOOK.  It’s highly unlikely that we’re going to take a dish from thirty years ago and keep it on our menu through three ownership changes, two name changes, and a dozen different head chefs.  Seriously.  This is not McDonald’s, and even McDonald’s didn’t have the Big Mac on its original menu.  Even Kentucky Fried Chicken changed its 11 secret herbs and spices in the half-century that it’s been around (used to 12 herbs and spices….true story.  True story).

So the guest will continue, “I come here all the time.  The last time I was here, 15 years ago, when a young and spry man named Bill Clinton was in his second term as president, you had this amazing little Crab & Lobster Louis Salad.  Amazing.  Do you still have that on your menu?”  First of all, our ONE PAGE MENU is RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU, you illiterate product of Newport Incestery!!  And second, NO, we do not.  We do not keep things on our menu for 15 years.  Are you going to go to McDonald’s and ask if they still make the Arch Deluxe (delicious) or to Pizza Hut and ask if they still make Mini Pizza Sliders (omg; so good).  We don’t have New Coke, we don’t offer Snackwell’s Snack Cakes, we’re not playing silent films, our music’s not going to be Elvis Tunes, and our MENU IS NOT FROM THE LATE 90s or the EARLY 80s, got it?  I freaking wish it was the 1980s, when every chick gave it up without a moment’s thought, a million dollars was single insider’s trade transaction away, men had three-martini lunches and went back to work, and beautiful colombian coke was flowing freely from sea to shining sea.  I wish it was the 1980s!  I would be okay with the 1990s, too, when I was still with my shining-star-sweetheart-love-of-my-life, before it all went wrong and before all my dreams turned into strawberry lemonade.  I wish!  But no, times change.  I’m not longer the ambitious up-and-coming Management Consultant of the early 2000s and even though you are still a bald, obese, annoying, sycophantic slug of a human being, we DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING FROM 15 YEARS AGO.  So stop it.  Seriously.  Stop it.  Feel free to try something new today.  It’s not like any other decisions you’ve made in your life have worked in your favor; maybe you should try something different.  We both know that the only reason you’re able to afford a dinner at this or any other restaurant is because your great-grandfather actually did try something new, created something of value, and left all his progeny—including you—many millions so you wouldn’t have to work, since he could tell that, clearly, you could not make anything of yourself, let alone read a one-page menu.  It’s a ONE PAGE MENU.  What could be easier than that?

And if you ask for a Cobb Salad, I’m seriously just going to move you upstairs, where you can have SUSHI AND SAKE ALL DAY.  So there’s that.

The Thing About Asking for MORE BREAD.

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I thought we were past this.  We’re over carbs, right?  Not a day goes by where I don’t get a guest asking for a low-carb-this or gluten-free-that.  And yet the words I hear most often, besides my own self saying, “Why am I doing all the work for everybody here?” is “CAN I GET MOORE BREAAAAADD?!”  And the people asking for more bread are precisely those who do not need any more bread.  They could not eat any more bread for the rest of their own present lives and for the eight reincarnated lives they have ahead of them and still not need more bread.  Seriously.  The Wonder Bread company called and wants to know when you’ll stop eating all their bread.  Panera Bread is asking if you’ll stop visiting them for a week so they can restock all their bread.  Subway Sandwiches just emailed to tell you that “Subway” does not mean that you eat a literal subway train full of bread every single day.

Even worse, my restaurant serves Corn Bread.  This is bread that is “super-charged” with corn and a lot of other stuff.  And then you’ll add butter to it.  You’re essentially saying to yourself, “Hey….this 500 calorie pre-lunch bread is not enough for me.  I need to add about 200 calories of butter to it.  I always love to have 700 calories of food for lunch BEFORE I EVEN EAT MY LUNCH APPETIZERS.”  And let’s talk about calories.  You can order all the Steak Salads you want but if you add FOUR SERVINGS OF BLUE CHEESE DRESSING to it, you’re not exactly going to land on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue.  Even post-weight-gain Kate Upton looks at you and goes, “You should probably consider Zumba or P90X….or something.  Anything.”  Seriously.  When Kate Upton tells you to lose weight, you know that you need to lose weight.  How is Kate Upton a Supermodel?  A Super Model for being overweight is what she is.  By the way, when did we decide that “Curvy” and “Busty” were appropriate euphemisms for grotesquely obese women?  And by grotesquely obese, I mean, for example, a 5′ 7″ woman (perfect height) weighing more than 125 lbs.  Ugh.  Just vomited in my mouth.

Oh.  And by the way.  BY THE WAY.  When you’re sipping down seven Arnold Palmers before your Ranch Salad arrives, don’t think that you’re drinking a healthy beverage.  I know that it’s supposed to be “half-and-half”—but it’s really more like 90% lemonade and 10% iced tea (unless you’re a newbie server who doesn’t pour the lemonade first.  Who does that, right?  That’s like when the otherwise very competent service bartender, when he or she isn’t texting or watching YouTube on his or her iPad during the Sunday morning rush, makes a Mimosa by pouring the ORANGE JUICE BEFORE THE CHAMPAGNE.  It’s like Bizarro world.  Seriously).  So let’s recap here.  You just had 1400 calories from two servings of corn bread.  Plus regular bread.  You have 1050 calories from Lemonade kissed by a light touch of a breath of Iced Tea.  And now you’re going to have your bowl of Ranch Dressing topped with a sliver of steak and a gram of greens, all topped off with Blue Cheese Dressing and Blue Cheese Crumbles ON THE SIDE.  Oooh.  Way to diet there, chief.  Richard Atkins is rolling over in his ironically heart-congested grave.  Nice job, champ.

By the way, let’s figure out this whole f*cking Blue Cheese Dressing/Blue Cheese Crumbles thing.  Here’s my solution:  if you ask for no blue cheese, you mean crumbles.  If you ask for blue cheese on the side, both the crumbles and the dressing will be on the side.  If you sub the dressing, you’ll still get the crumbles.  It’s not my job to figure out how your Community College Drop-out Brain works.  I’m pretty sure Bill Gates doesn’t have these problems.  And if you complain for any reason, I’ll just tell you to Get the F— Out and Stop Being So Freaking Gross.  Seriously though.

You’re the exact reason why my diet of Diet Coke, vodka, scotch, cigarettes, eCigarettes, and copious amounts of “supplements” and “pharmaceuticals” is the best.  There’s nothing on the freaking side and you don’t have to bug your server to ask for more of anything.  That’s a good thing.  He’s FAR too busy telling the hostesses that they need to lose 10 pounds before it’s too late, before they start to weigh more than their moms before they turn 23.  And that’s the real shame here—that a woman would be both over 23 and over 120 pounds.  UGH.

Get the F— Out of Here, or The Elegance of The Check Presenter.

In days of old, before fast-food and fine dining and fast casual and upscale casual, the only place to “eat out” in any 20-mile radius was the Village Inn & Tavern.  You ordered your leg of mutton and your bucket of Ale from the owner-operator, handed him a shilling issued from the local Duke, ate your “meal,” and went home to read the Bible.

In the future, the waiter will charge you for your bill by waiving a scent-scanner near your armpits.  You’ll leave your tip by making armpit fart noises—one for each percent you want to tip.

We’re sort of in limbo now.  We’re not quite at that utopia of instant payment but we’ve moved far past that situation where you pay first and ask questions later.  In most upscale-and-higher restaurants, you finish your entire meal and pay after you conclude all possible purchases from a restaurant.

Here’s the real thing, though:  you’re all horribly bad at paying your mother freakin’ bill.

It should go like this:  after the waiter asks you if there’s anything else you need, and after you decline, he gives you your bill.  After five or fewer minutes, you place your card or cash into the check presenter in a manner where the card or cash is still visible.  The waiter swipes your card or presents change for your cash, thanks you for your patronage, and concludes your evening.  That’s how everything should work.

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Somehow, however, you’ve completely lost the ability to perform this most simple of transactions.  I never drive through a McDonald’s and fail to pay for my bill when I’m asked.  I never go to Sak’s with some oblivious and money-sucking 22-year-old to purchase her a new Ferragamo Handbag for $1400 and not present my Barclay’s Black Card when I’m asked.   So why the f— are you so unfailingly unable to pay your bill correctly?

If you ask for the bill and I give you the bill, you need to pay that bill IMMEDIATELY.  There is no excuse, ever, for you to ask for the bill and not then pay it within a minute of receiving it.  Were you just curious about the total?  Were you worried that you didn’t have enough in your overdrawn debit account for it?  Well, the piper’s here and he needs to be paid.  NEVER ask for the bill unless you are prepared to pay it within 60 seconds.  Never.

If, after I give you dessert and coffee and ever-fattening after-dinner hot-milk based beverages, you do not want anything else, I will give you the bill.  You really have 5 minutes to pay for that bill.  I’ll place it standing up in a vertical fashion on your table.  If you look at that the bill and place it flat on your table, I’ll take it as a sign that you have a credit card in that bill.  I assume credit card because I know you’re overdrawn and have about 47 cents of cash to your name.  So if I grab it, open it, and find no card in it, that’s entirely and wholly your problem.  I’m sick of apologizing for your non-payment.  For all I know, you’re Newports Biggest Restaurant Dine-and-Dasher.  Pay your freakin’ bill and be gone.  You’re occupying my table and depriving my girl of Botox and another new Chanel handbag.

Please remember that I’m not Superman and therefore, I cannot see through the check presenter and cannot tell if you slipped your overdrawn AmEx Platinum card in it or not.  If I were Superman, I’d (1) be taller and (2) be more fit and (3) not be working for this freakin’ restaurant.  I’d be working for Morton’s, baby.  So I can’t see through things.  Feel free to let your card or the last few dollars to your name peek through the side or top of the check presenter.  That way, I can finally charge you and push you out on your way.

Finally, you can leave right after you pay your bill.  You don’t have to linger.  As the Cranberries sang, you don’t have to let your fat, overdrawn self linger.  Once you’ve paid, you’re dead to me.  You’re more dead than all my childhood dreams.

Get the f— out.  Please.  Nothing is worse than a guest who can’t pay correctly or promptly.

Thank you and Goodnight.

How to Get a Restaurant Job

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Despite my many diatribes demeaning the restaurant industry and the employees within it, a restaurant job is a decent form of employment.  It’s honest work that has plenty of monetary and career-advancement upsides.  It has flexible, non-traditional hours.  It teaches you to interact with all sorts of people, mostly the insane, and gives you a light and steady workout that mixes cardio with strength training (although if you’re anything like my co-workers, the only lifting you’ll do is the lifting of a cup of coffee to your herpes-stained lips while you watch me do all the sidework).

Practically everyday, however, some jokeball-hobo-in-training will blindlessly saunter into my fine dining restaurant and ask for an application, oblivious of all that he or she should do to properly secure a job at a nice restaurant.  Since I am both a mentor and teacher to you, I really feel that I should instruct all of you, dear readers, on How to Get a Restaurant Job.


1.  Prepare and print a resume.

Search with Google for a “professional resume template” and, after choosing a conservative and modern design, create a clear and detailed portrait of yourself with active and unpretentious language.  Since the restaurant managers who read your resumes are probably community college drop-outs, keep everything simple.  Keep it to one page!  Restaurant managers have horrible ADHD and will quickly lose interest after a single page.  If restaurant managers were prolific readers, they’d be doing something besides spending 12 hours a day comp’ing off birthday desserts and running reports in Aloha.  If restaurant managers were prolific readers, I’d be mildly concerned that they’d be reading this blog.  But they’re not.  Anyway, focus your resume on positions where you dealt directly with food or in customer service.  Don’t bog down your resume with your extensive Management Consulting background, even if you, like me, have a long and storied history as a successful elite Management Consultant.  And go ahead and recycle some of your souvenir cans of Heineken and spring for higher quality paper, too.  Don’t put your picture on the resume.  It’s not going to help YOU.  Trust me.

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2.  Dress for an interview.
 You’ll never get marked down for dressing too nicely; any business-meeting ensemble that you put together will always be better than the Forever 21 Outlet outfit you normally sport for weddings and funerals.  Put on a tie or, if you’re a woman, a tasteful pair of pumps.  For you men, too, leave the Vans and Converse All Stars in your Toyota Yaris and scrounge up a pair of black dress shoes from the nearest Goodwill Store.  The Goodwill Store:  Where You’re Either the Giver or the Receiver.  And right now, you’re the receiver.  Anyway, don’t be like all the Generation Y hipsters who apply for jobs in my restaurants wearing torn skinny jeans and T-shirts of bands that never sell records precisely because their records aren’t worth buying.  You’ll have plenty of time to wear skinny jeans (when you’re supposed to be wearing black dress slacks) after you actually get the job.

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3.  Bring a F***ing Pen.  And again, I absolutely understand that my fellow coworkers, all of whom are Servers-for-Life(TM) with nearly two decades of semi-consecutive employment in restaurants, still forget to bring pens (and lighters…..and wine keys….and writing pads) to work; please pay no attention to them.  They’re the same people who, day after day, use the most expensive paper in the restaurant—thermal printer paper—to scribble down orders with dyslexic handwriting.  Unless you want to be 74 years old and still driving a beat-up 1998 Honda CRX hatchback to a job where you wear a nametag, they’re not people you should emulate.  Instead, you should bring a m*****f****** pen with you on your restaurant job search.  It’s the first thing we notice when you ask for an application.  Well, it’s the second thing.  The first thing we notice is when you ask for an application:

4.  Ask for applications Monday through Friday between 3 and 4 pm.  Do not come in during the lunch rush.  Do not come in during the dinner rush.  Do not, as one particularly famous job-seeker did, come in at noon during brunch on Sunday, through a side door, and ask a server carrying a tray full of drinks if you can see the manager.  Make your application count by coming in and bothering the hostess at the most appropriate time:  when she’s least busy.  This is also the time when you’re most likely to see the manager.  Trust me—I work 50 hours a week at restaurants and even don’t see a manager more than a couple times per day.

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5.  Have some availability.  Since restaurants are driven by nights and weekends, your chances of being hired are really hurt if you’re unable to work any times besides, say, Monday through Thursday from 12 pm to 3:15 pm and Fridays from 11 am to 2 pm.  This is not a bank, friends.  I know that many guests come in and randomly ask for change or, even better, cash withdrawals on their credit cards so they can tip the valet $1, but this is not a bank with banker’s hours.  By the way, most banks are open on weekends now.  So should your availability be.  After you’ve established yourself at a restaurant, you can start to ask for certain weekend days off, much like all my coworkers who constantly complain that they need money and shifts and yet constantly ask for 15 days off per month, including holidays and Sundays.  Seriously.  Who are these people?  They are my coworkers.  “Man, I only got three shifts this week!  Yeah, I know that I asked for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off this week, but still.”  These are my coworkers.

6.  Don’t cheat on the Server’s Test with your cellphone.  When most of your entire application sounds like the ramblings of a drunk 7-year-old writing with a sprained left hand but your server’s test contains answers that directly match large passages from Wikipedia, it’s pretty clear that you’re cheating.  I mean, our restaurant managers aren’t the sharpest tools in the toolbox—they’re not the fastest dogs at the dog park—they’re not the brightest bulbs in packages of differently-bright-bulbs—but even they can figure that out.  They’re not exactly in line to be detective consultants on a new production of Law & Order:  Newport Beach (mostly Yacht Thefts), but even our restaurant managers are smart enough to figure out if you’re cheating.  Our restaurant managers need calculators to count the change in our change drawers but even they can outsmart you and your remedial cheating skills.  Besides, why are you cheating on a server’s test?  If you’re cheating on a server’s test, perhaps you should consider more preparation or a more entry-level restaurant.  Seriously.  Lance Armstrong looks at you and goes, “Seriously?  You’re cheating?  On this?”  So don’t do it.

I hope this helps.  Ultimately, the best advice I can give all you aspiring future waiters-in-training is this:  if my coworkers could get hired here, so can YOU.