Dumb Wait Persons


First, let’s get one thing straight. This blog is not an attack on front of the house employees. What it is…an expose on training, and the empowerment of these hard working and unappreciated folks. When you finish reading, I have provided a series of word documents to assist you in building a stronger FOH and BOH relationship.

FOH. Front of the house. Servers, buspersons, bartenders and management. In my humble opinion as a chef(manager), FOH have a much more difficult and stressful job. Many chefs would disagree, but they are wrong! This is simply a lack of knowledge of basic information, a lack of understanding the scope of said positions. Although both cooks and servers experience there own different types of job stresses, the dining room is in the unique position of being accountable to management, the customer and to some extent the kitchen staff. Albeit, they are compensated well for this. The average server in a decent restaurant selling $1000 in a shift should see a renumeration of $100-200, in tips, plus wages. This far surpasses an average Cook’s wages. It is beginning to be more commonplace to see tip sharing in progressive establishments. However, even this is all over the board in terms of the formula used. From discretionary “honour system”, pay what you think is reasonable to mathematical formulas based on a percentage of sales. Next, let’s look at average labor cost percentages based on styles of operation. This is a huge cost to an operator. But it must be looked at, to evaluate the above mentioned formula for tip sharing.

Fast food restaurants: 25%, “certain fast food restaurants can achieve labor costs as low as 25 percent,” but that doesn’t mean that labor costs can’t (or shouldn’t) run higher. If you think about it, it makes sense. Food moves faster, profit margins are higher, and the labor is fairly unspecialized which means it costs less to deploy.

Table service restaurants: 30%-40%. Where specific restaurants fall on this range depends on “the menu and extensiveness of service, food costs (including beverages) for the restaurant industry run typically from the 28 percent to 35 percent range, depending upon the style of restaurant and the mix of sales.”

Fine dining: Varies, but tends towards the higher end of the 30%-40% scale or beyond. A fine dining restaurant with many components on the plate and breads, pastries, pastas, and other products made in-house will have a much higher labor cost than a steakhouse selling high-end but relatively simple-to-prepare food like steak, baked potato, and thaw-and-serve flourless chocolate cake

Conclusion. As mentioned above, I have included three excellent word documents created, and used by myself to assist with training and motivation. Enjoy, and happy hump day!