13 Ways to Piss Off the Back of House

13 Ways to Piss Off the Back of House

Just looking at this picture gets me angry.

1.) Steal My Mise – I get that you are busy, and I get that because I too am busy. So don’t come back into the kitchen and jam your unclean hand into my cold table to steal my lime wedges without asking.

2.) Complain About Your Tips – “Man it was so slow tonight, I only made $200 in tips.” Guess what? We don’t care. And beyond that, we are sweating our asses off working in a heated pressure cooker to make you that $200 and if we are lucky we’ll see $10 of your riches.

3.) Let Orders Sit in the Pass – This is a surefire way to really get under the skin of everyone in the back of house from the Chef down to the prep cook. A lot of man hours went in to making every single plate of food. To let it sit in the pass and just die kills a part of your soul as a cook. We don’t dress our salad until the last instant because every second that ticks away causes the salad to sag and it only looks worse and worse. Don’t make my beautiful food look like crap by the time it gets to the table because pickup was called and you decided to ignore it.

BONUS POINTS – To really piss off your boh, come to the pass in a fluster and demand that you need something right away, and then disappear for 15 minutes. We might shake our heads at you when you ask, but we know we are a team and we will produce your missing food as fast as is humanly possible, often faster. So if we bust our ass to get you that food to save your tip that we aren’t going to see more than pennies of and then you don’t pick up the item you couldn’t live without it is unbelievably frustrating.

4.) Steal our Dish Washer – If you need the salt shakers to be refilled, do it yourself, don’t take the dishwasher that we need to do actual work away from the boh.

5.) Verbalize Orders – Don’t tell me that you have a table that is ordering 3 steaks with different donenesses and allergies, write it down on a piece of paper, or better yet, ring it through.

BONUS POINTS – Verbalize an order during a rush and then come back five minutes later demanding where it is. Chances are you forgot to ring in the damn table and that’s why you verbalized the order to the boh, so don’t come back and yell at us because you messed up.

6.) Put in All Your Tables at Once – This can make a nearly empty restaurant feel full to the boh. Even if you take the orders at the same time, use that thing between your ears and space out the timing of the three tables. It won’t make a difference to the guests and it will make a huge difference to the boh. Nothing is worse than listening to a printer go off for over a minute.

7.) Ask for Your Food After 3 Minutes – Please don’t claim that your food is taking forever if it isn’t. Remember that we have the time that you put the order in printed on the chit in front of us, and we are acutely aware of how long it is taking us to get food out.

8.) Forget to Get the BOH a Drink – When it comes to liquid refreshment, nine times out of ten the boh is at the mercy of the foh. I get that the customers are a priority, but if we die of dehydration there won’t be any food to come out for the diners. Just fill a pitcher of some liquid and drop it off if you don’t have time to pour individual drinks.

9.) Complain About How Hot it Is – This makes me laugh. And then cry. Just come work a single shift over a grill and you will understand what hot means.

10.) Accept a New Table After Closing Hours – Chances are the boh has already started to turn off equipment and shut down. This happens right at closing because it takes a long time to properly clean a kitchen, hence why we leave long after the foh has left. To turn stuff back on and cook even for a single table puts the closing process behind by at least fifteen minutes, and yes, that makes a big difference.

11.) Make Reso’s all at One Time – Similar to putting your tables in all at once. Your job as the person who takes reservations is to pace the evening, stagger the tables so the evening is as easy as possible. Obviously we are going to get rushes, but if you take the time to push people to make their reservations at any other time than 7:30 it means the quality of the food will be better, the customers will get more attention from you, and you will therefore make a better tip. Everyone wins.

12.) Complain About Your “Long Day” – If your long day is eight hours, don’t bother mentioning it to the boh who are easily working twelve/day.

13.) Order Staff Meals During a Rush – This is pretty self explanatory, yet it keeps on happening everywhere, so let me explain it. You shouldn’t be taking a break during a rush, that is when all hands are needed. The boh is busy struggling to get the guests food perfect and out in a reasonable amount of time, you rank at the very bottom of the list of priorities.

48 Responses to “13 Ways to Piss Off the Back of House”
  1. boh says:

    fuck off.

  2. Benny says:

    #2 is BS. BOH shouldn’t see tips at all, you’re paid more than servers and you’re not dealing with the front lines.

    • thecheflife says:

      Thanks for replying Benny! Yep, we make more on an hourly wage basis. However, the reason FOH gets paid a rate less than minimum wage is to account for all the tips that you make. I cannot tell you the number of servers I know who have completely paid off 4 years of university in 2 years of serving. Meanwhile, the crew in the back struggles to make rent, let alone afford to attend a culinary school. Beyond all of this, it is only the people leading the line, or those in managerial positions that get paid decently ($15-$18/hour). The average wage for a line cook in Ontario is $11.61/hour (yearly wage from http://goo.gl/ORCvsb, divided by 52, then 40). That’s not much more than the $9.50 servers minimum paid out. Of course, none of this takes into account the many violations in payment from employers, like the job I had that didn’t pay overtime, or the other one I had that didn’t pay vacation. Beyond this, we are busting our ass in the best way we know to make our guests happy. Isn’t that what you do too?

      • rdu06 says:

        I’ve been in the restaurant business for over 30 years. Having served for half that time and managed the rest, I had plenty of time to observe many different aspects of many different food service establishments. I’ve served in restaurants that have been open for decades and managed operations at Disney. There are just as many “right” ways to do something as there are wrong. One thing that has always annoyed me is when servers complain about tips. It’s not appropriate or acceptable – some servers could be having the worst night when another server complains about only making $200, for example. Or a BOH cook or dishwasher may be having a hard time paying their bills and dream of making $200 in a single shift. And of course, guests should NEVER inadvertently hear a server complaining about anything guest-related, including tips. But the other reason, as mentioned in the article, is that you don’t want to marginalize the value of the hard-working support staff that accounts for 50% +/- of who it takes to make everything come together. My one dissenting opinion is about who gets tipped out and who does not. Some people pursue their craft as a matter of passion, while others end up in the service industry as a random job and never get out. BUT… nobody forces anyone to choose one path over another and nobody has a right to expect to be tipped out if they accept a position for an hourly rate that doesn’t include tips. Jealousy has no place in a restaurant. If you don’t like your role, vacate it and seek a role that meets your needs.

      • thecheflife says:

        It means a lot to have someone with your experience back up some of what I have said, thank you. I guess I question how cohesive and effective the BOH and the FOH can operate if the BOH feels as though they are undervalued, or taken for granted. As mentioned in another comment I believe the tipout is a gesture more than anything. I do agree that blind tipouts (equally sharing tips despite performance by individuals) leaves something to be desired. My experience leading a unionized kitchen for a while showed me the shortcomings of a similar system. However, would the servers giving tips to the ones they feel deserve it create another layer of animosity? If servers tipped to a pool and management broke it up based on performance would that lead to more disgruntled employees? And how do you weigh the tip if an individual works more than another individual but both are great cooks?

      • Jessica says:

        If working the BOH has such long hours, low pay, stress, etc then perhaps serve instead? If you don’t want to serve then suck it up and stop bitching. You choose your “career”. I love how people complain but don’t do anything to make it better.

    • R Wyatt Jones says:

      What a jackwagon…I waited tables and tended bar for about 20 years.

      Every server and bartender should have to work one to two weeks in the BOH to see how demanding and hectic it can really get…
      You think a whining child or demanding old lady is harsh on the “front lines”, try dealing with 10-15 whining and demanding adults called servers.
      Both FOH and BOH should work together as a team for the purpose of giving their customers a great dining experience.
      And it wouldn’t hurt to spread the wealth every once in a while or buy a round of brewskis for the BOH. Because they prepare what the guest really comes to the establishment for…THE FOOD.

      • thecheflife says:

        I think you hit the nail on the head, FOH and BOH should work as a team to create the best experience possible for each guest. The best restaurants are able to achieve this. I think this brings the tipout to the forefront though. I would never suggest that servers split their tips 50/50 with the BOH, unless of course both were making the same wage. But to throw 2% of the tips each server makes to a pool that pays out BOH every week/2 weeks makes a huge difference to feeling respected. It’s more about the gesture than the cash I feel. Imagine respect going equal both ways, see how efficient and amazing a restaurant is that runs like that.

      • Amen to that Wyatt Jones

    • Adam says:

      Benny it’s because of your childish greedy type that the kitchens everywhere are getting pissed off, yes kitchen makes more per hour, and I know I worked in a kitchen for 7 years before deciding to become a server. On a slow night I will walk away with alteast $50 in tips, now do the math 9.55 x 8 = approx 76 + 50 = 126
      Now do it for the kitchen staff
      11 x 8 = 96 + 0 is still 96
      So as you can see I make about $30 more than a kitchen staff just for sitting around an taking care of say .. 8 tables
      I am currently serving at an establishment where there is no tip out to the kitchen and I am trying to get it implemented, as it entices the kitchen to get the food out a little quicker and at a better quality
      So please if you have never worked as a boh employee don’t open your mouth, keep your childish comments to yourself.

      • thecheflife says:

        Ultimately I believe it is in the servers best interest to tipout other staff members. Hosts play an integral roll in smooth service, and deserve to be included in a tipout. Same goes for food runners/bussers, barbacks, dishwashers. If a host is wicked, tip them well, if they suck, tip them poorly. If everyone feels like there is a reward for them to exceed at their job, many will strive for greatness, not just put in time. Good luck getting them tipped out, know that each of them appreciate your efforts.

    • lilo says:

      I have a solution!!! Let the guest decide who they want to tip… you cannot pay the foh and boh equally bc the boh produces a product… the server provides service…. now a solution would be to bump up tge servers hourly rate by a reasonable rate to adjust to the tip share… when the guest get his check, below the tip line put two more lines allowing the customer the freedom to disperse a percentage of the tip to whom they see fit… If the food was exceptional and quickly delivered then you pay a fair percentage to the boh.. if the service was immaculate and not rushed then you do the same for the server…
      Now the percentage of the boh tip goes to the entirety of the boh… the percentage that the server gets goes only to the server who took care of that table… This would create a health competition amongst the restaurant as a whole and ultimately provide better service overall… servers need to understand that its about passion not money… many servers would quit if this was the way a restaurant was run but in the long run that is a good thing… a restaurant doesnt need money hungry servers.. it needs ultimate service without prejudice… I work at one of tge best hotels in the world, as a head departmental sous chef.. I have studied and cooked my ass off only to see a server come in for and average of 6 hours a day and make 80,000 a year… almost twice as much as I make working 12 hrs a day and running more than one restaurant… being a server can be rewarding if you know what it takes to provide good service…

    • lilo says:

      “The front lines” hahahahahah.
      No we deal with douche bags like you who have no education and are a respresentation of the guest… when you come back wondering whats going on…

  3. Reblogged this on Through My Eyes and commented:
    I worked many years in the food industry and I try to keep these things in mind every time I dine somewhere

  4. Yash says:

    I work as a dishwasher, and however hard work it may be, it’s not even close to what the other people back of the house do. Obviously servers have a tough job as well, but the line cooks and everybody boh are the real rockstars

  5. cg says:

    U forgot to mention when anyone from t front of the house touches any knife of any back of the house.
    Only one word of advise to foh – don’t

  6. alrx says:

    Lol…. You deal with food…. We deal with people and attitudes as well as $2-4 per hour…. That’s why we get tips… And by people and attitudes, that means both the customers and the boh…. Suck it up buttercup….

    • thecheflife says:

      Thanks alrx! 🙂

    • lilo says:

      You suck at life… why dont you go serve somebody and kiss ass for a twenty dollar tip… you have no skills thas why you Serve!!!!! And thats why the boh could never do your job bc giving metaphorical bjs to a stranger for a tip seems a bit like begging… why dont you provide a product or make something from scratch with your hands, you cant bc its too much work for to little money.. you are whats wrong with America… I deserve a tip I deserve, this I deserve that… get a real job

  7. thebutlerdidit says:

    8 ways to piss of foh:

    1) In response to a the server requesting that a customer needs something in a hurry and you as the cook being the only one who can deliver it, roll your eyes and drag your bleep around and blame the server who is only trying to satisfy the customer. Who, by the way, pays the wages for everyone, including boh staff.

    2) Wander out into the server’s area to get your drink, paying no attention to how busy the servers are and how you are getting in the way. Then turning around and getting pissed off at a server if they happen to come to the kitchen for something.

    3) Get all pssd off at a server because the customer is asking for substitutions, special requests on the food, as if the server is trying to do it on purpose just to annoy the cook or something. In reality, the server is doing it to satisfy your boss, the customer, to the best of their ability.

    4) Dilly-dally around and chat with your co-workers while it is obvious a server, along with your boss the customer, is anxiously awaiting their food.

    5) Intentionally go slow on staff meals. Servers need to eat too and often they need to eat in a hurry before the rush comes in. Make them their food, make it quickly, make it right and everyone is happy. Bonus point: go slow on staff meals and then expect your drink brought to you pronto during rush hour.

    6) Get all upset at a server ringing in 3 or 4 orders at once. It just so happens that very often 3 or 4 tables walk into the restaurant all at once. Go figure. The server must then organize their time and their tasks in such a way as to most efficiently get them their drinks and get their orders taken. You know what they say, if you can’t handle the heat of a busy kitchen…

    7) Bitch about how little you’re getting paid. If you aren’t happy with your line of work/salary, do something else somewhere else, period.

    8) Ring the pick up bell excessively when you want a server to pick up an order. You might not be aware of this, but if a server is in the middle of taking an order with a customer, they can’t just walk away from the table to answer your every whim.

    9) Expect that customers and servers should tailor all their wants, needs, and tasks to please you, the cook. Again, if you don’t like your job, can’t handle the heat, or are unwilling to work as a team with the ultimate goal of giving the customer the best experience possible, maybe you’re in the wrong line of work.

    just sayin’

    • thecheflife says:

      Well, you and Anna both took words out of my mouth. I figure it is only fair to post a follow-up article to this titled 13 Ways to Piss Off the Front of House, and will be up shortly! Meanwhile, given the amount of feedback on the topic of tipouts I have started a series on the topic. The first one goes up now!

  8. Mark Vanness says:

    Looks like a lot of industry people are reading this…Here is another way to make the boh unhappy…Stand in server isle after dropping 20 plates on the line and chat with other servers about your date last night, the hot guy at table 6 and how much you like the other servers earrings…Then complain about how tough your night was and how bad your tips were. Spend time with your customers, help take the pressure off the kitchen by chatting up the customers and keeping their beverages full…It is a fact that you are there to provide service, do it and see what difference it makes in your tips even during rush. The thing a customer hates most is feeling ignored.

  9. Anna says:

    How to piss off FOH

    1. Scream for something you need from our expo line, without addressing anyone specific. Get pissed off when nobody responds to you.

    2. Forget to add the main components/ingredients/embellishments to a dish.

    3. Get an order wrong, then yell at the server for ringing it in, incorrectly when brought to your attention. Roll your eyes and bitch for ten minutes when we pull the ticket to show it was rang in correctly.

    4. Purposely delay a later request for something needed on the fly. You’re not pissing your server off, you’re ruining someones dining experience.

  10. ANR says:

    Why is BOH always whining about not getting tipped out? BOH acts as if they weren’t fully aware of their pay structure when they accepted the position–FOH gets tipped; BOH does not. You made that choice…not me. The fact that I don’t work in the kitchen is because of the poor pay. I serve tables and deal with people’s pissy, snarky, rude and entitled attitudes because the money’s better. I madethat choice.

    Furthermore, servers don’t “get paid more” than BOH. We are paid minimum wage. Our incomes are supplemented by random gratuities which are often sub-par and non-existent in other instances. BUT, we deal with a lot of BS from BOH and guests for those tips. If BOH wants to be tipped out, become FOH. Simple.

    • thecheflife says:

      Servers walk away each day with more in their pockets than those who work in the kitchen. If you need proof of this look at restaurants that follow the no-tipping policy and instead pay their employees a “living wage”. Cooks and BOH employees receive $16-18 an hour while FOH makes $20-24 an hour. The point made in my most recent article (which I urge everyone here to read) is that we should all be pulling in the same direction.

      Ideally the FOH works with the BOH and vice versa. The most common issue that creates two opposing camps instead of one unified restaurant is the disparity in take-home money between FOH and BOH. I am not a proponent of levelling the wage to even. I am however a firm believer that the gesture of offering something to the kitchen in the way of tip-sharing is just the type of gesture needed to start to get everyone feeling they are on the same team.

      • So if you want the server who is working for the above, and beyond tip, going out of the way to make it special each experience, while ultimately getting a great tip due to the “service” provided to share. What do you think this would do, to the way a server gives extraordinary service, where are the incentives, with my understanding the cost of food is priced accordingly for preparation, and cost of the actual food, a customer can get that anywhere, but they pay for the service by tipping the server, to serve them. How is this any different than someone, who prepares food for delivery joints etc… The delivery driver should then too share, because they are doing the job they are hired in to do, and the BOH is seeing the amount of cash, so now they want to get a cut. Well it seems quite fair, or maybe not at all.

      • Rob Kenealy says:

        No Michelle – that’s not how it works. They don’t come to see you smile – they can be smiled at anywhere.
        They come for the exquisite combination of flavors and ingredients my Chefs work hard to create and we on the line work hard to flawlessly execute. They do not come because you carry shit to them with a smile. You apparently have no understanding of how food is costed..
        The experience *is* the food, not the forklift who drops it off. One does not say “Lets go to Fleur de Lys, I hear Hubert Keller has hired a GREAT new server, lets check him/her out!” ..no – just no… You carry shit. That’s all you do. And you con people out of their money for doing it…

      • Tony says:

        16-18 An hr? …where because i get 12 an hr and i been cooking for over 7 yrs. Must be different here in NYC

    • lilo says:

      Provide better service… learn your menu … you are a blood sucker that know nothing about service.. imagine a world without a tipped server, sayyyyy the rest of the world…… would you still be a server???? Nooo you wouldn’t… That means you need to to find another job, maybe one that requires you to use more of your brain… a cook has a skill which you will never have thats why you dont work back there.. the work is too hard, too dirty, too hot… to say you dont work back there for money reasons shows that you are in the wrong business to begin with… you ask people what they want to eat and you bring them their food… the only reason you have made this money is bc.it is an expectation of being tipped… you dont provide a product whatsoever and you rarely know how to serve or sell the food on the menu…

  11. Anna says:

    Wow how has no one even mentioned that servers get mad taxed on their tips?

    We still make great money, but I’m not being paid 9.50/hour. That’s before I’m taxed on my sales.

    Every two weeks my pay cheque for working 28 hours / week (so 56 hours / pay period) ranges from 140-180$. All the math is laid out there on your pay stub. We get MAD TAXED because much like the BOH, the government thinks we make too much in tips.

    I never talk about the amount I made at the end of a night because it’s tasteless, but yeah, I get stressed when it was a bad night because I’m counting on making enough to pay my bills each month.

    Serving can make a killing but it’s very inconsistent.

    • Anna says:

      P.S. this is not the same Anna as the previous post…

    • thecheflife says:

      Taxation is something that both parties deal with. Yes, the government taxes servers in a different bracket, but that is due to servers not claiming all of their tips come income-tax season. The way I understand it servers rely on the tips to make money, the paycheque is a little bonus they get every two weeks. So while your hourly pay is taxed at a higher rate you walk with untouched cash at the end of each shift.

      At the same time, the kitchen staff who are paid a higher hourly wage then the servers get taxed heavily. In Canada your income tax due when earning an hourly rate is calculated by taking your wage/hour and the average hours worked in a week and calculating a yearly income from that. Depending on what that number is you are assigned a tax bracket and a matching percentage of tax is due. So, the chefs that are making $16 an hour end up losing a good chunk of wages to taxation as well (about 30%). Even if they are lucky enough to work at a place that honours overtime (I personally have worked at places that do not pay overtime), as they make an elevated hourly rate (in this for instance $24 an hour) it puts them in a higher tax bracket. The result? Take home after taxes on overtime pay is nearly par with their regular take home.

      As I said at the beginning, taxation is something that both parties deal with.

  12. If FOH communicates to the Chef or whomever is doing expo…most problems are solved. Expo or Chef deserve that opportunity and also allows them to address consistent problems.
    Also, never blame the kitchen for a mistake at your table. It’s harder on the kitchen when they have to fix mistakes, so look at the other 30 reasons the guest is suffering and fix it. Is your Food Runner familiar with position #1. Did the food get run to another guest at another table? Are the servers spot checking their screen before sending the order with the correct table number…. and more.

    • thecheflife says:

      Yes, of course, the communication between the expo and chef is the most important area of communication in the restaurant. All too often in my experience that has been a channel of communication wrought with dissidence. If the expo backs up the chef, and if the chef backs up the expo (doesn’t let the line bitch about fixing mistakes) then you will have an effective service. If the two are warring the whole time, and if the chefs attitude is poor, and backed up by the line cooks, then it all falls apart.
      Everyone, EVERYONE, should aim for each guest walking through the door and having a great experience.

  13. I have worked in the F&B industry for over 15 years now, and lets be honest, this topic is never going to be seen fair in both parties eyes. One will feel less appreciated, or one will feel the other is overly appreciated, via “tip” share. So here is a simple suggestion, stop and take a moment to observe, and I mean really observe, what the other has to accomplish. All that is entailed in pleasing “the guest” (the reason we have jobs to begin with). I know as well, as anyone else does, that I can not waltz into that kitchen, and whip out meals as fast, and as delicious, as some of the cooks, that I worked beside. I wouldn’t even dare, because I know that, they have years, of expertise, experience, talent, and such a passion, for what they are serving, that I just don’t have, that experience on hand, prepared to every order. On a side note…

    I also know, that BOH tends, to down talk the servers, and act as if the initial serving job, was the easiest job on the planet. Claiming they could take on the role, however the server on the other hand, would never be able to do the “cooks” job. Lets be honest, I know this because I have actually watched, this scenario play out, and it was actually quite amusing, to watch. Watching the cook play a role as a server, came the stumbling, and timing mishaps, and running back, and forth, forgetting to grab, that needed napkin for the bar drink, or the lemon twist, for the vodka on the rocks. Oh and lets not forget about a table of 14, being sat in your section of all teenagers, hopping around playing musical chairs, mind you they are all on separate checks. Who is who? You might ask, and nonetheless what did they order, and where are they sitting. The precision, and careful time management, of keeping on your toes, to look professional, as well, as keeping the BOH, happy by trying to get orders in, and also keeping the bartender happy, while entering like drinks together. Running now, you have the little kids, to get high chairs, and sing Happy Birthdays to, or how about knowing all your wines, and special food pairs, for the two business couples in the corner. How about your Hot tea, and decaf coffee ladies, that need to know every ingredient, in your special of the day, while hearing the bell ring to pick up your salads, and you have a tray full of drinks, but keep smiling at all costs. Even though you know your going to get bitched at, for not being there to take the soup out 15 seconds sooner, while grandmas are ordering, or not ordering. Gracefully you make it there in time, to greet the cook, with the order in line like they ask, and drop off a perfect round of drinks, from your bartender, making sure you tell the chef, the ladies at table two, said the lentil soup was superb, possibly the best they ever had !!

    My point is that the credibility needs to be given to servers, and the rest of the FOH when tips, come into play. Not only did I talk them into the nice Sauvignon Blanc, bottle of wine for two, but also the best appetizer, they would have ever tasted, because the BOH needs to push some almost expired clutter in the freezer, following with your special, also put into the same category as appetizer, but maybe if I am lucky, and get them to try your dessert.Even if not dine in, then for sure to go. Hitting all points of sale, raking the bill up to a certain number, just to hope that we all did a well enough job, to receive a 20% tip, and if all went down smoothly. I just scored one third of my nightly tips, because they have wined, and dined for majority of the dinner hour. However these people will remember this experience, and the cleanliness of the restaurant, freshness of the food, and sweet serenity of a beverage to die for. They will recommend to the family, and friends, and we will see reoccuring customers, who built relationships, with the server, who talks up the cooks, and sometimes gets them the tip, that is just as good as money. A job well done, by saying it in cash, or a wave, sometimes even a handshake.

    This is just an example of the outcome if we appreciate the servers, for the wages they make, and not make at times as well. Taking into consideration, the cooks, have jobs to go to everyday hourly, and the servers,may not due to the weather, or slow season. They all in the long run have separate perks, and if you feel as if you need to be tipped, by all means throw on a apron, and smile and wave, you have now became a server, and be thankful you have the opportunity to have a job, in itself. We all need to work together, for the benefits of everyone to provide a team , to work just a tad harder together, and you never know them old ladies might send a tip back to the chef, after the server stresses how much passion you use in your preparing, and creating of the dish.

    • thecheflife says:

      You make very good points. The kitchen often has an ego about it and get their backs up easily, but I firmly believe that resentment stems from the disparity in wages between the two. As I have said many times in these comments, I think if the servers were to tipout the kitchen the gesture would go a long way. When the server mentions they had a shitty night for tips the kitchen would commiserate with them, not mock them or be angry at them. Why? Because that means the kitchen also had a shitty night in tips.

      I disagree with your last paragraph’s point of reliable work though. Chefs too suffer from the affects of poor weather and slow seasons. The area I live in is hyper-seasonal. Crazy in the summer and winter, deserted in the spring and fall. Despite an hourly wage you never know what hours you are going to get week-to-week, and in the off-season you know you won’t get more than 20 hours a week. It’s just how it is.

      • The thing is you keep saying, to say having a crappy night is making 200.00 per night, and here is my question to you. Where do you work that, the low end of a tip night is 200.00, because where I live is in Michigan, and we are not all in that pay scale. The family owned businesses, are especially the restaurants that take the hit in the off season, and I kind of find it laughable, to even have a cook suggest to the owner to be a partial tipped employee. They are really the only ones, with job security, due to the fact someone has to always be there to cook, as for the servers, they could dwindle down to one if need be. Its just how it is for the more common servers, and also for corporate, they as well are paid salary, bringing home at least 50,000 per year rain or shine, in the fine dining restaurant I worked at. Yet, now that I think about it ,the establishment had to make certain pay alterations, to make sure they had hit the minimum wage mark, and I am talking a highly respected corporation, Definitely take care of the cooks before the servers, yet again, just another reason I see this as an attempt to take more, out of the servers pocket, because “they” make good money. The wage is low, the taxes, are high, and the fight to raise this set wage is being negotiated, so why would you say it is fair to take form a server, and not ask the establishment. They don’t pay the server barely anything, so why not get it form the employer, but we already know that answer, now don’t we?

      • thecheflife says:

        I hear what you are saying, and I will explain why I believe that the only source to level the playing field is the servers in my next post on the subject of tipouts. Should be up soon 🙂
        I do not believe I said anywhere that $200 is a crappy night. In the one scenario I laid out I stated the server would walk out of a shift with $110 after tipping out. Forgive me if I am misremembering, it’s 3 am after all lol.
        I am thoroughly enjoying the discussion of this, both sides have valid points. I think it would be awesome to work in a place where everyone, no matter their orientation in the restaurant, backed each other up. Telling the kitchen to suck it up is not the way that can be achieved.

      • Your right, and by no means would I say “suck it up”, it is just the profession we all chose, with the given perks, and everyone can always apply to be a server/bartender. If they want to make a tipped wage , but it is all fun and games, until your feet ache, and weekends are always occupied. Besides I also think, that every place I worked I have seen tips handed to the cooks on a basis more often than not. Have a good night, remember the late nights , are a bit usual for some in the service industry, we have to be able to be focused, at all hours of the night 😉

  14. As the wife of a chef (who worked his way up from a line cook to corporate chef), I’ve always wondered why the pay is so different between the foh and boh. I remember a few nights my chef/husband commenting that a server made more for working a 6 hour shift than he did as the Executive Chef working a 16 hour day. He wasn’t complaining, but just stating the facts of a busy December evening at a fine dining restaurant. 😦 It just doesn’t seem right to me (but then no one really asked my opinion on the subject.) Thanks for the post and I loved reading the comments as well!

    • thecheflife says:

      What complicates this issue even further is those in the BOH that work a salaried position. There are obvious advantages to having a salary (consistent week-to-week pay, often come with health insurance, etc). But in this industry where margins are so low the individual on salary is taken advantage of. Chances are the individual has risen to the top because they stay until the job is done and done right. If this means opening the restaurant and closing it each day then 16 hour days abound. And there has never been a kitchen salaried position that states the maximum hours to be worked each week in it, trust me. The result is as the person works more and more hours that week their wage/hour decreases. At the end of it all, their wage/hour is less than minimum. Salaries are tricky things in this industry, be aware of their dangers and set clear boundaries at your work everyone!
      Thanks Jenn!

      • So true. I appreciate his hard work ethic and desire to make sure the job is done well, even if it requires long hours. If he were paid hourly with the hours he works, we could retire early! 🙂 In communicating with other chefs and their wives, I was surprised to find out that there are actually some Sous and Executive Chefs who are paid hourly instead of salary (in other parts of the US and around the world.)

  15. peaseblossom says:

    First off not all, but many cooks especially in higher end restaurants, and climbers willing to entertain the corporate structure, view cooking as a career. Many also do it for the love of the art of cuisine. It is an actual trade and you have to earn your way to the top, as in most careers. It’s just that the climb is a tough one. We get that. Servers on the other hand are in it for the money, and most of us are usually at least looking for an exit door. There are different motivations at play.

    Nothing gets under my collar more than a restaurant that takes a hefty “house” tip out and doesn’t tip the kitchen. It is literally robbery and in that we can all find common ground.

    Should servers openly talk and complain about money around the kitchen staff? Absolutely not, that’s entirely inconsiderate and disrespectful. However, expecting servers to never talk about tips is like asking Columbus not to talk about the sea. It’s what our world revolves around. If you accidentally overhear a casual after shift conversation while we are polishing cutlery in the service station, like, suck it up man.

    Now the “it’s hot in here thing.” I get that a server saying it’s hot to someone who is standing over a deep fryer or grill when it is thirty degrees outside and the air conditioning isn’t keeping up is preposterous, but recognize that we are going into the blazing sun with a tie, collared long sleeve shirt, long pants and an apron while carrying hot plates and nearly running a marathon. And we are expected to look fresh as a rainbow while we are doing it. We really are hot too. I guess that we say it more because we are hyper-conscious of it, seeing as how embarrassing it is and we are trying to will ourselves to overcome our physiology. Should we complain to the kitchen, no, likely not. But I think many of us willfully remind ourselves to keep a lid on it because we are aware of your discomfort, if we slip up here and there, give us a little leeway, wouldya?

  16. Lets try this one more time, yes you make the same dishes, that these “guests” come into purchase, and yes sometimes they enjoy it, other times maybe not so much. Servers that have regulars, are not because you put out amazing food, but love the service, they always can count on, as well. The cook has prepared a million times the expected, and you are giving yourself too much credit, you have to think a little on this one. The servers are making it so you have future guests, to cook for, and we do build relationships with our customers, they do come to see us, and even bring cookies, and gifts !! If they were only there for you, then maybe you would see a gift, or two sometimes, with that said my cooks have seen plenty, because they appreciate us all !! They pay for the service from you, and they pay the server by a tip, they seem fit, get with the topic, we are talking about tip share here, not how awesome you all are. Again another sad display of how great you are, and small we are, but nonetheless a lot of “us: servers, are here for the short term, and will not be slaving in a restaurant, the rest of our lives, to be judged by pricks like you.

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