Monday, August 2, 2010
Some tips on how to order your salad...
Now most of the time in the restaurant business, you're either in the "front of the house" or the "back of the house." The "front of the house" refers to servers, bartenders, busboys, barbacks, sommelier's, etc...who interact with the customers and really are the customers first interaction with a restaurant/food establishment. The "back of the house" refers to executive chef's, sous chefs, line cooks, sauciers, etc...who are always kind of in the shadows and are doing the preparing of the food.Now at most of my jobs I have been strictly in the "back of the house" and have only had to come out on special occasions to greet customers or put a face with the name/title, that kind of thing.Now at my job I have the pleasure (maybe, LOL!) to not only work in the "back of the house" but to also be in the "front of the house" so to speak as well.I prepare all of the ingredients in the kitchen (which is a shit ton of prep by the way) and then I get to come out and serve it to you.
Now most chef's that you talk to will say that they prefer being in the "shadows" and not having to bother with customers and generally just enjoy being left the hell alone to create their masterpieces in the kitchen.I regularly have that attitude however it has been nice to finally put a face to the product that I'm creating for the customer.Now at times that definitely has its drawbacks.Not only do I have my trying days where customers just grate (no pun intended) on my nerves, but it can be extremely frustrating.I would say a good 80% of the population I get along with and have no problem with but it's that other 20% that just really likes to stick it to ya and irritate the piss out of you.
So in order to prevent from more irritation and frustration for me I would like to offer some helpful tips to aid you in the whole salad ordering process. Take a minute to really look these over because by reading these and understanding them not only are you going to make me a happier individual but you're going to get amazing customer service with even a smile instead of the look of death!!!
Number 1: I do have a menu for a reason!
So most of you are aware by now that this summer has been a little different at T-Bird.I haven't been able to offer my whole salad menu because of the select few students/faculty that are there.Thankfully enough they did keep my salad station open so that I had a job for the summer, because I really think they'd have a revolt of their hands from the students and faculty if they didn't!If you thought the LA riots were bad you haven't seen nothing!LOL!So back to the point...I have a limited menu, and I do not offer the same salads that I do during the regular school year.However, this isn't a downfall to the station.You have 4 new and different salads to choose from every week.Imagine how difficult it is for me to come up with 4 different salads every week, using ingredients I have readily available, without replicating, and with the space that I have provided. Believe me folks it isn't easy!
So in that case please take it as a gesture of my creativity and culinary expertise that the salads that I come up with are my creation and my creation only.I do not mind if you add a few things here or add a few things there, but please do not ask for 17 different things in your salad because not only is it not a "make your own salad" (that's what the salad bar is for) but it will also end up being a $15 salad versus a $5.50 salad.So just take that into consideration that I put up that menu for a reason and it's there so you can order off of it, if not then I'd put please order off the menu.I understand there are dietary restrictions and things you may or may not like, but I'm just saying this as a guideline for you.This all helps you in the end remember?
When I specifically ask you "Is everything in that okay for you?" that means that if there's something that you don't like in it or can't have now is the time to tell me.It's too late to tell me that you're allergic to nuts after I've already put them in there.Because guess what?I have to throw that salad away, and that costs money, and money that you're not going to pay.So the next time you see me put green onions in your salad and then ask me to pick them out (which by the way, I can't do unless I have tweezers on my station) then please make sure you read the menu thoroughly and clearly to prevent any problems like this from happening again.
Number 3: I don't mind making you your own salad at all...
Pretty much everyone in society today thinks they can cook or has their own ideas for recipes and/or menus, etc...I'm not saying that you do or you don't, but make sure you understand and know that I'm a chef, not a cook a chef with a culinary degree and I use my degree and expertise to be able to come up with these creations for you.That's not to say that your creations are better or worse, but don't stand right in front of me and say those things don't go together I would never do that, when I am a culinarian who knows for a fact what does and doesn't go together based on the incredible expertise, education, and experience that I've had in my life. However, with that said, there are several people who have taken it upon themselves to want to order their own "customized" salads.I don't shun this idea at all, but these people know how to do it within reason.Once again you're going to be charged extra for all these additions, don't just think you're going to get it for free.But if there's something that you want to do and create on your own, I'm not going to make a huge fuss about it.
Number 4: Communication is key...
Standing at my station and pointing to what you want isn't really going to get you anywhere.I'm pretty sure that you have to communicate really well in order to be able to go to school at the Thunderbird School of Global Management.I mean, I could be wrong, but I would think that communication and interacting with people is a HUGE part of international business.I realize that their are diverse and different cultures that don't always have the same communication values that us Americans do, but guess what?You're in the United States of America now and if you want to stay here and become educated then you need to know how to properly interact with people.That means that pointing and not speaking isn't going to get you very far at all.I realize the communication barrier might be there, but I'm all for helping you out.Believe me if you don't know what something is, I'm going to help you out with and not make you feel like an idiot, but it's getting both of us nowhere if all you do is point.
Which leads me to my next point...I know some cultures are very abrupt, strict and to the point, however once again you're in the United States of America and "please" and "thank you" are kind of just common courtesy no matter what you're doing.Like I said I understand the various cultures and I do respect that, but you better believe that I'd extend the same courtesies that I do in America than I would in a foreign country, so I expect that in return.
Which brings me to another point...I realize that "servers", "cooks," "chefs", etc....are the low men/women on the totem pole in some cultures and even women are looked at as inferior in come cultures.Well just because the country that you came from degrades women or the working class doesn't mean that you can treat me that way.Yes, I'm providing you with a service but you aren't any better than me at all and I deserve the utmost respect and if you don't give it to me than you damn well better believe that I'm going to garner that respect from you one way or the other.I have worked way too hard in my culinary career to be treated like crap by someone who thinks it's okay to degrade women and talk down to them just because that's how they're culture treats them.Well not in the U.S. of A buddy!
Number 5: Pet peeves of mine...
An incredible pet peeve of mine is when you order and you just walk away without me asking you some very basic questions such as: Was everything in that salad okay for you?Did you want to add any chicken or protein?Were onions okay in that for you?Is it for here or to go?Do me a favor and just stand there and let me go through my spiel and then you can go on your merry way.If you don't do that don't be surprised to see me helping all the other customers until you decide to show back up.
Please don't talk on your cell phone and hold up the line while carrying on your conversation.I hate it when people are talking and they give me the pointer finger like oh wait hold on a second while I take this super duper important conversation that can't wait for another 2 minutes.Not only are you holding up the rest of your line, it's super rude, but I'm going to move on to the next person until you finish talking on your phone. You don't see me putting you on hold while I take my cell phone call instead of making your salad.I don't care if it's The Pope or God himself on that phone you can tell them to hold on just a sec while you order your salad.LOL!
If you see me reaching for a plate and you need your salad to go DO NOT wait until I've already put it on the plate before you tell me that you need it to go.Not only did I dirty a plate, but it's blatantly obvious when you're standing in front of me what I'm doing so I know it's a ploy just to be a jerk and make me work that much harder.So just tell me from the get-go or when you see me reaching for it let me know because if not I will feel the need to shank you with my meat thermometer!LOL!
Number 6 (and final point): You're no better than me...
Just because people have made you feel privileged your whole life and maybe you've had a more prosperous upbringing than I have, but that doesn't make you any better than I am.Just because your company has seen fit to send you to get your degree (but only on the weekends which is ridiculous.They must be on the 10 year plan) doesn't mean your better than me.In fact, you're on a rung beneath me.You have the work experience currently, but you don't have a degree which means you're at the bottom of the totem pole.I spent a lot of money on my culinary education.Not as much as an international #1 ranked business school but a pretty penny to say the least.I got a private institute education where I learned to really hone my culinary skills.I have every right to be snotty because I had an expensive education, tutelage and internships with Master Chefs, pastry chefs and numerous executive chefs, and I was even the Executive Chef of a wine bar at the age of 21 and the Executive Chef of a catering company for 3 years by the time I was 22.So with that said, if I don't have that privileged, holier than thou attitude neither should you. You're condescending attitude won't get anywhere with me so it's in your best interest to change that.
So all in all to sum this all up just be nice, respectful, communicative and not condescending and we should get along just fine.Growing up there was always a saying my parents used to tell me, "Treat others the way you want to be treated." Now not only does that pertain to ordering my salads but in life in general.All of the things I mentioned above are life lessons that you should take with you and consider, because I guarantee they're going to make you a more complete, well-rounded, worldly individual and will get you a lot farther in life. Thanks for listening to my rant.Hope you payed close attention because there will be a quiz later.Ha ha! Just kidding!
Until next time fans...
<3 Stace <3