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Thursday, February 11, 2016

At What Hour Wage Would You Work for and Be Happy With if There Was No More Tipping?

North America is the only continent that works with a low per hour wage and depends on gratuities. The rest of the world gets paid a salary and a rather healthy one depending on the cost of living in that country. Tipping is not seen as being mandatory. Perhaps for exceptionally fine service would someone leave extra.

So how much per hour would a waiter work for and still cover his or her expenses and have some left over if gratuities were abolished?

I think that would depend a lot on how many hours you were employed at one establishment. If you worked only 20 hours in a spot would it be higher per hour than another place where you were employed 40 hours a week. Or how busy that spot was because in order to keep someone working for you they would need the hours wouldn't they? If it was a slow lunch for instance with hardly any tables it would be tough just to depend on the gratuities.

What about a higher hourly wage with the 15% added on to the bill? Or a higher hourly wage with bonus incentives. This bonus could be a minimum check average for example or high sales. This could still provide incentive instead of having waiters not do a good job because the hourly wage is all they are working for.

There are different ways to look at this because I believe there will be changes in the next few years on how tipping and hourly wage will work for waiters. Already some are paying their waiters more so they do not have to depend on gratuities 100%. Private member clubs already do this such as golf clubs, member's clubs etc..

Will it encourage others to stay in the industry longer? Or will it put a lot of restaurants out of business?

I believe a lot of restaurants would go out of business but I also believe for those left it will be much better and higher quality.

Anyway time will tell on what happens..but something will.

While you are pondering this post check out my appearance around the 2 minute mark on this Spanish video about Mendoza here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Demographics Are Changing the Way We Serve

With the influx of immigrants from such countries as India and neighboring countries plus those of the Middle East one thing has become apparent.

What used to be a set way to serve has had to change to meet the preferences of this new diner to North America. First of all when a table orders there are no hard and fast rule on how the meal is delivered. Whatever can be ready first just bring it out. Usually they share everything too so make sure you have some extra plates on hand as the diners dig in and split up the portions around the table.

Be ready for some surprises too as one diner asked me for some slices of lemon so he could squeeze them in his beef and barley soup. Not for me but who am I to question what I would do. I just get what the table wants.

Don't worry too too much about the cleanliness of the table. Clear as much as you can when they are all finished sharing. It is similar to working a buffet. Clear, clear, clear, and keep the drinks topped up.

The tip is usually fine. In fact the service is not that difficult. All you got to do is keep the food coming and when someone ask for something just ask around before running to get it because for sure when you get back someone else will want something else.

Have fun!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Canonica A Cerreto Chianti Classico Riserva 2009

A Friday wine tasting to cap off the week!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

This is Always Vitally Important When You Set the Food Down at a Table

When you set the entrees down at the table pause for a moment and look the guests straight in the eye and ask them if you can get them anything else before they get started.

Just do not say enjoy your dinner and leave because if you do that no sooner will you leave and you will notice someone at that table looking around for you to ask you for steak sauce, ketchup, a drink, more water, etc..etc...

If this happens we did not leave them happy to start eating and our next task will be interrupted by something we should have got for them right after the meal was served.

Save yourself some time by asking this vital question before wishing them an enjoyable meal. We do not want to do a quality check when someone wanted something 5-7 minutes beforehand.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

20 Years Since I Left the Cruise Ship

This year is 20 years for a lot of things and as the year goes on I will note them on this blog but right now coming up in just over a month on March 10th it will mark 20 years that I left the ship in Singapore marking the end of my ship days.

A lot has changed in the cruise ship industry since then. The ships have gotten a lot bigger for one thing. As to my knowledge there are no more ships that have 114 passengers like the ship I worked on. Nowadays there are ships with thousands of passengers and hundreds of crew members. 

The most important thing though is the money is not the same. Recently someone I know took a cruise on the Allure of the Seas that has 6000 passengers and 3000 crew members. It is the biggest and from what they told me some dining room busboys just worked for room and board and would receive a token tip at the end of each cruise. That amounted to just above slavery. 

Waiters and bartenders worked all hours for a meager income as well. In a lot of ships the tip is included in the cruise so unlike my day when you used to look forward to getting that envelope the money comes in the form of a monthly salary instead. And a lot less than I was making.

All I know is I am happy I no longer work on a ship. Like a lot of things in the industry over the past 20 years I believe I worked during the best years. 

My suggestion always has been if you want to find work on a ship choose a small one if there are any left. This way you can get time to go ashore and see the sights.

If you cannot find a small ship then head to a resort location or tourist destination. It is not always how much you can make but how much you can save and have fun doing it. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

The One Big Advantage To Working in the Hospitality Industry

The one big advantage if you sharpen your skills and keep educating yourself in the hospitality industry is you can work anywhere you want.

Yes if you want to and that is only if you want to. Get the degree or go to a reputable hotel school and learn one other language and away you go. There is no need to ever not be without work.

Montreux Switzerland 1988

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

How to Get a lot of Experience Quick

Sometimes you live in a big city and the time you have to wait to get into middle and upper management can take a long time to happen. The competition is fierce and a lot of the time you spend looking around for that one opportunity.

The quickest way to get into upper management like Food and Beverage Manager or any other head of department is to go to the spots where you quickly can achieve those positions. You may only need to work a couple of years to become a Food and Beverage Manager in a less populated area.

When I first became bartender it took a year before I was Head Bartender. Then when I became waiter it wasn't a year before I became the head waiter. But to do the latter with so little experience I headed out west to work at a seasonal resort in the mountains. A place where few would go.

I got there and became better quicker. Combining my bar tending and waiting experience up to that point I did not have much to land a position in the city so I headed outside of the hustle bustle where I was able to pad my resume further. On my return I became a Bar Manager.

Not only did it help to get out of town but it was a lot less expensive to live having my accommodation and meals paid for at the location. So I was able to save some money I would not be able to do living in a big city.

If you can do this while you are younger it is a big head start. At places out of the way as well you can get your feet wet in any department as you will probably be needed all over the place. This will certainly give you a sense of what you need to know to run your own establishment one day.

So my advice is look for jobs that are a bit isolated from what you are used to and get that experience. It will be a great experience regardless just because of seeing new places and meeting new people. Head way up North or in the country somewhere. Plenty of beautiful hotels nestled in beautiful locations where people go all the time.

Travelling is wonderful and even better when you can get more experience quicker.

Think about it...

Monday, January 25, 2016

No Matter How Busy it is This is What I Notice

We all know as waiters we get slammed. Everyone comes in the same time and it seems like the waves are coming in and there is no end in sight.

First of all when they come in all at once you know the end is near. This is because the restaurant cannot sit anymore anyway. This should give you some consolation.

Second of all there is no point in punching in the appetizers and then punching in the entrees right after. Unless they are having a soup which you can control by getting it yourself you know the appetizers are going to take at least 10 minutes to prepare. So hold back on sending the entrees in right away because you know the grill cook is going to be putting those steaks on right away and maybe your appy guy is busy making desserts as well so your appys may take a while and your steak is already cooking.

Save yourself some stress by holding back on sending the entrees through. Give yourself some time to clear the appys or refill the waters or get some drinks. I never punch in my appys until the bottle of wine has been opened and poured. First things first.

If you want to time your table even if I have a well done steak I always wait a few minutes before sending it.

Now here is what I have noticed and why I do the above. If people get their food too fast they will sit there forever afterwards. If they wait for the entrees about 10-12 minutes they will leave shortly after finishing.

In other words people no matter how fast the food comes out always leave about the same time.

It is no use stressing yourself over a rush. Take it easy. If people are in such a hurry maybe they should have gone through a drive thru...

Toneles 22 Malbec Mendoza Argentina - A Wine Tasting

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Location Location Location

I was searching around the internet and came across a restaurant in downtown Toronto that the average price for a couple to eat there was $250.

Now this restaurant is located in a very expensive part of Toronto but $125 a person is to me quite a lot plus your tip afterward. But when I started to think about it there are probably plenty more places like that downtown where the high rollers live.

If I was starting out today right now and I was 22 years old and had a few years experience under my belt I would look into a place like that. Why you ask? Just for the experience and the wealth of knowledge and income that would be coming my way.

The places to work if you want to make this a career is the big cities. New York, San Francisco ( wine country ) Toronto, and Montreal to name a few. Make a name for yourself where you can serve a $20 cocktail with a 40 oz porterhouse steak. Open a bottle of wine that is over $500 on a nightly basis. There you go!

If you want to make this a career it will take some hard work but you can climb quicker working in the city rather than the small town on the outskirts. Choose to go big while you have the chance. Times have changed since I began 37 years ago. It was the big name hotels at the time. Now it is the smaller dining rooms in the older refurbished houses in the city centers that add the charm with the menu and wine lists that are making it happen. The location should always be where the affluent people live so you can make a living.

Put this together and you have a gold mine....

I have some new wine tastings and beer tastings at http://www.stevennicolle.com posted as well.