Free Guides on how to wait tables

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Everybody has been new in business once for at least one day. Everybody will also have new collegues now and then. You can send them to this very well written and extensive page: Free Guide: How To Wait Tables. If you want hints in a list (and a bit hilarious) you can see Server’s Bible: 101 Tips How To Be A Good Restaurant Waiter. One day I’ll write my own CrazyWaiter manual for world domination :)

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Leadership for Crazy Waiters

A quote of a recruiter tickled me:”People apply to be a teamleader but they don’t know nothing about teamwork or leadership. It’s in the word. Team-Leader” This has made me thinking about leadership. What is leadership? How can you show leadership if you are “just” a waiter and not the boss?Now I’ve set my new focus for the next five years… being a leader, in whatever form or position….

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“How to manage the CrazyWaiter” – for dummies

I’m working already 20 years in the restaurant business and I think I can say I know how to do it. I’m very easy to manage, but even better if you keep the following things in mind! I guess it doesn’t work only for me, but for most of you – so feel free to reuse it!

  1. First of all: never ever use the imperative. You absolutely don’t have to beg but at least ask friendly :) because I’ll do it anyway
  2. Say what I have to do and try to avoid explaining how to do it
  3. In 90% of the cases there is a reason when I do something in a different way as usual
  4. Try to collect as much tasks as possible and give them in one time. It is annoying if you keep giving a new task after I completed the former task. When given the complete to do-list I have (also) an overview and I can combine things and make priorities
  5. Don’t stay immobile watching after giving orders. Help me, do something else or walk away
  6. Most of times I know what and how to do. If I don’t do it immediately I’ll see it a moment later or something else has a bigger priority to do
  7. Don’t give feedback when the heat is on
  8. Give me the chance to work as independent as possible. Just let me do my thing.
  9. Don’t worry, when I need help or don’t know anything I won’t be afraid to ask
  10. I’m not blind for the interests of other stakeholders but never ever forget that the guest is the central point in (almost) everything I do!

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The CrazyWaiter serves… and pins


Click at the image to see my boards

Pinterest is a huge source of information and inspiration. So I joined also Pinterest (read: shared my ‘private’ boards with my alter-ego), so follow me! Click at the image to see my boards.

See my following list who I recommend to follow for other inspiring boards, and my likes for the pins I think interesting

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Catering Complete

I have worked a lot in the partycatering and banqueting. It’s 25% service, 15% food and 60% organization. For this, I found Catering Complete, a banquet manager’s handbook. The site gives the first paragraphes of each chapter. Very handy and informative, it has also some forms.

Some tips and secrets from the CrazyWaiter

  • One foodbuffet per 50 guests
  • One waiter for…
    • Barservice:  50 guests
    • Drinks to table: 35 guests
    • Food on buffet, drinks on table:  25 guests
    • Food and drinks on table: 15 guests
  • Use the CW Drinkcalculator for the drinks
  • Put the plates on the table in a systematic way in order of a snake. Start with the table most far away from the entrance and end with the table closest at the entrance. The reason for this is that the persons who have to wait the longest see activity. Have a person counting the persons at the tables and counting the plates in the waiters’ hands so he can direct the things smoothly. Ofcourse synchronized serving is best!
  • Leave enough space for the waiters with empty hands. Don’t let them cross or colide with the waiters with plates. (it seems logic, but often they forget this in order to sell as much as tables as possible. Serving the plates takes two times extra like this because every body has to wait for eachother)
  • Always have some sparefood for people with allergies, vegetarians etc.


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60 seconds to taste the wine

I read this in a book and I wanted to share it with you!

The 60-Second Wine Expert

Over the last few years I have insisted that my students spend one minute in silence after they swallow the wine. I use a “60-second wine expert” tasting sheet in my classes for students to record their impressions. The minute is divided into four sections: 0 to 15 seconds, 15 to 30 seconds, 30 to 45 seconds, and the final 45 to 60 seconds. Try this with your next glass of wine.Please note that the first taste of wine is a shock to your taste buds. This is due to the alcohol content and acidity of wine. The higher the alcohol or acidity, the more of a shock. For the first wine in any tasting, it is probably best to take a sip and swirl it around in your mouth, but dont evaluate it. Wait another thirty seconds, try it again and then begin the sixty-second wine expert

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How to respond to reviews

I like review sites because it’s a mirror of your own work. Also it’s a great source of finding new restaurants and places which I use a lot. Especially when the company answers because it shows that they care (a bit more) of their guests. My favorite answers are from Hotel Villa Schuler in the beautiful Taormina (Sicily, Italy) at Tripadvisor, especially this one should be in all hotelschool textbooks. I used their answers as inspiration for this article. There are also some answers from EasyHotel Amsterdam.

Now you can also use my Review Response Generator :)

Some tips on how to respond. (–>)

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CrazyWaiters Drinks Calculator

This weekend the CrazyWaiter spent his time spending assisting a friend who threw a party. Of course I concentrated myself on the food and beverage with serving his guests and friends. When J. asked some weeks ago for help to plan how many drinks he should buy for his party, I made a calculator. I’m happy to share it with you. You enter the values in the yellow and the blue cells, and the list to buy will be visible in the pink cells.

As always with calculatingmodels, the quality of the output depends strongly on the input. If you enter 40 guests during 6 hours, don’t be surprised that you can bring back 75% of the stock to the shop when there are only 25 guests during 3 hours. Luckily we could get the money back, but what a pity that we had to spent this money on a parking fine – never felt so stupid :( BTW, when I entered the right data, the shopping list was very close to what the people had consumed in reality :proud:

The party was nice, but it is over now, so here it is…

CrazyWaiters Drinks Calculator

(Disclaimer: use it  wisely and at own risk. CrazyWaiter is not responsible etc. etc. etc.)

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FAST – how to recognize a stroke

Not a very happy subject today but basic common knowledge. One of your guests or collegues can have a stroke or TIA.  Both a stroke and a TIA are medical emergencies and need immediate medical attention. As a way of helping the general public become more aware of the symptoms of a stroke or TIA, a simple ‘symptom checklist’ to remember has been devised and publicised. This is to think of the word ‘FAST‘. That is:

F – Facial weakness. Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?

A – Arm weakness. Can the person raise both arms?

S – Speech disturbance. Can the person speak clearly? Can they understand what you say?

T – Test for each of the above three things.

If any of these symptoms suddenly develop, then the person needs to see a doctor urgently. So call an ambulance FAST. The FAST checklist does not cover every possible symptom of stroke or TIA. However, it is easy to remember and it is estimated that about 8 or 9 in 10 people with a stroke or TIA will have one or more ‘FAST’ symptoms.

(via Stroke | Health | Patient UK)

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How to fold a napkin in a colbert style

We are supposed to teach and train the trainees, but they are also teaching us things… Like folding a napkin in a colbert style. Fleur is showing how (and will do the  1200 napkins needed for Christmas and New Years Eve this year)

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Laura Pausini – Benvenuto

Another CrazyWaiters trick. The easiest way to make feel guests feel at home is just saying ‘Welcome’. Last year I stayed in four hotels during my holiday of which only one receptionist said this magic word when we were arriving. It was no coincidence that this hotel was the best one of the trip.

Laura Pausini, one of my favorite singers,  has this word in Italian as title of her new song. Translation here

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B = C x O x M

Most readers know that I like reading about scientific research, but a lot of knowledge can be explained very easy. Today we have the formula

Behaviour = capacity x opportunity x motivation

  • Behaviour is what people do, or what you want them to do
  • Capacity is what people can do. You can give trainings for that. But never forget that you also have to work on the other two factors in the model!
  • Opportunity is what people are able to do. The management has to create enough (human!) resources, good conditions, tools and materials to make the work possible
  • Motivation is what people want to do. I start to believe that most people are motivated, but are demotivated by the management. Motivation can be stimulated, however by (1) making clear what’s in it for them, (2) being involved, (3) providing rewards, (4) giving feedback and (5) stepping into the other person’s shoes.(*)

The formula is originally from Lilian Ripple (Chicago) in her 1955 paperMotivation, Capacity, and Opportunity as Related to the Use of Casework Service: Theoretical Base and Plan of Study.” . The image is taken here.

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Setting a round table

Even my collegues with 20 years of experience are able to dress a round table in an uneven way by working from 12 until 11 o’ clock (bit cryptic but you’ll understand after seeing the video).

And it’s so easy if you know a little trick, which I’m happy to share with you :)

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100 skills every Crazy Waiter should know (part 1)

Inspired by this list our own list! Take it as serious as you think it should be! How many points do you have?

  1. Holding 3 plates with food in 1 hand and one in the other (1 point)
  2. Taking orders in 3 langues (1 point)
  3. Taking orders in 4,5 or 6 languages (2, 3 or 4 points)
  4. Handling complaints (2 points)
  5. Inventing your own lyrics on existing songs (1 point)
  6. Singing a song with a random word (1 point)
  7. Flirting with beautiful young (not too young though) Italian girls (1 point)
  8. Flirting with ugly old woman (3 points)
  9. Pre-bussying (clearing) a whole table of four in one time (2 points)
  10. Stop young children who cry and if possible make them smile every time you pass (2 points)
  11. Opening a wine bottle with a opener (1 points)
  12. Changing a beerfust (1 point)
  13. Serving the plates together with a collegue in a synchronized way (2 points)
  14. Make a Margherita (2 points)
  15. Knowing the difference between the production of red and white wine (1 points)
  16. Knowing the difference between sparkling and not sparking wine (2 points)
  17. Influencing the hostess, so you get the best tables (1 points)
  18. Influencing the hostess so you won’t get the latest tables so you can see your ‘girl friend’ (2 points)
  19. Debrassing 10 plates in one time (2 points)
  20. Cleaning invisible the knives while they are already on the table (2 points)

(the other 80 skills will follow in part 2, 3 4 and 5)

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