Word of Mouth

Slackers, drama kings and the overly entitled: The top three restaurant employees who suck

Welcome to In the Weeds. Kyle will be right with you -- most likely to complain about something. Usually he is pleasant, but this is his place to blow off some steam. Don't take it personally; he just needs to vent because he's been doing this for about thirteen years. Enjoy your meal.

When restaurant guests are obnoxious, they are only around for a couple of hours, at most, and there are typically only one or two of these losers a day, if that. When restaurant employees suck, they do so all through their shifts, up to five times a week. A verbal tipper or an excessive modifier can ruin only so much of my night, but the stink of a bad co-worker can permeate the whole restaurant.

There are the obviously horrible employees, such as those who fail to show or are lazy when they do. And then there are three prototypes that are especially horrible to work with -- and no, none of them are servers who also write columns about being servers.

I acknowledge that, on the surface, a "waiter who complains about his job in a blog" may seem like an obnoxious person to work with, but this blog is meant to entertain, not offer a true representation of what I am like as an employee. My co-workers swear they enjoy working with me and typically also enjoy reading this blog -- ketchup enthusiasts notwithstanding.

But a waiter/writer has nothing on the three worst restaurant employees. I've encountered versions of these types at nearly every restaurant where I've worked, and I always pray they get triple-sat groups that come in wielding coupons and change purses. The worst of the worst:

Drama queens and kings: These people certainly aren't unique to the restaurant industry, but in a fast-paced, social workplace in which wages fluctuate largely due to factors largely beyond your control, they are especially detrimental.

If the night starts with a bad tip, an unappealing family meal or a mildly offensive barb from a co-worker, the drama will stream from these people. Get ready to hear all about how the hostess is a dumb bitch, the guests are rude morons and the kitchen is a band of slow assholes.

And it's only going to get worse -- since the the drama king or queen's shit-head attitude is usually written all over his or her face, tips will be given accordingly. If you're a real masochist, go out for drinks with this person after your shift and hear all about how his or her significant other is a total asshole for forgetting their seven-and-a-half month anniversary.

The overly entitled: Employee X has been working at restaurant X for two months. Employee X thinks he or she has been working there for a year. Employee X tries to leave early, routinely questions more senior employees, cops attitude and tries to get out of side-work. Employee X is a pain in the ass and thinks he or she has built up more equity than he or she actually has.

If employees want to question the way something is done, they need to establish enough credibility to do so. New employees should just stick to the normal routine of trying too hard and being kind of awkward. It hasn't failed us yet, and the senior employees get to pawn off some unwanted work on the new people: That's a restaurant tradition.

The quick-witted slacker: To the undiscerning guest, this person appears to be a great server or bartender. He or she is always quick with the one-liner or has a personality so big it masks poor service. Need a joke on the fly? The quick-witted slacker is right there. Need a table marked with fresh silverware or water refills? Not so much.

And don't ask about what the guests can't see. This type-A personality typically does the bare minimum of opening and closing duties. He or she is probably trying to scam free food off the cooks when polishing silverware is what he or she should be doing.

Yeah, that was a hilarious story about your drunken night out, but maybe you should shut up and cut some limes. It's especially frustrating when guests think these people are good at their job. No, they're just good at masking poor work ethic with charisma.

Keep the wit coming, but it won't help if all your co-workers decide to jump you after the shift.

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