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Menu Item - 6 pack of beer for the crew?

I was looking at a local menu online and noticed a menu item, "A SIX PACK OF BEER FOR THE CREW $10 the crew works hard to deliver great food, drink and service. show them your appreciation."

http://www.thecoterieroom.com/menu.html

Has anyone else seen something like this on a menu?

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  1. That's a bit bizarre. I wonder if the crew gets to enjoy it immediately, or if they must wait until the end of their shifts?

    When I clicked through to the menu it was really bizarre. I was expecting more of a hole-in-the-wall menu. That menu looks very good.

    1. Yes, they have this on the menu at a place in the town where I work. It does say "post service beer" so you don't think they are drinking on the line. The kitchen is downstairs where private parties are, and once when i was at a party there several people bought rounds for the crew. A guy comes downstairs with the cans of beer on a tray and rings a big handbell and the crew all cheers. I thought it was cute. Never saw anyone drinking on the line.

      1. My thing is why don't the owners of the restaurant show them appreciation and buy them the beer and pay them more if they are so proud of their service.

        1. It sounds irresponsible to me. What if you bought a round, then only 1-2 people ended up drinking it all and then got in an accident? Who assumes the liability?

          If you want to show your appreciation, just give them a separate tip. Let them decide how they want to spend it.

          5 Replies
          1. re: alwayshungrygal

            <sarcasm>This is why you should never buy chicks drinks when you go out. I mean, you see a cute girl and buy her a drink, next thing you know, she's a lightweight, stumbles out of the bar and runs someone over while drunk driving! Then you get hauled in as an accomplice to manslaughter for buying her a margarita!</sarcasm>

            I've seen the "buy a round for the kitchen" item on the drinks menu of a few places, and while the restaurant I work at doesn't have it, I'd much rather enjoy a can or bottle of beer than the $1 (or less) tip after it's all split up. Sure, working in a kitchen doesn't pay much, but until tipping cooks becomes common and is as customary as it is for wait staff, cooks would rather have an occasional beer from diners than an extra dollar once a week (or month).

            1. re: jyee

              GEEZ!! How much extra are we supposed to pay for the privilege of eating out????

              Barring special orders or a REALLY exceptional meal, it is up to the WAITSTAFF NOT THE CUSTOMERS to tip the cooks and bus people!

              1. re: PotatoHouse

                Where did I miss that this was mandatory?

                1. re: jyee

                  I'm going to ignore your reference to "chicks" and simply say that I would much rather get a cash tip from my clients (which I often get) than anything else. A gift card to a store in which I struggle to find anything I like? Thanks for the gesture, but no thanks.

                  And again, I'm sure the kitchen staff--and if you've read anything by Anthony Bourdain, you understand the ethno make-up of them--would rather get cash too.

              2. I saw that too, and I think it's tacky. Either pay your cooks what they are worth or encourage the FOH to tip out a percent or two to the kitchen. Do they do that at their other restaurants?

                A shift drink is a standard perk for all employees in every restaurant I've worked in. Does the restaurant not do this? There are also logistical issues. Is this an actual beer or a metaphorical beer? What if not everyone wants a beer and would rather have their $1 or 2? What if there is a cook who is under 21, or pregnant, how do they get their share?

                It also turns me off to encourage the image of cooks and chefs as a bunch of alcoholics. Will work for beer?

                1. I noticed something similar on a drink menu at a place in Cleveland, Ohio. It seems slightly low class to me. Many people go out of their way to provide exceptional service but they (or their boss) do not ask their customers/clients to buy them a six pack of beer as a reward.

                  1. My guess is that they are either using the $10 as kitchen tips or (most likely) putting in the owner's pocket. Think about it, what if 12 tables a day spend the $10? Are they really going to serve the crew 72 beers and then send them driving home? I don't think so.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: PotatoHouse

                      12 tables all tipping the kitchen? See above,"it is up to the WAITSTAFF NOT THE CUSTOMERS to tip the cooks and bus people."

                      1. re: joe777cool

                        I'm not the one who put it on the menu, the restaurant did. Did you not read the OP?

                        1. re: PotatoHouse

                          Again im not sure what you are refering to, you said earlier that its up to the waitstaff to tip the BOH employees out not the customers and then followed that up a few posts later by saying if 12 tables a day tip in beer the BOH staff will be stumbling out the door. So if you are right, and other agree with you then nothing would happen and that would be off the menu correct? you are arguing both sides here

                          1. re: joe777cool

                            Ok, i just wasn't clear.

                            My point is the same. I have directly tipped a cook/chef for a special order or an exceptional meal, but customers tipping the kitchen staff is not the norm. The waitstaff should be tipping the cooks and bus people for getting their plates out fast and correct and keeping their tables/stations cleared.
                            In my second post, my point is that I believe that the owner is using the menu entry as a way to make money, whether for himself or the kitchen staff. I do not believe that if, say 12 tables for example, were to decide to pay the $10 that they would give the staff 12 six-packs to drink before they went home, so the owner is either giving the money to the staff or (in my opinion more likely) putting it in his own pocket. My second post expressed no opinion whether or not customers should be tipping the kitchen staff, but was rather a direct observation of the "buy a six pack for the staff" menu option being a scam.

                            1. re: PotatoHouse

                              PotatoHouse,
                              I am also a Seattleite, and I don't think McKracken and Tough, the owners of the Coterie Room where the 'buy a six pack for the crew" is on the menu, would EVER dein to put something like that on their menu only to pocket the cash for the house. That is a pretty provocative thing to say, especially if you did any research into their backgrounds as stand-up members of the Seattle restaurant scene.
                              I imagine if 12 tables bought the kitchen a six pack in one evening (not hard to imagine considering the resto has opened to rave reviews and is packing them in nightly)... they might build a 'fund' for the kitchen. Serve a reasonable # of beers on any given night, and if the 'fund' really got big, the cooks could vote to take some as cash divided fairly amongst them.
                              Now isn't that a reasonable idea to entertain?
                              I think I will send an email to them with this thread attached, and ask them to respond themselves to the questions raised here...
                              Oh, and I don't work for them, or know them personally at all.

                              1. re: gingershelley

                                I agree that the owners are reputable and most likely not pocketing the dough, and it may be a metaphorical 6 pack (i.e cash that gets divided every so often). I don't know anyone who works for them, but I'd be really surprised if they didn't do shift drinks, especially because their other two restaurants are really more bar-oriented. I hope they respond, I'm curious.

                                Still, if the cooks need more money, there are better ways, and if the cooks need more alcohol, they should get help.

                                1. re: babette feasts

                                  I do agree, Babette, that it IS sort of a push that Macracken and Tough are asking their customers to 'tip' the kitchen...
                                  If they pay them enough, it should suffice. That said however, I have run and worked in enough resto kitchens to know it is a long, hard day of work, and I can kind of see that this is a way for the kitchen crew to see - daily - the appreciation of the food they put out via the customers sending them 'a six pack'.
                                  I just imagine that there might be too many ordered for them all to actually arrive as beers for the staff.
                                  I posted on Coterie Room facebook page, and hope they or their publicist respond for us all to hear their take on this menu item.

                                  1. re: gingershelley

                                    Right, but a drink from the house is already a standard bonus for restaurant employees. For the cooks and for the servers. So the cooks should already be covered on a cold beer after a hot night on the line. Do the diners need to buy them more alcohol? Do the servers still get a shift drink, or who buys them a beer? It's an odd ploy, odder if you have worked in restaurants and know there is already plenty of free beer. I've been in restaurants about 12 years and there is ALWAYS a shift drink if you want one.

                                  2. re: babette feasts

                                    I'd like to think it's a combination of gingershelly and babette's posts -
                                    "they might build a 'fund' for the kitchen. Serve a reasonable # of beers on any given night, and if the 'fund' really got big, the cooks could vote to take some as cash divided fairly amongst them." and
                                    "and it may be a metaphorical 6 pack (i.e cash that gets divided every so often). "
                                    Personally, I do not know of any places where servers tip out the cooks so I think this is a nice way for customers to do so. I can tell you for sure that in most places where you eat, the people making the least amount of money are the ones who are actually cooking your food (with the possible exception of the exec chef). If a dozen customers bought the $10 beers for the, say 6 cooks, it's probably much more likely that they'd bring home an extra $20 a piece as opposed to getting shit-faced at the end of the night. If you're making $10 to $12 an hour, the extra money is a big deal. Hey, not every cook even drinks. Actually, they tend to drink too much or they're in recovery.

                      2. At our local Sichuan haunt, we always leave the leftover beer bottles for the kitchen staff, as we appreciate their hard work.

                        Of course, we generally close the place down, so they're done cooking and appreciate a refreshing after-work drink.

                        1. I worked in a German Restaurant that had great German beer. And the chefs, crew & owner drank it too frequently on Fri & Sat nights. It was hell getting food out of the kitchen about halfway thru the evenings. And the sarcasm was no fun either, nor was the under or over cooked food.

                          Nuff Said!!!

                          1. I am not in favor of this for many of the reasons noted previously, but in an nutshell:

                            1. I think it's tacky.

                            2. Will the "crew" really get the benefit of your "tip" or will management pocket it?

                            3. If No. 2. Is "Yes" how much beer will they have at the end of the night.? P a good night, it could be a substantial party.

                            4. If No. 2 is "yes" and No. 3 is "lots" who will drive these folks home?

                            5. Most importantly, TEN BUCKS FOR A SIX-PACK? What the heck am I buying them? I buy good beer from the store for less than that. These guys are buying it from the distributor, so how much are they marking it up?

                            6. So let me get this straight. I am buying the crew a tip, which adds to the amount on my check. If I tip 20 - 25% (which I do if the service is good) I'm paying $12.00 - 12.50 for said six pack.

                            7. Legal Issues. What if an under-aged crew member is served or someone drives drunk and kills someone. A gung ho DA will go thru the nights receipts. Since most people pay by credit card it wouldn't be too hard for them to track down everyone who bought in that night and add them to those charged with supplying the alcohol. They probably wouldn't prevail, but it would cost you a few bills for your lawyer to get you excused from the case.

                            8.. Liability issues. What if an under-aged crew member is served or someone drives drunk and kills someone. A good lawyer will go thru the nights receipts. Since most people pay by credit card it wouldn't be too hard for them to track down everyone who bought in that night and add them to the lawsuit. (Actually, if this was done after No. 7, the lawyers would just use the public records to find you.) They probably wouldn't prevail, but it would cost you a few bills for your lawyer to get you excused from the lawsuit.

                            1. come on people ... you take things to litterate ...

                              While I find it tacky, you can use this as another way to "tip" the cooks as well as tipping the wait staff.

                              M.

                              1. One of F&W's Best New Chefs has it as a menu item - don't believe it's a 6-pack as listed but called something like "a drink for the crew" - and the chef/owner has such a casual, pleasantly goofy approach to things other than his food that I just smiled when I saw it. Not worth getting out of sorts over; if it bothers you, don't order it. But I hope it doesn't change the way one tips. Serving staff work hard, and where we live, they seldom get hospitalization, paid holidays or vacation unless the resto closes completely.

                                I'm thinking it's time to find something else to be concerned about.

                                1. when i was a young professional many offices had a once a month after work get together, and alcohol was always served. a few lawsuits later and no one was serving alcohol, the insurance companies for the firms saw to that. I'm guessing the same thing is going to happen with this trend. It just surprises me that with the amount of liability exposure the restaurant would already have that they would be looking for more. And I'm guessing that the insurance they carry against being named for serving a patron does not include employees, but i'm not in the restaurant or law business, so who knows.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                    The shit would really have to hit the fan before restaurants stop including a drink or two a night as an employee benefit. Some places keep 12 packs of PBR on hand, others, the bartender or a server takes the order for everyone's shift drink at the end of the night. In one restaurant, management was so concerned about being on the up-and-up that tax on the value of our daily shift meal and shift drink was deducted from our paychecks whether we consumed them or not (the argument was it was too hard to keep track of everyone's consumption, and an employee not having both was pretty rare). Pretty much everyone ate a meal, and most people had a drink. I indulge in shift drinks much more rarely, and when I reminded the GM of this, he told me I should drink more. It's definitely part of the current restaurant culture. It certainly could change with time or lawsuits, sexual harassment is less tolerated in the industry now than Kitchen Confidential would have you believe it was 25 years ago, maybe eventually we'll get over encouraging nightly alcohol consumption too.

                                    1. re: babette feasts

                                      Food and drink is not really a benefit but is (along with tips) considered part of your remuneration and, as such, subject to withholding tax. The Worker's Compensation Ins. premium the employer pays is based on the total payroll and includes the value of meals.

                                  2. One of our "regular" restaurants in San Diego has also "Kitchen Brews" and we think it is a nice way, especially for regulars like us, to give them a nice beer after their work.

                                    http://alchemysandiego.com/images/din...

                                    1. The only thing that bothers me about this is that it IS another way for the restaurant to make money. The customer is still paying the marked up price for the beer. If it was the restaurant's actual cost for the beer, I'd have no problem with it.

                                      Too bad that'll never fly in my state, for example, where the price of a drink must be the same for everyone for 30 days.

                                      1. I read about this a while back in the NYTimes food section....something about show your apprec for the kitchen staff and buy them a pbr. PBR? Really? Is that appreciation? I didn't drink that crap in high school. And on other end of the spectrum, a $10 six pack? I'm pretty sure the kitchen staff gets a beer or 2 at the bar either gratis, or heavily discounted, or sends a minion out for reasonably priced beer from the liquor store to drink while doing breakdown. A cutesy, trendy, unoriginal me too thing. What respectable owner would have that on the menu?!!