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Jun 17, 2014 03:36 PM

21 Things chefs wish they could tell you.....

Funny and accurate list of things most Chefs and restaurant people would love to tell you.

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    1. # 20 was my biggest pet peeve
      # 21 is spot on.... :)

      4 Replies
      1. re: petek

        What is the smallest window of time you should arrive before closing?

        1. re: melpy

          In all honesty if you are just coming in and want a "quick" meal, 30 mins prior to closing because that is about how long it would take to prep/cook a meal.

          If you are looking to "dine" have app's, soup, salad entree' etc. 1 hour prior to closing. You could probably squeeze in 30 mins before but honestly it's a pretty shitty move to pull.

          1. re: jrvedivici

            "In all honesty if you are just coming in and want a "quick" meal, 30 mins prior to closing because that is about how long it would take to prep/cook a meal."

            This 100%!!!

            1. re: jrvedivici

              There are some times when you arrive in a city or area late and there are few choices for a meal. To soften the blow of a late arrival I've seen two things done. See if you can get the food take-out or ask management if it would be OK to buy a round of drinks for the staff upon completion of their work. Or do both.

              I've had line cooks come out of the kitchen and thank us.

        2. I have no objections to any of this. It is all true.

          1 Reply
          1. Funny. A list for chefs of a very few select restaurants. In Most places none of this applies.

            1. Perfect! I loved hearing #21 being iterated by yet another food professional. If I'm ever fortunate enough to host any chef, they're getting dinner at my house, not haute cuisine. Why would I try to compete? All I can do, is what I do.

              And #1 was there for a reason. It *is* the #1 thing to consider before you make that reservation: can you afford the full freight or not? If not, go elsewhere.

              15 Replies
              1. re: mcsheridan

                I think restaurants should just add 20% service charge by default. It doesn't bother me if I know about it (though it DOES bother me if I don't notice it and I add 20% on top of 20% already added).

                Edit: this should have been a response about #1 not #21 (and not #20 as a previous edit of mine suggested).

                1. re: drongo

                  Edit: this should have been a response to petek who commented about #20 (not #21). Sorry.

                  #20 is about fools who come in to a restaurant and order a 5 course meal 15 mins before closing......

                  1. re: petek

                    Yes, you are right.... I was referring to #1 about tipping. I'm really losing it today... Sorry (a list of 21 items is apparently too much for me to keep straight).

                  2. re: drongo

                    Although our servers are paid less than minimum hourly wage, they take home far more money than any other employee in our restaurant! Tipping should NOT be mandatory in any establishment. It is a gratuity for excellent service and a necessary incentive for many not-so-professional servers.

                    1. re: elegraph

                      train your servers to be professional, don't put it on me and my tipping habits.

                      1. re: Bellachefa

                        Not sure why you think I'm putting this on you. Incentives are part of training and for servers that includes the desire to provide better service and, hopefully, better tips. How is that not professional? How do you think your service would be if tips were mandatory regardless?

                      2. re: elegraph

                        The are many ways to look at this subject with good arguments on both sides.

                        One interesting twist is that recent changes in IRS laws require built in tips for large parties to be paid via payroll which subjects those monies to all Federal, State & City wage taxes. As we all know, usually a % of these monies deducted are refunded after filing a tax return bases on one's adjusted income bracket. HOWEVER, many of the payroll taxes are not refundable.

                        From this standpoint, I would think governments at all levels would support a move to make all tips a fixed percentage paid through payroll.

                        How do Servers feel?

                        1. re: Tom34

                          All tips are taxable regardless of the size of the party.
                          The server is required to report their tips to their employer, which are added to their base hourly wage and subject to federal withholding, social security, medicare, state and local withholding. Under-reporting of tips is a HUGE problem in the restaurant industry and employers are generally required to pay the taxes and penalties on this unreported income.

                          1. re: elegraph

                            I know all tips are supposed to be reported Elegraph but I suspect that a significant % are not.

                            My question is would servers be better off at the end of the day with the current pay scale & voluntary tips which as you say are often under reported (OR) better off with the current pay scale and a fixed % tip all of which is reported and all withholding taxes taken out.

                            I know which camp the IRS falls into but I am not sure about the servers.

                    2. re: mcsheridan

                      Re #1 - If the true price of the of the meal is 18-20% more, then just add it to the menu. The list later says that every dish has been carefully priced out - so why not add that careful math to include paying the servers?

                      The point of tipping is that it enables the customers to evaluate the performance of the server - whether or not the server is specifically at fault for the service (i.e. kitchen issues). If owners/managers want to be the prime people responsible for their servers performance review then pay them fairly, charge appropriately, and be done with it. Don't whine on a list.

                      1. re: cresyd

                        Since that's unlikely to happen anytime soon in the US, I think it's perfectly in order to give tipping guidelines.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          First - as a standpoint of "I'm not going to tip because I think tipping is wrong" - then I do agree. This is the system we live in and thus chose to behave accordingly.

                          However - as a complaint made by chefs - who are potentially in a position to change the system implemented by their restaurant should they be a chef owner (as can be seen in numerous examples), I'm entirely unsympathetic.

                          1. re: cresyd

                            I agree. I don't think chefs are really all that worried about tipping. I know I'm not. In the current $15/hr minimum wage debates going on in Seattle, local restaurateurs have stated that their servers take home $25-$35 an hour, including the existing state minimum of $9+. I think chefs here may have to try a service charge or other change to the system, it is a huge concern. It will be interesting to see how it works out. I don't mind a service charge, especially if it helps raise kitchen wages as well - many prep cooks, dishwashers, even line cooks don't necessarily make $15 an hour now.

                        2. re: cresyd

                          Since we can't change the way things are done yet, we have to work with what is now; that means tipping.