Restie Advocate: Epilogue

When people ask me what it is I do as a restaurant industry employee advocate I tell them it usually boils down to me being the guy at the party that tries to convince the non-tippers to treat their server like a human being. I’m also the guy at the party that plays comedy songs about working in restaurants that promote an attitude of dignity and respect towards restaurant workers. I also make phone calls on behalf of restaurant employees who are being mistreated by their managers. That’s always fun.

When I go out to eat or even get a togo order I help the other patrons in their understanding of the plight of the American restaurant worker by explaining the tip system and the various demands placed on togo personnel and other FOH staff members. Even while standing in line at fast food places I have been known to correct the attitudes and behaviors of some of the other customers who were treating the employees rudely.

Occasionally I will contact a large corporation if their policies or ad campaigns have a negative impact on restaurant workers. Anheuser Busch used to run an ad for Bud Light called ‘The Patron’ that depicted an impatient customer in a busy restaurant tripping her server in order to get his attention. I wrote them and explained that even though it was clearly a jest it was still in poor taste to depict people treating waiters with such disregard for their safety and personal dignity. I’m not sure exactly what they did in response but I never saw that commercial again. When certain Brinker concept unit managers were forcing their employees to work while sick and firing those that called in I contacted them and let them know that the organized protest that would be held outside their store would be a lot worse for business than being shorthanded for a few shifts would be. Again I’m not sure what the effects of that were but I’m pretty sure they took it seriously. And they should have. Because I’m just crazy enough and care enough about my brothers and sisters in the business to organize that protest.

Denny’s is the latest object of my ire. They’re showing these new ads called ‘The Math’ that show a Denny’s customer figuring out how to best spend his ten dollars. Should he buy two items that cost $4 and one that costs $2 or should he buy one $6 item and one $4 item? Personally I’m thinking that if he only had ten bucks he should get some 99 cent super value items at Wendy’s instead going to any full service restaurant. You see there’s one element left out of all his equations and that’s the TIP.

By insinuating that a Denny’s customer can buy five $2 items with their ten dollar bill they are basically saying that you don’t have to tip at Denny’s. If there are any Denny’s servers that read this please leave a comment to let me know how you feel about it. The odds are pretty good that you are as in favor of it as I am.

Recently I sent Denny’s an email asking them to either quit running those spots or edit them in such a way as to reflect consideration for tipping. I’ll let you know if that gets any results.

In the mean time if you are a restaurant industry employee and are suffering some sort of injustice or indignity that I can maybe help you out with then please let me know. I will do what I can to fight the good fight on your behalf.

 

Dignity and Respect

Me, the JerBear

14 Comments

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14 responses to “Restie Advocate: Epilogue

  1. I’m very into your Restie advocacy. For years I’ve envisioned a world where corporations could band band together and create a standard code of conduct that would be required of all businesses and in this way they would no longer be held hostage by ridiculous entitled-empowered-deluded idiot customers who may “take their business elsewhere”. It would be nice because disgustomers are now empowered to the point that they feel free to threaten service-workers if they feel like it, and corporations basically adapt to this behavior by LETTING THEM and insisting that service workers tolerate this degrading dehumanizing bullshit.
    I think that you may be starting in the right place to actually bring about a change: if the restaurant workers band together, the corporations will have no choice but to eventually start acting decent.

    I’m going to look for some of the commercials that you’ve cited, I’m curious to see the Bush one, AKA the it’s-okay-to-physically-assualt-a-server one.

    Oh, and I’ve corresponded with Miss Effy, thank you for referring me to her she’s been such a guardian angel in my recent endeavors.

    • Thank you for your vote of confidence in my cause, mate. There are some days when I feel like an idiot for fighting a clearly lost cause. Doesn’t stop me from doing it though.

      ‘Disgustomer is still the word of the day (and will be until I find a better one).

      And the Bud Light ad is still available on the internet. Just google ‘the patron’ and you’ll find it. To be fair it doesn’t come out and say that it’s okay to trip a waiter and it doesn’t exactly promote dignity and respect to us either. My new buddy Steve at AB told me that lots of people enjoyed humorous ads but that’s about all.

      • I found it!
        I suppose you are right in that it doesn’t exactly condone tripping waiters, but I still find it offensive. I find everything offensive. I’m sure that it would have been received differently if it was a waitress and some white-collar business jerk reached out and slapped her ass to get her attention. Then people would see it as a violent act as well as sexist since it was perpetuated against a woman and they’d take to the streets crushing beer cans in effigy.

        I personally take offense to any sort of media that glamorizes being bitchy and not behaving as a decent customer as well as a decent human being. In a world where the only role-models are reality television jerks who do nothing but hit each other get into verbal confrontations all the time I’m ready to attack any source that would portray a physcial assault on a waiter as humorous and subsequently empower every piece of white trash that thinks their life is Jersey Shore or Real House-whores of Wherever to behave similarly because it makes them cool and television has said it’s acceptable.

        Besides, it would have been just as funny if she got his attention by showing her boobs…. ….oh wait, gratuitous sex. Not acceptable. Better stick with the act of violence.
        It was still a funny commercial, it’s just too bad that idiots don’t know to not take it seriously.

  2. “By insinuating that a Denny’s customer can buy five $2 items with their ten dollar bill they are basically saying that you don’t have to tip at Denny’s.”

    This.

    Great work with your dedication to server advocacy… I’ve always felt the same way and at one point led the way a law suit against a former employer that was taking advantage of its waitstaff employee. The one thing I’ve always dreamed of was the formation of a waiter ‘union’ that would protect servers from this and many other hazards of the job. Waiting tables is hard enough as it is..

    I enjoy your blog and will link to it.. keep up the awesome work!

  3. I have not seen the Denny’s commercial but I would have to agree 100% that it is WRONG on so many levels.

    My husband used to work part time as a DJ at a country western bar [no comments please, it was fun] and one of the best things he always said while up in the booth was “Please don’t forget to tip your servers” – and it worked. They always liked when he worked.

    Denny’s should’ve incorporated something similar in their ads. At least a disclaimer at the bottom.

  4. An Educated Server

    I love it!

  5. My entire blog is about injustice and indignity. 🙂

    Denny’s sucks.

  6. Historically Crazy

    I’m not a waitress, nor do I even work in the restaurant business, but when I saw that commercial I couldn’t stop thinking “But what will he tip if he spends his ten dollars???”

    • Then you my dear win the Non-Industry Head In The Right Place Award.
      Location: On your shoulders.
      Not: up your ass like the Denny’s flacks who came up with that commercial.

      BTW they still haven’t gotten back to me. Guess they don’t care about ‘keeping’ me as a customer. Keeping meaning I think I’ve eaten at a Denny’s about one time in my life.

      Thanks for reading, HC. I look forward to your comments in the future.

  7. Cat

    I used to work at a Denny’s, and the tips were atrocious. That commercial? About accurate! I usually had the midnight-6am shifts, Friday and Saturday, and the occasional midnight-2am on Sunday. For my 6 hour shifts (where the restaurant would be PACKED from about 2-4:30am), I counted myself lucky if I walked out of the place with $60 (this is with a full 7 table section with constant turnover). The few times I worked Sunday mornings? *shudder* I think I averaged $40 (again, 7 tables, high turnover). I even left a busy 5 hour shift with $15 one time.

    Needless to say, I got out of there as fast as possible.

    • Damn, that’s terrible. I assume Denny’s is like all other corporate restaurant chains and they pay their servers as little as the law allows ($2.13 in most cases)?

  8. Alex

    in Australia there are few to no tips and most people get minimum wage which is good but when i go to the states i always tip 20-25% tip any way i think for you guys at least there should be a resurant workers union to get a decent wage and what not

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