22 April 2007

How are you guys doing.....

It has come to my attention that some of you are disappointed with the lack of prodigious output on my blog. I do have to admit that my best laid plans have been foiled by my own devices. Hopefully, the current blog will appease your vociferous appetites!


I eat out a lot. I feel lucky enough to have a well paying job - so I spend my money on food. As such, I tend to notice quite a bit in restaurants. However, other than a short stint grilling grade E meet at Taco Bell, I have no experience in the food industry. So if I offend some, well I'll be aware of why you are spitting in my food the next time I eat at your establishment. But I don't think that I will offend - I hope to affect change!

My rant for the day deals with the number of times waiters and waitresses ask me "how is everything here." How do you think it is, you just put the food in front of me. According to my visual acuity, everything looks fine, but I have yet to try the food. Waiters and waitresses (oh screw this political correctness, henceforth you shall be know as servant), I'm sure would agree that constant updates on my food are not required. I don't need my servant to micromanage my food intake. Strange how when you actually need the wench, she is nowhere in site.

The real issue here is how non-productive this has rendered the economy. You laugh, but let's just do a little calculation and see. Let's say that the average meal in a restaurant takes 1 hour. Other than the initial order, your servant will come see you about 4 times. Let's assume that each of those visits take an average of 10 seconds. I say 10 seconds, because I would venture to guess that 3 of 4 visits result in a "ya, everything is ok". The other visit may involve your date deciding that she did in fact want the wine. So we can agree that, on average, 3 x 10 seconds of time has been wasted. Well, that seems fairly meager, doesn't it? Not so fast Matlock. When you consider the number of people in a restaurant at a given time, this really starts to add up fast. Let's assume again that in that 1 hour visit, there are another 50 tables to serve. Well, that now makes 25 minutes of wasted time in 1 hour! Wholly tumbling bolders batman! That is almost 50% inefficiency. Well, again, we are jumping ahead of ourselves. You see, that 25 minutes is collectively wasted through the number of waitresses. It is spread out so to speak. So, let's assume there are 5 waitresses serving those 50 tables. Now, we have a coefficient of waste - that I shall dub Υ - of 5 minutes per 60 seconds, or 1/12. So

Υ = 1/12

This represents about 8%. Wow! So, 8% of your servants time is spent in asking you "how is everything here", and you responding "fine". Imagine if you were the CEO of a fortune 500 company, and you were told that you could cut out 8% of your firm's inefficiency. You would probably immediately implement such a change.

It gets better! We are probably all aware of the debate in both Canada and the US to raise minimum wage. Well, a large percentage of minimum wage earners are waiters and waitresses. I realize that they have a lower wage scale - due to tips (and don't get me started with this) - but we could simply increase servants wages by Υ, or 8%, by asking them not to check in on tables. How freaking simple is that mes amis? I'm serious about this. I have seen it work - in Japan. While there, servants never came by the table to check up on us. They were however aware that should we call for them, that they should come and check up on us. You see, by simply planning for your client's needs, we can save servants from the unbearable strain of the evil of Υ.

You may now elect me as your Minister of Industry :)


Anonymous said...

Rich, I think you need to start eating at better restaurants, because it seems to me that if the quality of food were better, you wouldn't be worrying about the servants!

Anonymous said...

Hey Rich. I agree with the point of your rant but do take offence to the use of "wench" when describing a female server. Was that really necessary? I forgive. Also, you failed to mention that the servers come and ask how everything is when your mouth is full of food....what's that about? Do they have hidden cameras in the salt/pepper jars to know exactly when you put a piece in your mouth and then they attack? That's what's annoying. (I wonder how much half masticated food they view everyday?)

Anonymous said...

Here in MA. Servers make $2.63/hour. In my time as a server I made more money than most of my friends that held normal paying full time jobs. Brought $600.00 home from a 4 hour shift back in 2001. I also noticed that a lot of customers think we are mind readers. We do not know if you really want spicy mustard for your sandwich so we have to ask. Perhaps you should try serving sometime. The money is GREAT! It would also open up your eyes a little bit into their world. - Erin