When social media first appeared, restaurateurs worried that malcontents on their staffs would use the new soapbox to slam their employer. Little did the industry suspect that a good restaurant whine would become a staple of the new communications channels.
Today, enough citizen-journalists blog, tweet and post about their restaurant day jobs to form a sizable cottage industry. Most of it is pissy, to say the least. Take your pick of entertaining gripes from bloggers like The Bitchy Waiter, The Slightly Cranky Waitress, Server Not Slave, Stuck Serving, Would You Do That at Home?, Fuck My Table, I Got Stiffed and Waiter Rant.
Many of them have become veritable media stars, with books and paying Web gigs.
But the apparent objective is to entertain, not to get back at employers or customers, few of whom are ever mentioned by name. In the process, the kvetching can be a playback of how employees interact with customers and colleagues when no one’s looking.
Here are five that make you a fly on the wall:
Dinners From Hell (dinnersfromhell.com, @dinnersfromhell, Dinners From Hell on Facebook). Get a sobering reminder of what can go wrong in a restaurant by sampling this collection of dining-out horror stories, recounted by the guests, servers and chefs who witnessed them. Not for the faint of heart.
Bitchy Waiter (TheBitchyWaiter.blogspot.com, @bitchywaiter, Bitchy-Waiter on Facebook). Understand the frustrations of servers by viewing the industry through the eyes of an anonymous New York waiter.
Manuel T. Waiter (WellDoneFillet.com,
@ManuelTheWaiter, Manuel Thewaiter on Facebook). Being a Brit doesn’t hinder the anonymous Manuel from delivering insights into the tensions that fester between staffer and staffer or patron and server.
The Restaurant Managers Rant (therestaurantmanagersrants.blogspot.com/). If you wonder what managers may be thinking, here’s a peek inside their heads. The first line of a recent entry: “Getting ready to head in and talk to my boss to set the record straight.” And because the author is anonymous, he could be working for you. Well-written and insightful.
The Manager’s Office (themanagersoffice.com). If you were kidnapped by pygmies, how would your manager run the business in your absence? Here are some ideas that restaurant managers have shared among themselves. The site is intended to help managers become better at their jobs. In the process, they provide proprietors with an action list of how they could better manage their managers.