There has always been a rivalry in the restaurant game- front of the house vs. back of the house. This rivalry can manifest in many ways such as arguing who is responsible for what, who has the biggest work load, or who makes the most mistakes. This animosity runs deeper in the back of the house, in the trenches of a restaurant, and there are many reasons for this. First, cooks, dishwashers, and the like look at waiters as a bunch of money hungry pansies who only put in effort when there is tip involved. Back of the housers view waiters as superficial, image conscience wanna bees with no convictions and don’t stand for anything. They are also resentful that waiters get all the glory from all their hard work. Most importantly for waiters this restaurant thing is a transition to things bigger and better, they are unemployed actors waiting for their big break, students making party money for the weekend, or guys trying to meet chicks. For cooks the restaurant is there destination, their career- this is what they love. Now these are generalizations and I’ve met some very serious and competent waiters and some cooks who couldn’t care a lick about food and work to collect a paycheck, but as with any stereotype there is truth in it.
Through this rivalry a term has developed that is shared in restaurants across the country. It is a term cooks use to describe the stereotypical waiter: waitron. When a cook says waitron to another cook an image of a young lady with below average intelligence comes to mind. This kind of waiter gets away with murder because of her beauty and sex appeal. The following is a conversation I had a while back with a typical waitron who we will call Jen:
It was 4:00 pm on a Tuesday and the restaurant was empty and I saw Jen reading what looked to be a textbook at the waiters’ station, so caught up with my prep, I decided to strike up a conversation.
“Hey Jen what are you reading?” I ask.
“It’s something from school.”
“Oh yeah,” I say, “Where do you go to school?”
“Valley Community College,” she says
“What’s your major?” I ask.
“Well right now it’s Liberal Arts. But my plan is to transfer to a four year university and study law, I want to be a lawyer,” She says
“Wow,” I say, “that’s ambitious, what kind of law do you want to practice?”
“I want to be a persecutor,” She says firmly. At that I can’t help but chuckle.
“What’s so funny, you don’t think I can do it?” I decide to play along and erase my smile, “No, no on the contrary I think you would make a great persecutor. I was just wondering what drew you to the persecution.”
“I just have a passion for persecution” she says
“Really?” I say.
“Yeah, and the victims,” she says.
“The victims?” I ask.
“The victims need a persecutor,” she says.
“I can’t argue with that,” I say.
“I just think I’d make a great persecutor,” she says.
“I’m sure you will,” I say.
Just then two people walk in the restaurant, Jen sees them, leaves me at the waiters’ station and greets the patrons, “Table for Two?”
Life is bliss in waitron land.