UnderCover Waitress: Walk a Shift in My Danskos

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Walk a Shift in My Danskos

At great risk of giving this more attention than it deserves, found a (for lack of a better word) offensive comparison of waitress work and pizza delivery work. Parents are advised to not compare their children, and teachers are advised to not compare their students. The restaurant industry is well-advised to not compare different jobs. However, Pizza Writer has compiled a comparison of waitress duties and pizza delivery duties that belittles the waitress, whether that was the intention or not. The chart is grossly inaccurate and unfair.

The point is to get people to tip pizza delivery guys the same as they would tip a waitress in a full-service restaurant. He claims that the two jobs are essentially the same, which is hogwash.

So, decided to put together my responses to Pizza Writer's description of my job. I do not claim that the job of the pizza delivery person is easy, but I do claim that it is not comparable to waitressing. Am willing to bet that anybody who had performed both jobs at different times in life would agree with me. The two jobs are different.

The words after each "Waitress" are my own.

First, General Duties.

Waitress: Must greet all walk-ins and expected customers with a smile. She must be willing to answer questions and be gracious regardless of how busy she is. When the hostess is busy, she may have to stop and seat people. 
According to Pizza Writer, Delivery Guy: Finds the customer's house, finds a place to park, and knocks on the door. The customer is usually not ready, so you must knock again and wait a few minutes in any kind of weather. 

Am wondering if the pizza delivery guy is wearing appropriate clothing for the "any kind of weather?"  

Waitress: Budgets her time carefully to explain the specials to each table, answer questions, and be gracious no matter how busy she is. She takes a drink order then either fills it herself or gives the order to a bartender. If working with a bartender, she will return to the bar to pick up the order. When returning to the table, the customer is usually not ready to order so she must approach numerous times. 
According to Pizza Writer, Delivery Guy: Takes the customer's order over the phone and describes current specials.

Waitress: While waiting on numerous tables at one time, the waitress must respond to the kitchen's call to pick up the order and serve the table. For larger parties, she will either walk back and forth many times, or balance six plates on her hands and arms. 
According to Pizza Writer, Delivery Guy: Serves the order at the customer's door. Gives customers their drinks, although fewer delivery customers order drinks. Asks the customer at the door if things are okay with the order. Delivery customers order greater quantities, so refills are not necessary.

1) I have never had a delivery person ask me if the order was satisfactory. I have had to call the pizza joint because the wrong pizza was delivered; the delivery guys tend to leave quickly. 
2) Refills are not necessary with delivery orders not because customers order more, but rather because the pizza guy's job does not include sticking around to offer refills. 

Waitress: Must approach table again to find out if they want anything else, then politely leave the bill if they decline to order more. 
According to Pizza Writer, Delivery Guy: Gives customer the bill. 

It goes on and on like this. 

As a waitress, I do more than just vacuum a carpet at the end of the shift. We vacuum a large dining room, sweep and mop the floors, clean the bathrooms, clean and restock the bar, polish silverware and glassware, clean the coffee area and restock coffee and teas, clean the bread area... Pizza Writer seems to feel that my sidework is limited to vacuuming and wiping and resetting tables if I don't have a busser doing it for me. What a cush job that would be. 

Let's move on to his second part: Dynamics. 

I did not know until I read Pizza Writer's comparison chart that I get to walk all of 40 feet and on a carpet, no less. In reality, I walk around a full dining room all night long, on both carpet, floor, tile, etc. I walk on the wet, slippery floor in the dish room. I walk in the kitchen and in the dining room. We waitresses tend to invest in $120 Dansko shoes that maybe we can't afford, but they are slip-proof and orthopedic and worth every penny. 

Yes, I keep my "pens and shoes in working order." I also keep my car in working order; most people drive or take the bus to work. 

Obviously, Pizza Writer has not been exposed to restaurants that offer al fresco dining. This must be why he thinks we stay inside during the shift. And don't start on the "inclement weather" stuff. I've broken down many an outside dining area in the rain. I've run downstairs (which involves walking down an outside path) in the snow to get ice or other items from storage. 

I also don't know where he gets the idea that 45 minutes is an "average customer visit." When people go out for a nice dinner, they usually take a minimum of two hours. I had a 12 top the other night who sat around the table for 4 hours. 

I recognize that Pizza Writer believes it is "no problem" for me to walk one pizza 40 feet. If that were what I was doing all night, I might agree with him. I am more likely to walk four plates at a time, back and forth for three courses. 

Third: Rate of Pay

When we waitresses are cleaning the bathroom and everything else in the restaurant at the end of the shift, we are still making our tipped employee wage. I notice that Pizza Writer states that when the delivery people are not driving, they get bumped up to minimum wage. And their driving wage is higher than my tipped employee wage. 

Pizza Writer asks, "What's wrong with this picture?" A lot, starting with the ridiculous belittling of the waitress job duties. Pizza delivery and waitressing are not similar jobs as the writer claims. They are not comparable. 

Traditional Wood Clogs
To his credit, Pizza Writer says he does not intend to insult waitresses. Unfortunately, he has failed in his attempt to not be insulting. Perhaps he should walk a shift in my Danskos before passing judgment on how easy or similar to delivering take-out pizza my job is. 

Word to the wise: everything is not always what it looks to you on the surface. If you would like to be paid as a waitress or waiter, try working as one.

Take a poll and tell us what you think:

Is the Tip the Pizza Guy Comparison Chart Fair?


  1. I try to tip delivery guys 15% and try to tip "in-house" servers 20% - but in general I do 20% for everyone because I can't imagine you want to piss off a delivery guy anymore than you so a server by being a shitty tipper

  2. Jeez.

    He isn't belittling waiters/waitresses. Just saying that people who tip $1 should probably think about how much they tip a server - because they both deserve it, and it's an expected part of the social contract.


Please share your thoughts.