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Starbucks Barista Gives Kidney To Customer - Customer Tips Extra Dollar

April 02, 2008 By: Editor Category: The Angry Waiter Nation 474 Comments →

Just kidding.

Sandie Andersen, a Starbucks barista in Tacoma, Washington did indeed donate a kidney to a customer recently - the comment about the extra dollar is just a little joke.

Andersen, who also helped with the Katrina clean-up, served customer AnnaMarie Ausnes regularly for three years. The two women often made small talk while Ausnes counted out change to pay her daily $1.52 tab, but their friendship never really grew beyond that. Then, not too long ago, Andersen’s customer confessed she need a kidney transplant and no one in her family was a match.

Andersen got herself tested, found out she was a match and offered Ausnes her left kidney.

Now, the guys at my Starbucks are great. They toss me a free cup of coffee now-and-again, maybe a free cookie here-and-there. But a kidney? I doubt it. Plus, I have the feeling these guys hit the bars a little too often for me to want one of their kidneys.

I’ve bought drinks for regular customers hundreds, maybe thousands, of times over the years. I’ve given them money for cabs, I’ve even walked them home and poured them onto their couch, but I doubt very much I could bring myself to give up a body part for one of them.

Normally, I’d say this story is a bit too “feel good” for The Angry Waiter. However, the woman gave up a kidney…she deserves to be recognized. So, here’s to you Sandie Andersen. What kind of a pin does Starbucks give out for that?

Starbucks Is Right - They Shouldn’t Have To Pay

March 28, 2008 By: Don Woolf Category: The Angry Waiter Nation, The Chicago Scene 1302 Comments →

starbuckstips.jpegI don’t usually side with corporate giants in fights with the little guys, like baristas, but something about last week’s $100 million judgment against Starbucks didn’t sit quite right with me.

The ruling stems from a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of California baristas who claim Starbucks unfairly and illegally forced them to share their tips with “shift supervisors.” According to the lawsuit, rather than pay their shift supervisors more out of the corporate coffers, the company used tips as a means of subsidizing the supervisors’ income. The complaintants say shift supervisors are managers and managers in the service industry are not to a share of the tips.

This is true. In restaurants, bars and coffee houses, managers are not tipped employees. When tips are combined and then split among servers, as with Starbuck’s tip pool, or when one tipped employee shares a portion of tips with another employee, like when a waitress “tips out” a busser, managers receive no cut of the tips. Many states specifically prohibit employers from forcing tipped employees to share tips with traditionally non-tipped employees.

The real question, though, is what is the role of the shift supervisor? Is the shift supervisor an actual member of the management team? (more…)

Coffee with Conscience

March 28, 2008 By: Editor Category: The Angry Waiter Nation, The Chicago Scene 116 Comments →

Like your coffee with a splash of social conscience?  Read this GapersBlock article about Crop to Cup, a for-profit company which helps family-farmers in Uganda raise, export and sell their coffee crops.

Jacob Elster, a 26-year-old Chicagoan living in Ukrainian Village, helped launch the company.

NBC Casting Restaurant Reality Show

March 19, 2008 By: Editor Category: The Angry Waiter Nation, The Chicago Scene 1271 Comments →

Interested in getting financing to open your own restaurant?

NBC will be in Chicago and in Washington, D.C. this Saturday, March 22, 2008, casting for a new reality show pitting two-person teams against each other with the final prize being financing to open a restaurant.

The only catch…the two people on the team must have some kind of prior relationship i.e. lovers, friends, co-workers.

Reality shows aren’t usually my thing, but I know if you took two restaurant people and put them up against any two non-restaurant people, the restaurant people win hands down.

I’m guessing a lot of the people who audition for this show are going to be the weekend-gourmet types…you know, the type of people who love to cook, love to eat out and who are told over and over by friends that they should open a restaurant.  Some do and six months later they’re out of business.

Somebody in the business should go for this.  If you’re interested, scroll to the bottom of NBC’s Casting Page.

Top Chef Chicago - Chicago Chef Wins Challenge - Audience Loses

March 19, 2008 By: Don Woolf Category: The Angry Waiter Nation, The Chicago Scene 434 Comments →

I’m not a big fan of Bravo’s series Top Chef - an hour of whiny chefs running around, pissed off, pathetically apologizing to a panel of judges because their souffle didn’t turn out…anyone who’s ever worked in a restaurant knows that scenario all too well…but, I’m watching this year because Season 4 is based in Chicago and is supposed to include a few Chicago Cuisine “twists” and I love watching so-called “Top Chefs” ruin my favorite foods.

Episode One lived up, or down, to my expectations.

The show began with the the contestants meeting at Chicago’s favorite tourist-pizza-trap, Pizzeria Uno. Let’s get something straight…Chicagoans don’t eat here. Most of us don’t even eat deep dish pizza unless we have out-of-town guests. We eat thin crust pizza and not those greasy, triangle-shaped “slices” they serve in New York…we eat our greasy pizza cut into squares.

The contestants’ first “quick fire” challenge was to create their “own signature deep dish pizza.” What a disaster. Sixteen experienced, trained chefs and not one of them even came close to making anything you could call pizza. One guy, Richard, put peaches in his pizza. Peaches, proving once again that though a chef may be cookbook smart, he or she may have no idea how to prepare food people actually want to eat.

On a brighter note: Chicago-resident Stephanie Izard, chef/owner of the now closed Scylla, won the first challenge with her rendition of Duck L’Orange. I’ll admit to bias here…I’m hoping a Chicago chef wins this thing.

The most disturbing part of Top Chef was the choice of guest judges. Rather than choosing guest judges from Chicago’s deep pool of culinary masters, the producers chose two people who represent everything that’s wrong with the restaurant business - Rocco DiSpirito and Anthony Bourdain.

You might remember DiSpirito from the NBC reality-sitcom “The Restaurant.” DiSpirito played a self-centered, egotistical hothead who ran around the restaurant insulting everybody who worked for him. He had an odd obsession with his mother’s meatballs. Hey, Rocco, cut the apron strings…get your own balls.

Bourdain is the author of “Kitchen Confidential,” a book I read and forgot years ago. I do remember him comparing himself and his kitchen crew to pirates, though. OK, we get it…you’re a tough guy chef…now go bake me a cake.

Padma LakshmiThe one redeeming aspect of this show and the reason I’ll keep watching, is Padma Lakshmi. This woman is hotter than a wasabi- habanero paste. Keep up the good work Padma.

Top Chef Chicago Premiers Tonight

March 12, 2008 By: Editor Category: The Angry Waiter Nation 50 Comments →

Alright all you chefs, cooks and foodies…Top Chef Chicago premieres tonight on Bravo 10/9 central.

As I understand it, contestants this season will be focusing on Chicago cuisine. I can’t wait to see how they screw it up.

Absinthe Is Back - Fans Go Crazy

March 12, 2008 By: Editor Category: The Angry Waiter Nation 47 Comments →

Absinthe, that long-banned liqueur thought to drive people mad, is once again allowed to be sold and served in the United States. Checkout the Chicago Tribune’s Article.

Robert DiNiro Opens Vegas Restaurant

March 12, 2008 By: admin Category: The Angry Waiter Nation 45 Comments →

Las Vegas has a new celebrity restaurant.

Actor Robert DiNiro along with partner/chef Agostino Sciandri this month opened Ago, a Tuscan-style Italian food restaurant, in the Hard Rock Hotel.

Robin Leach, celebrity hanger-on, was at the opening.  Read about it here.