Tweeting the food business

April 19, 2013 § 1 Comment

If you’re new to twitter it can be a confusing place to navigate, as one of the most popular forms of social media the site is rife with thousands of opinions, ideas, campaigns, messages, media articles and company advertising. So how do you find the ones worth following?

I have compiled the following list of twitter handles which may be considered a ‘must follow’ for those working in or interested in the food industry. The twitter accounts range from food magazines and companies to food lovers and those working in the industry. Some of the feeds included don’t specialize in food at all, rather focusing on events in the city of Melbourne – after all, you won’t make it far in any industry if you don’t know what’s going on in your own backyard.

1.)The Epicure – @EpicureATtheage

‘Victoria’s award winning food and wine selection’, the full print version is featured in The Age’s Tuesday edition.

From restaurant reviews, the rising stars of the industry and the new trends taking the food world by storm, this feed shows you where it’s at and where you should be. The Epicure is a must follow for those looking for the best Victoria’s food industry has to offer.

2.) Good Food – @goodfoodAU

‘Your essential companion to eating in, eating out and everything in between’

Fairfax’s good food works with the Epicure to present the annual awards for Melbourne’s Best New Places to Eat and Drink. The feed has food news, links to recipes and restaurant reviews. It is essentially the need to know for the Melbourne foodies.

3.)  @ZagatNYC

Going international now, I don’t think it would be unfair to say that everyone has a dream involving the great city of New York. This site is a source of all the places to eat, the articles to read and every place an avid food lover should check out.

4.)AG Hospitality Events – @AG_Hospitality

Staying international on this one, this twitter handle is held by a catering company in London. The page has job vacancies, for the travelling hospitality worker, articles on the industry and advertising for upcoming events.

5.) @coriandercater

The Coriander Cater, based in the U.S, uses the page to promote catering companies from around the world, provide expo and travel news and commentaries on businesses in the industry. If you have an up and coming event this page is worth checking out.

6.) @Broadsheet_Melbourne

‘A guide to Melbourne’s best cafe’s, bars, restaurants, shops and galleries’

What more can I say? This twitter account is perfect for the Melbournian looking for something different to do in the city, from the best coffee to the newest ‘go-to’ nightspot, you can find it here.

7.) @Melbfoodandwine

Melbourne food and wine festival offers an insight into Victoria’s unique culinary landscape. This twitter feed focuses on the events happening in and around Melbourne, promoting quality restaurants and other foodie blogs.

8.) @that’s_Melbourne

Know your backyard. If you don’t know what’s happening in your own city you won’t know what opportunities your missing – they present themselves at the strangest times and in the most unexpected places.

9.) @WFP

This feed looks at the bigger issue of ‘world wide hunger’. I included this handle because it is easy to forget that for some food is a scarce and necessary commodity. This page will keep you updated on what’s going on in the world and how you can contribute to solving this issue.

10.) @WaitressProbs

‘all those little things every waitress can relate to’

On a lighter note, this tweeter looks at all the irritating aspects of working in the industry. The tweets are entertaining and relatable, I would recommend this twitter feed to anyone in the industry who’s fed up with high maintenance customers and their obnoxious demands.

11.) Melbourne Picks – @BestofMelbourne

‘Real-time local buzz for restaurants, bars and the very best local deals available right now in Melbourne.’ Need I say more? The tweets offer good tips for university students and anyone else who may be a little tight on cash.

12.) @Melbournism

Tips from the locals are always a good place to start when you’re exploring a new city. Locals usually have knowledge which extends past the tourist traps to the little gems which are often overlooked and yet superior in both quality and style.  

If you know of any twitter accounts you think are a ‘must follow’ then feel free to leave a link in the comments section and I’ll check it out . You can also access this list on my twitter page through this link.










Quirks of the clientele

April 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

Unusually enough last Saturday saw me chained – metaphorically – to the till at the café, now why would this be unusual you ask? Well let me just say numbers are not exactly my strong suit, in fact there was a period of a few months in which I was officially banned from even touching the till. I have risen in the world since then.

Boring easily and with my mind seeking some form of stimulation aside from the menial talk of the weather and the customer’s day so far, I began to (for lack of a better description,) affectionately type-cast the customers. As the day wore on I found I was able to fit the majority of customers into a few broad categories, based on the way they ordered and their following interactions with the staff.

Cue my idea for my next blog post: observing the quirks of the clientele in their ordering habits. In the end I narrowed it down to ten types of quirk (or styles of ordering).

*Please note this post will contain sweeping generalisations.

1.) The fast talker – this customer will rattle off their order at a million miles an hour whilst handing you their money and simultaneously asking where the restroom is. This customer will switch between coffee, bar and food order, their order will be convoluted and unnecessarily complicated – naturally they will be confused and annoyed when you don’t get it right the first time around.

2.) The expectant afterthought – these customers will tell you half their order and expect you to receive the rest telepathically. When you arrive at the table with their food you will be greeted with a look of disappointment and a statement similair to ‘…oh I wanted bacon/mushrooms/spinach with that’. You will be expected to fix the ‘oversight’.

3.) The regular – they come in maybe five times a week and guess what? You’re expected to have their order memorized, and why wouldn’t you? After all, it is your life’s mission to please these people.

4.) The pseudo regular – They’ve come in four, maybe five times tops and somehow, they have come to expect you to know exactly how many sugars they take in their large, soy, decafe, café latte.

5.) The businessman/woman – ah, those in the corporate industry, the white collars if you will, their order is full of wants. ie. they want your full attention, they wanted their food yesterday and they want a discount – and they want it now.

6.) The always tactless tradesman – He’ll stomp through the door, carelessly treading dust, dirt and construction debris all through your lovely clean café. He’ll spend half his time ordering from a list (for those still onsite) and the other half staring unashamedly down your top.

7.) The seniors – They want everything specific, weak, and as hot as humanly possible.

8.) The dietary – Unable to eat anything on the menu without extensive substitutions. They want it all anyway. Better yet some of them have a habit of not only notifying you of their allergy but asking you what they can eat, because you must innately know the ins and out of their diet.

9.) The scatterbrain (a personal favourite of mine) –
Easily recognizable, this customer will come up to the till only to forget their order, or their wallet (often both), what coffee their ‘other half’ takes and even what table their on. Expect a blank stare when you bring the food to their table, their order has long since slipped their mind.

10.) The far too patient parent – Sometimes I’m inclined to wonder if parents have forgotten that children do not actually enjoy sitting in cafés. To a child a café is simply a place where they are confined to a chair whilst their parent sips a drink their apparently ‘too young to have’. Believe it or not, most children don’t find it fun. Of course many parents fail to grasp this concept as they run you around attempting to appease the screaming child with sugary treats, because giving the child sugar can only to help the situation…

So tell me, which one are you?

Egotists, they’re everywhere

April 9, 2013 § 1 Comment

They’re the customers who will complain about anything and everything. They’re the ones who will screw up their noses at the menu, even though they’ve been here a thousand times before. These are the people who will make cat calls across the café and snap their fingers to get your attention. Ladies and gentleman, may I introduce to you, the egotists.

Egotist; noun

1. a conceited, boastful person

2. a self-centered, selfish person

More commonly known by those of us serving your coffee as ‘that tosser on table nine’.

On a good day, you will encounter maybe one of these people, on a bad day it may seem that they make up your entire client base.

I was particularly unlucky on the job I worked a few weekends ago as I had to deal with not one over-inflated ego, but an entire table of them. Lucky me.

A last minute catering shift picked up on a Saturday afternoon brought me to a charming farm in the midst of the Yarra Valley countryside. The entire wedding was done by candle light and numbered a party of around two-hundred. It was as picturesque a wedding as I’ve ever been to and the couple obviously adored each other. This is one of the perks of the job, it lets you into some of the most intimate moments of a person’s life, suddenly your privy to an event which will become a stranger’s most treasured memory. It’s rare that you get to see such genuine and absolute happiness. Of course, there are always those who will find problems with even the most perfect of occasions.

One  particular table, located towards the back of the venue in what I can only guess was more strategic placement than happy co-incidence, decided to spend their night hassling the waiters, bar staff and really anyone else who would listen. Forgoing the open bar, inviting views of the rolling landscape and even the unusually decent band, these guests proceeded to spend their entire night voicing their various complaints loudly and without tact. As a direct result, my night progressed a little less smoothly than originally anticipated.

The tables first issue was that they were not receiving enough food, mind you they chose to voice this complaint just minutes into the event. This was the first indication of the impatient demeanor they would assume for the first half of the celebration. After half an hour of trying to placate these guests I was then faced with demands that we take the food to their table first – never mind the bridal party, or the diabetic woman sitting just two tables over. The next expectation however topped even this unrealistic idea as they then proceeded to request that we provide the food they wanted there and then; regardless of the menu. Needless to say there was now a fair amount of aggravated comments being thrown around in the kitchen by both wait and kitchen staff.

The guests did not, however confine their criticism to the catering as they continued to find issue with everything, from the dim lighting, the loud music and the fact that drinks must be ordered from the bar. I lost count how many times I explained that food and beverage were separate tonight – I was not their personal waitress and I did in fact have other guests to look after (unbelievable I know).

Ironically enough, halfway through the night the very same table decided to mix things up a little, now proclaiming that they were in fact full; we had given them too much food. Their problem now? They had no room for cake.

-Excuse me while I roll my eyes.-

It astounds me how people can be so self-involved that they fail to realize that the night does not involve around them, or to even consider that we had another two-hundred people to cater to.

These customers are the ones who will do your head in, they cannot be pleased.

Egotists are, in my opinion, the very reason for the phrase ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’.


Testing, Testing, 123

April 2, 2013 § 7 Comments

Hi guys, for those who might be reading this this is my first blog post ever, so go easy. The post will be more of an ‘about me’ as opposed to a story, intended to give you a small insight into what the blog is about and the person running it (me!). So here goes…

The purpose of my venture into the world of blogging will be to offer an alternative insight into the tough and often unfair industry that is hospitality. To achieve this some of my posts will aim to entertain, whilst others to criticize. A few of the posts will cover more serious aspects of the industry such as gender inequality and the overall old-fashioned mindset ingrained in the culture of hospitality. It is incredibly noticeable to those working in the industry that hospitality is one of the slowest changing in its’ attitudes towards, women, apprentices and treatment of staff.

But what then attracts so many to such a harsh environment? It’s not the money, it’s hardly the hours and it’s certainly not the conditions. I have raised this question many times to those I’ve worked with, it is in fact my favourite question to ask new employees, though the answer is usually the same. It’s the people, the adrenaline rush from service, it’s the ‘hustle and bustle’ which cannot be found in every workplace.

After five years in the industry I have gathered a considerable amount of experience in both front and back of house (for those unfamiliar with the lingo that’s front- waitressing and bar, and back – kitchen.) I have worked as an apprentice chef in a one hat restaurant, full time cook in a boutique café, a temp in wineries, a waitress in catering and behind the bar at numerous music festivals.

My most recent job is with a catering company and surprisingly it is one of the most interesting. The job allows me access to various events and often features high profile clientele, from high flying business men and women, to sporting clubs and enthusiasts.

What’s even more interesting than the people in attendance at these events however, is in fact the behavior which these ‘civilized’ people deem acceptable. From abusing the wait staff to the band member in the middle of his mid-life crisis asking the teenage staffer what time she ‘gets off work?’. The inebriated actions of the guests -and entertainers- are often outrageous and rarely anything less than interesting. As such I will also attempt to share with you some of the stories of the most outrageously difficult customers with whom I come in contact.

Finally it must be noted that due to both moral and legal obligations, and so as not to upset my employers, all people venues and companies will be kept anonymous.

I hope you all enjoy my blog as I attempt to both entertain and inform you. Any questions. comments or criticisms are welcome.

use in blog 2

Follow me on twitter- @CaitlinMcarthu1

*The picture included is me in my work uniform, only partially so the company isn’t recognizable. You might say I don’t look overly enthused; and you’d be right. Then again this was taken on the back of a split shift on a Saturday night, can’t say you can blame me now can you?