The Restaurant Part 4 by Julian

The Hyena

For me, it was a golden age at the restaurant. I had become an integral part of the staff. Performance review was coming up, and the only thing I was really worried about was my tendency to stray from the protocol we were taught to use on every table. I had my own system, and thought that it suited my tables and I very well.

One evening, the main owner, “Damien,” came into the restaurant to dine with a few friends. Damien was feared at the chain of restaurants he owned, mostly because he was curt and had the intimidating presence of an unfed hyena. However, Damien had always been nothing but nice to me, and often gave me the impression that he may have even been interested. Once, when food was on the line for one of my tables, he proceeded to gently jab me in the side and whisper, “Julian, your food is up.”



This particular evening, his party sat outside, and they drank a bottle of wine and some cocktails, chatting about the things that gay men on patios drinking wine talk about. None of the owners at the restaurant ever get checks at the end of the night, and only really need to tip. The owners all usually leave a twenty-dollar bill. Damien left me two, and something rather interesting – a discount card for a gym membership.

It would have been offensive if it had not been amusing. Yeah, I put on some weight since starting at the restaurant, where the prerequisite for anything on the menu was to bread it and fry it at least once, but come on – an extra juicy tip and monetary help getting me onto a treadmill? Of course, it could have been entirely coincidental, but I was not convinced.

“Christina,” the general manager, did my performance review the next day, and gave me two pieces of advice, via Damien, about how I could improve my service. Of course, like an expert critic, she gave me the good news first – I was well-liked, I was funny, and I had quickly become one of the strongest servers at the restaurant. Damien, however, felt that I needed to clean up my appearance, and that I could stand to up-sell the menu a bit more. Actually, his exact words were “You sometimes look a little sloppy.”  Story continues after the jump.


It was funny to me how my appearance had suddenly become an issue at the restaurant thanks to Damien’s special (or unintended) interest in me. Putting all the pieces together with Michael, it suddenly dawned on me that I was somewhat of a “sloppier,” less-fit version of Damien’s boyfriend. It made sense, in a way, but it was also somewhat of a discomfort to know that I had been criticized based on that rather than my skill as a server.

A few weeks went by, and it was a slow night at the restaurant. We were down to five servers, and all of us were killing time by covertly checking our phones through our aprons or chatting carelessly behind the server station. Cell phones were a major no-no while on the floor, but we all carried them in our aprons, anyway. Mine had been ringing incessantly for five minutes and when I checked to see who kept calling, I saw that it was my mother.

Jane, the manager on duty, was up front talking to the hostess, “Genine,” so I went to the back where the office was and dialed my mother quickly in the stairwell. As soon as I got a hold of her, she began asking me questions on how to use her remote control. I quickly gave her instructions and tried to get off the phone, but who should walk by at that moment but Damien, in for a quick pit stop to pick up some papers.

“Julian,” he said as he walked by. “Are you on the phone on my time right now?”

“No,” I said quickly, hanging up and flashing a smile in hopes of manipulating him into forgiving me.

But I did not say it quickly enough or loudly enough because at that moment he turned into the hyena that everyone claims to have seen but has been a phantom to me and snarled his twisted yellow canines at me and yelled, “ARE YOU ON THE PHONE ON MY TIME RIGHT NOW?!”


Now sensing that no answer would please him, I turned around and darted back onto the floor, my heart racing wildly. Later, Jane let me know that there was a note on the manager’s wall upstairs that said, “If any server is caught on his cell phone, FIRE HIM.”

I had not expected such drama over such a little thing, but I definitely felt like the honeymoon was over. The following week, it came up at every staff meeting that any server who was caught on their cell phone while on a shift would either be pardoned for the day or pardoned forever. Everyone would smile at me coyly, but even days after my encounter with Damien I could still see him, his eyes bulging out of that pale face, the veins screaming from underneath his forehead.

The following week, during a slow lunch shift, “Pam,” “Brett” and I were instructed to marry malt vinegars in the server station. The server station was also home to the sound system and the amplifier that controlled the music for the entire restaurant. It was perched precariously beneath the main counter where we were directed to marry the malt vinegars.

While working to combine the malt vinegars, As I turned my head towards the door to watch a family walk in, a few ounces of the liquid splashed onto the counter. As if directed by the gods, it made its way towards the edge of the counter, down the side, and like a poisonous venom, into the top opening of the fourteen hundred dollar amplifier.


The machine sparked, popped, and the music throughout the entire restaurant stopped. As if in a horror movie, I turned my head slowly to look at what had happened, and despite the distinct clarity of the situation, as you could literally see the trail from A to B, in my mind all I could see was Damien’s predatory hyena eyes.

To be continued…

14 Comment

  • Hi Julian–

    The drawing and description of the hyena made me laugh out loud! Good job!

  • Damien sounds like a real asshole. I would quit and find a job where my boss didn’t touch me inappropriately or disrespect me with discount cards to the gym as tips. It was just his asshole way of making you feel smaller than himself. “sloppy” is one thing, I mean comb your hair, shave your stubble, tuck in your shirts, etc, loose weight for his benefit…inappropriate either in said remarks or by implied actions.

  • well, i dislike this series, but being a loyal PoPper, i cant help but read each and every single post!!

    damien may have been a little less than diplomatic, but maybe he has a point… if i owned a restaurant, i wouldnt be too happy with a fat sloppy waiter who does things his own way (my system be damned) either…

  • I like the series and love the drawings. Why are so many managers in retail and restaurants such a**holes anyway? Get over yourself. You can have rules and enforce them without being a jerk.

    Julian, give me a call. let me hook you up in the non-profit world where we sing kumbaya all day and sloppy is the norm!

  • hmm…well then cristobal I guess you approve of Hollister’s hiring policy then?

  • Oh hell no Cristobal…. I know from experience working with Julian that Damien really is that intimidating and his actions/comments were not justified in the least. If you saw Julian you would not think he was fat nor sloppy. Ok I mean we all would get a little sloppy when you’re in a hurry and spill something and your shirt is stained and when you stand next to a table the guests are staring your stains in the face… but that can’t possibly be our fault, we’re running around like crazy to serve you!!!

    Great post once again Julian, we must get drinks soon!

  • I like the series, probably because I can relate as a former server. Management can be such a**holes!

  • im sure julian is far from fat and sloppy, so dont take anything personal from my comments…surely you can see the bottom line though. if the owner/manager/whatever higher up than you who is in charge thinks that you are not meeting the standards of your place of employment, then you should probably either a. work to reconcile your short comings or b. find a new job.

  • well, i think that from reading the story, damien was so harsh with julian more because he LIKED him rather than because julian is ACTUALLY fat and sloppy. does anyone else get that impression?

  • Thanks son, for outing me as the technology retard that I am. And readers, please spare me the comments on the use of that word, I refer only to myself and I am what I am…WOW

  • Great job once again. Yes, Damien is a total asshole and cares about the most ridiculous things. I will also agree that Julian has never looked either fat OR sloppy and takes care of his tables like a professional (owner system be damned….). Perhaps one should not comment if one does not know what one is talking about, eh?

  • maybe one should know his or her place in a work environment when they are not their own boss, eh?

  • Well, maybe as a boss, one shouldn’t be flirting with their employees ;).

  • i still like the drawings the best, can you just do the future editions entirely via cartoons? …seriously.

    it is particularly amusing that you thought he wanted you to lose weight because of the gym discount… you are THIN! what has happened in our society where we now have even “petite” young men worrying about their weight?? it’s a sad, sad day for America.

    isn’t it the privilege of being boss to be able to flirt with your single employees? i thought that was the whole point of selling your soul to the management demons: 401K, dental and license to flirt with cute employees… no?

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