Warm Southern Breeze

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Ever Had A Bad Restaurant Experience? Here’s What You Can Do.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 7, 2018

Ever been to a busy restaurant?

Who hasn’t?

By “busy,” I mean one with many customers/patrons while you’re there. It could be any style restaurant, of course, such as a fast-food place, but more particularly, I mean to refer to restaurants that have wait staff.

In such a busy restaurant, the place will typically be crowded, practically all seats will be filled at every table, and if there’s a bar counter with chairs, it’ll be filled up too. And  on football game days, some restaurants are filled to capacity, often just as much as they’re filled on weekends year round.

It seems eating/dining out is a type of American pastime. It’s common to hear others say “go there, try that, try the new dish” at this, that or the other restaurant.

Doubtless, at some time or another, at any type of restaurant, we’ve experienced slow or poor service, and even poor quality of food in some of them. Even the well-known Waffle House chain restaurant can have moments when they’re overwhelmed with customers, thereby stressing the cook and wait staff.

So, think about how long it took you to be seated, then be waited upon, then to get your drinks, and then food, and how well (or not) your needs were attended do during the meal.

With any crowded restaurant, the large number of patrons can overwhelm the wait staff, and the kitchen staff. Yes, it can be frustrating, but you’re hungry and/or have made plans or reservations, so you don’t want go to another restaurant – and often won’t. After all, you’re already there. And it’s a hassle to do that. Right? So, you settle, suffer, and endure the poor service.

The source of the problem, and the primary matter to be addressed is inadequate staffing. What is a proper ratio of waitstaff to customers? And what is a proper ratio of kitchen staff to customers? How many chefs and line cooks does it take to support a given amount of tables during peak hours? How many bussers and host staff are needed? How many bartenders? An effective staffing ratio is the answer to those questions and others related to effective, efficient service in a full house restaurant.

In a restaurant that seats 100 people, it would be absurd to imagine that only 1 waitstaff could effectively meet the needs of all 100 patrons. Similarly, it’d be equally preposterous to think that only 1 cook could effectively or simultaneously prepare enough food for 100 patrons. That’s completely ignoring the number of support staff like dishwashers, prep cooks, line cooks, etc. With proper support staff, a hostess to greet and seat new guests, a busser and/or commis waiter to serve water/fountain drinks, bus and flip tables, bartenders for alcoholic drinks, and food runners for salad/serving food, the number of tables a server can handle can be significantly increased.

Restaurant staffing ratios vary according to the restaurant style. In a diner style restaurant, an ideal waiter:table ratio might be 1 waiter to every 6-8 tables of 4 (24-32 people). In casual dining, the standard of service is somewhat higher, and because it takes longer for tables to “turn over,” the ratio decreases to 4-6 tables of 4 per waitstaff (16-24 people). And with fine dining, the level and quality of service and food is expected to be significantly higher, and may range 3-5 tables of 4 per waitstaff (12-15), maximum. Sometimes in fine dining restaurants, waitstaff ratios are even lower, so it might not be uncommon to have a ratio of 6-10 people per waitstaff.

Better, higher quality service requires a lower patrons to waitstaff ratio. That includes kitchen staff, which must also be increased in size to effectively meet the needs of dining patrons. Again, better quality service comes with increased restaurant staff – waitstaff and kitchen staff.

It’s a simple principle that to have effective and efficient service for more people requires more personnel, and it’s plainly evident. It’s true in every endeavor in life, whether in manufacturing, education, auto sales, or as a cashier at your favorite grocery store. And who hasn’t been at any well-known big-box mega-mart retailer and see 20 or more cashier lanes only to find 2, or 3 cashiers attending? Inevitably, behind those 2, or 3 open cashier lanes is a long, long, long, long, long, long, long line of increasingly dissatisfied customers who must wait, wait, wait, and then wait some more, just to be checked out.

Optimal organizational efficiency requires effective personnel staffing ratios in every instance. And it takes more people to deliver better, higher quality, more efficient service to an increased customer base.

So yes, it’s true… size matters.

Then why do some think that a smaller government can either effectively or efficiently meet the needs of 329,000,000 people? How can only 435 people effectively represent the needs of 329,000,000 people?

The simple answer is, they can’t.

I’m referring, of course, to Congress, and specifically, to the size of the House of Representatives

When Congress passed the Apportionment Act of 1911, they set the number of Members in the House of Representatives at 435, to become effective March 1913. The 1910 Census found 92,228,496 people in our United States, so at that time, the ratio of Citizens per Representative was 212,020 to 1.

Now, over 100 years later, it’s 756,322 to 1.

What if we used the same ratio as the Apportionment Act of 1911?

The size of the House of Representatives would be 1494.

Is that too many? Let’s increase the ratio.

At 250,000 per Representative, it would be 1314.

Still too many?

How about if we doubled it?

If Congress were to double the current size of the House to 870, the ratio would be well over 377,000 people per Representative.

And at 500,000 per, the size of the House would be 658.

Clearly, with the increase of our population over 100 years, and for the size of the House of Representatives to remain fixed at 435, there are plenty of people who aren’t being represented.

And just as clearly, Congress must address that gross inequity – the lack of representation.

Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 of our United States Constitution addresses apportionment (the act of assigning a proportional distribution of the number of members of the House of Representatives on the basis of the population of each state) and says:

“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.”

Of course, at the time that was written – 1787 – there had not yet been a census. And in 1790 – year of the first U.S. Census – population was 3,893,635.

Note also that the now-infamous “Three Fifths Compromise” as mentioned above was a concession to the Southern slave states, which had more people (free and slaves) than some Northern free states, but not more White (free) people. So because the matter was about taxation, if the slave states had to pay the “full rate” for slaves, they’d have to pay out much more money, so Southerners struck a compromise with Northern non-slave states to tax slaves – then identified as “all other Persons” – at three fifths the rate “of free Persons.”

The net effect of the Three Fifths Compromise was that it gave Southern states 33% more seats in Congress and 33% more Electoral College Votes than if slaves had been ignored, but fewer than if slaves and “free Persons” had been counted equally, and thus allowed slaveholders to dominate the Federal government until 1861. This graphic illustrates the change and progress of free-slave status of states & territories in the USA from 1789-1861.

While that clause and compromise still has bearing on us today (particularly for the Electoral College), for purposes of this matter, we’ll go back to the future.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the 2017 population of Los Angeles, California to be 3,999,759. They also estimated New York City’s 2017 population to be a little over twice that – 8,622,698.

Now think about it:
When that law was written in 1787, and three years later with the first Census, every person in the United States then could be fit into the metro Los Angeles area, and that New York City now is twice the size our nation was then.

That’s significant.

Again, the Census Bureau estimates our population to be 329,000,000. And between the time our Constitution was written and ratified, apportionment has changed several times. But it hasn’t been changed, modified, improved, or been more representative in over 100 years. More population, same number of Representatives.

Simply put, that is NOT equitable, neither is it representative, and that’s a problem.

It’s a BIG PROBLEM.

And, it’s an inherently anti-Constitutional problem.

Our nation’s founders gave us a process to have a voice in government by and through a process of representation in two ways, i.e., a bicameral legislature:
1.) The Senate, in which two Senators from every state would be mandated, and all Senators would be assigned into one of three alternating “classes” every two years, with a six-year term of office, and;
2.) A fluctuating, variable-sized body specifically apportioned according to population known as the House of Representatives, with a two-year term of office.

And in 1911, it was aborted.

Over 100 years ago, Congress then stopped the Congress (the House of Representatives) from growing and representing our growing people… even though our nation’s population has grown and multiplied over 3.5 times since 1911.

That’s NOT what the Founders wanted.

Again, when Congress passed the Apportionment Act of 1911, they set the number of Members in the House of Representatives at 435, to become effective March 1913. The 1910 Census found 92,228,496 people in our United States, so at that time, the ratio of Citizens per Representative was 212,020 to 1.

Now, over 100 years later, it’s 756,322 to 1.

I don’t think the Founders could’ve imagined 329,000,000 people in the fledgling United States. That’s 84.5 times larger than we were in 1790.

We need representation. We’re not being represented. We have a Constitutional mandate to represent the people.

From 212,020 people per 1 Representative in 1911, to 756,322 people per 1 Representative in 2018… that’s not representation, that’s deliberately gross misrepresentation.

It must change.

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