Looking for experienced Nashville waiters

Jul 12th, 2006, 07:39 PM
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Looking for experienced Nashville waiters

My son is going to be a student at Vanderbilt in the Fall and is an experienced waiter. He plans on getting a job as a waiter while he is in school. We will be arriving in Nashville days before most students arrive and he would like to get a jump on applying for jobs.

We've only been to Nashville once so I am asking those of you familiar with the restaurant scene to make some suggestions for which restaurants he should apply to. Which ones would you say he has the best potential of making good money at? Which ones might have the better turn around? Are restaurants that are frequented by tourists better than those frequented by mostly students?

Even though he will be at VU, I understand the bus is easy to downtown, so if it will be worth his while to work in a restaurant not close to campus, he is definitely fine with that.

Thanks very much for your suggestions.
Juldie is offline  
Jul 19th, 2006, 12:18 PM
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Juldie is offline  
Jul 19th, 2006, 12:55 PM
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There are lots of good restaurants very close to Vanderbilt - I'd think he'd do better at those, which are supported by locals, rather than the tourist restaurants downtown.

It's been a couple years since we've been to Nashville, but The Trace is one such restaurant. I'd work there just to get to know the hostesses.
Brian_in_Charlotte is offline  
Jul 19th, 2006, 08:20 PM
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Any of the restaurants on & around West End Ave should, generally speaking, be within walking distance of Vandy. A few that immediately come to mind where tips should be decent to good: Mambo, Acorn (on 28th Ave), PF Changs & J Alexander's. There's another one next door to Mambo, but I can't remember the name of it.
Sid76 is offline  
Jul 20th, 2006, 02:49 AM
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Has he contacted the school about employment opportunities in town? They may have a job website he can look at now, as local employers may actually recruit at the school and may be very happy to be in contact with your son now so they have people lined up for the fall. If not, there may be a bulletin board in the student union, etc. (I can't imagine any place actually has these anymore but you never know...)

I would also get a hold of recent issues of local magazines (try Nashville Lifestyles at http://www.tennessean.com/NLS/pages/newsstands.shtml or
http://www.nashvillerage.com or http://www.nashvillemagazine.com which I just found with a Google search) that have restaurant guides and ratings, and pick the more expensive restaurants, as it would seem to me that the higher the prices the better the tips. There does not seem to be a Zagat guide to Nashville, but perhaps there is some other guide. Also go on chowhound.com and see what people say are good restaurants, that might be a good indicator as well, albeit again you have to go for higher-end places, IMO. He might also try the better hotels in town, like the Hermitage Hotel. Their expensive restaurants might be a good source of tips.

One of my sisters went to Vanderbilt but its been many years since I have been there, so I don't have any reccos, but did love the restaurant at the Hermitage Hotel (sorry, cannot remember the name, but I am sure it is no longer called that anyway, but they must still have a signature restaurant, that would be the one I would have him try).
Cicerone is offline  
Jul 20th, 2006, 08:02 AM
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I appreciate all of your input.

The Trace looks like a great restaurant to eat at and work in.

I was hoping some waiters could put their 2 cents in about expensive vs. less expensive restaurants and tips. I don't know that it is a no brainer that the more expensive it is the better the tips. I remember back in my day a deli that had unbelievable turn over was better for tips than a fancier one.

Cicerone- you gave me a chuckle. When I was at my older son's college last year and we were talking about how he was going to get home for a break, my husband and I suggested he go to the bulliten board in the union and look for a ride posted. He laughed and laughed at the idea of people posting things on a bulliten board and told me that that's what web sites are for.
Juldie is offline  
Jul 20th, 2006, 08:22 AM
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How many waiters earn enough money to travel so that they would be hanging out on the Fodor's travel boards? Perhaps a Vanderbilt message board would be better for getting the replies you are seeking.
padams421 is offline  
Jul 20th, 2006, 08:35 AM
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I don't know if this is the best place to seek advice about waiters in Nashville, but for my two cents I would try to work at any restaurant owned by Randy Rayburn and his restaurant group These include Sunset Grill, Midtown Cafe and Cabana. All are close to the Vandy area (in fact Sunset and Cababa are right across from the Trace on Belcourt) and well within walking distance to campus. Each time I visit one of these places the wait staff has been very impressive. Mr. Rayburn is a hands-on owner and can usually be seen at his restaurants. The tabs are usually at least $100 for dinner so tips should be good.

There are many restruants in the Vandy area your son could walk to. I don't know about taking the bus. In Nashville public transportation is not the greatest. Congratulations on your son getting into Vanderbilt! It's a great school.
smoot60 is offline  
Jul 20th, 2006, 08:37 AM
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I was so excited when I saw this post because I just finished at Vanderbilt! I was not a waiter but I did have freinds who waitered at different places.

Amerigos is a decent Italian restaurant right by campus and is always busy. The tips there are VERY good because everything is overpriced and it is known for its drinks. They also hire lots of students and understand student schedules.

Mambu is another place a little further away but very cool and my friend who worked there got awesome tips. Very chic.

And another note. I would stay close to campus. It is easier, the bus is unreliable and there are tons of kids with too much money to spend (as well as the belle meade elites).

He is going to have a blast in Nashville!
SGBrou is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 04:46 AM
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SGBrou -That is fantastic advise. He is so psyched to leave (20 something days; he certainly knows)! One quick question for you since you graduated VU. He has work study and was looking over the list of work options on campus and was thinking maybe he should do some hours on campus like in the dining hall (also save some money on meal plan)because he can fit that in so easily around classes and wait at a restaurant off campus some nights. What do you think of splitting his working hours with an on campus job?
Juldie is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 04:52 AM
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Not going to VU- but from experience, an on campus job is good as a back up plan if the off campus job falls through- or if the hours go bad. Also- money on campus usually isn't as good as off (like SG said- TIPS and people w/more money than sense) but sometimes the perks alone are worth it (free food)
Hope he has a great time at VU!!
mooselywild is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 09:20 AM
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An on campus job is a good idea. I had an on campus job with the admissions office and loved it. I had a friend who did the cafeteria job and that is a little less friendly because there are so many students in that program but if he is experienced that may not matter.

Other options are the computer labs (which you can do homework in and are really easybut somewhat boring) and the admissions office which is more involved and rewarding with down times for keeping up with classwork and more daytime hours than the computer labs.

Another better cafeteria job is if you can work the athletes cafeteria (can't think of the name). It is much nicer and there are fewer people so you don't get lost in the crowd. And you get the same discounts for much nicer food!

No matter what, the campus is very good with flexible hours and decent pay. Let me know if I can help you out with anything else.
SGBrou is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 02:04 PM
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I had several on campus jobs when I went to Vanderbilt- admissions office, library, and worked in the psychology dept. It is a lot of fun to work on campus and is fairly easy to get a job. My daughter graduated from Vanderbilt several years ago and worked on campus also.

One thing to watch out for is that the classes can be pretty demanding so don't work too many hours.
Saraho is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 02:10 PM
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Vanderbilt is surrounded by restaurants, on West End Ave and 21st Avenue into Hillsborough Village. Simply walk around and pick up applications.
Gekko is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 08:12 PM
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I realize there are lots of restaurants in the area. The point of my post was if anyone knows the restaurants well enough to comment on which ones a waiter would be more likely to make a lot of money at. For example, restaurants geared more towards tourists or students?

Thanks to many posters my son has some great ideas!
Juldie is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 08:33 PM
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The higher the average check, the more he will make it tips. Both tourists & students tip the same, 15-20%.

Good luck!
Gekko is offline  
Jul 25th, 2006, 02:44 PM
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There is a terrific breakfast and lunch place just off the Vandy campus -Pancake Pantry. By no means is it fancy or expensive, BUT he could work there Saturday and Sunday, walk to work, they have lines snaking onto the street, and they turn their tables quickly. The breakfasts are to die for. I am seriously thinking of visiting my daughter's friend at Vandy just for the yummy breakfast. It seems to me this would be a great place for college kids and they probably have a lot of turnover. If nothing else, he could try Pancake Pantry while he is scouting for a better place.
aliska is offline  
Jul 25th, 2006, 03:26 PM
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It is not necessarily true that the higher the check, the higher the income for the waiter will be. Many very high end places have so much staff, that waiters have to share huge portions of their tips and may be only servicing two tables at a time to begin with at a place that at most will only have two seatings. At a really trendy but mildly expensive restaurant on the other hand, the table may turn over three or four times in a night, and the waiter may have several tables, and fewer people he has to tip out. He may get 20 tips in an evening averaging $25 to $50, as opposed to getting four tips that average $75 or $100. You do the math.

A friend of mine worked at several really high end places. He made a lot of money there. He makes a ton more now at a much less expensive place that remains very popular and very busy.
Jul 25th, 2006, 03:34 PM
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I waited tables through undergrad, law school & business school, at various restaurants in Nashville.

In my extensive experience as a Vanderbilt student & server, the higher the average check, the higher the take-home tips.

If anyone else has waited tables in Nashville around Vanderbilt and has had a different experience, please do share.
Gekko is offline  
Jul 25th, 2006, 03:35 PM
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Aliska mentions another great restaurant. There is always a line out the door to have breakfast there. My favorite place to go when I went there and I miss it so much now. It wouldn't hurt to try that (it is in Hillsborough Village, walking distance from school) however, be aware most of the waiters there have been there forever and very few students have gotten jobs there, not to say that your son couldn't. Just wanted to let you know that they pride themselves on keeping there waiters for a LONG time.
SGBrou is offline  

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