Friday, 11 May 2007

The Strange and Fantastic World of Mr Chow

Chow down motherfucker!

On Monday this week, 3 New York waiters filed a lawsuit against their former employer, one Mr Chow. Which is a tremendous name for a restaurateur. The Irish equivalent probably being something like "Mr Scran", which wouldn't be as appealing.

Now, when I first heard this story I assumed that it was related to all the usual bad practices and problems of working in a restaurant, poor wages, stiffed on tips, long working hours and so on. But I was so wrong. Mr Chow's restaurant do thing some what better than the average, even when it comes to abusing it's employees, allegedly.

Mr Chow considers himself to be the conductor of his waiters movements. His company website modestly describes him as a "Living Legend" and a "Renaissance Man", which is nice I suppose. He also knows how to charge too, wine at his London restaurant starts at ten quid a glass. He should be getting dragged through the courts for that alone. Seriously, this guy has Napoleonic issues.

Anyway three ex-employees had enough of him and decided, in true American spirit, to sue his ass off. Well $5m of his ass-ets. The lawsuit, filed in Federal Court in New York on Monday is for the following:

  1. Unpaid overtime
  2. Tips that weren't paid as punishment for things like speaking out of turn. Tips were also used to pay managers
  3. Failing to pay minimum wage
  4. Abuse of his staff including yelling and shouting. You would get balled out for failing to make eye contact with the great one. The Lawsuit alleges he used "degradation as a management technique". For example on one occasion he wrote all over the waiters uniform and sent them out on the floor to take orders. These being the $350 uniforms that the waiters had to purchase themselves. He would tap the waiters on the head or chin to make sure he had their attention.
  5. On another occasion Mr Chow is accused of "forcing Costin Dumitrescu to lie on the wooden floor in the middle of the staff meeting for about 40 minutes". He was late to the meeting as he was out running an errand for Mr Chow. Whilst lying on the floor Chowser would pretend to kick Costin in order to have him "flinch in fear".

Mr Chow's lawyers claim the lawsuit is "specious and without merit. It's completely frivolous." On the other hand Louis Pechman, an expert employment lawyer who is representing one of the claimants, claims in the lawsuit that Chow was, in fact, "a conductor with an iron baton," who demanded "cult-like attention".

Now if my Dad asked me to lie on the floor in the middle of a meeting I'm afraid we would have fallen out, but if my boss told me to do it I would smack those silly looking glasses of his face and tell him to shove it quick sharpish. Not happening. If my wages aren't right there isn't any work done until I know its getting dealt with and God help anyone who even thinks of touching my tips. Sweet mother of the blessed sacrament you would loose your whole hand if you went anywhere near them. I wouldn't let things like this go on for so long, not bloody likely at all.

Clearly Mr Chow denies everything and the three waiters say it's all true. I know who I believe.

9 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Old Knudsen said...

Mr Chow all the way, waiters lie like dogs during staff meetings.

Waiters are such prima donnas.

I bet ya work at that place opposite the Empire on Botanic, can't think of the name.

paddy said...

I can really understand people who arrive with a pump-action in their right hand and a hand gun in their left.
The Mr, Chow's of this world really believe in who they are, their position, their power, it swallows them up or as I said someone else not only drags them to earth but puts them in it.
They forget that it is a blessing to be here and allowed the experience, but no, they want to own it as well.
America hails their entrepreneurship: he came from nothing and look at him now a "Little Big Man"- with no soul.
Lnog live Bertolt Brecht Sincerely Y;-) Paddy.
"The Threepenny Novel" should become an auxiliary book of bible study.
Mr. Chow obviously never had a Sister Charlotte in his life. Perhaps I should have a word with him, sort him out like. Great post:;-)

Medbh said...

I hope the people suing him nail his shrunken little dick to the wall and get their just recompense.
I bet he also coerced the women working for him to act as his sex slaves.
Good coverage, Manuel!

Troika said...

Spot on Knudsen. I reckon that Mr Chow should be given a medal. A fucking big one.

ellie said...

He would tap the waiters on the head or chin to make sure he had their attention.

He would only ever have got away with doing that to me once. Where do some people get off?

Fat Sparrow said...

Never mind all that employee abuse -- who hasn't put up with that? I want to know who thought it was a brilliant idea to name the restaurant itself "Mr. Chow." I don't care if that's the guy's name or not, when I hear "Chow" I immediately think of Dog Chow, Puppy Chow, Cat Chow, Kitten Chow, Monkey Chow (yes, Monkey Chow is real, they have it at zoos), all the "Chows" from Purina Pet Food Company. Not a good name association for a supposedly high-class restaurant, I think.

And charging $10 for a glass of wine is fucking brilliant. In my experience, most people can't tell quality wine anyway, they only go by price, so just gouge the pretentious gits. You know if the customers had a choice between 5, 7, and 10 dollar glasses of wine, they'd choose the $10 one just to attempt to look posh. And you know what else? It'd be the same wine in all of them.

Not that I am cynical, ahem.

Conrtje said...

Good grief - is his middle name 'Fawlty'?

Manuel said...

Old K:I'd spill soup on your lap

Paddy: I dont have a pump action, eyt. But I do have a little knife...

Medbh: Me 2

Troika: You'd get a first course of red wine on your lap followed by soup

Ellie: Yup me 2. Once then one of us is leaving...

Fat Sparrow: The man, the legend that is michael Chow. He's an actor too ye know. The wine thing is true as well.

Conortje: No its shitforbrains

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