One of the great rivalries in the restaurant business is BOH versus FOH. For those of you who have never worked in a restaurant, BOH stands for Back of the House, and FOH stands for Front of the House. Back of the House comprises the Chef, Sous Chef, Line Cooks, and Dishwashers. The Front of the House encompasses the Floor Managers, Hosts, Servers, and Bussers. Depending on the restaurant, the Expediter can be either. Some restaurants foster resentment betwixt the two, the smart ones foster a team philosophy.
My worst experience with inter-restaurant wars was with an independent, family owned, high-end Italian chain in Michigan. If you've watched the Sopranos, you know these characters. I was a server at the time, and I would have felt right at home on Riker's Island. These guyz had a real Godfather fixation and tried to browbeat everyone into a subservient role. Imagine arriving to work and having to pay $3.50 to park there (valet was $3, but unavailable to worker-bees). Opening sidework was a 2-hour ordeal, starting with wiping down every single plate and piece of silverware...in complete silence. We would be standing side by side and not allowed to talk to each other. Then, your individual side-work, which would be done in, you guessed it, complete silence. Then, the dining room would be set to Obsessive Compulsive Perfection. I'm picky, but compared to them, I was Oscar Madison. (For you guys under 30, that's an Odd Couple reference) Next, while waiting for our section to be sat, we would line up next to the Host stand in formation. Again, in complete silence. And you would be shooshed if you talked! As each table would arrive, it was our duty to seat them for the Mistress...er, Hostess.
Dealing with the BOH (Back of the House) guys was even tougher. We were taught a complex language of how we were to ask for our food. One word off, or out of order and you were severely reprimanded by the Neanderthals behind the line. Oh, these Cretins put out some delicious food, incidentally. As long as you didn't get some of their cigarette ash mixed in. And if you were to make any mistake ringing in that order? You bought it. But, you couldn't eat it. That was for the cooks between Marlboros.
There have been good relationships, although they're harder to remember, being rarer. That was one good thing about Macaroni Grill. There was interaction between the FOH and BOH, since the kitchen is an open kitchen. Chit-chat was offered back and forth, and things were generally cordial.
I think the main generator of discord was $$$. When business is booming, those guys behind the lines know the servers are raking in some high dollars per hour. And I know some prima-donna servers don't realize how hard those cooks are working and sweating so that they can make those bucks. I think they should all work a week in each others' clogs. Maybe there'd be a little more harmony, a little more compassion. Nahhhh....no server alive would last a night as a dishwasher, the real backbone of any restaurant.