For those who want to know everything.

Pepper Tree Restaurant

Pepper Tree

Colorado Springs Check Out Their Website: HERE

Accolades: Top 100 Service restaurant Opentable 2012

Key words: Team, Tableside Presentations, Timing, Real Dining.

For a good time, (make reservations): Here

Sister Restaurants: Swiss Chalet.

There are a lot of restaurants to eat at, but when you are in the mood for a dining experience, the choices become narrower and often lead Colorado Springs residents and visitors to Pepper Tree restaurant.

That’s why I was so thrilled to have been allowed to stage with this small team. With great views (they are up on a hill), a long open dining room, and such a nice team, this place should be at the top of  your dining out roster.


 Team Work


I walked in around 4:15 and found Joshua cleaning the chairs. I ask him if I can help, and he puts me to work.

I am put to the task of cleaning chairs and placing the candles on the tables. Maybe this is not as exciting to you, but I their candles! No wax, no fire danger, no changing them out in the middle of a shift, just luminescence controlled from a remote. They are really cool LED Rechargeable Tea Lights He let me turn them on…hey! it is too a big deal!

Joshua is waiting for his tux to be delivered by the dry cleaner.  It is agreed that Taylor will greet and start the first table if the tux doesn’t arrive in time, but it does. Whew!

Taylor, a business student in Boulder works for the Pepper Tree during the summer months. She is the host by definition, but it is explained to me that she does everything.

If a guest needs to order something and the other teammates are disposed helping other guests, she happily jumps in to get the order, run a drink, or deliver food. I asked her how she feels about team vs. non team concepts. She had a strong opinion.

She used to work for a corporate restaurant where she was in charge of her job only.  She explained that it felt like a waste of her time (and the restaurants money) that she wasn’t allowed to do the jobs that needed to be done, just because it wasn’t “her job” or “her section.”

For anyone who also doesn’t understand the concept of standing around when there is much to be done, The Pepper Tree is a dream restaurant to work at. As many of you already know, IamWaitress believes in team service, (and in tip pooling as a natural by-product of a strong team). The Pepper Tree is a great introduction into this concept.


Ultimate Timing Machine

 If there is anything that makes The Pepper Tree stand out in Colorado Springs, and in general, it is the table side dishes that are made by a member of the FOH. Their are six carts total to cook from, and one or two FOH servers that do the cooking for all 16 tables. Sometimes all six carts are out on the floor, but there are only two people manning them. To accomplish this, everything must be timed perfectly.

Depending on covers, there are between four and seven FOH staffers on the floor. Each have their own role during the service, but they fill in where they are needed, like Taylor does.


There are a few different key roles:  

        • Expo (that’s performed by Pops, who is actually Joshua’s Dad.)
        • Sommelier: She is the first person the table meets (besides Taylor or the acting host). She assists the guest in wine pairing, and presents bottles, and makes the drinks. (There is no bartender during the week.)
        • Front: This is the position that wraps the table (wrap is their slang for greeting, spieling and taking the order).
        • Host: Confirm reservations, and greet tables.


Now, here’s where it get’s interesting. 

1.  The guest is seated.

2.  The Sommelier (or someone) offers them the wine and cocktails menu. Drinks are ordered, made by the server or Sommelier,  and delivered.

3.  After the guest has had time to enjoy their drink, the food menu is delivered and the menu and specials are explained. The order is taken. (This is when the timing game begins.)

4.  The server rings in the entire order at once, breaking up courses on the ticket.      

5. The timing then goes into the expos’s hands. For any food that will not be prepared table side, but in the kitchen instead, the expo figures out, to the minute, what time those entrees will be delivered.

6.   Pops (expo) then writes that exact time down and delivers that information to the server.

7.   Based on how many guests are at the table, what they’ve ordered, what temperature their steaks are, and what is going on at other tables, the server will decide when to begin preparing the table side food, to the minute! The timing that is executed at this restaurant is beyond impressive. As a diner, the end result is, “this is really cool! How do they do it?” But as a server, there is constant consideration, checking steaks, and timing involved.

The Pepper Tree team teaches us that even when we are busy, we can learn to time things perfectly and create an unforgettable experience for our guests.


Thank you Neil Levy for owning and allowing me to spend time with your small and wonderful service team. And thank you small, wonderful team: Rodrigo (who makes a mean espresso), Taylor, Michael, aka: Pops, Joshua,  and Steve (who makes a mean crab cake). If you, lovely reader, have comments or questions for myself or this team, use the comments area below!


We are in this profession together. Let’s start applauding, sharing ideas and bringing more excellence to our game. Do you want to help me with this tour AND become a stronger server or manager? Thank God! Check out the iamWaitress product line HERE.

  1. We love the Pepper Tree and staff! Always a perfect dining experience!

  2. Wow! That sounds like so much fun and I’ve never heard of service like that. To have everything timed starting with the expo kinda blows my mind! So many things to learn.

  3. So excited to follow your tour! I had no idea Pepper Tree was awesome, I hope this article sends some people their way. Best of luck Jennifer!

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