This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
There is a curious though distant resemblance between the most carefully conducted English hotels and such American restaurants as are attached to the great resort hotels, in their methods of dealing with the issuance of cooked dishes to the waiters. The former keep the cooking separate from the carving and serving department. Each joint of meat or measure of cooked vegetables is weighed as it leaves the kitchen in presence of a clerk, who enters the amount in a book, and the carving and serving department is required to show what becomes of it afterwards and whether each dish returned a profit or loss. The great restaurant system is simpler. The kitchen sells each dish outright to the waiter, who must pay for what he calls for and sell it in turn to the customer in the dining room. It may be observed that the Manhattan Beach bill of fare has at the top in bold type this notice: "Guests will pay their bills to the waiters and see that the prices charged correspond with those in the bill of fare." The restaurant is already secured; the party at the table must see to it that the waiter does not impose upon him, charge him too much; bring a half portion and charge for a whole; bring a steak for one and obtain pay for a steak for two.
The proprietors of one of these crowded resort restaurants, whose customers are numbered by thousands daily, told a reporter there is positively no other way, it is the only method possible where over a hundred waiters are employed; by any * other plan the waiters would manage to secure all the profits to themselves.