Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Dine LA Syndrome

Everybody wants a deal these days!  Well Dine LA is back, and the deals are-a-flowing, and the cheap customers be-a-coming.  Dine LA should be better known as the "I can't afford to eat at your place, but now I can... but I still can't afford to tip.

Or maybe it's the, "I don't know how to tip," syndrome.  Whatever the 'drome, these people need to realize that just because they already paid for their deal, they are still receiving great service, and therefore, they should show their appreciation.  And not by just saying that the service was wonderful.  Hello?  "Servers don't pay their rent with compliments," anyone?

And to make things even worse, we are also offering a Groupon deal as well.  Dine LA plus Groupon is a recipe for tip disaster.  The disaster being no tip, and customers still wanting exceptional service.  Even though most of them have never dined in a nice restaurant before.  But they probably have watched "Top Chef," so that makes them an expert.

Whether it's Groupon, Dine LA, or the "I hate full price" coupon, please take care of your server.  After all, we are introducing you to our restaurant that you normally would not be eating at.

And for the professional Dine LA'ers, stay off of Yelp!  All of the Yelp reviews for Dine LA always state that the portions are small, and there aren't many options.  No shit!  It's a prefix menu, you dildos.

Until next time... Server's don't pay their rent with compliments.

"Bitter.  Party of 1?  Your table is ready."









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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Golden Duds

I would be happy to be nominated for a Golden Globe.  I would be even more happy to win one.  The red carpet looks fun, and I know that the show is long and drawn out, but at least I would get to kiss the ass of directors and actors I would want to work with, instead my usual ass kissing of my managers so I can get the days off that I need from the restaurant.

But the people who like to act like they are somebody, when I don't know who the hell they are, have got to go.  And go fast!

I waited on some people attending an after party for The Golden Globes and it was like having my gums scraped.  First of all, these people were at a Golden Globes *after party* while the Golden Globes was still on!  If you're anybody, you go to the after party, AFTER the show is over.

There were a bunch of punks acting like they owned the place as if they're the next boy-band-sensation; some weird-hippy twins who seemed like they played the "ghost twins" in the second Matrix movie, and a guy who came in twice and said that he wanted a table for seven and when he did finally sit down, he was the only one eating... BY HIMSELF!!!  Then he was joined by the bitchy girl who knew telepathy, because when I offered her something to drink, she kept looking at her phone, but then the guy answered for her.

To which I responded, "she looks too busy to order anything anyways."

Then there was an unprofessional looking, crappy step-and-repeat, followed by an interview with a poorly dressed host using what looked like a VHS camcorder with a microphone that looked like the one that hooked up to my old Apple IIE computer.

The only good part about all of this, was that my customers were extremely entertained by this whole debacle.  Especially the couple from Australia.  But the last thing America needs are the Aussies to go home and tell their friends and countrymen what a bunch of idiots we are.

Listen up wannabes:  You are all on the same train as the rest of us fools who moved to this town to "make it" in the entertainment biz.  And the train is going nowhere!  So you might as well sit back down in your seat, put your seatbelt back on, and just watch from the window like the rest of us.

Acting like you're somebody doesn't make you an actor, it makes you an asshole.

Until next time... Server's don't pay their rent with compliments.

"Bitter.  Party of 1?  Your table is ready."









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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I Want You To Sit In My Section But Not When We R Closing

Nobody is in the restaurant.  The tables have been cleared off, or they have been set-up for breakfast/lunch service for the next day.  Even though the clock has not struck "closing time" yet, the fact that there haven't been any tables for almost an hour signals the staff to close.  Then they appear.

The customers who just want a quick bite to eat and then they say they'll leave.  These people make sure to point out that it's still a minute before you close, so they guilt trip their way to a table.  I clear away all of the set-up that I had done and re-set their table for dinner.

"Was it busy tonight?" the girl asks.

"We were earlier.  But then those people left," I reply.  Don't get me wrong:  Yes, I want to have customers, but not when we are about to close.  It's not worth the extra few dollars to stick around for another hour or so.

I explain to them that the kitchen is closing, so they are going to need to decide quickly.  They order some drinks and say they'll be ready by the time I return.

I return.  The man gestures for the girl to order first.  She's still undecided.  (Shocker!)  I can feel the kitchen staff burning holes into my skull with the stares they are giving me to get the order in.  But I get it, they want to go home too.  Finally the man chimes in and orders a steak.  Then I turn my attention back to the woman.

"Nothing really is jumping out at me... do you think they can make me some type of pasta with chicken, vegetables, and some type of sauce?" the woman demands.

"Actually the Penne Pasta on the menu has all of those things," I explain.

"I don't see that."

I point it out to her.  What is the deal with people having to see exactly where things are on the damn menu?  I'm not making it up.  If I say it's on the menu, then it's on the menu.  Regardless, she orders the pasta after carefully reading it over... a couple of times... out loud.

I finally put their order in, and it's already 20 minutes past the time that they sat down and were told that we are closing.  A restaurant is the ONLY place that things like this happen.  If you're at the bank, and it's closing time, you had better believe that one of the out-of-shape armed guards is going to be bullying you out the door.  Just because your money is there doesn't mean that you own the place.

My manager comes back to check on me and the table.  This is always interesting to me because managers will ALWAYS seat a late table, so we have the business, but then they are the first ones to ask if they're finished yet.  They would've been finished by now if you had NEVER SAT THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE!

The couple finishes their entrees and I use the old "bring them some chocolates on a plate" trick, so they think that this will be their dessert, so they won't stay and order dessert off the menu.  Fortunately, it worked.  I drop their check and was thinking that I was finally finished.  When I go to pick up their payment, I was lectured by the woman that she really didn't like her cocktail--even though she had decided to modify one of the specialty cocktails that we have on the menu.

At this point, it's better to take it off the bill rather than argue that she is an idiot.  They pay.  They leave.  For all of that, I made less than 10 percent.  The closing Gods were unkind to me this night.

When the restaurant is closed, that means that they are closed.  Jack-in-the-box has a 24 hour drive-thru.  Go there, and say hi to Jack for me.

Until next time... Server's don't pay their rent with compliments.

"Bitter.  Party of 1?  Your table is ready."









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Saturday, December 6, 2014

5 Tips To Surviving Your Holiday Party by Bitter Party of 1

It's that time of year again, and before you put on that holiday red and green dress, or Christmas Tree tie, I would like to help you out with a few tips that will let you enjoy your holiday party, get you home safe, and still be employed when you go back to work.

NUMBER 5:  DON'T ASK YOUR BARTENDER TO POUR EXTRA ALCOHOL 
Whether or not it's a hosted or cash bar, don't tell the bartender to put a little more in your drink.  We get it, you're a lush.  Either that or you have never been out to a place that serves alcohol.  Either way, the bar will not be going anywhere for a couple of hours.  Meaning, that after you finish one drink, you can go back and get another.  Anybody who asks for more booze in their cocktail has just become a target for ridicule amongst the service staff.  Save your breath for the meaningless conversation you are going to have with the coworkers that you probably don't like.

NUMBER 4:  THE PARTY IS NOT AN OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU TO ASK YOUR BOSS WHY HE/SHE DIDN'T LIKE YOUR PRESENTATION.
There are other things to talk about besides work.  This is a good place to practice that.  Kind of like how you shouldn't talk about religion or politics on a first date, the same applies here.  This is an important one to remember early on because, as the night goes on, and everybody gets hammered, it will be good to know that you haven't said anything to your boss that will revoke your invitation to next year's party.

NUMBER 3:  UBER UBER UBER
Save yourself some time and grief and Uber, Lift, Cab, Unicorn, or Rickshaw your way to and from the party.  How are you going to make it back to work if you are stuck in the drunk-tank?

NUMBER 2:  THE PARTY IS NOT A GOOD PLACE TO TELL YOUR COWORKER THAT YOU HAVE A THING FOR THEM.
Office hook-ups are probably going to happen, but remember, they usually end up getting broken up by security, the boss's wife or husband, or the cleaning crew to tell you that the party ended three hours ago, and the two of you passed out on top of each other in the utility closet.

NUMBER 1:  TIP YOUR BARTENDER
You are not paying for the party, and since it's a "holiday" party, show some love and throw down some cash on the bar.  We are trying to make your party as jolly as possible, and nothing says "Ho Ho Ho" more than some 10's and 20's in the tip jar.  (Not just talking about the office whore.)  Just like you got that end-of-the-year-bonus at the office, getting extra cash during the holidays is our bonus in the service industry.

HAPPY HOLIDAY PARTYING!!!

Until next time... Server's don't pay their rent with compliments.

"Bitter.  Party of 1?  Your table is ready."









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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Customers Are Not Right, Marshall Field

When the phrase, "The customer is always right," was uttered by Marshall Field back in 1904 he wanted to give the customer the ultimate service experience, but unfortunately, he didn't get to experience the magnitude of customers that we have today.  In fact, if he were alive today, he probably would have said, "The customer is out of their  F@#King mind."

I haven't had any difficult customers in a while, so the universe decided to bestow them upon me the other night.  A man and a woman, dressed like they came out of a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon strip, were seated in my section, waiting to be served.

"What's good here?" they asked.  No initial response to me asking them how they're going, mind you.

I took them on a tour through our menu and pointed out some things that I actually enjoyed.  Why the hell do people ask that question?  What's good?  The chairs.  They have great back support.

Then came the questions.  Not just the normal one or two, but asking me about every item and ingredient.  I'm all for educating my fellow man/ woman, but some people need to embrace Google a bit more.

"We are going to share the NY Steak," the man ordered for him and his woman friend.  I actually didn't know if they were "together," but now in the aftermath of it all, I hope that they are.  They deserve to be together for the holidays.  Probably by themselves, complaining about me.

"How would you like the steak cooked?" I asked.

"I like mine medium, but he likes his medium-rare," the woman blurted out.

"How about somewhere in-between?"

"Why don't you have the kitchen cook one half medium-rare and the other medium?  And I want to order a cocktail."

"Well, we can't cook a steak, two different temperatures--"

"--they did it for us the last time," she interrupted.

I could feel my eyes in the back of my head.  "What kind of cocktail would you like?"

"I can't decide.  Surprise me," she ordered.

I saw this as my opportunity to leave, so I did.  I got my supervisor involved and he diplomatically got the kitchen to be able to accommodate their dumb steak request.  I brought the woman one of our new fantastic cocktails that I chose for her.  I explained to them that all of their requests could be accommodated and they seemed... (Ahem)... pleased.

This is the one problem with this time of year.  The week before a big holiday, restaurants are usually really slow.  In the case of my restaurant, it's painfully slow.  Like having your gums scraped.  (Mr. Mom, anyone?)  So we have to please a customer like this because if we didn't, there wouldn't be anybody else in the restaurant to serve.  I see the woman waving me over so I go check on them.

"I don't like this drink," she says.

"What don't you like about it?" I ask.

"I don't know.  It's just gross!  I'll just have an Ice-T."

I knew that she was wrong about the drink, but I just went to get the Ice-T, and tell my supervisor.  Their dinner comes out and they get to it.  I check on them and they tell me that one half of the steak is cooked correctly and the other is overcooked.  This is EXACTLY what I knew would happen.  If any of you reading this post works in a restaurant, listen to me and don't underestimate the power of "NO."  I should have confidently said "no" at the beginning.

We cook another steak, and now the man says it's undercooked.  Sorry, actually he said it was, "RAW."

We cook another one, bring it out, same response.  We compared the steaks that he sent back and they all were cooked correctly.  Apparently this man is the Goldilocks of steaks.  "Too rare.  Not rare enough.  Wrong shade of red."

Surprisingly enough, the man and woman actually ate the last steak we brought to them.  But not without saying that they didn't like the mac n' cheese, because... "It's gross."  No lady, you're gross!

Until next time... Server's don't pay their rent with compliments.

"Bitter.  Party of 1?  Your table is ready."









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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Dating Advice From Your Server

I have witnessed many first dates throughout my shifts.  Some of them successful; most of them bad.  There have been some signs of how the date is going that I have picked up on and noted.  Being a server in these situations is kind of like being the third wheel on a friend date.  I am there for support, but I can't say anything except to offer them more booze and bread.



Here are some things I have noticed:

If I see a cell phone on the table at any point in the dinner, the date is over.

If a second drink is ordered in-between apps and entrees, the date is being forced.

If both people are missing by the time I return to check on how the food is, then the date is being consummated.

There is a dating service called, "It's Just Lunch," where they bring together two possible matches and have them meet at a random restaurant for a first date.  And most of these dates are at night, so calling it, "It's Just Lunch" already sets things off on a bad foot.  These dates seem awkward and forced.  On one date, the guy was rapid-firing questions at the girl like he was a college admissions officer and her college career was on the line.

"What do you like?"

"Where do you live?"

"How long did it take you to get here?"

"I had sushi one time.  Have you ever had it?"

"Do you like sitting in booths, or do you prefer tables?"

And then these dates end with each person getting their own check.  This ends up being awkward for me because a lot of times, I'll present two checks, and the guy will get annoyed with me and demand that I put both checks on his credit card.  Justice was mine on the last occasion this happened because his card declined, and while I usually tell customers discreetly about this, this time I just told him directly.

"I couldn't put both checks on your credit card--"

"--what's the problem?" he interrupted.

"The problem is that your card declined.  What you like to use another form of payment?  Unfortunately, we don't accept I.O.U.'s anymore."



Pay close attention to how your date treats your server.  And I mean throughout the entire service.  Because sometimes they might start out nice, but then they start to come out of their shell, and they get more and more demanding and short with their server.  This goes for guys and girls.  Because, if they are not nice to the server, they are going to treat you horribly as well.  I think the wife character from the movie, "Gone Girl," was known for treating servers poorly.  And look how that relationship ended up.

The best dates I had in my section are the ones that admitted right away how awkward the situation was, and let it go from there.  In fact, I should get credit for successful first dates, and even more credit for crappy first dates.

Ah, amore.  

Until next time... Server's don't pay their rent with compliments.

"Bitter.  Party of 1?  Your table is ready."









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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dickey's Staff Sticks It To Dickeys

I just wrote a post about Dickeys BBQ Pit (who is hiring on Craigslist) and how horrible it would be to work there, and what type of person would apply.  (CLICK HERE if you missed it.)

Today I see a Facebook post from Bitchy Waiter about another Dickeys restaurant where the ENTIRE Dickeys staff quit at the same time.  That's the epitome of what every waitstaff wants to do to every restaurant employer who treats them like crap... complete EXODUS.

So many times, at so many different places have I talked about and schemed with my co-workers about taking a ten minute break, and never coming back.  Or better yet, waiting until the entire restaurant is full, and then dumping our aprons at the host stand.  (Josh, Jude, Kyle, Andrea, and anybody else who worked at The Gardens remember this?)

Bravo Ex-Dickeys BBQ Pit staff.  You have done what we have all dreamed about doing, and you have done it well.  You should have a flag raised in your honor.

Until next time... Server's don't pay their rent with compliments.

"Bitter.  Party of 1?  Your table is ready."









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