Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's Natural


Holiday people, (see last year's post,) are at it again. Servers get many special requests, but this one is definitely priceless. Pushing water to customers is an easy way to get one's check average, (the total of each check a server rings in,) higher. It's usually the first item that a server will offer you when he/she greets the table. "Can I start you with some flat or sparkling water?"

This past Thanksgiving, I offered a lady at my table some water to start. She comes back with, "Do you know where the water is bottled? Because I don't drink water that comes from a mountain. I don't know who's been on that mountain."

"Ma'am, I assure you that we get our water only from desolate mountain tops. The water is completely isolated, and free from any contact to anybody." And see wondered why she wasn't invited to anyone's house for Thanksgiving dinner?

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

"Bitter, party of one? Your table is ready."

The Bitter Bistro

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Splitting Visas... Counting Cash



The biggest scam going around restaurants these days are from the tables that want their check split 9 1/2 different ways. You know who you are. You're at a big table, (that the restaurant had to put together three small tables, to make your big table,) with 10 of your closest friends. Everything was perfect the entire night, then you get the check. Now nobody's close. And of course the comment that always follows, "This was the worst service, ever!"

Nobody wants to pay the check. Because you can't remember what you ate or drank, and you expect the server to keep track of everyone's consumption. (Sweet! All servers have the time to monitor the calorie intake at the table.) So the check gets passed around like a new born baby, but when you see how ugly it is, you make a face, put your payment inside and quickly get it to the next person without having the memory of it burned into your frontal lobes.

Thank God for the friend who also works as a volunteer accountant. This person is always a girl. They are the ones who make sure everybody puts in, and they always speak for the group when explaining the breakdown of the cash, credit cards, and promissory notes. Our country is a trillion dollars in debt, and this woman can decipher the exact amount for each bite taken by each person at the table. This is fantastic, but there is usually one problem, YOU ALWAYS COME UP SHORT!!! And not by a few dollars, more like 75 bucks. So now, when the server has to go back to the table and explain the lack of money for the bill, somehow it has become their fault, and one of your friends has to put in more than they should have, and when everyone leaves and the server finally has the time to close everything out, the person who is shorted at the end is none other than, the server. Of all the money that was thrown in for the bill, you didn't throw in enough for a tip.

Lesson learned: Friends don't let friends count cash and credit cards and not leave a tip.

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

"Bitter, party of one? Your table is ready."

The Bitter Bistro

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I Am Your Server


"Can you tell our server that we're ready to order?" The lady in white barked.

"Of course. I am your server." said the frustrated comic/writer/ server for the lady in white's table.

This is all too common. Do all server's look the same? If they do then that's racist! Is it really that hard to remember the face and body composition of the person who's been standing over you since you sat down at your table, and repeated the specials back to you three times, because on the second time your friend couldn't resist the "I'll have the Halibut, for the 'Hell-of-it.' (HELLO!!! RIM SHOT! BAM!!!)

It was always fun too when the customers didn't believe that I was their server. "No. It was a bald man with an east coast accent and attitude." I just tell them, "Oh, he went on break. But I can take your order and give you attitude."

Even better... "Have you seen our server?" Actually one of my all time faves. This one I will give the customers a little leeway, considering the I was probably texting in the back somewhere waiting for the last possible second to approach the table. Don't judge. If you hadn't ignored me the past three times I approached the table, I wouldn't of felt like I had time to text my buddy about how the restaurant was sucking my soul from my head. "Yes I saw your server. He's out playing on the freeway. He'll be back soon if he doesn't get hit by a truck."

Like Darth Vader said to his tables, "MA'AM... I AM YOUR SERVER! And tonight's soup is Lobster Bisque."

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

"Bitter, party of one? Your table is ready."

The Bitter Bistro

Can I have your autograph?


To some people, credit cards most be a new technology for them. "Wow! You mean you swipe my card and my bill gets paid?!" You use them at the mall, the body shop, and for your waxing lady. You never leave those establishments without signing the slip to complete the credit transaction. Then why are you doing this at restaurants? "I just ate a big meal. Don't have the energy to sign my name." Or, "if I don't sign the slip, then they won't be able to tell I actually ate the food that they claim I did." Hey David Copperfield, stop making both vouchers disappear by slipping them in your pockets. Or this one... stop signing one of the slips, and putting the signed copy into your wallet, purse, or satchel. Maybe it's a food coma? Now the server has to chase you down like Lindsey Lohan after her dealer.


Listen up people! You eat. We swipe. You sign. Done.

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

"Bitter, party of one? Your table is ready."

The Bitter Bistro

Friday, August 27, 2010

I'll just have a some lettuce leaves.


You've worked a hard day. You've finally made it home and spend a bit of time getting ready to go out to that great restaurant with your friends. The reservation. The traffic. The valet. Finally you've made it to your table, heard the specials, and you order... "A side salad." WTF??? That's all you're ordering? "And what side would you like your salad?... Be-side your ice-water?"

Or better yet, a party of over ten people, and all that's ordered is two small pizzas and a side of fries. Oh, and water without ice. If you're going out, order big and eat. If not, eat Digiorno's at home. It's delicious!

Until next time... Server's don't pay their rent with compliments.
"Bitter, party of one? Your table is ready."

The Bitter Bistro

Monday, July 26, 2010

Just your name... nothing else.

Of the many letters, emails, and comments customers have sent about me and my service at whatever dining or club establishment I was currently employed, I've often found that no matter how terrible they thought the service was, it was made even worse by the fact that I didn't have the decency to give them my name. "The steak was over cooked. I blame "what's his name?!" "Things probably would not have been so bad if that guy had told me his name." "Do you normally have your employees not introduce themselves when they are taking care of customer's? My wife and I spent a lot of money in your restaurant, I'd expect to at least know the server's name!"--all true comments, by the way.
My name? I had no idea it was so valuable. If I had known that my name would be so magical in making a crappy dining experience that much better, I'd approach each table with a high school marching band and glee club exalting my name to the heavens. And while we're mentioning heaven, I'll have some airplanes sky-write my name above the approximate area the table is located below. Nobody pays attention to their server from the get-go. Osama bin Laden could climb out of my mouth, but you would be too busy texting the person sitting right next to you to see me standing there. Most of the time, people would get me confused with a bald server named "Joe" anyways. (Good server, BTW.) "And my name is Joey, and tonight's soup is Lobster Bisque."


until next time, "Servers don't pay their rent with compliments."

"Bitter, party of one? Your table is ready."

The Bitter Bistro

Thursday, July 1, 2010

So Closed!


"The hours of operation are from 9am-5pm." That means you can patronize that business for 8 hours during the day. After 5pm, the doors are closed and locked. Why do customers in restaurants feel the need to sit and stay even after the restaurant has closed?

Just because you've paid X dollars, doesn't entitle you to own Table 10 as a piece of "restaurant real estate." And that goes for the slow eaters as well. Seriously, when will customers understand the concept of time? You can't make a reservation for 6, show up at 8, (without a phone call,) and expect your table to be waiting for you. "But I made a reservation..." Yeah... because all reservations have a statute of 3 months before we release the table.

As Ferris Bueller said at the end of the movie, "You're still here? Leave. It's over. Go home."

until next time, "Servers don't pay their rent with compliments."

"Bitter, party of one? Your table is ready."

The Bitter Bistro

Monday, April 19, 2010

Yelp!

"Everybody is a food critic" is the new "everybody is a comedian." With that being said, Yelp.com is the new MySpace.com. This site offers people the opportunity to write a review about the restaurant or bar they happened to patronize. Most of the reviews people write are negative, referring to poor service, food quality, and overall dining experience. What's the new term for "get a life" people?!!

Here's a review from Andrea L. from Los Angeles regarding her restaurant experience:

"This place is just a letdown. When you choose to go to a nice restaurant for a girlfriend's birthday, what are you looking for? Great food, great ambiance, great service - hell, we would have been happy with 'good' food, 'good'.....
Saturday, dinner was at nine. Restaurant was pretty empty considering the night and time. They hit the mark on some of the aesthetic factor but the rest was lacking. Hate to say it but the food was just mediocre - despite the price. The highlight being my friends Ahi Tuna entrée, although she disliked most of the other items that came with it (wasabi mash, random head of bok choy..). Braised beef was passable but nothing fantastic. Same for the fries and the chicken curry soup (bland). Ah, and the service? When your restaurant is practically empty, I know it's difficult but please rise to the challenge of keeping some water in my glass and bringing the check in something that at least resembles a reasonable amount of time. Oh, and would you mind sending someone in to stock the bathroom supplies? That might be nice.."


Hey Andrea, if you want servers to re-stock the bathroom next time, that's fine. But then remember THEY are the ones bringing your food to your table. And then if you're wondering what that funny aftertaste is from the braised beef, it's probably something that came from the bathroom that the server had to take the time to re-stock for you. And Andrea still wonders why she's still single.

Here's the best advice I can give people when going out to eat for a good time... HAVE A GOOD TIME!

Until next time, "Bartenders and Servers don't pay their rent with compliments."

"Bitter? Party of 1? Your table is ready."
www.thebitterbistro.com

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

You gotta fight. For your right. Assault and B a t t e r y !!!

(I do not condone violent behavior, nor do I encourage it.)

With that disclaimer... Have you ever have those fantasies where you beat up your boss at work? Or a customer leaves you some change for a tip off of a check for over a 100 dollars, and you walk up to them and throw it in their face?

Welcome one and all to the world of the service industry. Just the other week, I had one of "those experiences" with a guest. This said guest was staying in the most expensive room of the hotel. The Presidential Suite at $1500.00 a night. She was sat in my section and I was told it would be a four top. (Four people in her party.) She didn't want to see any menus. She simply told my manager to send out a three course meal and a couple of bottles of wine. She finally was sat. I greeted her and quickly assessed that she would be "high maintenance." Not a big deal, if handled correctly.

If there were ever a training video on how a guest/server relationship can go wrong, this would be the template. There were too many plates on the table. Not enough silverware. (Apparently you need a new fork and knife in between every bite.) The candle's too bright. The wine's too cold. The food's too hot. Apparently I was serving "Goldilocks." Get more cocktails before more wine. Don't open that wine until the last two bites of appetizers are left. This woman was like a bad GPS. North was South. East was West. But she had no idea where the hell she was going. Just as long as the GPS voice pointed her towards the direction of food and booze, this broad was in.

At this point you got to be saying, "Why did you put up with all of this?" It was hard, trust me. All of this going on AND I had other tables in my section that I basically had forgotten about. I kept going with it because it reminded me of the girl fights in high school. I couldn't believe this was happening, and I was anxious to see how it would end.

Here's how it ended. Can someone say assault and battery? Between all the confusion and clouded thinking with this woman, she managed to stack up the dirty plates on her table. In between demanding that I remove them and ordering me to get two more bottle of wine, she arm-barred me across my chest and pushed me away saying, "go get the wine. Now!" Being the professional that I am, I calmly said, "Get your fucking hands off me." I turned and walked away. Told my manager to gratuity the table, that I wasn't going to wait on this bag any longer, and that I was getting the tip. And my manager complied.

Lesson learned: "Don't walk where you're not supposed to walk because there might not be someone with super human strength to save your little ass." Okay, no. But I love that line from "City Slickers."

Until next time,

Bartenders and Servers don't pay their rent with compliments.

"Bitter? Party of 1. Your table is ready."
www.thebitterbistro.com

Monday, January 11, 2010

Baby service

A baby is a parents top priority, but that doesn't make it a server's priority. I would get pleasantly annoyed when people would present me with services that their baby would require. "Can you wash out the baby's bottle and fill it with luke warm water?" "Bring the baby's food first, but not too soon. And don't let it be too hot!"

News flash parents... we're servers, not sitters. Take care of your kid's necessities before you set in my section. Let me take care of serving you filets and cabs, while you serve your kid peas and naps. That way the only one crying during your meal will be just the baby and not me.

Bartenders and Servers don't pay their rent with compliments.

Until next time... "Bitter? Party of 1. Your table is ready."