Sunday, June 26, 2011

a la Jerry Seinfeld, "Who are these people?"


I talk a lot about the annoying things that I have encountered with customers throughout my illustrious service career. People with allergies. Splitting checks. The tale of the tip. So, I think it would only be fair to spend a little time talking about the other side of the coin; People who work in the service industry.

I try not to judge other people in the industry. After all, to some, I'm just as whacky and bitter as the rest of them. But sometimes, I can't help but wonder how some people got hired to work in the service industry, when the main focus of the job, is SERVICE oriented.

This one place I used to work, this girl from the Eastern block of the world was hired as a hostess, the first line of defense in a restaurant, but the girl doesn't use English as her first or even secondary form of language. One of the most amusing things I saw this girl do one night was when she sat a party of four, and it turned out that it was only going to be a party of three. The hostess, in her thick-Slovak accent, confronted to guest about only having three people show up when it was supposed to be four. "The reservation says four people, and you are only three! What happen to the other?" Confrontation is usually never a good idea for anybody in a restaurant, especially the guests. Now that I think about it, maybe the hostess had a friend standing by in the wings who could join the table for situations like this one. But I will say this for her, she liked to have things numerically correct.

Most recently I ordered a Turkey Burger, and a bunch of other food from a restaurant to be delivered to my house. The girl on the phone asked me, "How do you want your Turkey Burger?"

"I want it delivered with the rest of the food."

"No." She scolded. "How do you want your Turkey Burger cooked? Medium? Medium-well?"

This is why it's always important that you know your product before you sell it. Especially with something like, say, poultry?

"Oh... medium. I like my Turkey Burger with just a touch of Salmonella. And instead of fries, I'd like a side of E. coli."

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

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

The Bitter Bistro

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My parents neglected me as a customer.


There aren't too many places you can go in the world, where you are constantly stroked, hand-held, and paid attention too as you are when you are sitting as a customer in a restaurant, and your server is taking care of you. For that amount of time, your server treats you as if you are their only child. Whatever you want, it's brought to you. If you don't like something, they will get you something you like. And even in some instances, if you don't like your server, a new one will be brought to you and you can start anew with that one. It's like a perfect little customer universe that was created with one thing in mind... to please the customer. You are basically allowed to pick and choose the family you always wanted to have, at least for two and a half hours. But even then, it's still not enough!

I remember this one unforgettable Saturday night, (believe, it's not like I haven't tried to forget it.) It was a table of three ladies. They were going to go to an "80's" party afterwards so they were dressed the part. I thought they were dressed like "Wonder Woman." They corrected me and said they were dressed like "Madonna." But apparently we all were wrong, because my manager said that they were "Cougars." (Tres Bien, Freddy!) They were having a great time. Taking pictures, getting the attention of other customer's, drinking! Then, the woman sitting in the middle stops me and asks,

"I wanted to ask you a question?" Next thing I know, the other two women stop her and say that everything is fine, and that I am doing a great job. Now, unfortunately I can't let this go. But finally she says, "oh, never mind."

"No, please. Now I have to know what your question is?" I pleaded.

"Okay." She says. "Are you neglecting us? I see you going around to other tables, but I kind of feel neglected."

"Of course not." I swear.

"I'm sorry," she claims, "I just wear my heart on my sleeve. I had to ask."

But like I've said in the past, I will anticipate my guests needs. So I said, "I wouldn't do that, but since you've asked, I'm going to neglect you now."

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

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

The Bitter Bistro