Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mayan Customers


Everybody is talking about the end of the world.  According to the Mayan Calendar, that's going to be tomorrow, December 21st, 2012.  I am scheduled to work, but if the world is ending, and I'm going to have to serve people, things are going to go a bit differently.

For customers, it will be easy, simply go out and have a good time.  Listen to me when I am explaining the specials.  Don't change the menu to suit your preferences.  And be ready to order when you say that you are ready to order.  If that's too difficult, then I'll just do the ordering for you.  I'm sure you won't mind paying for some Cowboy Ribeyes, and shots of Johnny Walker Blue Label.

Manager won't micro-manage.  And better yet, managers will actually be visible on the floor because they are ON the floor.  Not hiding in the office, or sneaking off to meet their dealer at some bar down the street.  If you need to hide, just leave the keys to the place with me, I know how to throw a good party.

Co-workers won't be drama queens.  There won't be any complaining that you don't have enough tables, or that your life sucks so you have to take it out on everybody else.  No complaining, period.  What more is there to complain about anyways?  The world is ending, enjoy one day of your life for Pete's sake.

Customers will order from me, and I'll bring them what they want.  We'll share a few laughs, have a shift drink, and make some money.  Isn't that how it used to be?

So when the world ends tomorrow... who am I fooling!  If the world ends tomorrow, I will not be spending my last moments waiting on customers.  I will be calling out.  My excuse?  The old "the world is ending today," story.

BTW... the new podcast is up.  Thanks again to Lauren and Ro for being so funny and honest.  Please listen, comment, and subscribe HERE.

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

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

The Bitter Bistro


Friday, December 7, 2012

You Got YelpED!!!



It seems as if some people never learn, and if they did, they would probably find something wrong with what they had learned and then they would "Yelp" about it.

This time around, it's Barry "No, it isn't short for Barack," C. from Los Angeles.  I didn't write that tagline, Barry did.  See for yourself on his Yelp profile, Barry is a Douche.  Like all aliens who write their Doctorate thesis on Yelp, Barry claims to know what it takes to give good service, and that he is the master of his domain.  Maybe in a "Seinfeldian" aspect, but not from a server aspect.

Here's what Barry had to say one evening while dining out at Rock Sugar...

"Took a prospective new customer here for a work dinner with high hopes. Unfortunately, this restaurant falls into the "Jack of All Trades Master of Nothing" bucket." Barry is apparently an expert on people who are masters.  And I'm weary of people who throw around the term, "master."  Usually doesn't work out well for people who do that.  

"The joy of going around a city like Los Angeles with its abundant offering of authentic Asian food is the favorable taste to price ratio. You want better Thai food than what they serve at RockSugar? Head to almost any spot in Thai town. Looking for good Indian food? There are various spots in the city that can scratch that itch. Want Chinese food done well? Go to the San Gabriel Valley. Korean? Koreatown."  It seems that Barry is someone who needs to take his own advice, and go else where.  With such an abundant knowledge of Asian cuisine and where to get it, Barry would probably be much more comfortable in one of the shady areas of Los Angeles that he recommended.

"Restaurants like RockSugar exist to serve those diners who don't know any better or those who do and are trying to impress their dates/customers (like me) by spending a lot of money unnecessarily."  But isn't that the goal of any restaurant?  In general, restaurants exist for those people who don't want to eat at home.  HELLO?!!!

"Ironically, the only thing they do well is their non-Pan Asian dish, the Caramelized Banana Custard Cake."  And ironically, Barry and his "customer" finish off their meal with a non-Pan Asian dish.  Meaning that Barry is all over the board with what he wants and desires.

Barry probably is on Meganslaw.com, and should be reported to the authorities for going to a restaurant with a "customer."  He is the perfect example of someone who doesn't follow the basic rules of going out to a restaurant to have a good time.  And the rule is:  HAVE A GOOD TIME.  But with a name like BARRY?...

Barry "No, it isn't short for Barack" C., from Los Angeles... YOU GOT YELPED!!!

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

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

The Bitter Bistro





Friday, November 30, 2012

Customer Sudoku


Customers like to have proof that the food is good.  I can understand.  Who the hell wants to eat something that tastes bad?  But when I go down the ENTIRE menu with you, and give you my opinion of all the dishes on the menu, then that should be that.  No other proof should be required.

Until this couple sat in my section one night...

"So what's good here?"  The wife asked.

"We're known for oak grilled steaks and fish.  A great selection of martinis.  Some of my favorites are the NY Steak, or the Fish and Chips," I said while pointing to the items on the menu.

"I don't see Fish and Chips," the wife not paying attention to where I had just pointed on the menu.

"We have it."  I smirked.  

"Are the Fish and Chips good?"  The husband asked.

"They are.  They are actually one of my favorites."  Notice the repetition going on.

"Do people order them a lot?"

"They do.  It's a pretty popular entree," What is this?  Some sort of entree popularity contest?

"Do the people who order them a lot think it's good?"  The wife asked looking me as serious as ever.

"Yes.  All of them did."  Hang on.  I'll give all those guests a call and ask them.  Give me a second while look up their numbers.  How much more do you need?!

If you don't like to take chances and try different things, I'm fine with you ordering the same thing everytime you come in.  But other then that, there will now be a three question cap on all menu questions.  Think of me like a Genie.  Think wisely about your questions.

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

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

The Bitter Bistro

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

People Who Need People


It sounds harsh, but after dealing with people yelling at you that their steak is overcooked, undercooked, still in the form of a cow, I kind of have a hard time dealing with people's antics on a day-to-day basis, and that is probably also the reason why many places offer their employees a "shift drink," (an alcoholic beverage for free at the end of their shift,) to try to soothe and pacify what had just happened to that server or bartender during their shift.

As Josh hilariously said on the podcast, "I can't even like my grandparents now, because they remind me of some of the customers."

Seeing all of the horrible things that have been happening in our country with people going "postal" on other people, I would not be surprised if the next person to go "postal" is a server.  I just had a customer the other day flip out on me because we couldn't get his salad out to him fast enough."

"Where's my salad?  My friends have already started eating their lunch, and I still don't have my f@*king salad!"  He barked.

"I apologize about the wait sir, but your salad accidentally went to another table, so we had to remake yours.  It will be out shortly," I calmly said.  Like it was my problem that he had rude friends who don't wait to start eating until EVERYBODY had their food.

"If I don't get my f@*king salad, then you're going to have to take it off my f@*king bill!!!"  He continued his rant.

"Of course.  I understand.  But you'll get your salad."

I then went back to the kitchen to make the chef make the salad faster by staring at him.  Which is standard procedure to make food come out quicker.  While I was waiting for the infamous "f@*king salad," both of my co-workers came back to tell me that they were accosted by this man the same way that I was.

"Just tell him to get bent," I told them.  Which means his food is up in server talk.

And sure enough, I brought the man his salad, he ate it, I check back with him, he grunted, "It's fine!" and no blood was shed... yet.

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

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

The Bitter Bistro


Monday, November 5, 2012

Excuse Tips


It's ideal for a server to receive 18 to 20 percent gratuity for a job well done.  Now it seems that customers are looking to leave an excuse rather than a monetary tip explaining why they couldn't leave their server any money.  WTF?!!

Of course, because my landlord would love to receive an excuse instead of a check for rent this month. "I don't have the money for rent, because I'm a writer/comedian.  But I adore this building.  So secure."

The above picture was found on Yahoo.com.  One of the comments said that they thought this was an altered pic, but I have actually seen this happen to myself and co-workers.  And by-the-way, what if the server waiting on the woman was a single parent?  So the lady who wrote this has now started a domino effect on their server who is struggling to make ends meet.  And so on, and so on...  Get bent!

I don't believe in saying that if you can't afford to go out, that you should never go out.  There are ways to go out to a nice restaurant, not spend a fortune, and still be able to take care of your server.  (Appetizers and desserts can be shared, for example.)  But saving money by not tipping your server should NEVER be considered.

The above picture's "single mom" excuse is terrible and non-excusable.  Her check was $138.35.  It wasn't going to put her out that much more to tip 18 percent.  Now she has just cast a bunch of bad karma on herself and her child, who is probably already getting beat up and picked on in school.  Oh, but wait, she's a single mom, so she'll just tell that to her child when they ask why they have such bad luck his/her life.

I am not writing this column saying that it is easy being a single parent.  My hats off to single parents, and how hard they have to work.  But you should never make YOUR problems, your servers problem. Go out.  Have a good time.  And tip 20 percent.

And please check out The Bitter Bistro Podcast, now on iTunes.  Subscribe.  Comment.  Rate it.

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

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

The Bitter Bistro


Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Bitter Bistro 101 Podcast


The first podcast is up!  Thanks again to my guests, Meredith Green, Katina Nikou, Fran Nichols, and Josh Macuga for helping to make the bitterness happen!  For bitterness on Twitter, follow me @thebitterbistro



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

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

The Bitter Bistro



Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Good Attitude on Life


I usually write about the many, many customers who have acted inappropriately and annoyed me throughout the years.  But it would be unfair to not tell the story of a customer who amazed me with the best attitude, when he had a obvious, severe difficulty to overcome.

During one of my shifts, I saw a party of four being sat in a booth.  It was two parents, with their son and daughter.  When they sat down, I noticed something about the son, that he didn't have any arms.  He looked over the menu, ordered what he wanted, and proceeded to have a great time dining out with his family.

Then the food arrived.  And I noticed that nobody helped the son eat, because he was feeding himself without having any arms.  He took his shoes off, and with the most amazing flexibility, brought one of his legs over the table, grabbed a fork with his toes, and fed himself with his legs and feet as if they were arms and hands.  Again, at NO POINT, did anyone help him out, he was smiling, enjoying his food, and enjoying a fantastic dining experience.

And a lady at the table next to his, was complaining to me that she had a white napkin, was wearing black, so she needed a black napkin.

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

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

The Bitter Bistro

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I'll Show You How to Wait!!!


Customers love being waited on hand and foot.  But there are some customers who love to tell me HOW to wait on them hand and foot.  I call these customers "waiter watchers."  They weigh their waiter down with all of the crap that they tell them they should be doing, and when they should be doing it.

One time I was serving a table of five, and everybody had order an appetizer and an entree.  But one person in the party had ordered a salad in addition to his appetizer.  I asked him when he wanted to have his salad served, and he told me to bring it before everyone got their appetizer.  So that's what I did.  Next thing I know, I'm getting pulled aside by the guy who is host of the group.

"Why did you only bring out the salad and nobody else's food?"  He demanded.

"Your friend had asked that I bring his salad first so he could get it out of the way, since he ordered more food than everybody else," I pleaded.

"You should bring all of the food, and then then we all can eat at the same time.  I don't know why you thought you had the right idea," he snorted.

Probably because I do this job for a living... unfortunately.  But I politely replied, "You wanted your friend to have two plates of food in front of him?  There's not that much room on the table.  And it would make your friend feel like a pig."

"Okay.  Well, next time then.  By the way, you never brought me my glass of ice."

"I apologize, I didn't know you had asked for one."

"I didn't.  That's what makes a good waiter.  You just know."  And he vanished back to his table.

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

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

The Bitter Bistro



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

To Tip or Not to Tip?


I came across an interesting discussion on The Huffington Post about tipping.  Now it has become some sort of class war?  I'm interested in hearing your opinions about service and tipping.  Here's the link.

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

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

The Bitter Bistro


Friday, September 28, 2012

Watch the Third Base Coach


Who can forget the scene from "Fletch," when Mr. Underhill gives the server a hard time for taking his plate too soon.

Mr. Underhill:  "Does it look like I'm finished?"
Waiter:  "I guess not."
Mr. Underhill:  "Now, I'm finished."
Waiter:  "Whatever you say, Mr. Underhill."
Mr. Underhill:  "I imagine you're expecting a nice gratuity, right?  Maybe next time!"

Customers have no idea when they are finished eating.  Utensils crossing the plate;  plates pushed away and arms folded.  Even stacking plates on top of eachother, but yet, I go to clear the table and it's,

"I'M NOT DONE!  CAN'T YOU SEE THAT?!?"

We need to hire a Third Base Coach for restaurants, so they can signal the servers as to when the customer is done eating, so we can clear the table safely.  There have been many occasions when I was snapped at by a customer, and I thought that I was going to be missing some fingers.

I get it.  In a down economy, you want to eat your money's worth.  Even if that money's worth is a single leaf of lettuce, lump of potato, or gristle of fat, customers are fighting fork and knife for their right to finish their food.

I've seen customers, who are chromosomes away from Honey Boo Boo's family tree, practically licking their plates as indication that they are finished.  "Them's was some good eats."

Perhaps it's best to go over some simple guidelines to help these people out.


  • PLACE your knife and fork in the middle of your plate at the 12 o'clock or 4 o'clock position.
  • PLACE your napkin to the left side of your plate.

  • DO NOT criss-cross your fork and knife across your plate.  Unless you are practicing learning the alphabet.
  • DO NOT leave your crumpled napkin on top of your plate.  Unless you've just ended a dramatic-in-your-face-yelling break-up with your boyfriend/ girlfriend, then by all means, do that!  And add, "I'M OUTTA HERE!"  Then storm off.


Simple?

And a bit of news, The Bitter Bistro will soon be a live podcast.  So any servers, bartenders, or anybody in the industry, please email/message/ or smoke signal me to be a panelist on the show to share your most horrific, or unbelievable customer experiences.

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

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

The Bitter Bistro

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Bitter Bistro Book (coming soon...)


People have been asking me when I am going to write a book about my career in the service industry, well, it is in the works.  I wanted to share an excerpt to give an idea of what to expect.  Actually, you guys already know what to expect... Bitterness, sarcasm, and stories you won't believe.  Here you go...

As Stacie passes by me to let me know that she sat the four top, she says the one thing to me that lets a server know that it’s not going to be an easy table, “Good luck with them.”  Meaning her first impression of the table was either rude, or demanding, or in no way shape or form are these people going to have a good time no matter how much charm I turn on.  So here I go…

“Good evening everyone.  Welcome.  Can I start anyone out with a nice martini, or glass of wine?  Perhaps water first?  We have Pellegrino and Fiji.”  No response.  Just blank stares at the menu, and then at me.  Then the leader of the group finally looked up and said,

“Parlez-vous fran├žais?” The gentleman asked.

Then I was the one with the blank stare.  Not saying that I have any kind of problem with foreigners, but a language barrier does present a problem when it comes to getting orders right and having people enjoy themselves and not wanting to start some sort of US/ French controversy.  What’s important here is that I happen to be very good at the art of communicating through the art of charades.  I’m not talking about going through the whole “One word, two syllables” route, but in broad strokes, I can hold my own with people who don’t understand English.

“No.  I don’t speak French, but I can find someone who does if that would make you feel more comfortable.”  This is my sly approach to actually having my customers think that I care enough about them to make them want to stay, but it also puts the thought in their heads that they may be better off eating somewhere else. 

“It’s fine.  I can speak a little bit of English.”  The same man said, but with a bit of a “I can’t believe this place” attitude.

“Perfect sir.  I happen to speak a little bit of English myself.”  He laughed and explained the joke to his group.  They laughed as well.  I can make even foreigners laugh!  (And my name is not on the side of The Comedy Store.  It baffles even me!)

“We want four Filet Mignon.  Rare.  And wine.  I guess something Californian.”  I could already knew a couple of things were going to happen.  1. French people love to order red meat.  And even better, they like it bloody rare.  We are Carnivores, after all.  And, 2. he was going to have some wise crack about California wines versus French.  That French wines are more sophisticated, elegant, and are just better than our watered down Napa Valley.  Who am I to argue?  I don’t even drink wine.  “Since we are not in France, I guess we will have to go with a Pinot Noir that you think we will like.”  The man said.

“I can handle that.  Of course, it will be hard to match the grapes that are produced in France.  How about a nice bottle of Robert Mondavi?”

Again, the group smirked at my classic act of I care about you people, but I actually don’t.  “Sounds fine.”

And like that, I was off to put in their order, and get a manager to get my the bottle of wine.  But I actually lied before.  I said that I don’t have a problem with foreigners, but that’s not entirely true.  Foreigners have the notorious reputation of not knowing the tipping procedures here in the United States.  And no matter how great my service is with this table, how much I make them laugh and change their attitude about Americans, my chances of being rewarded with a good gratuity are about as good as Lindsey Lohan making a comeback and winning an Oscar.

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

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

The Bitter Bistro

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

You Got Yelp!!!


What better way to get through the work week than to pick on the people who's parents truly should have considered contraceptives before having sex, the people who write negative reviews on Yelp.com.

As always, I have found someone who embodies the spirit of "douchebaggery."  Who alone, stands to make a mark on the world because he is THAT important.  (And by mark, I mean skid mark.)

Scott B., from Beverly Hills, CA makes the list.  His review is short, direct, and abrupt, because he's "got places to go people!"  Here's what Scott had to say about one restaurant in Los Angeles:

"If you have an unlimited amount of time and an equally unlimited amount of patience, than this place might be worth it."  It's nice to see that Scott was stepping out of his box to test himself on this theory.

"If I ever indeed got serviced within the time frame I had to eat, I might chance the food again!"  Since Scott is obviously an alien, he is only allowed to eat between certain portals of time everyday.  If that portal closes, he's screwed!  I felt bad for Scott's next appointment.

Scott, on behalf of planet Earth, I would like to say, YOU ARE NOT IMPORTANT!!!  If you are that much in a hurry, go to Taco Bell.  That is why Taco Bell was created by the universe, for people like you.  "TACO BELL--When you're in a hurry for the food to go in, and out."

Scott B., from Beverly Hills, CA, YOU GOT YELPED!!!

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 17, 2012

A Mountain of Pink for the Middle East


It seems that LA restaurants like to follow certain trends.  Whether it's organic food, comfort food, or celebrity chefs, if it's the thing to do, LA will do it.

The newest trend that a lot of restaurants are doing is having Cotton Candy on their dessert menu.  One of the restaurants that I worked for had a machine in the pastry kitchen.  You would not believe the way people would act when I would bring cotton candy to their table.  And I'm not talking about the kids, I'm talking about the adults.  Or at least I thought they were adults.

"OMG!!!  Is that Cotton Candy?"  One woman shrieked.

"Yes."  I said.  I try to remain as neutral as possible.  Honestly, this woman was practically having an orgasm at the table, and it was over a puff of pink sugar.  (No pun intended for the woman.)

"I haven't had this in years."

"I noticed."  Like I said, neutral, but with SOME attitude.

It has also become apparent that Cotton Candy can soothe the savage beast.  And by beast, I mean customers.  I've seen the most irate customers be upset throughout their entire meal, yell at their server, trash talk the entire place, and then, by some mysterious act of kindness, the server brings some Cotton Candy to the table and (POOF!) the attitude of the entire table changed instantly.

I think this is the solution to the problems in the Middle East.  Maybe Cotton Candy can finally bring peace to the holy lands.

A staple at any County Fair, has now become a staple in the LA restaurant scene.  Stranger things have happened.

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

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

The Bitter Bistro




Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A plus B equals a Restaurant Job


I've noticed a new trend in the restaurant world, for the application process, a lot of places are concentrating on personality traits rather than actual skill and experience.  Don't get me wrong, I've gone through many, many interviews for restaurant jobs.  And I understand the need to not hire anyone who could possibly be psychotic.  I've worked with a few psychos throughout my career, and believe me, psychos aren't pretty.  But to even make it through the first phase of hiring you'll need a resume, a headshot (LA thing,) and also have competent skills in Algebra.

Since when does the question "If Train A leaves the station at 10:45pm traveling at 55mph, and Train B is half an hour late behind it's scheduled time, when will these two trains collide?," have anything to do with the question, "would you like to hear about tonight's specials?"

It seems like those that paid attention in high school Algebra are going to have the upper hand from now on in the service industry.  Which means that there will be an influx of servers attending night school to brush up on their math skills just so they can find a job waiting tables.  Thanks a lot corporations, you have made getting a job that we hate, even harder.

So I recommend the following:  On your next interview, bring your resume, your headshot, and your smartphone.  You never know if you are going to need your scientific calculator app, or if you need to Google some equation made up by Sir Isaac Newton.

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 16, 2012

Brought to You by the Number 7


Somehow the number "7" has made it's way as a number to be seen on the gratuity line.  Foreigners, in general, have taken this number that only had fame on the Craps table, and slots,  and made it famous in restaurants... no matter what the total amount of the bill would be.

One time, I had a table of four who were from India.  It was an odd mix of two couples.  At first, the wives did all of the food ordering.  Then before I left, the men did all of the drink ordering.  Apparently, in India, women are for food, and the men are for drink.  (And who says women haven't made advances in that part of the world?)  Then it was time for the bill.  One of the guys signed it to their room, and I picked up the check.  For a total of 155 dollars, they left me zero.  (UHG!)  I decided that this would be a perfect opportunity to educate them about tipping etiquette in America.

"I hope I have exceeded your expectations this evening and you have enjoyed yourselves."  I started out.

(Blank stares)  Okay, I could tell there was a bit of a language barrier to overcome.

"Just to let you know, as a convenience to our overseas guests, we can add the service to the bill, so you don't have to trouble yourselves with doing that."

"We have a meal package, and cannot go over a certain amount."  One of the gentlemen finally admitted.  "It's a 90 dollar per person amount that we cannot go over."

"I completely understand that, but just to let you know, that if I add the service, you will not be going over your 90 dollar per person package amount."  Seriously?  They could have ordered four more entrees and not gone over this amount.

"What is service?"  He inquired.

"Service is what I've provided you with to make your evening enjoyable.  Like when you asked for a special request, and I accommodated it, that's the service."

"And I pay for this service?"

Now it's gotten to the point of still being professional, but in a VERY DIRECT MANNER.

"Service is another word for gratuity.  Gratuities are how we earn a living working in restaurants.  Now would you like me to included the 'GRATUITY?'"

"Oh... I think I can add that ourselves."  And he took the bill back from me.  Meaning he still had no idea what I am talking about, or that he was planning on stabbing me with the pen.

"Sir, just to let you know.  Appreciation for good service in the States is 18 to 20 percent of the TOTAL bill."

He waved me off.  They left.  I picked up the check, he left me seven dollars on a bill of 155.00.

Same night, different table.  Three Italians.  As Louis C.K. said, they smelled like a porta-potty on the last day of a music festival.  Their bill was $186.00.  Same argument as before...

"Would you like me to add the service?"

"Yes, that be fine."  Some English is better than none.  I added the 18 percent.  Next thing I know, he waves me over.

"What is this?"  He pointed to the added gratuity.

"That's the service charge that you agreed I could add."

"I don't want to give you that much."  He remarked.

"I guess just leave me what you think is appropriate for the service I provided you sir."  Excluding the amount of choking and oxygen deprivation I had to endure while he was in my section.

He and his friends leave.  For a check of $186.00, he left me seven dollars.

I need to start playing more Craps.

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

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

The Bitter Bistro

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Goo Goo Validation


Celebrities can be both a pain and interesting at the same time.

One day, lead singer of the Goo Goo Dolls, John Rzeznik, was sitting in my section.  He was pretty normal, (for a rocker,) but then he and his friend ask for the bill, I processed their payment, and then I went to validate he and his friends' parking tickets.  I stamped both of their tickets, then...

"Oh, you don't need to stamp my parking ticket.  I'm staying in the hotel."  John said.

"Sorry about that."  I replied.  "Just wanted to make sure everybody gets validated."

"How about stamping my hand."  He asked with a straight face.

"Really?"

"Yeah."  Then he stuck his hand out for  me to stamp.

"Why?"  I didn't even hide the "are you fucking kidding me look" on my face.

"Because it's pretty.  And I like stamps."  He admitted.

So I stamped his hand with a red star.

"There you go.  And your hand will get five dollars off wherever you go."

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

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

The Bitter Bistro

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ain't no summer like a Euro summer



Once again it's time for everybody's favorite time of year...

When restaurants and bars are filled with tan lines, accents, and the absence of gratuities.  Beaches are showered with both men AND women wearing bikinis without the tops, and exposing hair that most people would consider to be offensive.

It could only mean one thing, it's Euro Summer!

From UCLA Summer School, to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, to baking on the beach, summertime is the time for the European crowd to come to Southern California to soak up the sun, nightlife, and to experience the what we have all come to enjoy from this great area.

The one thing that is missing, is the server's ability to make money off of this group of people.  When the customs agent stamps their passports, they should also make them sit through a class on how to tip in America.  Unfortunately, restaurant checks do not have an automatic gratuity added to them.  Unless it is a large party, of course.  And I am in no way trying to discourage Europeans from dining out while they are here.  But rather, trying to educate them on the proper way to express their thanks to their servers for a job well done.  TIP!

And I'm not talking about tossing a few bucks on the table and calling it a tip.  We are talking 18 to 20 percent of the TOTAL BILL.  Anybody who does less is stuck in the 80's, listening to "Flock of Seagulls," and believes that servers don't declare their tips to the IRS.

And don't get me wrong, it's not just Europeans.  Australians, Japanese, and South Americans also fit into this "what-may-seem-like-a-racist-blog" category.

Then everybody will be happy and have a good time.  And now we can move on to other pressing, important things, like, body odor and hairy backs.

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

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

The Bitter Bistro


Friday, June 1, 2012

Orange you glad I didn't say "Orange?"


It doesn't get much better than this!  For the first time, I introduce to you, a phobia that has limited a customers diet:  A FEAR OF THE COLOR ORANGE.  (The sign above is an actual sign posted about a hotel guest.)  No, not just an aversion to oranges, or carrots, or bell peppers, but a fear of the actual color orange!  I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that Halloween is NOT his favorite holiday.  How the hell does this weirdo even go outside.  Last time I checked, the Sun has hues of the color orange.

I've got a joke for this guy...

Knock Knock.

Who's there?

Orange.

ARGH!  NO!!!  (Guy gets into his car and speeds away.)

I guess he can't take a joke.  BTW... my favorite part about the above sign, that it's orange!

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

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

The Bitter Bistro


Friday, May 25, 2012

Customer Inquisition


Throughout my career in the service industry, I have been bombarded by all sorts of random questions.  Everything from, "where's the bathroom," to "Does anybody here sell weed?"  It is the servers job to answer each question with professionalism, tact, and a straight face.  The first two I can still handle.  The latter, I gave up on years ago.

I can't believe some of the questions that come out of the mouths of some people.  It is pure torture, and gives me some insight of what the Spanish Inquisition was all about.  (Okay, maybe not that crazy, but you haven't dealt with some of the characters that have sat in my section.)

One night, I had the leader of the "Inquisition" sitting in my section.  She wins the prize for asking the most ridiculous questions in one sitting.

"Is the Tuna Tartar very raw?"  She asked.

"For most people, yes.  Most places don't normally ask for a temperature on the Tartar, but for you, we'll make an exception."  I politely answered.

"Is there Crab in the Crab Salad?"  She again asked with a serious face.

"Yes, there is Crab in the Crab Salad.  By law, we are obligated to serve exactly what is written on the menu."  Phew!  Another bad situation, thwarted by me.  But then...

"Can I get just a little bit of Diet Coke?"  She asked as she finished off her meal.

"You either get the whole Diet Coke, or none at all.  The owner doesn't make exceptions on that.  Sorry."  What the hell does this lady want?  A spritz of Diet Coke.  Here, let me put some in a water bottle, open your mouth, and I'll give you a few squirts of Diet Coke.  10 cents a squirt.

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

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

The Bitter Bistro

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tips for the Lips


The New York Post published a story about female servers in France who made better tips by wearing red lipstick.  See below.


RENNES, France -- Waitresses may strive to get orders correct and provide excellent service -- but pocketing good tips is all about the lips, French research has revealed.

Waitresses who wear red lipstick on average received tips 50 percent of the time from male customers, The (London) Times reported, citing a study by sociologists at the Universite de Bretagne-Sud.

The tips were larger in amount than those given to waitresses who wore brown, pink or no lipstick -- and those groups on average were only tipped 30 percent of the time.
The presence of red lipstick made no impact on the tipping habits of female customers.
The researchers noted that the rise in tips by male customers could be due to red lips being "associated with an indication of estrogen levels, sexual arousal and health."

The study results had "practical implications for female employees," the sociologists said, suggesting that red lipstick was a means for "enhancing their incomes, especially in bars or restaurants where men go."

The sociologists compiled their research after recording the tips received by seven waitresses -- wearing various colors of lipstick or none at all -- who served close to 450 customers over a two-month period.

The study was published in the International Journal of Hospitality Management.

Well I'll be damned... the French have tipped!  At least, 50% of the time.

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

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

The Bitter Bistro

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Expendables


People who work in the "service industry" are extremely expendable.  Owners and managers like to show how powerful and mighty they can be by placing you on suspensions, and the ultimate, letting you go.  And in a world where you are living by the money you make shift by shift, this can hurt not only your wallet, but your pride as well.

There was one establishment in particular that reveled in treating their employees like cattle, slaughtering them at their leisure, and threatening to do the same to anybody else who didn't fall in line.  I know many of you who live in Los Angeles probably have worked at this restaurant, or one of the sister restaurants at one point in your service career, the dreaded... Miyagi's on Sunset.

One of the owners set the tone the first staff meeting that I attended.  I was hired as a bartender, and was actually pretty excited to be working at such a busy and trendy night spot in Hollywood at the time.  Tom, the owner, simply stated at the meeting, "These are the way things work around here.  I don't care if you like it or not.  If you don't, you can walk out the door right now!"  Alec Baldwin in "Glengarry Glen Ross" showed more compassion.

I was stuck working the 2nd floor bar.  The place was 3 stories with a bar on each one.  The busiest bars were on 1 and 3.  I was the newbie, and got the crap bar.  But they thought that they would be nice to me and throw me a bone by putting me on the 3rd floor on the weekends to work the service bar that was set up next to the dance floor.  This meant that the servers would come to me for cocktails that they couldn't get from the main service bar because that bar was too busy serving customers.  Needless to say, I hardly made any drinks, and barely made 35 dollars working a shift that I didn't leave until 2:30 in the morning.  I finally got fed up and decided to exercise my entrepreneurial skills, by making 4 or 5 Long Island Ice Teas, putting them on a tray, stepping out from my partitioned bar, and selling the drinks for 5 bucks a pop.  Larceny, allegedly.  But I got bills, people!

I was involved in a theater company in Hollywood this time as well.  I had finally gotten a part in one of the mainstage shows, and had requested the appropriate time off from Miyagi's, getting it approved, so I thought I was okay.  Wrong!  As I was walking up to the theater company on opening night, I get a phone call.  It's Heather, my manager at Miyagi's.

"Hi Joey.  It's Heather from Miyagi's.  I was wondering if you were planning on coming into work tonight?"

"I requested the time off and got it approved, by you, so I wouldn't have to come in this weekend."  I stated.

"Well, we are going to be really busy.  And one of the other bartenders called off, so I need you to come in."  She said, with her best manager voice as possible.

"I'm in a show.  I can't come in.  That's why I requested the time off."  I was beyond frustrated at this point.

"Well, since you aren't coming in, we're going to have to let you go."  Heather said, without even missing a beat.  Pretty obvious that she had said this speech before.

"Just so I'm clear, you're letting me go for following procedure for getting time off?"

"If you aren't coming into work, then yes."

I hung up.  This was my first time getting fired from a service job, and I'm proud to say, that it wasn't the last.

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

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

The Bitter Bistro

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

More Actual Customer Quotes!



You seriously cannot make this stuff up.  Yes, these are actual human beings, who have come into the restaurants that I've worked at, and said these things to me.  As per usual, I will give you the actual quote, followed by my italicized commentary which I may or may not have said to the customer at that time.  Enjoy!

"Can I order room service to my room?"  I actually caught myself making a WTF? face at this person.  No, actually we'd prefer it if you would order room service to your car.  Then drive the hell away from here!

"I'm trying to decide between the fish, the steak, or the chicken.  Which one is better?"  Me:"What are you in the mood for?"  Them:"I think chicken.  But I could like fish or steak."  Customers like this woman makes me think that I did some horrible things in a past life, and they are my purgatory.

"Bring us more champagne.  The little ones need to have bottles to pop open."  Of course.  Because what parent doesn't want their child pointing a champagne bottle at somebody and trying to force it open?  Enjoy your New Years in Juvi, kid!

"When does it get busy?"  "Why aren't there more people here?"  So now, I not only need to be a server, but a promoter as well.  Give me a second.  I'll send out a few tweets to get some people in here.

"I don't like your steak knives!  Can you bring me one of the Chef's knifes?"  They only way a Chef is going to let a customer put their hands on one of their knifes is after the Chef stabbed them with it, and the customer was pulling the knife out of their neck.

"I don't want the potatoes that come with the Salmon.  So I don't want to pay the full price."  Certainly!  We are actually a 'pay-what-you-can-restaurant.'  Because each item on the plate is priced individually.

"I want my Lamb rare, but pink."  Yes, because blood comes in lovely pastel shades of pink, and slight hues of red.  People, there is no in-between!  You order options are:  Rare.  Med-rare.  Medium.  Med-well.  And well-done.  (Breathe)

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

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

The Bitter Bistro


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Most Wanted


(The above video was an actual customer of mine from a couple of years ago, dancing by himself at the restaurant, and later he walked out on his tab.  Just like Robert Stack said on Unsolved Mysteries, "If you have any information on this case, write to us at The Bitter Bistro... You need not give your name.")

Paying the bill at a restaurant is a foreign concept to many people.  Customers have walked out me on many occasions... (POOF!)... they disappear in a cloud of smoke, leaving me with an unpaid bill, and without a gratuity.  SHOCKER!  Oh wait, I forgot, I'm supposed to use your fingerprint that you left on the glass you drank from to get payment from your bank account.  Either that, or these people are Amish and they are going to get a goat or some chickens for payment.

One of my favorite walk-outs happened one night when we were moderately busy in the restaurant.  I was the closer, (meaning I was the last server on for the night,) and a half hour before we closed, I get sat with a 3 top.  (Three people.)

I approach the table to greet the one man who told me he was waiting for his two brothers.  He was wearing a "Tap Out" hat and T-shirt, and he had a thick Brooklyn accent.  I knew I was in for a good time.

"I'm a boxer.  I have 24 wins, and six losses."  He said to start our conversation. Most people usually introduce themselves with their names first, he gives his fight record.  Why not?

"I'm a server."  I replied.  "How about I start you with something to drink while you wait?"

"I'm Anthony.  I'm waiting for my two brothers.  They're MMA fighters."  Obviously, there's a lot of pride in his family.  "I'm going to be in an MMA fight if my doctor approves it.  I've already had two MMA fights and lost."  Is it me, or is there an immediate red flag when anybody needs their doctor to approve anything?  "I'll have a Long Island."  He finally ordered.

I bring him his Long Island Ice Tea, then the conversation definitely took a turn for the worse.  It was already weird you say?  I agree, but Anthony had much more to say about his fighting career, and about his love for my name.

"The doctor said he's not going to approve me for anymore fights after this one coming up."  WTF?  Obviously he hasn't seen "Rocky 5."  "Friggin doc!  I have a growth on my brain.  It's from getting hit in the head a lot."  Anthony tried to explain.

"I can hardly tell."

"You're funny!  What's your name?"  Anthony asked.

"It's Joey."

"JOEY !!!"  He exclaimed.  "Are you from the East Coast too?"

"I actually am from Southern California.  I'm a minority."  I hesitated to tell him.

"Wait 'til my brothers Bobby and Vinny find out you're name is Joey.  JO-EYYYY!"  My name now had become his mantra.

I left Anthony to nurse his Long Island.  While I was attending to my other tables, I heard from across the restaurant, "YO!  JO-EEEEEYYYY!"  I turned towards the sound, and sure enough, it was Anthony.  Now it was getting even worse because my co-workers felt the need to give me a hard time.  "What's up with your friend?"  They jabbed.

I cautiously approached Anthony.  "You rang?"  A la Lurch.

"I was just practicing."  He added as he finished the rest of his drink.  Practicing for what?  In case he forgot my name?  "I'm hungry Joey."

"Why don't you order something while you wait for your brothers."

"Give me a Caesar.  But I want chicken.  Something with both."

"How about a Chicken Caesar?"

"That's it!  And another Long Island."  He muttered.  "I'll be back.  I need to get my brothers."

Then Anthony left.  I brought him his drink.  His Chicken Caesar was delivered.  Time passed.  The ice in his drink diluted the Long Island.  The chicken and the lettuce cooled and warmed to the same temperature, and still no Anthony.

I told my manager.  We asked the front desk staff if he was a hotel guest.  "No.  But we saw him wandering around the front of the hotel for awhile, and then he left."

Just like that, (POOF!), I had been bamboozled by Anthony, the fighter with a growth on his brain.

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

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

The Bitter Bistro





Saturday, April 7, 2012

STOP! Or I'll steal your tip!



(article via Yahoo.com)

Stacy Knutson, a struggling Minnesota waitress and mother of five, says she was searching for a "miracle" to help her family with financial problems. But that "miracle" quickly came and went after police seized a $12,000 tip that was left at her table. Knutson filed a lawsuit in Clay County District Court stating that the money is rightfully hers. Police argue it is drug money. Knutson was working at the Fryn' Pan in Moorhead, Minn., when, according to her attorney, Craig Richie, a woman left a to-go box from another restaurant on the table. Knutson followed the woman to her car to return the box to her. 


"No I am good, you keep it," the woman said, according to the lawsuit. Knutson did not know the woman and has not seen her since, Richie said. Knutson thought it was "strange" that the woman told her to keep it but she took it inside. The box felt too heavy to be leftovers, Ritchie said, so she opened it -- only to find bundles of cash wrapped in rubber bands. 


"Even though I desperately needed the money as my husband and I have five children, I feel I did the right thing by calling the Moorhead Police,"


 Knutson said in the lawsuit. Police seized the money and originally told Knutson that if no one claimed it after 60 days, it was hers. She was later told 90 days, Richie said. When 90 days passed, Knutson was still without the $12,000. Police told Knutson the money was being held as "drug money" and she would receive a $1,000 reward instead, the lawsuit states. Lt. Tory Jacobson of the Moorhead police said he could not disclose much information about the case because it is an ongoing investigation. 


"With turning this money over to us, we initiated an investigation to determine whose money this is," 


Jacobson told ABC News. "The result has been a narcotics investigation." Police argue that the money had a strong odor of marijuana and therefore falls under a law that allows for forfeiture of the money because it was in the proximity of a controlled substance, the lawsuit states. But there were no drugs in the box and Richie said he believes this law is not being used correctly.


"Because it was in contact with drugs somewhere along the line, it's somehow drug money," Richie said. "This isn't drug money." 


A police dog also performed a sniff test on the money and, according to the dog's handler, discovered an odor. Two of Knutson's co-workers, along with her son Brandon, were at the Fryn' Pan the night she discovered the money. Her co-workers say they did not smell marijuana. "I know the smell of marijuana," Nickolas Fronning, a line cook at the Fryn' Pan, said in an affidavit. "I can also assure you that there was no smell of marijuana on the bills or coming from the box." 


There was nothing suspicious in the restaurant when the money was found, co-workers said. They don't why it was given to Knutson. "She was just in the right place at the right time," Tracy Johnson, the assistant manager at the Fryn' Pan, told ABC News. Knutson's family has had a long financial struggle. She has been a waitress at the Fryn' Pan for 18 years. 


"We do everything we can to make ends meet, but often times everything is not covered," she said in the lawsuit. Knutson's financial woes are well-known in her church, Richie said. She believes that perhaps someone from the church gave her the money through this woman but did not want to be identified. 


"Somebody knew she really needed the money and she needed to be helped," Richie said. 


Jacobson says it is up to the judge to decide who the money rightfully belongs to. "The police department doesn't have a decision on either side," Jacobson said. "She did the right thing, we credit her with that. It's certainly not the police department against her. We're actually with her." But Richie said he firmly believes this is not drug money and it rightfully belongs to Knutson. "The only thing that smells bad about this is that it's unfair," Richie said. "So that's why we're doing something about it."

(end article.)

All I can say about this is that it is hard enough to wait tables, (and a diner is probably even worse then LA restaurants,) and something like that happens?  What the hell would the police do with the money anyway?  Put it in their doughnut fund?  Chances are that they would divide it up amongst themselves and not even use it for evidence against... whomever!  And Stacy Knutson continues to struggle waiting tables at that diner.

As a server, once in a great while, you have that awesome night, when you make more money than you had thought possible in one shift.  And that makes up for any assholes you have been dealing with all the years.  The assholes turned out to be the cops.  And I know from personal experience, that cops are horrible tippers.

On a lighter note, my favorite part about this article, her co-workers trying to help out by saying, "I know the smell of marijuana."  Boys, I'm sure you do.

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

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

The Bitter Bistro

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Closing Time



I now finally understand where the inspiration came from Semisonic's song, "Closing Time."  They HAD  to have worked in the service industry!   Because where else do people feel compelled to continue to hang out and try to order more things than a restaurant that is ALREADY closed.

Eat, drink, and be merry.  But when the kitchen is closed, it's frigging closed!  And stop with these questions:

"Is the kitchen really closed?  Or can they still make a pizza?"  One customer continued to ask.

"Let me go check."  I say, but don't move an inch.  "I'm sorry, but the kitchen is still closed."

And the people that seem to have the biggest problem with this are the people who are over an hour late for their reservation, don't call, and still expect to be treated like the customers who had actually showed up on-time.

"Can you just give us five more minutes?  We're still expecting six more people."  A hairy guy when an accent asked.

"Unfortunately the kitchen closes in ten minutes, so I really need to get your order in now."

"But we had a reservation for dinner."

"Yes.  But your reservation was for 8:30.  It's now 10:50.  We'll be setting up for breakfast soon."

It's not real-estate.  You don't get to hold the table and kitchen like a rental property.  When the sign says, "CLOSED," trust them that it is, and go home, and next time, show up on-time... please.

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

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

The Bitter Bistro

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Subjectively Corked



As a comedian, it's true to say that comedy is very subjective.  As a servant of the service industry, the same can be said for wine.  Depending on your palate, your taste preferences, and the strength of the Earth's gravitational pull that day can determine what you taste or smell in a glass of wine.

One particular shift, an older man and woman were seated in my section.  They began their meal by presenting me with two drinks tickets given to them by the front desk of the hotel.  The tickets entitled them to two glasses of house wine, or champagne, or two well cocktails.  The husband felt he needed to educate me on what he should get for their FREE drinks.

"Do these two tickets get us two free drinks."  He started.

"Yes they do."  I professionally replied.

"Me and the Mrs. would like two glasses of your best Chardonnay.  The best that you can give us.  What is your best Chardonnay?"

"The best house Chardonnay?  That would be the Trinity Oaks from Napa."  I said, trying to steer him in the direction that these drinks were complimentary, meaning you get the cheap grapes that were fermented into a cheaper wine, thrown in a bottle and slapped with a cheesy, cheap label.

"Is that the Napa Valley?"  He asked.

"The world famous Napa Valley."  Are you serious?  No, it's the Napa Ravine.  The grapes grow on the side of a mountain like Bonsai Trees.

Meanwhile, his wife is reading through our extensive wine list.  "I'm looking for an "oaky" Chard."  She stated.

"The Trinity Oaks is pretty oaky."  I answered.  Hence the name... Trinity OAKS.

"Are the drink tickets only for two glasses of wine?  Or can we use them for a bottle since the two of us are drinking?"  She innocently asked.

(When people would ask me questions like, I seriously have to take a look around the room to see if Ashton Kutcher is hiding somewhere.  --"You've been Punk'd, biaatch!")

"It's a complimentary DRINK per drink ticket.  The number of people drinking don't factor into the equation."

"I guess we'll have to get two more tickets so we can get a bottle."  The husband joked.

"Great idea."  I quickly responded.  "While you're working on that, I'll get your two glasses of "oaky" Trinity Oaks Chardonnay from the Napa Valley."

I bring them the two glasses of wine, they each take a few sips, while husband continually tells me, "My wife knows her wine.  She's what you call a wine expert."

No, that's what you call a "Wino."

CUT TO:  

They order a bottle of wine.  (Oaky, of course.)  They tell me to take their two half full glasses of Trinity Chard to the front desk person who gave them the drink tickets, and "make him drink them."

Then, things took a turn for the weirder...

"First of all," the husband started off, "that Trinity Chard was the best Chard you have available by the glass?"

"No, sir."  I explained.  "It is the ONLY available Chard we have by the glass when you are paying with a drink ticket."

Then the wife chimed in.  "Well, I've had boxed wine that was better."  Really?!  I'll have to refer to my parents on that one.  Franzia anyone?  "And the bottle of wine you suggested, wasn't that oaky.  In fact, it wasn't oaky at all."

"I guess that's why wine is subjective, Ma'am.  But if you'd like some more oak in your wine, I'd be happy to break off a piece of wood from the decor."

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

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

The Bitter Bistro

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I Waited in College



Over the years working in the service industry, I have come across people who have empathized with my plight of bartending and waiting tables to make ends meet.  These people feel the need to want to reach out and tell me how hard it is to do what I do, and that even though they have a "career job" now, they know what it's like to work for tips because they used to wait tables in college.

This has become almost as bad as the customer who tells me at the beginning of the meal that they are "going to take care of me."  That never happens.  It is the "kiss of death," and the people who waited tables in college, did just that... waited tables in college.  There is a huge difference working to make money to use to go out drinking with your college buddies later that night, and waiting tables to make money to put into your bank account so you have enough to write a check to pay your landlord for rent at the beginning of every month.

"Sometimes I would not make any tips.  Then I'd have to flirt with the bartender to get my drinks."  Said an actual customer in my section one night.  "But you gotta do what you gotta do."

I think John Gotti said the same thing before he was ratted out by Sammy Gravano.  But probably not the flirting with the bartender part... at least, not until he was in jail.  (Allegedly!)

Believe it or not, (college waiters,) there is a huge difference between worrying about being able to have the funds to get wasted and party with the sorority girls, and not being able to keep the power turned on in your studio apartment.  Trust me, I understand the frustration of not being able to get hammered because of lack of gratuity, but when it comes down to it, you can usually work something out with your friends or bartender to help you out in that predicament.  (Just ask my customer from above.)  Whereas, the LADWP, or your landlord will not be as helpful and forgiving for customers not leaving you compensation for good service.  They will simply tell you, "No tipps?  Not my problem!  Lights out!"

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

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

The Bitter Bistro

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

You Got Yelped !!!



It's time again for one of my favorite blogs to write, the "You Got Yelped" edition of The Bitter Bistro.  And for those of you who don't know, apparently "Yelp" is being sued by businesses for some for some of the slanderous statements that many of the customers have been writing.  The businesses are stating that they have dramatically lost business because of the bad things that people have been writing about them on "Yelp."  Now, I am not saying that businesses should be allowed to operate and treat customers poorly, BUT, some people feel the need to take out their daily frustrations about their pathetic lives through the reviews they write.  And they are not even writing reviews!  They are writing dissertations about each item of food they had to eat at a restaurant and everything in-between.  Too much power has been given to the customers.  And I have become keenly aware that the customers have lost their fricking minds!

With that being said, let me introduce you all to Gene B from Los Angeles, CA.  Gene decided to go the romantic route and take his wife out to a restaurant on Valentine's Day.  On Valentine's Day, restaurants could care less about romance.  They are concerned about their bottom line, and how many bottoms they can seat to fill that line.  Here is what Gene had to say about his experience:

Made a reservation for Valentine's Day, 7PM. Called to say running 20 min late. Said OK but after 20 min, will be on wait list as they were 'booked solid', got there exactly at 20 min past, sat us in a totally empty restaurant! (Really Gene!  Jack In The Box is even filled to capacity on V-Day.)  

Asked for a booth, said booked. Much turnover in booths but we were barred from them I guess. In main dining room which was 40% unoccupied the entire evening, one of the 2 'private rooms' was empty the whole eve!  (Gene apparently works with the Census Bureau.) 

Really, offensive, trying to make us think it's a hot spot, it's not.  (There's no fooling Gene on this one.)

Service could not have been more nonexistent, waiter had no personality, had no clue how to be a waiter.  (Servers are now expected to throw some sort of Cabaret Show for customer's like Gene.) 

We saw the matre'd more than our waiter. Food is exceptional (exceptionally mediocre) for these prices. Place is beautiful, Service is lacking, food is mediocre. High prices and really pretentious and they aren't living up to the standards.  Also, gave my wife literally a wilted rose!  (First of all, I'm surprised that Gene is married or that a woman was desperate enough to marry him.  Second, it appears that Gene didn't buy his wife flowers himself, so he is upset that somebody also failed at doing his job.)

 Just a joke of a concept. Place is lacking as well, just not 'there'. LA has way too many greater choices for this money. Booked Solid and I guess they all realized what a bad experience they might have had and all went somewhere else.  (Gene, this last statement literally makes no sense at all.)  


I think Gene missed the point of Valentine's Day all together.  And if you are going to write a review that is that long Gene, learn some sentence structure and proof read for Pete's sake!  And if you look at Gene's profile on Yelp, you will see that he drives a Jaguar and is extremely proud of that.  That means that Gene is extremely proud of being a douche-bag.  I'm sure after Gene's horrible experience was over, he went home with his wife, locked her back up in the closet, and sat in the corner repeating the phrase to himself, "The waiter had no personality, had no clue how to be a server!"

Gene B. from Los Angeles, CA-- YOU GOT YELPED !!!

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

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

The Bitter Bistro

Saturday, February 4, 2012

RING! RING!


It's always refreshing when someone who works in the service industry is able to experience some sort of justice when a customer has been evil.  This edition is a tale of that experience.

I had a busy section one night.  Sitting in my section was a gentleman who was dining by himself.  At this particular time, I was working at a restaurant that is located inside a hotel.  This gentleman was a guest of the hotel.  He was having a great dining experience.  He started out drinking a Manhattan, went on to a Pinot Noir with his dinner, and rounded out the evening with a nice glass of Port with his dessert.  Throughout the man's dining journey, I checked on him to see how he was doing.

"How is everything?"

"Great.  The Meatloaf is fantastic, and I really like the Pinot you recommended."  The man boasted.

"Glad you're enjoying everything."  I replied.  I was happy that he was easy going because at that time, I was pretty busy with some other big tables that I was working on.

The evening continued.  I approached the gentleman again.  "Can I get you anything else?"  He responded no, so I printed out his check, dropped it on his table and left a pen so he could sign it to his room.  Now keep this in mind, I STILL had tables right next to this man.  I was in sight the ENTIRE time.  He finished his port, I saw him sign his check, and that should have been it.  I left to use the bathroom, and when I returned, my manager quickly came up to the computer terminal with the man's check saying, "That man's pissed.  He wanted a copy of his check."  My manager printed out the copy, handed me my copy, and left.  I looked at the check and saw that the man had wrote in a tip for 8 dollars. (An appropriate tip for the check amount.)  But since he felt slighted by not getting a copy of the check, he crossed out the 8 dollar tip and wrote in 1 dollar.  Again, this man had a great experience, and NEVER asked me for a copy of the check.

Wanting to resolve the situation and being the professional that I am, I quickly walked to where the man was standing to receive his copy of the check and offer my apologies.  He had started walking down the hall to the elevators to go to his room.  I called out to stop him.

"Sir, I apologize for not getting you a copy of your check.  Since you didn't say anything about not wanting a copy, I didn't get you a copy.  I just didn't know you had wanted a copy of the check."

"It's too late!"  He barked.  Apparently this man only works in absolutes.

"Again, I apologize for not knowing you wanted a copy of your check."

He turned and walked away.  I went and closed out the check.  Instead of accepting his dollar tip, I entered in "0" for the tip amount.  I showed him!  Then I closed it to his room number.  Room 534.  His name, Mr. Burke.  "That's good to know."  I thought.

Cut to later that night.  At one in the morning, I decided to call and check in on Mr. Burke.

(Phone Ringing)
"Hi, can I have room 534 please?"

"The name on the room?"

"Burke.  B-U-R-K-E"  And they put me through.  Nobody answered.  I decided to stay up late and finish the movie I had started.

Before I went to bed, I decided to give Mr. Burke another call.  I was 3:55 in the morning.  After all, I was concerned that he was going to leave the hotel with a bad customer experience.

(Phone Ringing)
"Hi, can I have room 534?"  They put me through.  It rang twice.  Then, a groggy man answered the phone.

"Hello?"

"Mr. Burke?"

"Huh?"

"I'm just calling to let you know that the escort you ordered is downstairs waiting for you in the lobby."

"Where?"  Poor guy, he was still trying to wake up and figure out what planet he was on.

"The lobby.  The escort you ordered?  He's waiting for you."

"I have to be at the airport at 4am.  I have a meeting."  Mr. Burke said.

"Well, it's 3:55am right now.  Good luck with getting to the airport in five minutes."  I said with concern.

"Thanks."  And he hung up.

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

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

The Bitter Bistro

Monday, January 9, 2012

Honesty es no bueno!


I am an honest person, and I believe that there is some form of karma in the world.  Some people are put here to test you and see how well you can interpret those situations.  After what happened to me one night, it seems that honesty is not always the best way to go about your life.

A gentleman was dining by himself in my section.  After some mild chit chat, I had determined that he spoke the Queens English, and this meant I was going to get a lousy tip.  (Sorry, but British people don't tip.  It's a fact.)  His total bill was 76 dollars.  He placed cash inside, got up and left.  When I went to pick up the check, I counted five 20's.  And on his actual check, he filled in the total with 80 dollars, and wrote in a tip of $4.00.  (I know, horrid.  But focus on what this blog is about.)  I counted five 20's again and determined that he was drunk and accidentally placed one too many 20's in the mix.

I chased him down the hall.  He was staying in the hotel, so he was on the way to the elevator.  I caught up with him.

"I saw that you wrote in 80 dollars for your total, but you accidentally left 100."  I explained.

"Hmmm... you're right.  You must be an honest person."

"On my better days, yes."  I proudly stated.

"You should've just kept the extra 20."  And with that he stashed the 20 into his pocket, and POOF! disappeared into a cloud of black smoke leaving me stunned and upset that I somehow was the person who was wrong.

Lesson learned:  Honesty is not always the best policy to live by.  And Brits have lousy senses of humor and need to finally free Ireland!

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

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

The Bitter Bistro