Thursday, May 23, 2013

Check Fight

I always love the part in any mob movie when the head guy is out to eat or having drinks with his crew, and he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a wad of cash, counts the bills towards him from the roll, and then tosses it towards the server like a drop in the bucket.  Nobody in his crew had any doubt about who was paying bill, nor would they try to embarrass themselves or the boss by trying to pay the tab themselves.

Then why do so many people insist on fighting over the check when I bring it to the table?  It's always the same thing.

"Don't let anybody else at the table pay the bill but me!"

"Give me the check!  Nobody else!"

Either that or it's a fencing dual with credit cards when I bring the check to the table.  With couples arguing about who is hosting whom, with elbows, head-butts, and "Gambit-style" card throwing.  And for what?  To make somebody feel bad for wanting to pay?  I've seen dog fights end with more diplomacy.

Then there's the person who gives me their credit card at the beginning of the meal while they make their way to the bathroom.  Great!  Now I'm busy running around doing my job and now I have to be your wallet!  Does it look like your server has room to be able to hang on to your credit card for two hours while you dine, and not worry about losing it the entire time?

I've actually had customers grab my arm to take their friends credit card away from me just so they can give me their card.  And even after I already ran the card through the computer, I've had people ask me to switch the payment just so they can pay and not their friend.

It's gotten to the point where I just set the check down in the middle of the table, step back and watch as couples tear each others arms off, just so they can be the baller, and pay the check.  Just let that person pay for the check already, they obviously don't mind fighting in public.  My only advice is if those are the people that you find yourself dining with, I suggest dining alone.  Less fighting.  

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

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

The Bitter Bistro


Monday, May 13, 2013

I'm Allergic to the Following

I appreciate it when a customer let's me know up front when they have allergies, but this still makes me laugh. How many people do you know that are allergic to leeks, broccoli, or cauliflower? I wish that I had one of these cards as a kid. Great way to get out of eating your vegetables.

Parent to child:  "You're not going anywhere until you eat your vegetables."

Child:  "I can't.  I'm allergic!  Read the damn card!"

Here's how the conversation went with this lady when I served her.

Me:  "and what can I get for you? "

Lady:  " I'll have the Tiramisu."

Me:  "What about for your entree?"

Lady:  "That is my entree"

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

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

The Bitter Bistro


Thursday, May 9, 2013

10 Ways To Get Better Service At A Restaurant

I have noticed that there are many variables that can lead to a bad dining experience, and for the customer to say that they received "poor service" has become cliche, and just the "go to" for when all things go bad in a restaurant.  Here is a Top 10 list to help customers have a positive experience the next time they dine out.

"This table's too round.  This table's too brown.  This table's just right."  You are not buying real estate.  So for you to pass on the first, then the second, and even the third table option the host gives you is beyond ridiculous.  The tables are all made the same, have four legs, four chairs, (if applicable,) and are strong enough to hold food, drinks, and purses.  And if you pass on a table, now you've messed up the floor plan that the host has prepared at the beginning of their shift, and everybody in the restaurant takes notice as you are aimlessly walking around the place looking for a table the isn't too cold, too close to the kitchen, or too loud.

Too many times I see customers practically lay their upper torso on the table while pushing the utensils that they need to eat away from them.  Only later to demand a fork from their server because they claimed to have never gotten one, when there actually was one underneath their forearm if they had bothered to actually have any manners.

As a server, part of our job is to recite the specials to our tables to let the customer know what the chef has done "special" for them that day.  This is usually the time when your server says, "We have some specials for you this evening," and that is the cue for the table to begin a ten minute conversation about how long it took them to get off of the freeway that evening do to the "Piedmontese Cattle" protest.  I usually just keep saying the specials while everybody is talking, finish, they walk away.  Only to have to repeat them again later when my table has the nerve to say, "are there any specials?"  "Today's specials include my not caring and you not listening."

When I walk over to my table to take an order after one of the guests motions me over to take the order, that usually means I am going to be standing there for about twenty minutes because nobody has decided what they're going to have but they want me there for support.  NEWS FLASH!  I have other tables to attend to in my section, so if you're not ready to order, take your time.  Don't leave your server standing there with pen and paper out and not tell them what you want to eat.  This slows things down for everybody, and other customers feel slighted because they don't know where there server went.  As my buddy Lou says, "you're not picking a college!"

Servers are required to go through a lot of training to work at certain restaurants or bars.  One of the classes that we don't take is "mind reading 101."  If you're allergic to something, you should tell your server IMMEDIATELY!  That way, any unforeseen trips to the ER can be avoided.  One time I had a gay guy ask me, "are there nuts in the Tuna Tartar?"  I said, "yes, there are pistachios "  He says, "I'm allergic to nuts."  I replied, "I didn't know, you're the only gay guy allergic to nuts."  (Rim shot!)

When your food is in front of you, it's ready.  Your server is not cooking your food.  If your food is taking a long time to get out to you, your server is trying to get your food out to you as quickly as possible, but please remember that it is NOT your servers fault that your food is taking awhile to come out from the kitchen.  The restaurant might be crowded and the kitchen got backed up.  There are other variables involved.  Customers might change their minds and slow things down.  (RIGHT SPRINGS 1?--SEE BELOW.)  If you want your food to come out faster, might I suggest dining at McDonald's.  I hear they excel at food expediency 

Your food should never be auctioned off at the table.  This means that when the food runner brings your food to the table, he/she should never be holding the food up and saying, "who got the Lamb Porterhouse?"  1. The server puts the food order in the computer with the correct seat numbers, (or should,) so the food that you ordered should arrive magically in front of you.  2. Now we have to play this game of who had what, because nobody remembers what they ordered.  Then what usually happens is that somebody at the table starts eating something that they didn't order, and one person sends an entree back to the kitchen because it wasn't what they ordered, and then they sit there wondering what happened to their food, when their food is actually being eaten by one of there friends.

I can't tell you how many times I have been interrupted by another customer while I was at another table, just to have that person tell me they're ready to order or need another drink.  Patience is certainly a virtue, and I have very little for poor behavior.  I have also been snapped at, waved at, had my name yelled from across a crowded restaurant, and grabbed.  These things are more than wrong, but grounds for me to make you wait longer, have you thrown out, or have me say to you, "DON'T FUCKING TOUCH ME!"

If you don't like your food, or think that you're getting bad service, it is in your best interest to say something at that moment.  I know it can be uncomfortable, but, it's better to get what you want and leave happy, then pay for something you didn't like and leave wanting nothing more than to get home and "Yelp" about it.  Remember this, "Yelping" is for cowards.  And if you didn't like your food, order something else!  You came to the restaurant because you're hungry.  It drives me nuts when I offer something else to a guest who didn't like their food and they say, "No, I'm not hungry now.  I'll just eat off of my friends plate."  Do you pull up to a gas station, not like the water to wash your windows, and decide to drive away and not get gas because of it?  You came to eat.  Let your server help you out in that circumstance.  Your stomach will be glad you did.

It is extremely time consuming to split a check 10, 8, or even 3 ways.  I have to go through the ENTIRE check and remember exactly what everybody ate and drank, and place each item on a separate check.  And during that time, all of my other tables are wondering, "what happened to my server?"  Most places won't even allow you to split checks anymore.  Besides, usually one of the girls at your table volunteers to be the group accountant anyways.  Let her live her dream!  Give your server cash, credit cards, and IOU's.  But only four forms of payment, at most.  This way you'll get out in a quick amount of time, and won't have to wait around for me to figure out your split check and back taxes owed.  And for the love of Jehovah, tip 20 percent!  You had a good time, thank your service staff for it.

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

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

The Bitter Bistro


Monday, May 6, 2013

Chump Change

Gratuities are always appreciated.  But if you are giving merely to empty your pockets of change, then perhaps you should unload it into a parking meter rather than onto your server.  Give me a break!  Change?  I can't even buy a pack of gum with the amount that was given above.  Just like my buddy Josh would say whenever he got tips like this when he was behind the bar, he would push the money back to the guest and say, "try again!"

If it makes noise, then it's not the kind of tip I want.  It's not the tip that anybody in the service industry wants.  And if that is all the money you have left to tip with, then I suggest you try to switch the change for bills, (or in this case, BILL,) so you don't add insult to injury.  That way, you're just a bad tipper, not a jerk.

Now that you've given me this change for a tip, where the hell am I going to put that money?  I now had to walk around the rest of my shift like a "homeless Tambourine-Man,"  (Thank you Marc Franco,)  because I didn't have a coin purse to put the change into.  Although it would come in handy if I was going to go to the arcade after work.  Wait a minute... there aren't anymore fricking arcades. 

So thanks a lot "Chump Changer!"  Tipped with change, AND there aren't anymore arcades!  I'll remember you the next time you come in.  It will be easy since I'll hear you coming a mile away.

So if you can't tear it, then don't share it.  Save your change for the next time you're at the slot machines.

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

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

The Bitter Bistro