Saturday, August 31, 2013

5 Ways To Not Annoy Your Bartender


I haven't been a full-time bartender for a couple of years, but occasionally I will work a private party or banquet event, and they will throw me behind the bar.  Getting back up on that bike was fine after pouring the first couple of drinks, but I found that even though bartending has evolved into mixology--consisting of muddling fresh herbs and exotic fruits and herbaceous bitters--the one thing that hasn't evolved is how people act while waiting to order a drink.

The other night I was bartending a party sponsored by "Svedka" vodka, "Peroni" beer, and "Hint" water.  Those items were being hosted while the rest of the items at my bar were not hosted.  Meaning, the vodka and beer and water were all free, the rest was not.  And what that usually means for a bartender is that most people go for the free loot, and bypass the tip.

Most of the conversations at the bar went like this:

"I'll get a Jack and Coke," said one thirsty moocher.

"Just to let you know, the Svedka and Peroni and Hint water are hosted, the Jack and Coke is non-hosted," I replied... repeatedly.

"I'll take a vodka-soda.  Oh, wait... you have flavored vodka?  What can you make with that?  Wait!  I'm not sure.  Maybe just the Jack, but that' not free.  Oh, just surprise me!"  And that was just the guys.

The party was sponsored by Svedka because they were introducing their new line of flavored vodkas.  That night we were pouring the "Strawberry Colada," and the "Orange Creamsicle," as well as plain Svedka.

"I've been waiting," one person decided to tell me when she got to the front of my line.

"Sorry about that.  What can I get for you."

"What's your special drink?" she asked.

"The special drink we are making tonight is an 'Orange Dreamsicle,'" I reluctantly said.

"I'll have one," they replied.

So I made one.  Then that customer turned back to me and said to make two more.  So I made two more.  She took them.  No tip.

One guy thought he was going to play some sort of mind trick on me.  "I'll have a Jim Beam and Soda," he demanded.  I gave him the story about the non-hosted and hosted drinks.  He said, "How much is the Jim Beam and Soda?"

"12 dollars," I answered.

"What?  I only brought 40 dollars cash.  I have to pay the valet and didn't bring a credit card.  I can't pay 12 dollars for a drink," he stated.

"Well, then I hope you like vodka," I stated back.  Who the hell pays less then 12 dollars for a drink in Hollywood?

The worst part was at the end.  Don't get me wrong, we did make some money at the bar, but not as much as we would have liked to considering all that we just put up with.  But it always is the worst when you close.  Because that's when people think that they own you.

"I'll have a Peroni," one last drunk asked.

"Sorry, but we're closed," I said.  And we were.  I had a cart next to where my bar USED TO be and had all of the beer packed away in the original boxes.

"But can't I just take one from the box?" he pleaded.

"No.  We've already counted all of those, and have to turn that amount back in."

"I tipped everytime I came up here," he defended.

Somehow, that made it okay for him to continue to drink the FREE beer.  So I just said, "I can't give you those beers, but I could give you your tips back."

He scoffed and walked away.  This was actually the same guy who told me that he used to be a bartender.  You don't have to tell me you've worked in the service industry, it should just come across through your actions.  So here's a list to get you better service from your bartender.



5 WAYS TO NOT ANNOY YOUR BARTENDER

5. Don't walk to the side of the line and say, "I just want a beer."  Just because it's easier for me to grab doesn't mean it's easier for me to serve you.  Besides, there's a line you A-Hole.
4. Know what you want by the time I acknowledge you.  You just spent all of that time waiting, and you still don't know what you want?  "NO SOUP FOR YOU!"
3. Give me your whole order at the same time.  It's easier to make your whole order then to make one drink and then have you add other orders to it.
2. Don't say, "what can you make with vodka?"  Must bartenders nowadays can make over 300 drinks with vodka alone.  Sweet.  Sour.  Strong.  Fruity.  Take your pick.  What is this?  Your first time drinking?!
1. Tip big after your first drink.  Your bartender will remember that.  At the above party, one girl tipped me 20 bucks for her first beer.  The line did not exist for her anymore that night.

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

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














The Bitter Bistro

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Monday, August 26, 2013

May The Crumbs Be With You


Customers are attracted to dirty tables like the Millennium Falcon being pulled by the Death Star's tractor beam.  (SW reference!)

It's bad enough watching customers jump from table to table, but ending up at a table that's dirty, what the hell is wrong with these people?  It's as if these customers want to be able to start out by telling us what to do, "can you clean up this table?," followed by the usual "get this and that" with the no thank-you conversations.

What's even more weird is that these same people sit at the table WHILE we are cleaning it off.  So what they're telling us is that they have some kind of crumb fetish because they sit watching us wipe down the tables as some of the crumbs and dirt spills over to where they are sitting.

"Oh yeah!  Wipe right there!  Oh, look at those crumbs, and lamb leg bones."

I'm surprised they don't ask me to wrap us any leftover food that's on the table.  It's like they are on a scavenger hunt and the last item is a dirty table.  Well congratulations!  May the crumbs be with you.    

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

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

The Bitter Bistro
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Friday, August 23, 2013

The Bitter Bistro Podcast 107

Another great podcast!  Thanks again to my guests, Jen and Joe.  Please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and rate and review it!



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

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

The Bitter Bistro

 FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER CLICK HERE
 "LIKE" ME ON FACEBOOK CLICK HERE

Thursday, August 15, 2013

YOU GOT YELPED !!!


Just when you think that Yelp could not get any worse, I've discovered another path of destructive Yelpers who are... wait for it... Yelping about places of worship!  That's right.  Even with the separation of Church and State, apparently Yelpers think that their reviews will be the "arms length distance" between the two.

Meet Maria A.  It seems that Maria is in need of some enlightenment.  However she chooses to find in through her written Yelp paragraphs.  If Yelp were a bible, she would want to have her own section.  So this one is from the book of Maria A., and the "A" could only mean "ASININE."

Maria writes about her experience at a Jewish temple in Beverly Hills.

"Came here to do an observation study (ethnographic research) . I went on a Saturday morning. The people here seem very materialistic with their apperal, cologne, perfumes, and fancy cars they bought off credit. It was someones Bar/T Mitzva this day which was interesting."-- First off, she claims to be some sort of student of cultural studies, but yet Maria misspelled apparel, and bar mitzvah?  And how does she know the cars were bought with credit?  She must have done a silent survey with the crowd.  

She continues...

"What really annoyed me the most, was how half the time the leaders or rabbi's ( i think) were auctioning...yes...AUCTIONING  for having the honor of coming up to the podium and holding the Torah or saying a grace or prayer.  I witnessed one man who bid $500 dollars for his wife to go up and hold the Torah for about 5 min. (Thats $100 per min btw)."--Again, she claims to be this "student" yet she doesn't know who leads a Jewish congregation.  But I will admit, I would like to see an auction like that.  "Up next in the auction, a chance to hold an actual Torah, rumored to have been looked at by Moses himself.  Do I hear 500 dollars?"  But Maria does know her math...

"The main auditorium has multi-million dollar glass chandeliers..like 4 of them."--Maria is a student of culture, AND multi-million dollar interior design.  

"This place reminded me of bible study when Jesus Christ threw a tantrum when he saw the Jews doing business in the holy temple."--I grew up Catholic, and I don't remember the part of the Bible where Jesus threw a tantrum.  "I told you Jews, no business in the Holy Temple!"  

"I also suggest the IRS should look into this, because one of the Persian women told me that this occurs every Saturday."--So now Maria's a whistle-blower.  And now all the cologne and BMW's should make sense to her.  They're Persian.  

"In the end, +1 star for the excellent food provided at the end of the ceremony."--I'm surprised she didn't review the food as well.  So she was offended, but not enough to turn down the food?   

"But I will not be coming back here again because I feel like this is not a real place to worship one's faith. I believe there are other Jewish synagogues that are true to their faith and practice good ethics, and moral behaviors in their place of worship."--Meaning she won't be back because she's too busy reviewing other synagogues, churches, and mosques.

Maria A, 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

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Saturday, August 10, 2013

We've Got Personality, Yes We Do. We've Got Personality, How 'Bout You?


I rode the bench a lot while on the basketball team in high school.  That gave me a lot of time to get to know my friend Craig, develop a bitterness which was the genesis for what fuels me now, and also to learn every single cheer the cheerleaders did.  (What the hell did you expect me to say?  I didn't play unless we were up or down by 20 points with a minute left in the game, so I'm glad I used the time to my advantage.)

Some of my favorites were:  "Be aggressive.  B-E-Agressive.  B-E-AGGRESSIVE.  AGGRESSIVE.  B-E-Aggressive!"  Or, "We've got spirit, yes we do.  We've got spirit, how 'bout you?"

So what the hell does this have to do with the service industry?  EVERYTHING!  First off, what sparked this post was an inspirational speech given by one of my general managers during a pre-shift.  To remind you guys who don't know, pre-shift is when all front of house staff gets together before the reservations stroll in, and we discuss what we need to know for the night and such.  It was here when our general manager went off on this tirade about what was wrong with our staff.  The place I work at is owned by a corporation who owns other restaurants around town.  It basically came down to this,

"Across the street at our sister restaurant, the servers may not have the technical skills that you guys have as servers, but they have more regulars and make better money, because they have better personalities," he stated.

Saying a server has no personality is like saying Hitler had poor leadership skills.  (Too soon?)  You don't even have to like your server, but they are going to get you what you want in the end.

They has never been a time when I haven't "cheered" some customer to have a great experience, or had them shaking my hand claiming they would be back.  And that goes for most of my co-workers as well.  (Those co-workers whom this doesn't apply to shall remain nameless, but we all know who I am talking about!)

But that's what we do.  From the moment we greet you when you get to the table, to guiding you through the menu, to thanking you when you leave--we are there, cheering you on to have a good time.

Needless to say, for the rest of the shift after we were called "personality-less," that was the punchline for every joke we could think of doing.  Got a bad tip--server had no personality!  They loved the food--server had no personality!  Customer couldn't find the bathroom--server had no personality!

Just like that song, We've got personality.  Yeah!  Personality.  Hey!  Personality!... 

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

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

The Bitter Bistro

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Nowhere To Go But Up


I've got news for people who think that it's okay to look down on their server and think that they're better than them, those days are out like A-Rod's testosterone count.  (Too soon?)

And in case some of you are wondering, when I say the word "server," I am encompassing the service industry as a whole.  Servers, bartenders, bussers, food-runners, hosts, etc.  Now that we are on the same page, those of you who think your job is better, or that I have this job is because I don't have a college education, or don't have goals in my life... Eat Glass!

If you've been listening to my podcast, (CLICK HERE,) I have touched on this issue with many of my guests.  Truth be told, with tips, I make more per hour than a lot of 9 to 5'ers make in 18 months of work.  And the reason why?  I have become good at showing people a good time.

With the skill set that I have, I could literally pack my bags tomorrow, fly across the world, and find employment at some bar, or restaurant.  The other day, I had some accountant lady bark orders at me, and acted intellectually superior towards me and my co-workers.  If that lady were fired tomorrow, she would not have the same ability to find a job as easily as I or anybody else who works in the service industry could.  Unless of course there's a huge shortage of asshole accountants that I'm unaware of.

Many of us (servers) have college educations.  Or better yet, many servers work a 9 to 5 job, AND also work in the service industry.    

Servers have to learn menus, food descriptions, allergens, alcohols, wines, and what goes with what.  We've heralded engagements, break-ups, successful business deals, and award winning Oscar parties.  We've waited on royalty, celebrities, complainers, people who don't speak English and we can only communicate with them by pointing and charades, people who want breakfast at dinner, vegans (UHG,) people who don't tip, people who are generous, and Persians.

No matter what; we've seen it all, served them all, and at times, wanted to be with them all.  So the next time you feel inclined to say, "you're just a server," think again.  We probably make more money than you, and work less hours doing it, and put up with all of your crap to be justified to earn it.    

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

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

The Bitter Bistro

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Friday, August 2, 2013

Good Tips for Good Karma


I've posted quite a bit about getting poor tips from many different customers, both foreign and domestic. Yes, it's frustrating and irritating when this happens. I think my frustration is split evenly between people still not knowing how to tip properly, (mostly overseas customers,) and the fact that I still depend upon people's generosity to provide for my family and pay my bills.

However, not all tips are bad. Through my tirades and bitching, I have made a difference in the way some people tip. For example, my parents consistently tip 20 percent. Although it's mostly because their son works in the industry, but nonetheless, it's 20 percent.

And then there's the power of the Internet. I have come across many stories of a "random" person who left some outrageous tip for some unsuspecting server or bartender.  Take the story below for instance.  Thanks to my friend Joan, who posted this on my Facebook, I was able to learn how a man's dying wish was to leave random people a very generous gratuity.  See below:



It was that man's dying wish to be generous and leave an awesome gratuity!  I've had customers wish I was dead, but never were dying to leave me anything like that.  Almost restores my faith in humanity... almost.

 Here's another great story about a server who works at a Steak N' Shake.  That place might sound familiar to those of you who listen to my podcast.  It was Beth Haggerty's first job in the service industry.  You can check out Beth's episode HERE.  And below is the story about the generous tip at the Steak N' Shake.

These phantom tippers seem to appear out of nowhere.  I like how the manager actually complimented his server.  And rightfully so!  Makes me believe that lightning can strike the same place twice.  First strike was the tip, the second strike was the compliment from the manager.  Most things I hear from management are:  1. Get off your phone.  2. Upsell. And 3. Get your shift covered.

So these things do happen.  Not often, but they do happen.  Hell, I get excited when I get an 8 percent tip from Mr. Walsh.  He's a regular at one of my places who's notorious for poor tipping and complaining about not getting enough stuff for free.  But stranger things have happened.

The new podcast is up.  Please go to iTunes and rate and review the show.

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

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

 The Bitter Bistro

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER CLICK HERE

"LIKE" ME ON FACEBOOK CLICK HERE