The Insane Waiter

Running wild on customers, chefs, owners and managers since 1997. I bring to you, The Insane Waiter. What do bring to your table? A crisp bottle of San Pellegrino ? Perhaps a lovely seared Sashimi Tuna? Start off with a wonderful bottle from Tuscany perhaps? Why I'll be more than happy to bring you your White Zinfandel and Chicken Caesar. No you can't order the mac and cheese off the kids menu and sorry no, we don't serve cheese sticks....

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Late Nite Dining

Well hello friends!

Most often when you walk into a restaurant you are greeted with eager and smiling faces. Maybe a pretty hostess or a server jockeying for a table.

However there are a few of you that expect that same reaction while walking in right before the door is closed and locked.

True, you may be hungry, tired, or most likely stoned or drunk...

But then again so are we by that hour.

This happens on a weekly basis to me and always when I'm the "closer" or "head server," in other words the last one out of the building.

Someone always wants that last minute bite, and I'm always working with the manager that will let them. Some managers are great ie: "Tell them that the grill is off!" But most are willing to accommodate, after all business, no matter how minute is business.

This happened to me tonight.

Its Tuesday so not very busy, I look at the clock, two minutes to go, then I see them.

Teenagers, six of them.

I know they're gonna be mine. I'm like a great white shark that can smell a drop of blood ten
miles away.

Shit, I didn't sign on for this, I could be done in ten minutes and up at the bar for a Scotch and Water.

Isn't this what IHOP is for I think as I warily approach them.

"Hi folks would you like anything to drink to start off with?"

I want them to order a beer so I can shoot them down.

Six kids, six waters...

At least the girls aren't ordering Shirley Temples with an extra bowl of cherries.

As I bring out a pitcher of water I notice a visibly stoned young buck emptying the bread basket as another joiner hits the table with a handful of the essentials.

No not vicadines...

Those are my essential after tonight...

But dinner mints...

"Would you like any appetizer to start off with?"

"Ya I already have some," cocky Boy #1 says as he gestures to the empty bread basket,"and keep it coming."

So no apps, no drinks, no salads.

Once again split plates on a couple pastas, the cheapest thing on the menu...

cocky Boy #2 shakes his glass at me, "more water."

cocky boy#1 "more bread."

Three bread baskets later their pizza is out, I don't even bother to serve it up. Just drop and run.

Now I'm behind on my sidework (Yes, our job entails more than just dropping off food)

I'm just back from taking the garbage out when Jenny, the other closer, grabs me.

"You table is looking for you."

Of course, I come out and the Cocky twins want more bread.

And as I look over Cocky Boy #2 drains his 2/3 full glass, "more water."

Hmmm, are we seeing a pattern here.

There bill is sitting at a whopping $32 for the six of them, and they're running me like they have $300 tab and a bottle of Grange Shiraz on the table.

All for free food and water.

It's getting close to eleven.

They want the dessert tray.

All the cooks are gone.

The dessert station is looks like Afghanistan, bombed out and desolate...

I figure I can make maybe three items out of eight.

I go explain that its late and we can only make Tiramisu, Cannolis and...


"Ya, I don't know what those are!" Grips Cocky Boy #1, "why don't you bring them out!"

Because we don't have them Douchebag!

What comes out of my mouth however is "of course sir!"

I do so and explain again what we can't make...

"I want the cheesecake!"

"Sorry we're out.." Hell, I just told him.


"Because we don't have any."

"Well ok."

Then they name drop one of the owners. Great, their daddy probably plays golf with him.

"Isn't he a manager here?"

"No, he's not an on site owner," I retort.

I bet they thought that he personally would bake them a cheesecake at eleven fifteen in the p.m.

"We'll just take the check then, and boxes for our food." G

Great, its Cocky Boy #2 paying.

I drop their boxes and check.

As I walk around the corner minutes later I see a wad of singles on my check tray, surrounded by a pile of literally over a hundred mint wrappers.

Guess they got their dessert after all, for free of course.

Bill and tip...$35 left of a $32 bill.

They kept me, a busser, a dishwasher, and three cooks on another hour to fulfill their munchies.

And in the deal they got off on less than seven bucks a head for three baskets of free bread, pizza, enough mints to start a candy shop and a rude attitude.

In the deal we just lose time.

Some of us have families, a day job, or maybe just another double shift in the morning.

If you want late night munchies go somewhere that thrives off such business.

The staff at establishments with posted hours want nothing to do with it.

We close at the time posted.

So if you go out and hit the door at five after.

The answer is no.

The question is "are you still open??"


At 9:53 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

We live in a world of nasty entited people. I was formerly a bad tipper, i was a teenager until of course being exposed and working in the service industry. Hopefully these teenage assholes will become a server, an extreme drug addict or an evangelist. Of those three they will learn their lessons.

At 10:23 AM , Blogger Revan said...

Just started reading your blog... I like it...

At 9:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting blog. Sharp, witty and so true that it's scary. After reading your blog about the teenagers, I was curious if you've had any bad experiences with young children and parents that seem to think it's the server's job to babysit while they eat their dinner?

I worked in a restaurant in highschool and now as a young mother with a 3 year old, I make sure that my son is IN a booster seat or highchair from the moment we sit down until we leave. If he acts up, he's taken outside or to the bathroom, until he's ready to behave again.

Even as a customer it irritates me to see children running through aisles, climbing under booths and around the wait staffs feet while they're trying to deliver meals.

It's just such a pity servers can't slip a bit of Valium into their overly caffeinated drinks and only have to worry about stepping over the tiny sleeping bodies. ;)

At 3:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

every bussiness has a posted close
time. do you think that as restruant we should stop SERVING at that posted time or stop SEATING at that time?? i believe that as a waiter and a guest that as long as you posted time for closed has not hit THE EXACT SECOND that the guest should beable to come in and have the same expirence as a 7:00 diner.

At 1:17 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I try to be patient with late-night guests. Sometimes people have only just gotten home from a car trip, or have been out all day, etc. It's frustrating, it's time-consuming, but it happens.

But guests, please do understand:

The server who is waiting on you has been there for probably 7-8 hours. He or she is probably tired and sore. It's unreasonable to expect that a person in such a state can provide you with as top-notch service as he or she could have provided earlier in the evening.

Please appreciate that oftentimes, you are keeping your server up an hour or more later, and compensate him or her accordingly.

At 7:40 AM , Blogger Kathleen said...

Regarding the person who thinks that if the sign says the restaurant is open 11:00-11:00 that people should be sat at 11:00 is high. Do you walk into a store at 9:00 knowing they close at 9:00 and expect to be able to hang out and "shop?" No. You know that means the door is locked at 9:00 and you should be out. It's basically the same at a restaurant.

And I've never been a server as I know I wouldn't have the patience or coordination to be one. But that doesn't mean I don't the rules or can't empathise.

At 9:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The difference is, if I'm going to shop, I know how long it will take. If I'm going out to dinner, the length of the meal is controlled not only by how long I take over each course, but by how long I have to wait.

It would make much more sense for a restaurant to publish a "customers last seated for food" time instead. That way, I know what time I have to get to your restaurant in order to have a meal.

If you claim to close at 11pm, and I arrive at 10.15, I expect to be offered dessert, coffee, brandy etc. when I've finished my main meal, regardless of what time that happens to be.

At 6:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The dining experience takes 50-60 minutes from the minute you are seated to the minute you get up.

Trust me, I'm a hostess. I've got this shit down to a science. I'm talking 50 minutes EXACTLY, unless:

a) you are a camper.
b) there was a problem in the kitchen/server is in the weeds therefore it takes a little longer for you to be greeted and/or get your food out
c) you are a larger party. that's a lot of food to get out of the kitchen at once and of course you'll want to visit for a bit. Larger parties are usually 80 minutes, unless you're camping or just have an ungodly number of people in your party.

so if Anonymous above me comes in at 10:15 when we close at 11, its really not THAT big of a deal because you'll be out by 11:05. :)


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