To go means go
I was covering the bar the other day when I had a fun reminder of old times when I was a full time bartender. This seemed to be the case at my last restaurant as well when I covered a few bar shifts during the week.
The first point I am going to make is the whole take out at the bar issue, to tip or not to tip. Take out orders at a full service bar are often compared to getting fast food, they are apples and oranges.
Besides the general quality of the food (hopefully) being better, there is much more preparation involved. At every restaurant I’ve worked at the person putting the order together generally has to hunt down silverware, make salads, prep the soup, get sides of ranch, condiments and everything else you would expect.
Most restaurants are not set up to handle to-go very efficiently except those with car side service such as Applebee’s. Much of the reason is that restaurant food has more components that only last several minutes in a box. If you’ve ever opened you steak sandwich you bought you know what I mean, condensation and a soggy bun. Or if it’s a pasta, the sauce may have broken down, etc.
So basically it’s a big pain in the ass to track down everything you need for take out. The real pain in the ass is being away from your station, the phone is ringing, servers want their bar drinks. Any cocktail tables are being neglected and anyone sitting at the bar is pretty much screwed for a couple minutes.
Now I’m not trying to completely bitch about a facet of the bartending job, just pointing out that yes, there is service and effort involved beyond handing someone a bag of a rapidly deteriorating product.
Service where I come from is rewarded with a gratuity. Generally the bartender is stiffed in this exchange. From what I’ve read on Bitterwaitress the to-go people that chain restaurants often employ are stiffed on many occasions as well.
Reasonably I can’t say that we expect the traditional 15-20%, but a few bucks or even 10% is not only appreciated but generally earned.
This brings me to a second point, a sub-section of the aforementioned non-tippers.
And its always the non-tippers that do this.
As I was covering the bar for a few hours the other day a couple of I answered the phone and a woman on the other end started giving me a take-out order.
Of course it was a huge pain in the ass.
Side salads with no onions, RANCH, iceberg lettuce only, none of that “purple stuff“ and pretty much none of what makes a salad good or healthy, but extra sides of ranch“, naturally.
This was followed up by some vague request for a lunch feature from “a couple weeks ago” of which they knew none of the ingredients other than it contained fettuccini.
So after taking the order, which naturally will suck because ordering random ingredients with fettuccini when you have no idea of how to cook is pretty much a bad idea, I resumed bullshitting with a couple random bar patrons.
About twenty minutes went by when three bubbly, dumb looking Hollywood wanna-be type girls wandered into the bar.
“Um, yeah, we called earlier, is our take out order ready?” One of the girls asked in a great “Valley Girl” impersonation.
Not impressed I replied with, “It’ll be thirty four eighty five, I’ll go check on it for you.”
So I headed back to the kitchen and rustled up bags, silverware, napkins, TONS of ranch, bread and all other requited items. Double checked the order for accuracy, and yes the fettuccini looked greasy from all the crap in it, and bagged everything up.
“There you go and here’s your change.” I said as I took payment.
“Did you bring me extra ranch?” The girl asked me in return.
“Sure did.” I replied.
Of course, no tip.
About thirty seconds later my bar patrons and I looked in horror as the girls started busting out everything that I had just bagged all over the bar.
“Oh we decided that we have time to eat here!” One of the valley girls squealed.
In thirty seconds they managed to trash the bar area more than the entire lunch rush had. They threw the portion cups, napkins and bags all over the bar counter and started wolfing down their ranch salads, there was literally shit all over, including on the floor.
Maybe half the ranch made it to the salads, the other half all over the counter top.
This happened many times during my stint as a bartender and I really forgot how I hated it. People eating their to go food at the bar and making a mess with no tip, now back on my pet peeves list for sure.