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....

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Continued Woes

I swear people will do anything to save the smallest amount of money and make themselves appear as stupid as possible.

The other day a woman came in with her group and tried to protest her way out of paying the gratuity.

Her reasoning was that since they would be splitting the check three different ways that would mean it would be akin to a group of four, three and two. Each being smaller than eight and thus being exempt from paying a service charge.

Naturally management backed down and allowed this to occur, despite the fact that this goes completely against policy.

The reasoning behind service charge is not how many checks there are, but how many people. In fact separate checks make the matter slightly more complicated and add to the value of a gratuity in the eyes of restaurant staffers.

Apparently the HBIC* of the party threatened to go elsewhere with their group. I say let them, we were on a wait and I challenge them to find another decent restaurant that could accommodate a walk in of nine at seven o’clock on a Saturday night.

The best part was when another, more rational person, paid for the entire bill, gratuity included. HBIC had an absolute fit, it was great.

The best part of my day was my first table, they were your typical demanding types, two women.

I made more trips for them than the aforementioned nine top. It was a literal relay race between the kitchen and their table for such crucial items as six ounces of ranch for their side salads, straws for water, then lemons, then extra sweetener, extra ranch for their fries and so on.

In fact I believe each one of them consumed an entire bottle of ranch throughout their meal, something that is becoming semi-common.

I dropped their bill which was just above twenty five bucks.

When returning for the pick up the presenter had exact change.

“We didn’t bring our cards so there won’t be a tip today.” One of the ladies proclaimed.

I opened the book and a handful of change presented itself to me.

“Well that’s perfectly all right.” I said with a sarcastic sneer.

You mean to tell me that they had exact change for their meal and not a couple bucks to throw in? Or that between both of them and their suitcase sized purses not one credit card was to be found?

I wasn’t expecting much of a tip from the type that they represent, but to openly tell me they won’t be leaving one, well that takes some balls.

Either they are liars and just felt like leaving nothing, or they truthfully couldn’t afford to tip.

Either way neither of them have any business in a restaurant, other than one containing a drive-through, that is.

Spring also saw the return of one of my favorite types, the ghetto lemonade drinkers.

When I informed the kind guest that we offer lemonade, I was told that her way tasted better.

With a roll of the eyes I brought out a lemon and a knife, there was no way I was going to give her one of the lemons I just spent ten minutes cutting.

So myself and a few of the other servers had an experiment. We made our own ghetto lemonade!

Guess what?

It tastes like shit.

People would rather drink a glass of shit than pay a buck fifty for all the refills one can enjoy.

Here’s your moment of Zen:

Ghetto lemonade

*HBIC - Head Bitch In Charge

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Full Moon Customers

One mainstay in the restaurant “bizz” is that when shit goes down, shit goes down. An example would be this weekend, when it seemed like every degenerate customer in the city came out to eat.

A table walked in and sat in a neighboring section at around 5:30. As I was closing server their waitress asked me to do her a favor and take over for her, this was at 10:30.

That’s right folks, a new record. The table camped out for five hours. This was on a Friday night, where turning tables is key to the restaurant, the customer and the server.

Four hours after they had finished and paid they then declared that their stomachs had settled enough for them to order after dinner drinks. Unfortunately I had to tell them we were closed.

Another record, a customer enjoyed 14 refills of tea, beating the previous record by three.
I had a walk in ten top fifteen minutes before I was supposed to clock out, that was also a joy.

Apparently they felt they could order multiple martinis and use them as samplers, declaring each round to be nonpotable they ordered again and declared the same.

When asked how a signature Cosmo tasted, I grimaced and told the gentleman asking that the ladies sure love it, though I drink Ketel up dirty.

I’ll tell you, the kitchen wasn’t pleased when I sent an order for several medium well NY Strips to them ten minutes after we closed.

The customers weren’t pleased either when I refused dinner service to two unexpected friends that joined them at midnight, an hour after close.

A different dinner party had a reservation and tickets to a show. Of course they arrived a half an hour after their reservation time, ordered multiple courses and ordered deserts when they should have been driving to their venue.

They called in a complaint that service was slow and that they had accidentally left extra on top of the gratuity. Apparently they meant to leave me a ten percent tip on a three hundred dollar bill…

Apparently its my fault that they can’t schedule themselves appropriately.

On our side of things our rookie, yet braggadocios young chef managed to burn the shit out of a dozen medium rare filets, yet he plated and sent them out anyway. It sure is fun to four hundred dollars worth of steaks.

Also a belated thanks to the party that double booked for fourteen, yet only showed up with six.

It was nice that on a Saturday night two sections had to be closed off for an hour in the middle of the rush, for no reason whatsoever.

I figured myself and the other server lost about fifty bucks each in that transaction. I suppose the other customers that had to wait an hour for a table should thank you as well.

Another party came in, only five showing up in a group of ten. They refused to let their server pull the tables apart as they wanted to spread out with the extra space, as well as use it as a coat rack.

Another customer allegedly saw an employee leave the restroom without washing their hands.

This lead to a twenty minute seminar by management on how to wash your hands.

Now we are keep the paper towel until we enter the restaurant as proof we washed and dried our hands. They treat us like ten year olds and lecture us on the dangers of bacteria from unwashed hands, yet force us to work sick.

I wonder what has more potential to spread illness?

And yes, I always wash my hands.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Rules of the Restaurant

If for any reason you have plans or commitments after your shift (school, other job, date, picking up your kids) a table shall arrive two minutes before closing and camp out for an hour after close, ruining said plans and causing general discomfort.

If a party argues over who gets the bill, the one to receive it will be the least likely to leave a good tip.

Anytime a compliment is passed on to you by a guest it will be accompanied by a ten percent tip or less.

A table of “bad regulars” will always somehow wind up in your section, run you like nobodies business, then still leave a shitty tip. Being regulars they will come in the next week and do the same. Rinse and repeat.

When looking for someone to pick up a shift because important plans/an emergency , you will never find a coworker to fill the shift.

However you will be ostracized if you refuse to pick up someone else’s shift. Naturally they want the night off to go drinking.

Another server shall never NARC on another server for any infraction short of theft from another server, or possibly murder. Possibly. We have our own justice, mafia style. However stealing from the house itself is not only tolerated, but encouraged.

When a server or bartender want to give a customer a drink on the house that means they’re a great customer.

When a manager wants to do the same it means the customer in question is a POS.

No matter how well the shift is going, you will always get caught in your one screw up by the worst manager on staff.

The second you buy your shift meal and sit down to enjoy it, you will be triple sat and have to eat the cold leftovers. That is if the other employees don’t eat it first.

When you are behind on bills and really need the money, your twenty top no shows and you get sent home without a table.

When you don’t need the money you will have great shifts, however you will blow the money and the above rule will take place a week later.

A waiter will get away with nothing short of burning down the house, however a triviality will lead to one’s termination.

Waiters who grab a drink will be terminated on the spot.

Managers, however will be drunk on the clock at all times.

On the rare occasion that you need a manager, you will never be able to find one. See above rule.

An employee walking in fifteen minutes late will never be noticed by management.

An employee walking in two minutes late will be written up immediately.

The worst server on staff will be the management’s favorite.

Likewise the best server on staff will be living on borrowed time.

Part timers will somehow always make more money than those who work ten shifts a week.

There will always be at least one capable and fair manager on staff. However, the rest with pretty much suck.

On a day you feel like shit, an old classmate, ex-girlfriend or family member will be in to dine. Upon saying hello they’ll ask, “are you still doing this?” and tell you how wonderful they are.

The kitchen will run out of the one thing everyone wants to order.

If you stock a private event with three cases of light beer, they will only order an obscure microbrew that you have a twelve pack of. Likewise when you stock the next party with the obscure microbrew, you will run out of domestics in five minutes.

Only those who deserve it will always double tip you on a gratuity ticket.

The best customers never ask me my name, they call me sir.

If there is more than one split check, at least one of them will stiff you, figuring the other people in the party “took care of you.”

A group consisting only of women will always have split checks, they will each leave you 12%, except for the person listed in the above rule.

A group consisting only of men will have at least one of them speak up for the bill, he will then leave you 20%.

There is always at least one server who drinks the Kool-Aid that the management/owners serve us. They will be lowest on the totem pole of the staff.

The hardest working people in the restaurant probably don’t speak your language.

The very poor treat you like shit and tip likewise, so do the very rich.

Necessary to get through the last shift of the week are Febreeze, a bleach pen and a bump of cocaine.

The only people who use more mind alternating substances than the restaurant staff are the customers, only we get our from the busboy, not a psychologist.

Inspired by