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, January 06, 2009

Order by Numbers

Here is your first taste of a guest blogger at The Insane Waiter. I'm Sarah, 25. I am a slave at an upscale restaurant in Western North Carolina.

It's New Years Eve and I'm actually excited to be at work for a change. The prospect of making well more than the usual on this night of many alcoolic beverages is fabulous. Anyway, I'm fairly new in town and had nothing better to do on this holiday.

Two things you should know about me.

1. I do think that the majority of the time your first table can set the tone for the rest of your shift.

2. I do not believe in generalizations. I will never make any snap judgments of how a person will tip based on race, etc. Most of the time, those people will surprise you. I can, however, usually pinpoint the tip potential after speaking to the guests for a few minutes and seeing how they treat me.

Which brings me (finally!) to my point...

My first table this evening is a two top. I greet them with the usual ditribe, offer the first-round drinks. Once I bring their beverages out, two glasses of sparkling white, I rehearse the features and ask if they are ready to order.

"I'll have the number 27 and she will have number 18."

Whaaaaaaa?

Great. They are order by numbers people. This almost never happens, but when it does it is always on a holiday when people that don't usually go out, go, well, out. So I'm faced with a dilemma. There are several items on the menu with these same prices and I need to figure out a way to get the actual order without making this poor guy feel stupid.

I take a chance.

"Yes sir, so you'll have Rib-Eye and the lady will have the Grilled Chicken Salad?"

I can practically see a lightbulb flash over this guys head as it dawns on him that maybe those numbers were actually the prices of the entrees.

"Ah, yes. Right." He utters those few words quickly as possible and I find out the temp he wants his steak cooked at so I can get the hell away from the table.

Once in the kitchen, I input their orders into the POS and peer out into the dining room. The couple seem to be laughing and enjoying themselves and I hope that the awkwardness of a few moments ago have passed. Order by numbers people always feel like idiots when they realize their mistake.

The couple finish their meal and decline dessert. I drop the check and go about the rest of my tables. Later that evening as I'm typing in my credit card tips into ALOHA, I find the receipt from that first table. I had not looked at it before because we were slammed all night. The young man left me a 30 dollar tip on a 100 dollar check. There is also a note on the back which reads:

Thank you for not making me look like a jerk in front of my date. I owe you one.

I will never forget that guy.

9 Comments:

At 1:45 AM , Blogger K.H. said...

That is an awesome story.

 
At 9:21 AM , Blogger .Bittersweet. said...

I love it ... there ARE still some good customers out there. =)

 
At 10:56 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome to the real south!! The people in Asheville aren't all that bad.

Insane, awesome idea on the guest posters!! I'd write for ya', but it would bring the suck.

 
At 1:20 AM , Anonymous SwillmistressWA said...

That is probably one of the best server stories ever! Thanks for restoring my faith in the general public.

 
At 10:43 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked the story, but the opening almost lost me. You don't believe in generalizations, but believe that the first table sets the tone for the rest of the night?

 
At 7:04 PM , Blogger MikeTheWaiterDotCom said...

I thoroghly agree with your proposition about the first table setting the tone. Unlike yourself, i do generalize and I am usually right on the money. I sometimes have another waiter take my first table if it looks bad--just so I can start out on the right foot. Point well taken!
peace,
mTw

 
At 1:45 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

awwwww

 
At 8:04 PM , OpenID sweetrobroy said...

The problem with appreciative and gracious people dining out is... there aren't enough of them.

 
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