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, June 09, 2009

Your Opinion

There has been some controversy over credit card slips recently at the restaurant.

At times the customer, oops, sorry...

"The Guest"either adds wrong or adds an extra amount on top of a table that has added a service charge.

I have always added what I thought the customer meant to leave, here's an example.

Bill Amount - $100.00

Tip - $20.00

Total - $130.00

I would enter in $120.00

Conversely, if the total would say $110.00 I would still enter in the $20 tip and not take the loss since that was the intention.

This is simplified, usually it is some odd number and it is simply a mistake on the part of the customer.

I never would want to put in the lower amount as it would hurt me, however I also would not enter a much higher tip that I felt the customer did not mean to leave.

As well I have no problem with added gratuity as long as it is noted on the bill as well as the menu.

What is your opinion on this dear reader?

Monday, June 08, 2009

It is what it is

The kitchen was dark, lanterns were being blown out and the front door locked when the phone rang.

"Thank you for calling _______ how can I help you?" I asked.

"Hey we were calling because our show ran late and we'll be down in a couple of minutes," the caller declared.

"I'm sorry sir, but we're closing down for the night." I replied.

"Well we have a reservation, can't you hold our table for us?" He asked.

I glanced at the computer screen, no reservations existed after 9:00 that night, it was past eleven.

"What was the name of the reservation?" I asked.

"Umm, well, it might have been under Sandeen?"

It sounded more like a question than a statement, I was being lied to.

"I'm sorry, I don't have any reservations, and I'm afraid that at any rate we're closed." I said.

"Well we'll only be ten more minutes," he pleaded.

"I'm sorry sir, I don't have your reservation and we do have to close down for the night," I answered.

"Perhaps you could join us on a different day?" I offered.

"I just don't understand, its only another ten minutes!" He said in an irate tone.

The last of the kitchen guys were about to split, if we stayed open it wouldn't be only ten minutes for them, or for me for that matter.

It would be an hour or more.

"But we have a reservation!" He spat out.

"No, you don't, we don't take reservations for the time that we close," I said.

He started stuttering something else when I interrupted...

"It is what it is, goodnight sir."

Boy I hate it when people tell me that, I hope he does too.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

another poor soul

Ugh, I just read another article about a poor poor stock broker that lost his job making $200k and is now slumming it as a host at a restaurant making $25k.  Their poor children had to stop taking ballet and tumbling classes.  

While I feel sorry for him losing his job, I'm sick of the restaurant world being the catch all or the bottom of the barrel for people losing their swanky, high paying, glamorous jobs.  

"Oh the horror of it having to work in a restaurant!"

Maybe if they didn't have to have a condo that costs them 6 grand a month or three cars or tumbling classes for the kids they wouldn't have depleted their savings so fast or they could actually survive on a restaurant salary.  I had tumbling classes as a the front yard of our house with our family dog as the instructor.

I don't know.  Will it ever change?  Will restaurant employees ever get respect for a hard days work?

The worst part, I guess, is these douches are sucking up all the jobs from the those that actually have experience and it is their only field.  I do know I'm holding on to my job for a while.  Maybe I'll start a bartending school for all the broke stockers.


Monday, June 01, 2009

Worst Table, In the World

Sure, maybe not the entire world, but since I've been on break from school I returned to the lunch shift.

Big mistake.

I actually have really been enjoying going to work this past semester as I cut down on my work load as I transferred colleges and upped my credit hours.

However if anything, this summer will be motivation to return to my studies.

So off we go to the worst table in the world!

Walking into work the first thing I do is check and see what section I have, this day I happened to be closing and there was an eleven top scheduled for 11:30.

Usually this is great news as I can flip the table in an hour and get another seating in before the rush is over, not a bad start to the day.

The first few people arrived promptly on time, the first warning sign was they refused to order drinks until the rest of the group arrived.

I really don't see what the big deal with that is, its lunch, you're not ordering Bordeaux, its iced tea and Diet Coke.

All it means is the increased chance I will spill on you when I have my tiny tray with eleven drinks on it.

So fine, of course the rest of the group is thirty minutes late. So much for flipping the table.

Taking their dinner order was normal, the usual sandwiches and sides of soup and such. Where it took a turn was the guy at position six wanted his soup out first, not as a side.

No big deal right?


There was a line at the computer station so I grabbed his soup first before ringing in the order.

Upon dropping the soup off at the table two other people spoke up and asked for their soup first as well.

I took care of that round and then they asked, "aren't you going to bring us some bread?" In that accusatory tone that suggested that I forgot the bread.

We don't have bread service at lunch, but to provide the best service experience possible I brought them their bread.

However several people on the far side of the table were now complaining that I haven't brought them their soup.

The soup comes as a side, as in sandwich and soup.

It comes together, I didn't forget, just like I didn't forget the bread.

Then guy at seat six asks when their food will be up, since they're in a hurry.

I haven't even had a chance to ring it in yet because I was busy getting things that don't come with lunch and don't come with the meal.

In the meantime the entire group had managed to chug down every one of their beverages.

And I had three new tables.

I kicked it into high gear and rand in their orders as well as greeted the new tables.

I was once again bombarded with questions like, "what is taking so long? Well show up on time for your reservation and problems like this won't exist. Your responsibility, not mine.

Food goes out and guy at seat six, who is now self proclaimed leader, chimes in that they need their bill and are in a hurry.

Separate checks, of course.

I start dropping off their checks and "Fearless leader" asks if their discount is on the bill.

In order to stimulate business, we are offering 10 or 15% discounts to neighboring offices, the discounts are a huge hassle and vary business to business and pretty much I don't see them bringing in any business we weren't getting before.

Plus I don't get a discount on their services because I'm right next door, no 10% off insurance for me.

Well this meant that I have to pick up all their checks and reformulate them on the computer and move around the gratuity (like I'm going to take a chance on a tip with these clowns)

Five minutes later I have the separate checks back on the tables and seat six gives his right back to me with the demand that I run his first. Then a guy at seat three makes the same demand.

Here's a hint, if you have a large party and give the waiter split checks out of order and in several waves, it'll just take longer.

As I'm picking up these bills about nine people on the table make sure to let me know that they want their food boxed up to go.

To make things go even slower during this situation, the waiter is expected to box and bag each entree n the kitchen.

I'm picking up plates now too and I'm almost ready to snap on a customer.

I still have seats three and six in my pocket and haven't had the time to run their cards.

Fearless leader stops me with my hands full of four plates that need to be packaged to go.

"I believe I asked to have my card run, I have places to be." He said.

I felt my resolve cracking, a thousand things that would get me fired ran through my mind. I've been there four years and no reason to get canned and burn a bridge though.

I just shot him the thousand yard stare and made it my last priority to run his credit card.

Finally after about ten minutes of running separate cards and boxing food, the last of them were out the door.

Grand total on the gratuity, $19.46.

Hardest twenty bucks I've ever earned.

It didn't have to be hard though.

I was brought up to know that if you have to be somewhere show up on time or even early, not that I've always taken that to heart myself.

If you have special situations like discounts or separate checks let me know up front.

Don't demand extras like sides served before entrees or bread service, as if I had slighted you or forgot you.

We don't do bread service at lunch.

Where I come from sides are treated as sides and served as such, I didn't forget you, its just that we just don't normally do that here.

I guess the thing is don't be a hassle and you won't be treated like one, and I bet that you all would have been on time to your very important meeting or whatever.

Or, once again, you could just keep your commitment to the reservation time.

Simple enough.