Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holidays are Hell at a Bar

Another party on a Friday. This one was booked for 20 people so we set up the back of the dining room for 25. The host arrived on time and the rest trickled in over the next hour. While they were arriving I was caring for a party on the other side; a group of 14 after work impromptu drinkers. As with all big groups, none of them could get it together and after returning with the drinks that two of them had ordered, another had decided she needed a drink. Upon returning with that, two more needed drinks. Gotta love running the server.
I was not instructed on how the party in the dining room would be handling the tab, so I asked the host. He got surprisingly agitated and informed me that he would not be paying for everyone to drink. Only what he ordered was to go on his tab. I ended up with 15 separate tabs for the 30 people that showed up. Several people were paying cash. The whole thing was almost more frustrating than the previous party of 80.
At first they stayed at their tables. We added a two more tables when the party reached over 25 people. I had a table of three in another part of the “L” shaped dining room eating dinner and enjoying a few drinks. After a few rounds the members of the party lost all inhibitions and began migrating towards the diners. The whole thing was like a storm. They began in the back and, one that table was messy with plates and empty cups and bottles, they moved to a clean table. The group was so dense that I gave up trying to buss the dirty tables. I could not get through the group without being asked for a drink. When I wasn’t bringing drinks to them, they ignored my presence and refused to budge their fat drunk asses from my path so I could clean the tables.
Eventually, my diners left due to being surrounded by a large group of loud drunks. My party on the bar side evidentially forgot they had a tab with me and began paying cash at the bar. I closed out their tab before they could decide to leave. The tip was minimal but the lessening of my frustration made the trade worth it.
Finally, after several hours of drinking, some of the tabs began to close out. I was left with three hours to go and a group of the most unruly of the party-goers. During the remainder of their time there several friends of the group arrived and sat at a table, shielded by their friends who were standing around the last of the clean tables in the dining room. I brought them their first round which they sucked down like it had been months since they tasted alcohol. As I attempted to get back to them to take an order for a second round, less than 10 minutes after the first, I was blocked by their thirsty friends demanding drinks. My thought process with this was if I could get their drinks quickly, they would let me through to the new comers. When I made it to them they looked at me like it had been an hour since they had seen me.
“We thought you forgot ‘bout us.” Said one woman with a particularly unattractive pout.
“No. I’m sorry. I was getting a round for your friends.”
“Well we’ve needed a round for a long time now. Go get it. Same as before.”
“Ok. I will be right back.”
As I turned to retrieve drinks, they stopped me and changed their order three times. When I finally got to the bar with their order a man from the larger crowd came up to me to order food for the grumpies. This provoked the rest of the large group to order food including my least favorite thing to serve to a group of drunken people, saganaki. After they had all been fed, they closed out and left. I was beyond relief. While cleaning the mess they had left in the dining room I discovered that no tip had been left by anyone paying cash. Should I have been surprised?


Anonymous said...

December is a tough month. You never get what you rightly deserve.

bulletholes said...

"Holidays are Hell"
Yep..."let the insanity begin"!
(Thats what i used to say on Thanksgiving, knowing that we had 25 days of hell, every day, to go.)

I think the worst thing I ever saqw was a Party that we made 6000 cold Hors'D'Ourves for...they had other stuff too....but out of the 6000 that me and two ladies had spent hours on....5500 came back.

Its a wound to the heart.

banquet manager said...

You always seem to be the only one working, is that the case? Or are you not getting any help from the other servers/bartenders? Either way, you work too hard. Take care.

Lone Waitress said...

The bar that I work at runs and one server floor at all times. The bartenders are usually too busy talking to their customers to help out and the managers are nowhere to be found. Most of the time it is fun because I never get bored. Being the only server gives me a great earning potential. The thing I miss most about working with other servers is the social aspects.

How to Get Your Food Spit In said...

My sympathies. This is a very hard time of year.

BizTone said...

I hate the staggered drink orders! Running the waiter is evil and drinks should be spilled. ;)