Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hell of a Day

“Excuse me! Excuse me!!”

I am taking an order from a neighboring table when I hear the woman from 33 calling. I ignore her desperate cries and ask the gentleman from 34 what side he prefers with his burger. As soon as I have the entire order from 34 I turn to the woman.

“Yes, what can I do for you?” This said in my firm server tone meant to convey my feelings of annoyance without crossing the friendly customer service line.

“Is this Diet? It tastes like diet.”

“No, its regular just as you asked for. If you don’t like it I can get you something else. “This woman and her male dining partner have been at their table for an hour and a half during prime lunch hours. Not usually an issue, since there are no sections, no servers waiting to turn a table. Today, though, they were seated on the patio which only holds 9 tables and the restaurant had three tables waiting for patio seating.

“It’s terrible. Are you sure it’s not Diet?”

“I poured it myself. As I said, I can get you something else if you don’t like it.” The two of them come in for lunch at least twice a week. They are always equally demanding; saying they are ready and then making up their minds as I stand before them, server pad in hand, yelling “miss!” across the restaurant to get my attention when I am clearly walking in their direction already.

“I had regular yesterday and it didn’t taste like this.”

I fought the urge to argue with her. I served her yesterday and she did not order a nonalcoholic drink of any kind. “Would you like something else?”

Finally she decided on a different drink.

This was not the first round of desperate “Excuse me!”’s from table 33. In fact, it was about the fourth time they had interrupted me while providing service for another table. Finally they are ready to leave and although I am on my way to table 31, I pause to hold the door open for the couple. As I turn to table 31 I hear “Excuse me! Miss! Miss!!”

Apparently table 31 has learned that this is appropriate behavior. Thanks 33.

Eventually, lunch is over. Several hours later, dinner service begins as well as the after work drinking crowd. It starts with a group of 4 getting their own drinks from the bartender. I continue to check on them regardless. Another table migrates from the bar to a table. They also seem to want to get their own drinks. Within a half an hour of these two tables, a third sits in the bar area; regulars who insist on being served by the waitress. I get them a round.

On the restaurant side, I have been sat a two top on the patio, a group of four in a booth, and two at a table. Orders have been entered for two of the three tables, and the last is on no hurry. I make another sweep of the bar area where I get a round for the one table allowing me to serve them. Everything seems to be going well. Then it happens. A group of four seats themselves in the restaurant, a three top seats themselves on the patio, and a man requisitions three tables for the party of ten he is expecting. I rush to get drinks for the self-seaters while running food for the others. Another group walks in and sits in the bar area. I swing by and grab their drink order, then rush food out to the couple at table 6. They have a coupon that states “Dine in only” but have ordered two steak dinners and a pizza in a to-go box. When I deliver the dinners the woman tries to hand me the pizza server saying they are already getting full. I politely tell her that the coupon they are using states dine in only. She looks at me in shock and says “But you don’t really care. I mean, you don’t need to say anything.” Awed by this, I tell her that the owner is here and he knows what they’ve ordered. While we don’t mind people taking home leftovers, ordering to-go voids the coupon.

While handling this, I receive another table on the patio; a team, 20 people. Now I am slammed. I quickly grab their drink order and ask Manager G to get three pitchers of water. I power walk to the bar and deliver drinks to the table in the bar area, making one more sweep of the tables there before rushing to get the rest of the drinks for the team. Food is up in the window so, drinks half filled, I run the food lest it get cold. After all drinks are delivered I grab the food order from the team. As I am entering it, Manager G comes up to me and says one of the tables in the bar area is looking for me. It happens to be one of the tables that have been ordering from the bar. I tell manager G this and say I’ll go over in a second. As I finish entering the order, the phone rings. It is another table, regulars, asking for their waitress. I guess this is the final straw for Manager G because he tells me I need to stop ignoring the bar tables and serve them. He is fairly angry, but I tell him that they have all been going to the bar, save one table, and I don’t understand why they feel I am ignoring them. Since Manager G said one table wanted a round, I enter it in the POS only to find that they have asked the bar for it. Great. I scramble to catch up. Since Manager T is now here, and it is his custom to give away the house, rounds are bought for many tables, the team is given 98% off their bill (This does not have to do with the service they received), and I am even picked up off the ground by a drunk man very happy to have received a round on the house. Manager T walks around with a tray of shots, giving them to every customer at the bar and surrounding tables. Drunk man leaves me less than 10%, and the team only gives me $30 after paying $5 for their (way) over $100 bill.

When everyone closes out, no new tables replace the ones that leave. I have the same two tables from 10 until last call at 1:30. I am happy to leave.


Anonymous said...

What a shift! I hate managers like that. What an arshole. You probably needed a stiff drink after that shift.

LW said...

That would have been nice, but I open the place on Saturday. No drinks for me Fridays!

Anonymous said...

Good for you. A wise move.