Friday, November 20, 2009

Dine-in only specials

I have many regulars at the bar. This usually makes for a nice shift. Regulars are more understanding when you are busy, keep an eye out for you when you need to get through, and move quickly out of your way. Sometimes, though, regulars expect special treatment because of their frequent patronage. This causes problems for management and employees, as well as other customers.
Currently at the bar we have dine-in only food specials that are meant to bring in new customers. It is clearly stated in several places that these specials are dine-in only. I am annoyed and amazed at the people who order the specials to go and then complain to me when they are charged a higher price.
Yesterday I had a regular come in and order one of these specials to go. I accidentally entered it as the special price and my cook corrected me. See, the cook won't even give me the order if it is entered as a special to-go. When I presented the check to the customer, he complained about the price. I explained to him that it was a dine-in only special, but he proceeded to tell me that he comes in all the time and spends money so he should get it at the special price anyway. While I understand his logic, I can not comply. First, it is not my rule. I have the cook and owner to catch my mistakes and there is no way for me to get the order to you if it's not entered correctly. Second, offering special pricing for regulars is a slippery slope. What defines a regular? Someone who has come in for years? months? or every day for a few weeks? Since we can not advertise such exceptions we can not offer special pricing for "special" people.
This goes along with asking the bartender to buy you a drink because you have spent money. You came in to a business to purchase services and goods. We are open to make money, not friends. While I love my regulars, I can not and will not risk my job so you can save a few dollars (and not tip me on the free drink). If you want a free drink, make nice with the owner and let him tell me to buy you one.


A Nova Server said...

Ah, yes, the entitled regular. Maybe we could slip these things by when everything was on paper, but with Posi and Macros and Aloha, etc, you can't mess with the system. At least we can blame it on that! And then refer them to the manager!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely right you are. Stick to your guns.

purplegirl said...

We just had this situation at our place tonight. Our happy hour food specials are dine-in only, but about a month ago somebody got the special to go. The manager took the order, and when he gave it to the bartender he told her "Taylor is coming in to get some wings." She assumed it was the Taylor who used to work there, so gave him the happy hour price. Now she feels locked in to doing that from here on out--and his friends have started calling too.