Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ordering by Colour

"What NE beer do you have?" The man on the other side of the bar was wearing a Nascar shirt under a flannel and ripped jeans. He had pronounced "NE" like "any".

"I'm sorry?"

"NE alcohol." He replied.

"Oh, we have O'Douls." I said with a slight smile, trying not to laugh.

"What kind?"

"The original."

"Red or green?"

"We have the original, in the green bottle."

"OK. Green O'Douls."

Later, they ordered more "white sauce" for their wings. The waitress asked if they wanted ranch or bleu cheese. Their reply? "The white sauce. White."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sometimes I feel obsolete

44. 3. 15. 7.
Number of people at the party: 44
Number of hours the party lasted: 3
Number of drinks I served: 15
Tips made off those drinks: $7

I stayed late today to work a holiday party. The party started while I still had several lunch tables, so after getting the first to arrive's round of drinks I checked on my tables. When I returned (the party was on the bar side of the building) there was a small group at the bar. No big deal, I'll get them next time. Except I never did.
Several people started tabs with the bar.
Several others told me they wanted to see what we had on tap and did not want me to recite the list to them. "I'll just look." and while they were up there they just ordered from the bartender.
People were sitting at the bar and crowding around the tables making it impossible to serve them. Every time I checked on them I was told they needed nothing but several seconds later would see them at the bar.

I hate holiday parties.
How would you feel in this situation?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Other People's Parties

Anyone else hate working these?

My bar tends to have many parties scheduled the week before Christmas. Lucky me, I get to work 3 of them. One is an afternoon party that ends a few hours after I usually am able to leave work. Because of this party, I have to skip a class I have been taking that night every week for the past few months. The joy.

The next day there are two parties scheduled. One of them we have no time on yet. The other is for 100 people. Management has decided that they want a second person working that party with me, which would be great except they want to station her at a beer tub "since most of them drink beer anyway." This means that majority of the people taking up tables on my shift will be going to her for their drinks and I will be left with the few stragglers that want mixed drinks. Part of me understands why the person they are bringing in gets to do the beer tub, but the other part of me thinks this is incredibly unfair.
This is my shift. I depend on this shift to pay my bills and giving majority of the customers to the person who is not usually scheduled to work this shift cuts in to my pay. I will have almost no extra tables on that day with the party of 100 and possibly the other party, 20 people, taking up all the tables and standing space in the bar. Not to mention that these are cash parties and I am not getting gratuity for either. And being cash parties, the customers will not feel like they have to wait for the server to come by and will probably just go to the bar.
Management is so disorganized too. No one can tell me how these parties will be set up, when they end, or when one of them starts! I don't know if there will be a buffet or if I will be taking orders off the menu. How can they expect me to provide good service if they can't give me any idea about the structure or plan of the party?

OK, complaints over. Now I will suck it up and just work the parties the best I can.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Stupid Things Customers Say

Customers say some really silly things, don't they? Sometimes I am so appreciative of these little comments and questions. They make me smile, laugh, and give me plenty to talk about with other employees.

1) "I'll have the half pound angus burger, with cheese and mushrooms. Can I get that with Swiss?" Basically a Mushroom Swiss Burger off the menu. Why they can't just order what it says on the menu I will never understand. Another variation on this is the customer that orders the "half pound angus burger" and wants to know what they can get on it. We have a menu for that exact purpose. And all our burgers are half pound angus, so just order from the menu. No need to specify. I will not try to slip you the kids quarter pound burger just because you didn't say you wanted the half pound.

2) "Do you have a bathroom?" Umm, yes. We have a bathroom.

3) "What beer do you have on tap?" After listing the dozen that we carry they order a basic Miller Lite.

4) Asking me what comes on a sandwich. Our menu contains descriptions of all items, so read it. Yes, I know what comes on the sandwich, but just read.

5) "Is the [random item from the menu] any good?" Do you really want to ask me this? If you like pasta and sauce then you will like the mostaccoli.

6) At the end of a bartending shift I will tell customer I am leaving and ask if they want to close out their tab or just have me transfer it to the next bartender. After telling me to leave it open they will catch me on my way out the door, "Oh, are you leaving? I guess I'll tip you next time."

7) "Smile!" Do I need to elaborate on this one?

8) "You are more friendly when you're bartending." Um, yeah. I suppose that when you are sitting at the bar and I am waitressing, I may not seem as "friendly" (i.e. talking to you for more than two minutes). Think about this...I have customers sitting on each end of the restaurant, whom I can't see when I am standing at the bar talking to you. I have twice as many customers than the bar and must walk three times more to serve them than the bartender. They are all drinking at different paces, and I (surprise!) do not have time to stand around and chat with you. I am working. I am talking to my customers. You are not my customer. Yes, I enjoy talking to you, but I enjoy making money more. Ironically, the same people that say this when they are sitting at the bar make it a point to tell me that I am a better waitress than specific others who, I might add, do stand around talking to the bar customers instead of their tables. I know alcohol has certain effects, but can we at least try some higher thinking here?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Holiday Season is Upon Us

This will be my third holiday season at the bar. Over the last two years I have noticed a trend in customer attitudes and comments during this time.
Customers tend to complain about me during this time. Since I cannot see a difference in my attitude or quality of service, I can only discern that it is the customers that change as the holiday season approaches and shortly after; between November and January.
Customers get more demanding. Maybe this is because they are shopping for everyone they know and spending copious amounts of money on things they will be giving away and probably want to keep for themselves. Maybe it is that at the bar they are spending money on something they cannot keep and expect me to fill them with a happy, warm feeling they can take home with them. This I have no problem with other than it is difficult to know what will have that effect on each person, and that when I am serving 75 plus people I may not have the time required to fill each one with squishy warm feelings as they munch on their hot wings and down more cheap beer than I could drink in a week.
Maybe the retail stores are to blame. During the holiday season, retail workers tend to up their game. They greet customers with more enthusiasm than they have shown all their customers combined throughout the rest of the year. They follow customers around the store and seem to fall over themselves to help each one with their every need. Please don't mistake me here. I am not saying anything I mean to be taken in a negative manner toward these employees. I know they have to deal with their own brand of annoying customers and irritable managers and I applaud their ability to keep the smile on their faces and the annoyance out of their voices. However, when customers are flooded with this type of customer service in stores, which they all are due to the amount of shopping everyone does in preparation for the holidays, they tend to expect this level of service everywhere. I am more than happy to give them my best customer service, but the levels and type available at a bar or restaurant is different than that at a retail store. I am unable to follow customers every move anticipating what they need. I think they would be annoyed if I were to do a table check every 5 minutes, though this is what they act like they expect.
I have already seen customers begin their ridiculous complaints (Dine-in only Specials, Charging for juice, and some jerk who thought getting my attention meant sitting there in silence ). This year should be fun.