Friday, June 12, 2009

Coolest Old Man EVER!

My Favorite Old Timer!

Alright, I figured this guy deserved his own post... today was a very shitty day at the restaurant and I don't want to ruin this old man's post by mixing it with the bad stuff. So I will single him out, in a good way.

It must three weeks or so at this point since I waited on this old man at the restaurant. Apparently he is the father of one of the regulars that come in from time to time. The old man starts off by telling me about a copper cleaning product called "Bar Keeper's Friend." (I'm polishing as he walks in). I think 'ok, this is random,' but smile and keep about my busy work.

The host seats the family in my section. The family is that usual grandparents, mom and dad, and little kids big top. "Make sure I get bill at the end," he says. I think 'oh great, grandpa's paying... hello 10% or less.

I approach and he is making small talk to me right off the bat. He kids around and for some reason (conversation topic related), he starts singing me Dean Martin. He also tells me how they enjoy dining out. I laugh and kid around with him. I start to like him already. I think to myself, that at least the table will be fun to wait on.

The meal goes off without a hitch. I thank them at the end and drop the check. If my memory serves me correctly, their whole tab was like $66.00 or so. Not too expensive for a six top. I run his credit card, drop the check, and thank them again. They leave, I continue with my other tables, the host buses their table, and I return to the server station to retrieve the credit slip.

I open the book and there is no credit slip. I question the hosts as to who bused the table, and then asked the appropriate person if they had seen the credit slip in the book or on the table when they had cleared it off. They give me no, and shrug. I chalk it up to a lost cause.

Later that week one of my co-workers comes up to me and says (something along the lines of): "Hey, some old man called and said he took his credit slip home with him the other day. He forgot to tip you and will be sending someone down with your tip." I knew immediately who it was, and thought that it was shocking someone would even call back for something like this. I have to admit that I didn't expect to see the cash, but thought it was really amazing that he called anyway to apologize. Well, today, his son (the regular) comes up to me and hands me crisp $10. My faith in the human race is restored for while longer!

Thank you sir, wherever you are.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Any more trivia sir?

Restaurant Rage!

Ok, summer is here. School is out. The mystic flood gates that have held back tourists and idiots for the last couple of wintry months have burst. Thus spewing forth an unseen, and unmatched idiot storm of the season.

We phase at the most inopportune time. To me, it seems as if this particular manager waits until I either: A.) Get double, triple, or quadruple sat, B.) Get a big top, C.) The kitchen has put me in a world of miss cooked food and misfire mistakes that seems as if I (and they) will never recover from... or D.) ANY COMBINATION OF THE ABOVE!

Now, bless her heart, I know she would never do this on purpose. It is just a shitty coincidence that happens often when we are on a shift together. In her defense, she also is very good about helping servers recover from the weeds.

Anyway, it's not her that this post is about. It's about a tool bag so great that Billy Mays, standing in craftsman aisle at Sears, with a full camera crew, couldn't even endorse. Seriously, it's as if a Snap-On truck hit a bump as they passed by my restaurant, and this guy came bouncing through the door. (Insert the sound of clanging wrench here.)

Now, I don't remember our exact exchange, due to the fact that I was busier than two jack rabbits in the spring. I do remember him asking me: "Hey, so what is so special about this burger?" I then went on to explain that our burgers are better than those of large chains, because we buy from local ranchers and that the beef is better because the farmers care for their stock (basically, it's not some giant corporate slaughter house of beef that pumps its cattle full of garbage to get more poundage out of the stock). His eyes widen, and a grin parts his cheeks, lips, and gravity from each other. "Oh, well isn't that fancy?" He looks around his table... they are about as impressed with him as I am.

"Well, how about the chicken?" I answer (now growing impatient and completely out of time)"Yes, it is also from a ranch very close to the area. It's not from this city, but from a farm on the outskirts of another about half an hour away from here." Again, the bogus act of acting impressed comes from his seat.

"Everything from around here is just so fresh, now isn't it?" He looks around at his party again for some kind of confirmation. Again, apologetic gazes radiate to me, from the group. One member even suggests he orders a chip and dip appetizer from our menu to shut him up. He is deterred by this attempt.

He gets a big smile across his lips. Reaches over, and picks up an ice water that I had previously dropped off. I look back at my section, making a mental note of my tables, and prioritizing what my next actions will be as soon as my would-be Alex Trebek quits playing 20 questions with me. He continues: "I'll bet this water is from that river over there isn't it?" He points.

I answer a very dry "No." At this point, I apologize to his group, and explain that I must go "drop some hot food off at my other tables." Explaining that I will be right back and that I was sorry for the inconvenience (not explaining that the inconvenience was mine completely, and not theirs). With that, I walked away, and did what I had to, to get my section back in check. I also made a point to let that table squirm a bit, as I didn't go back to them until all my other tables were addressed and on track.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Cook it... and they come.

Restaurant Tourists!

Restaurant TouristsAlright, alright... let's get a few things out of the way before I start:

  1. Yes, I work in the service industry. I brought this on myself... it's the nature of the restaurant business.

  2. I am lucky to have a job right, esp. one that pays way more than minimum wage.

  3. People don't know any better, and we should understand that they don't know.

But still (yes, I started a sentence with the word 'but'), can't they find some kind of happy medium? I mean you don't have to be a seasoned restaurant patron for me to like you, but I don't deal well with complete idiots! Meet me half way and we're good!

Ok, what the hell am I babbling about? I'll tell you. It's tourist season and contrary to the economic state of the nation, they are still out in droves. Rockin' the doors right off the hinges at my restaurant.

Overall, tourists are great. Both for my financial well being, as well as my social well being while at work. I meet tons of really nice, interesting people. They bring with them great stories, travel recommendations, and often great tips. This, however, doesn't stop the few from ruining my day sometimes.

Today, for instance was one of the more... well, shitty days. I hate being a server sometimes. Here are few reasons why:

  • Hit a two hour "in the weeds" situation. A 13 top, coupled with an ill timed server phase, and kitchen screw up. (People say things like "dreams really do come true." Well... apparently so do nightmares. Esp. waiting nightmares.)

  • A six top, with two hipster-ish kids (ages around 14 or so), who wouldn't look at me or answer my questions. Look, if you don't want to be social, that's fine. Tell me what you want and I'll go get your food and drinks started. No small talk. What I don't need is two deaf-mute, skinny/pale boys, who wear girl jeans and Jason Marz style hats... wasting my time while I'm in the weeds.

  • While we're on the topic of things I don't need... I also don't need 12 year old girls who point to menu items without speaking. It's not a problem for me personally if they don't talk, as long as we're clear on the order. When you point to an item, then I say the menu item's name out loud (to confirm the order), and then place the order... don't send the food back when I come with the very same item you pointed to, and I verbally confirmed, telling me (oh, now she can speak just fine right?) it's the wrong item.
  • Don't be a 13 top, who staggers in two people at a time, for a half an hour. If you are those people, don't tell me your going to wait for the rest of your party to order. If you do choose to wait for the rest of your party, don't get all excited about getting your food order in when you see me get double sat. If you still choose to be these people (who ordered when they had a total of six of the 13, but didn't want their order to fall behind those of my new tables beginning to sit), don't rush me over saying "We're ready! We're ready, can we get our order in?!" Then when I come over, you take up 10 minutes of my time (when I should be greeting my new tables) to then look at the menu. IF YOU STILL MUST BE THOSE PEOPLE, don't make me repeat your side options, soup of the day, and salad dressings six individual times!
  • As soon as I turn around from my 13 top of short bus riders, don't be the middle aged idiot who scowls at me and asks "Ah, can we order or what?" Listen chief... I'm fucking busy, pissed, and am not ignoring you on purpose.
  • How about the kitchen? Well, I guess I can give the kitchen a bit of break, seeing as they were just as busy as I was. All the same, don't send my table a burger that is pretty much rare, when they ordered it medium. Pink in the middle is fine, the whole damn thing pink... not so much. (I wouldn't run it, if we're all pink. It wasn't... but once you got past the outer layer that was visible... it was pretty pink.)
  • I clocked off two hours after the late shift staff arrived. Due to unbelievable side work and silverware rolling complications.

I know... get used to right? Summer is upon us. It's all good, and I'll be fine tomorrow. Today, I was just filled restaurant rage and needed to vent to the old blog. The money will be good for the next few months, and I'll compromise with all the idiots summer has to offer... to pay off some debt.

Remember... Cook it, and they come.