Sunday, January 17, 2010

Yelling Restaurant Cowards

Yelling Restaurant CowardAngry Customer Restaurant Rage

Last night was interesting. So there we are, it's a super busy Friday night at the restaurant. The whole FOH (front of the house) staff was on pins and needles.

To add to this already extremely satisfying eve, we had an unholy amount of hungry customers that were impatiently waiting for at least 45 minutes for a table. It was strange, I mean customers tend to get cranky any time they have to be on the waiting list for over 30 minutes, but last night... they were feeding off each others' negative energy. It was kind of like when toddlers are waiting in line to sit on the lap of a mall Santa. If one kid starts crying, then makes eye contact with another weary child, this sort of strong transcendent and emotional connection happens... Suddenly the latter child feels this need to cry, in some mimicking fashion that mirrors the actions of the first.Angry Restaurant Customer Domino Effect Once the second kid starts to look around, and catches the eye of a new child, the domino effect takes a hold. The same damn thing happened last night, just replace the crying children in this scenario with "adults."

So, the girl hosting (don't even get me started on her) got the burnt of a grown "man's" temper tantrum. Hold on, before I continue... I guess I should tell you all about the girl I work with. She's a little, barely 21 year old. She rests a rough 105 pounds on 5'1'' frame. Just a petite post teenager. Sweet kid outside of work, but lazy as hell. She will do anything to worm her way of actually putting in any physical effort around the restaurant. She also does a pretty effective job of getting her shifts covered that might involve working a busy night. So needless to say, I don't exactly respect her. I am also not a big fan of having to work the same shift as her.

Now back to the story. I am busy running around helping bus tables, just so we can get some asses in chairs. I clean up a table, and make my way back to the host stand to seat the customers. Once I get up there, the host is busy trying to calm this mother down who has been waiting probably around 45 minutes.

This lady is part of a waiting big top. The group was probably quoted a 30-40 minute wait time. The host tells the lady that she is doing her best to get the group down, explaining that we would need to wait for two tables in the restaurant to free up. To
accommodate groups over six, we need two tables. The lady wasn't exactly putting forth an effort to be understanding, but I attribute that to the fact that they had hungry kids both under five waiting.

I kind of butt in and explain things to the lady. I'm considerably more seasoned in the restaurant business than the girls I was working with, so I am used to handling grumpy custies. By the time I finish with her, she isn't happy... but calmed. I walk off and continue working hard to turn tables.

I say maybe 10 minutes later, I make a return trip to the stand. I was going to ask the list runner what size of table was needed next. All of the sudden, the same lady returns, all huffy and puffy. She interrupts a new group, that is trying to get onto the list. She starts stammering something I couldn't exactly hear due to noise that was in the restaurant. I finally make out enough of her babel to find out that like half of her group is leaving. She only needed a four top now (which actually made it possible for her to have the very next table).

As soon her huffy puffy fit was over, another guy that had been waiting a few feet away came bustling up to the host stand. He goes into a tirade. I was actually kind of dumbfounded at how upset this guy was. I would assimilate this guy's anger to a child in big black rubber rain boots, stopping around in a puddle after his mother took away his favorite toy.

This guy could have possibly threw the biggest cry baby fit I have seen since I started working in the restaurant business. He literally was tearing up after he was done yelling at the girl working the list. Mind you this guy is 250 pounds, yelling at a young girl more than half his size. I can't remember exactly what he said, but I remember a few snippets of his rant. They include:
  • "You told me it was going to be 30 minutes and it's now been an hour! You don't do that! Maybe the other way around!"
  • "Now I have to take my four year old son home hungry, thanks a lot!"
  • "Very professional, well done guys! Well done! Very professional!"
It was a lost cause. My co-work stood in horror, as she was ridiculed in front of over 15 waiting customers in the immediate area. This guy was yelling directly at her, although his focus shifted about 45 seconds into his tantrum, as I began to work my way in between the two of them. As he was going on and on, I tried to interject several times to calm him. After that failed, I couldn't do anything but laugh. I just chuckled as he finished up and pushed his way out the door. I'm pretty sure he left before he burst into tears.

So is life in the restaurant business. I need to get out! If I am still updating this blog in two years, do me a favor... hunt me down and kill me.


  1. If the restaurant is busy enough to have 45 minute waits on a busy night then I say "RESERVATIONS" - if your restaurant doesn't do that then people should know to eat early or late if they don't wish to wait.

    Deriding a host is not the way to go.

    I cannot think of a single restaurant that I would go to that would be worth a 45 minute wait if I had a young child with me. And I have had quite a few in my time.

    I feel bad for your host, but kudos to you for trying to help.

  2. People are stupid.

    And you can't fix stupid.

  3. 45 minutes if the food , the ambiance , the staff is good , is realy worth it , usullu people that are willing to wait 45 mn for a meal are good tippers and yes you will find some "A" in the bunch ,when they leave and after they paid on their way out , make certain someone let them know , for their next meal they might want to consider the golden arches,one of my former employer did it all the time , it was one of the most profitable restaurant in NYC , even threw out some of them telling them they were an insult and a disgrace for His Customer and Establishement refusing their money . the result paid off . dirt attract dirt .

  4. Friday and Saturday nights at my restaurant are the worst, because sometimes the guest is waiting 45-1hr. for a table.

    They come to the tables already so upset. The damage is already done. They don't care how much free stuff they are getting. You, the Waiter, are already the enemy by relationship to the establishment.

    There's no winning the table over.

  5. The service industry can sometimes be redefined as babysitting adults. I go through this kind of stuff constantly at the bar I work at. And like you...I need to get out of this business!