Sunday, October 22, 2006 by Ospite.

I don't know what happened. Tony was out of town still so I was filling his shoes. Donna was sick, but present at the podium taking names. Kimberli was calling the floor while Nicolai was seating tables. I was filling the gaps, doing table visits, floating, seating...whatever was necessary.

4pm on was nonstop patrons. I'm not going to argue about this, it's fabulous. My issue was at 6pm when we suddenly realized that no one was going anywhere. Campers everywhere. I could practically hear BoyScout badges being awarded.

"Timmy gets the twirling-pasta-with-a-fork badge. His third this evening. Joshua will be awarded the badge for best wine pour. This is his first tonight."

It's here where we run into problems. The quote time immediately becomes obsolete. There's not really much that can be done about it because the tables are occupied.

"Hey, listen here. We were told we'd wait 45 minutes. We've been standing here for almost an hour and a half! Fix it!!"
"Sir, the wait quote is a suggestion. We can't make the tables turn over. Believe me when I say we wish we could."
"Well, this is ridiculous. You can't clean tables while people are at them?"
"Tell me this: Would you want us to start bussing your table halfway through your meal because the people behind you want to sit down?" ...silence and he walked away.

On top of the camping tables, we run into the reservation list as well. So those who have reservations have precedence over our wait list. When one of the rare customers decides to actually vacate his table, the reservations are the first to take it...even if someone's waited 90 minutes.

Donna was getting sick and tired of the turnover rate and the pissed customers. Nicolai took the helm and Donna and I grabbed a quick word near the kitchen.

"We've got to some up with a technique for servers to turn over their tables. You know, make them leave."
Now, she's a young girl. About 20ish. Graceful and stylish, with long blond hair and the physique of a ballet dancer. Occasionally I realize that she's not been around as much as some of us and doesn't always consider the positions of the server and their perspective.
"We simply can't do that. You can't rush customers. If you do, tip drops like you wouldn't believe. If you make server here, you'll see. You want the customer to have the best dining experience. After they get the menu in their hands, the debacle of the wait time seems far less significant."

It got to the point where our reservations were taking all our available tables and waitlisters were leaving due to aggrevation.

"Listen, we can't have people walk out on us!"
"Yeah, well, then do me a favor, one of two things: 1. either get our eating customers out right now and open tables, or. 2. You take the podium and deal with everyone."

To my utter amazment, the service manager took the helm and started taking names and hacking it out with the disgruntled waitlisters. It took us until almost 8pm to settle from the mayhem and rekindle our normal dinner groove.

The hidden stash of 100Grand bars and Reese's peanut butter cups were all that kept me sane. I can't wait to get back on the floor.


Blogger Thy said...



6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

at my restaurant, servers and bussers are known to "crop dust" campers to encourage their exodus. (for those not familiar with the term, "crop dusting" is the act of quietly farting while walking.)

11:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this an offshoot site of waiterrant? Because this post is almost exactly the same as one I read in the archives over there...

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No. Read his. This was posted first.

12:53 AM  

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At your service, Ospite

I am not in the restaurant business, I am in the people business. I use every opportunity to people watch, because to me, even the most mundane is fascinating.

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