Every restaurant has its rules, and there are rules that apply to every restaurant. There are some things that are true no matter where you go. And I’m not just talking about the simple ones like People Who Pay With Hundreds Usually Tip Like Shit. That’s just a given, so much so that it should be on the first page of every training manual, even the ones for the BOH. Also, it should be a How You Know but it’s just too easy. And done to death elsewhere.
I’m talking about general truthitudes, like:
If you are working shorthanded or several key members of the staff are hungover or otherwise ‘just not feeling it’, then you WILL be slammed out of your ass.
I have seen this happen so many times that I have no doubt of this rule. The restaurant gods can smell weakness and they have fuckall for mercy. The nights when everybody is literally praying to the restaurant gods for a slow night are the nights when the wait never dies and you run out of everything. Glasses, linens, forks, food. Everything. One night at Outback we ran out of every kind of steak except one. At a steakhouse. Prayers to the restaurant gods get answered. They get answered by them dropping a gigantic Cleveland Steamer on your night.
If your section gets filled up with a bunch of tables who are waiting for the rest of their party, then ALL of the rest of their parties will ride the same bus to get there and arrive at the same time.
You can’t really expect civilians to comprehend what’s going on around them but sweet jeebus do people miss the fact that all the other tables around them had people show up as well. And then they get impatient and jealous of your attention. This seems to happen more at lunch than at dinner but the idea is the same. Buses run all the time.
The longer a table who is through eating sits there ignoring their check the more impatient they will be for you to process it once they finally do put their card/cash in the presenter.
The polar opposite of the Hurry Up And Wait idea, these people are in no kind of hurry whatsoever until they deign to pull something out of their wallet. Then all of a sudden they remember that they have an open heart surgery scheduled across town in five minutes that they have to get to and even though they have gruffly told you to leave them alone the last few times you’ve checked in on them this past hour, every second that YOU have wasted doing anything other than running their credit card Right Effin Now is a grievous offense unto god. All the karma and good will you have built up will trickle away along with each grain of sand that falls out of the hourglass. The real life actual hourglass these fuckers carry around with them so they can time how long it takes you to run their card so they can figure out how much to take out of the tip you were supposedly going to get. Okay maybe I’ve never seen a table put a real life hourglass on the table but I’ve seen plenty of mental ones. You can just see the impatience and anxiety building up. You can feel their eyes tracking you before they inevitably roll and they cross their arms and tap their feet. There are signs. There are tells.
There are more rules but for now I’ll leave you with an idea we can all get behind:
Dignity and Respect (to restaurant workers!)
Me, The JerBear