Tonight was another one of "those nights". We were crazy busy at work, and we ended up running out of a lot of shit that we'll still be out of tomorrow. As much as I would like there to be, there isn't a tuna tree or a steak tree or a french fry tree out back. We're extremely lucky that our produce company delivers on Sunday, but these are not things they can help us with. I say it was one of "those nights" because people were complaining about everything.
We were getting the kind of people who order their steak well done, bitch about the cook time (sorry, but a one pound bone-in NY strip is going to take 20 minutes for well done), and then insist that they didn't order it that way. We were getting people who were complaining about the size and shape of our plates (11", round), that our water wasn't cold enough, etc. One of my favorites in quite some time came tonight. They said that our slaw didn't have any cabbage in it. I'm not sure what they thought it was, but I'm just guessing that they're not used to seeing Napa.
The icing on the cake was this large group that came in towards the end of the night. First, for some of you who may not know, I'll give some pointers.
Don't go out to eat dinner with a group of 16 friends. Certainly not on a Friday or Saturday night. You're not going to be able to be seated with any quickness. Just give it up and split into two or three groups. It won't be the end of the world if you can't all 17 sit together. You're likely to be having at least 8 different conversations anyway. When you put your name on the waiting list, be wary of the fact that the restaurant needs to wait for 5 side by side four-tops to free up in order to seat your party. This is going to take some considerable time. When that moment finally comes, you need to be wary of the fact that the restaurant generally, and your server in particular, is going out of the way to accommodate you. You need to treat your server well, and be as low maintenance as possible. He or she is already running their ass off (for $2.15 an hour) just to get your drinks to the table. Yes, your server may have chosen this as their career, but that doesn't give you and your friends license to be a dick. You should also be aware of the fact that it's tricky for the kitchen to have all 17 of your dishes ready and hot at the same moment. That takes precision timing to ensure that nothing grows cold waiting for other stuff to be ready. And for fuck's sake, when the food is ready and arrives at your table, remember what you ordered. There's no way your server can carry 17 things by him or herself. Other folks are going to be helping out, and they may need to auction the food off.
If you must go to dinner on a Saturday night with 16 friends, please treat your server and the establishment with respect. If the restaurant is packed, don't bitch and moan when you are told that it'll take 2 hours for a table for 17. Think about it. As a favor, be prepared by bringing cash. This will make everyone's life easier. If all 17 of you want separate checks and you're all paying by credit card, be wary of the fact that your server has to take the time (and it does take time) to run 17 cards through. Nothing is instantaneous. When you are paying your tab, remember that your server had to go out of their way to make your experience pleasant. There's a reason that restaurants usually have tables only for 4 or 6. Those are easy to deal with. 17 is not. 10% is not acceptable. 15% is not acceptable in a situation like this. You need to go at least 20%. If you don't like these suggestions, take your group of 17 to the Wendy's drive-thru.
Sorry again for the rant, but we had this 17-top come in at 9:30. The dining room was packed, we had other partied on a wait, but these people were outraged that they couldn't be seated immediately. When they finally did get seated an hour later, they were complete dicks to the server. I don't know what they did for her, gratuity-wise (we don't automatically 20% them the way some places do), but I'm guessing that they didn't do much.
Cowboy Junkies The Caution Horses