Friday, July 20, 2007

Turnng the tables on pesky customers

A newspaper’s recount of a bad restaurant experience is news of the dog-bites-man variety. But a critique of restaurant patrons’ behavior? That’s Britney Spears gnawing on the leg of Paris Hilton’s Chihuahua, with Michael Jackson holding the leash. Clearly The Scoop would be remiss if it didn’t note the 2,000-word roundup this week in The Dallas Morning News of restaurant employees’ pet peeves about customers.

The report was a counterpoint to a March Herald story on the little things about restaurants that irk consumers. Then, as with Wednesday’s article, the report was based on first-hand experiences of the aggrieved parties.

Joyce Saenz Harris, the author of the Wednesday’s article, noted that the March story drew 500 responses from readers. The run-down of server and manager’s gripes will probably draw more objections, even though many of the complaints were the same as the ones voiced by patrons. Server and serve-ee both loath parents who let their wolf pups tear through the dining room like a starved pack in a clearing filled with gazelles.

Ironically, patrons were just as likely as restaurant personnel to complain about boorish patrons; the ones who spend the meal on a cell phone were particularly likely to be regarded as snakes by both camps.

But restaurant professionals did cite some curses that are peculiar to their side of the table. Like getting stiffed routinely by customers who either don’t know how to tip—they leave a flat rate like $5, regardless of the bill—or are quick to rescind it for the slightest infraction, like forgetting the third refill of an iced tea for one person in a party of 12.

Ramon Infante, a former waiter at Dallas’ Old Warsaw restaurant, recounted how he’d lost take-home money several times to wives who held back after a family vacated a table and then took a few of the dollars their husbands had left as tips.

In particular, Harris noted, servers are “unhappy with campers,” as her article put it. Several noted how parties would camp out at a table for the equivalent of several table turns, and then tip as if they’d eaten expeditiously. “Customers should realize that each table is only as valuable as the amount of time a server turns it over,” noted Monica Newbury, a manager at Sali’s Pizza.

Reservation no-shows were also blasted.

You can check out Harris’ article at the Morning News and consider the solution she puts forth, for aggrieved patron and restaurant employee alike: “Treat other people the way you would like to be treated,” she writes.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The camper mentality works both ways. If i am served salad then entree within 5 minutes of each other, and you quit filling my glass before I am done with my meal, and start asking who gets the check, I will ask for more tea, and stay a long time and tip only 15%. It works both ways!!!

August 1, 2007 at 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Servers have no control over how long it takes the food to come out of the kitchen. If you receive your food to quickly or it takes too long it rarely has anything to do with what your server has done.Too often servers get stiffed on a tip due to mistakes made in the kitchen. Most of the time it is by people who have never worked in the industry and have know idea how the flow of a kitchen goes. Servers are only in control of the tables in their section. Cooks have to keep up with every order that goes through the kitchen including take-out.jfpmlq

August 9, 2007 at 5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Servers have no control over how long it takes the food to come out of the kitchen. If you receive your food to quickly or it takes too long it rarely has anything to do with what your server has done.Too often servers get stiffed on a tip due to mistakes made in the kitchen. Most of the time it is by people who have never worked in the industry and have know idea how the flow of a kitchen goes. Servers are only in control of the tables in their section. Cooks have to keep up with every order that goes through the kitchen including take-out.

August 9, 2007 at 5:07 PM  

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