Tales from the Restaurant

Tales from the Restaurant
Where you'll find all the restaurant dirt you'll ever need.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Meal Schedule

While in any given restaurant’s employ, your dietary schedule will inevitably change. When your job consists of either cooking food for thousands of strangers or carrying meals to people at times when society suggests meals should be taken, you tend to become immune to the callings of traditional human hunger.

According to the undisputable law of Wikipedia being right 100 % of the time, most Americans typically have breakfast between 7-8 AM.

In direct comparison, restaurant work has convinced me that the first meal I should have every day should be no earlier than 2:30 PM. A solid craving for a full dinner usually hits me at about midnight.

So in some restaurants, there’s something like a bowl of candy or a some fruit or mints for the customers near the entrance that the host staff and servers usually snack on when nobody is looking.

My restaurant doesn’t have that.

It’s actually for this very reason that I had such disdain for this random drunk lady leaving my restaurant at standard dinner hours this evening.

My nearby host friend placated her by attempting to rummage through the desk drawer looking for someone else’s Altoids. After he encountered mild difficulty (and by mild I mean major), I decided to cut in briefly.

In an effort to placate her by offering an alternative something-for-nothing deal, I asked her this;

“Would you like a free toothpick instead?”

She seemed unmoved by my offer.

I tried to make the toothpicks seem more candy-like.

This woman then looked at me as if I had just told her I was planning on raping her grandmother.

I laid the sarcasm on thick, as I imagined that any sane person would do when confronted with a preposterous request.

Ultimately, I got away with it. Using sarcasm or subtle shaming of the target is a great way to get people in the restaurant setting to leave you alone. I’m proud of myself for being able to delicately pull lines like that off. It can get you out of something, or in my next post, IN to something. Like a room with the Stanley Cup in it.

…But that’s a story for another time.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Would THIS Surprise You?

On a regular busy Wednesday in the city, not too many requests fly over your head. Customers making absurd inquiries is pretty much par for the course, but this one request in particular actually caught me off guard.

I had a table of four, and the guest of honor had just finished being nominated as a Nobel Laureate in economics. He himself was in good humor, but one of his female counterparts (after her meal’s completion of course) had asked me to do something rather unorthodox.

Being a seasoned server, I pondered her request as I brought her wine bottle back to the kitchen.

Should I have;

A) Attempted to remove the label and presented it to her through the application of my own talents?
B) Brought the bottle to the kitchen and hoped they had the time/patience to remove the label with expensive kitchen equipment?
C) Lied to her about our restaurant’s inability to fulfill her request and sent her home with the original bottle and a polite single-handed birdie?
D) Bludgeoned her in the face repeatedly until she stopped moving?

For those of you who selected D, you’re the worst two dozen people I’ve ever met. Please consider a job at your local post office.

For those of you who selected A, imagine you don’t have fingernails.

For those who chose B? You might have to figure out how far you’d need to cram said wine bottle the rest of the way up your pussy. That lady just told you how to do your job. And you let her get away with being ridiculous.

For everyone who chose C, you’re normal. You’ve selected the outcome that required not only the most tact, but the least amount of effort necessary to satisfy both involved parties. You are an ambassador to the restaurant community.

For the B squad, you clearly have no idea what it is to approach the kitchen with a ludicrous burden. Cue the absurd request;

Here’s what line cooks typically think of your request.

So let’s make sure we have the right answer.

I pretended like I brought the bottle back into the kitchen and argued with the staff for fifteen solid minutes. The truth is, any waiter who isn’t hated by 100% of his or her coworkers would know better than to ask an absurdly lofty favor of people who are like family. So I came out with the wine bottle and handed it back to her.

…and just as I was bringing the full arsenal of reasons I thought her request was ridiculous, I realized that none of it was necessary.

I could have ended this 20 minutes ago.

It made me realize that for even considering this ridiculous request, I was being as dumb as she was.