Previously, for late night, we were doing trivia ourselves. The first week CL read the questions, and the next two weeks I did it. I actually really liked reading the questions; I was looking forward to actually writing some of them. CL decided it wasn't obnoxious enough, I guess, because she hired a professional DJ company.
The first night was this week, and I was not fucking thrilled. To start with, they erected their setup at two of my tables, shrinking my section. Their setup plugs in to the television, which is nice; and then they have two giant speakers, one of which was pointed directly at another of my tables—so I was down three tables, because nobody wanted to sit three feet from this screaming speaker. The guy reading the questions yelled in to his microphone, making people jump every time he started talking; in between his over-enthused speaking they blasted top 40 songs.
Don't get me wrong, it would be a great plan for a real bar. For our little restaurant, it's total overkill. The people who were there seemed to be having fun, which I guess is what's important even if it did give me a screaming headache and even though I couldn't hear my customers to get orders. Still, I wasn't cranky, I figured it'd get better with time, I'd adjust to the noise.
When I got really pissed was when a table of regulars left, one of the three tables I got at all. These five guys come in once a week or so, are super low-maintenance, and tip about 30%. And boy, were they pissed off. They didn't like the noise; they didn't like the music; they didn't like the dimmer than usual lighting. What really set them off, though, was our drink specials.
I actually would really like to get some feedback on this. When you go to a bar that has two-for-one drink specials, how does that work? Does the bartender give you both drinks at once, you have one and your friend has one? Or are they both for you, and they won't serve the second one until the first is done? If you all could leave comments, I'd appreciate it, because I don't know how these things work normally.
All I know is that CL said people can't share the special. So if you and I want to drink at the same time, we both have to order a drink under our own 2-for-1. It doesn't seem unreasonable to me—the drinks are the same prices as always, they're not increased to account for the free one. So I don't see what the big deal is, but these guys were pissed. Especially one of them, whose bald scalp was turning red with anger. “Oh, so they want us to get drunk and drive? That's just great!”
I don't get paid enough to deal with the fallout from corporate idiocy, so I fetched Lapdog. He spent a few minutes talking to them, Red Scalp bitching most of that time, and then the people who would've tipped me hugely got up and left. Because corporate has flat-out stated that they're willing to sacrifice regular customers to chase this “late night” crowd.
It would have been fine if we'd still been doing trivia like we were before—a round of ten questions, then ten or twenty minutes for people to keep talking, to eat, to order more drinks. Instead we now have this non-stop onslaught of hip-hop music and a screaming DJ. Our regular Tuesday night Jehovahs are going to stop coming in, eliminating our steady Tuesday business almost entirely.
I'm considering giving up my Tuesday night closes, honestly. I was there until 12:40 at night, and I think I made sixty bucks. Not okay.