Sunday, January 16, 2011

Between a rock and a 20-top.

I had my least favorite section tonight, because I hate any section with a high likelihood of getting sad with a large table. The bastard motherfuckers at my company don't let us add gratuity, and most of the time that's a very bad thing. But sometimes, with that section, I luck out and get a steady flow of smaller tables.

Of course, that couldn't happen tonight. Early on, I heard Lapdog saying we had an 18 top coming it at 5:30. Fuuuuuuck. There's exactly one place in the restaurant where a table like that will fit, and that was in my section -- or half of it, anyway, plus half of another server's section. Normally in that situation I'd cheerfully shove the large table off on the other server and take their smaller tables; most of my coworkers feel like big tops are a fair risk. Sadly, the other server in question was Wannabe -- who can barely manage her regular tables. Her working an 18 top solo was so not going to happen.

Technically, according to the last corporate policy update, a table that size should be shared between servers. At least two, possibly three, servers in fact. But I already knew what would happen. If Wannabe had 9 guests at the big top, plus her other two tables, she would be flipping out and useless. I would end up doing all the work for the big top, my other two tables, and likely her other tables, and would still have to share the tip with Wannabe. Fuck that. Fuck it right in the ear.

So instead I mournfully agreed to take the entire table myself. When they showed up, I still had two tables of two; Wannabe would've melted down in a panic. For me it wasn't a problem, especially since the 18 top showed up in groups -- including an extra two people. They were nice people, although sometimes hard to talk to -- they were quite busy babbling amongst themselves. Luckily they were all adults, so I wasn't dodging flying bits of macaroni and cheese. They did have seven separate tickets though. I hate separate tickets on big tops. Everyone always thinks somebody else will make up for their shitty tip!

When my other two tables left and were re-sat, I gave them to Wannabe, even though she didn't really want them. She doesn't like having more than two tables at a time. But they were both sat as my big top was getting ready to order; plus I don't trust Wannabe not to run to Chicken Little claiming I took over her tables and "wouldn't" give her mine! Plus it would probably have set Lapdog over the edge. The entire time I could see he was watching me, hovering, offering to help, worried it was too big a table for one person. HA! No problem. I even had time to run other peoples' food and drinks, because I am just that good.

Okay, not really. It was a just case of being well-organized and anticipating needs. It might have taken me a couple of extra minutes to get their order, but I knew nobody else wanted salad before dinner; I knew who wanted what sauces; I knew who belonged on tickets with whom. It all went very smoothly.

I hate putting in that much effort not knowing if it'll be worth it; so many times I've ended up getting screwed. This time, I got $40 on a total bill of $226. Not as much as I deserved (is it ever?), but at least I wasn't screaming with fury in the dishpit again.


The Restaurant Manager said...

It's sucks they won't let you add gratuity. I've never understood the thought process behind that. 8 or more people should have it added. It's only fair to the server. I also hate separate checks. If they wanted separate checks they should have hit the the buffet.

Bohemian Server said...

You can't add grat? I was under the impression that you could.

I don't understand the restaurants, esp. the chains, that have cut out adding grat on parties. They don't seem to "get" that they're losing their better servers because of it, which means they're left with newbies and the ones who really aren't that good. It's the main reason I'm no longer waiting tables - sick of waiting on 20 ghetto or redneck mofos for a good part of my night and making virtually NOTHING from their tables.

SkippyMom said...

I hate people that would get separate checks to avoid the auto grat.

You did good Cranky - like I ever had a doubt.

fuckmytable said...

I split a 20-top last night with a coworker. Got about the same tip (but split between us) but had to put up with bitchy people and ridiculous requests. Oh, and they trickled in from 9 pm until 10pm, finally ordered at 10:30, got their food at 10:55...and we close at 11. I was so. fucking. pissed. We should have been able to autograt the table because we would have each made another (well-deserved) ten bucks, but thanks for nothing, Chili's.

purplegirl said...

Restaurant Manager, I don't understand it either. Nobody's ever been able to give me a straight answer -- because it's come down from some corporate fucking monkeys years ago and nobody actually knows the reason anymore! I don't mind separate checks so much, at least if they tell me beforehand.

Bohemian Server, I would practically kill someone to get an auto-grat function. It's total bullshit not to have it.

SkippyMom, I did well this time, sometimes not so much. :)

FMT, that is absolute bullshit! Jesus. Nothing's worse than a big table right before close.

bloomin onion said...

@skippy mom; you can't usually avoid the grat by splitting checks. On some systems it's added automatically when the server enters the guest count, (like where I work, and thanks to overly sensitive touch screens I entered a 3-top as 33), and even if not, the entire table starts out as one check and is then split.
I can't believe you don't get to add grat! That's just messed up. Glad to hear it worked out ok.
I had what I thought was an 8 top getting sat at my 2-top and my neighbors 4-top last night and gave up a 6 to get it. Turned out to be 7 (hostesses can't do math, I guess that's why they're not servers). I was kicking myself, especially when the table I gave away was sat with 4 people who all ordered multiple alcoholic drinks. Worked out ok for me, too though. $25 on $119... I'm just that good.
I hate the whole table switching thing though cause I get confused and end up forgetting a table is mine again after it turns.

Bitchy Bartender said...

My work calls back large parties who made reservations so they can do a survey about their experience. They told us we can have autograt when those survey results start becoming more positive. Only problem is, they decided none of the staff are competent enough to book reservations, so MANAGEMENT does it, the person on the phone just takes down their info(how many people, date, time, phone #). And often, management forgets to "get around" to calling back all those reservation requests, or make notes about people with special needs (allergies, wheelchairs, or just wanting to be on our second floor), so they are already dissatisfied with their experience before they've even gotten to SPEAK to a server!!

yellowcat said...

If we had an auto-grat I'd be elbowing bitches out of the way all night long. As it is I have a 50/50 chance of getting screwed so I duck every big table I can.

Krissy said...

When I waitressed for a family owned resturant chain they would allows us to add a 18% grat to any table that had more than five people. Even if they split the check the grad would still be on there; just divided evenly. Most of us servers didn't bother to add grat on unless the check was over a certain amount. I didn't bother unless the table was being needy or if the bill was over $100