Saturday, March 11, 2006're killing me here!

I am generally one of the nicest, if not the nicest server to our cooks. I cooked (different restaurant) for 3.5 years, I know how it works. Last night though, I just about lost it.

Food was running pretty good for a Friday during lent. 15-20 minute ticket times for all our food, which is very livable. I have a pretty good feel for when my food should be coming up, and when one of my table's food seemed to be taking a bit longer than normal, I made my way into the kitchen to see what the slow down was and to get an ETA. As I entered the Alley, I saw my food sitting on the far end in the window, good I thought, I'll finish prepping it and run it out. It was a two top, and one meal was an Ultimate Feast, the other meal was a Cajun Chicken Pasta. My pasta had no sauce/chicken, so I asked my assembler how long. He didn't answer. I know it's busy and loud in the kitchen, so I called him by name and asked him again. He looked at me and hesitated. I knew that was bad. "What's going on with this ticket?" He pointed to the other end of the line and said "they forgot to cook your chicken."

"How Long?" "6 minutes." "You're going to have to redo this ultimate feast then. I'm not walking it after it'll have sat here for 10+ minutes, use it on another ticket." I left, a bit frustrated, but trying to be understanding, it's Lent, Friday night, and a zoo, and nobody wants any extra stress tonight. I told my table there was a bit of a hold up at the oven, and that the food would be done in about 5 minutes. They were OK with that, and I grabbed them some more bread. I greeted another table, got some drink refills for my third, and made my way back into the kitchen at close to 6 minutes to grab my food.

The assembler sees me coming, and I see him asking the Expo something. My food is still sitting there, and it's the same Ultimate feast as before, baking itself dry under the Glo-Rays.

"How long on this?" "Three more minutes." I know it's not his fault, but I'm starting to get frustrated. I walked to the other end of the window where the Expo is standing (they didn't have many tickets at this point, a lull in the evening when the dining room is filled and tables are moving.

"Expo, what the deal on this ticket?" "What ticket?" "This one (I push my ticket through the window) it was rung in at 8:03, and it's now 8:37." He plays dumb (he's the one who's supposed to cook the chicken) "Well, it's Friday night, tickets are running slow..." "Hey don't give me your line of BS, I know you forgot to cook my chicken. How LONG?" He mumbles and stammers a bit, realizing I know he screwed up "Two more minutes." "OK, I'll be back in two minutes, but I expect a new Ultimate with that." "Why?" "This fricking food has been sitting in the window for going on 20 minutes, why do you think?" "oh"

I run out, take an order, see my other table looking a bit peeved. I tell them I'll be right back with your food, thanks for being patient.

The same ultimate feast is sitting there, on the tray with my now completed pasta. "Hey, I'm not walking this until you assemble me a new meal." (it's Friday, I know they have the makings for this in the oven/steamers) "You'll have to ring it in." "Hey, you f-ed this up. My table has been sitting there for going on 40 minutes without food because you forgot to cook some chicken. No you want me to walk that crap on a plate out to them?" He can see and hear I am now pissed. I don't swear at cooks or co-workers. About a guest to a co-worker occassionally, but never to a cook. He starts throwing food on a platter at light speed. I thank him, and take the food out to get my beating from my table. Yes, my tip was impacted, as this looked to be a very good table to begin with, who was pretty grumpy by the time the food arrived. At least they got good quality food. I can only imagine what might have happened if I walked a dry over heated $22 meal to the gentleman at the table.

I understand that people screw up. I screw up. I've covered for the cooks when they've screwed stuff up, and they've bailed me out a time or two as well. But when you start multiplying the initial mistake I get a bit unhappy.

The rest of the night went smoothly, and I even managed to get out of the store before 11:00PM for a change (just barely, but I'll take it!).

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Anonymous said...

Nice post... It almost makes me miss re-ordering tickets for the cooks' mistakes. RL's the only place I've ever had to do that.

Anonymous said...

always a good idea to get in good with the cooks. anyways been there before, it sucks. keep up the grind. the most impoprtant part about being a server is being able leave your job at the restaurant and dont let a table affect your day.

rl server canada

Anonymous said...

Good Job. I think its great when the server is taking care of the customer and holding the 'chef' accountable for the screw ups.

Anonymous said...

What the heck is the expo doing all this time? It's his job to make sure that kind of crap doesn't happen. I hope you didn't tip him well.

Lobster Boy said...

Thanks for stopping in again Surly. As for tipping our Expo, we don't do that at Red Lobster. We only tip out our bussers and bar tenders. And it was the Expo I yelled at when he tried to play dumb about the long ticket time. I haven't seen him at work since, but I expect he'll make sure he doesn't screw up one of my tickets for quite some time. I scare me when I get angry, I can only imagine what others must feel.

Lobster Boy

OliveLady said...

Hey there Lobster Boy.. My name is "Olive Lady" I just had to leave you a little note to tell you how funny i think you are! I work for the same Darden company. However I work for the olive garden. I can totally relate to every single one of your blogs! Especially the tipping ones. Just wanted to stop by and say Hi and to introduce myself!!

Lobster Boy said...

Welcome "Olive"! I'm pretty familiar with some of the Twin Cities OG's. I waited on a Twin Cities' Olive Garden General Manager two nights ago with his wife and a couple of friends. They left me a solid tip, but surprizingly camped out in one of my booths.

Lobster Boy