...than when you kitchen starts costing you money as a waiter. To say I was a bit pissed at work tonight might be putting it lightly. Mid-summer means slow nights, and Monday nights are often the slowest of the week. So I have to do everything I can, suck up in every little way I have learned and perfected in all of my years, just to scrape by. A meager existence as a waiter. It's our season of famine, where everyone is fighting over shifts, trying to pick up a few more hours to just make rent another month. Then the kitchen SCREWS YOU. Not just me, many/most/all of the wait staff tonight. Tickets so slow we thought they were growing the vegetables. I had a 35 minute cook on a simple two top. Another co-worker had a 23 minute appetizer. That is absokillingmelutly unacceptable. Our appetizers and meals both should be out in 23 minutes. I was pissed to the point that I asked a manager to go out to my table and explain to them WTF was going on. Really, it was only partly our kitchen's fault. Yes, the group cooking at the end of the night is very inept. Green for the most part, incompetent for the rest. But the problem was actually caused by management trying to pinch a few more pennies, so their butt chewing over labor hours from the regional director is slightly less severe.
So the kitchen cost me money, and honestly quite a bit of it. I had pretty good tables, but few left more than 10%. It's always the waiter who is punished in our system. Don't like the where the host sat you? Take it out on the waiter. Drink not made right? Take it out on the waiter. Tough steak? Take it out on the waiter. Food took a long time? Take it out on the waiter. Music is too loud? Must be the waiter's fault. They took your favorite meal off the menu? Must be a waiter conspiracy. There was a fly buzzing around your table? Was probably a waiter in a previous life. Ordered food you don't like? It's the waiter's fault, he should have known you wouldn't like it. Heartburn? Girlfriend dumped you? Just found out you got herpes? Of course it's the waiter's fault. He probably got you fired from your job, made your children ugly, and is the cause of the Federal Trade Deficit as well. I think there is a waiter in New Orleans who incited Hurricane Katrina as well.
The only consolation was that I was able to witness our General Manager having to jump onto the cooking line. Let's just say that GM's DO NOT COOK. They do a lot of thing, mostly putting the screws to the other managers and taking heat from area directors and national inspectors, but only a few times a year will you see a GM on the cooking line. And when you do, you know they are PISSED. Not the British pissed, but the heads will roll pissed. The "after a couple of martinis I'll figure out who I'm going to fire/eat/sacrifice to the convection oven gods" pissed. I looked under the glow-rays at our GM and then looked up at my ticket. GM just looked back at me, shook the head and gave our Expo (head of cooking line) the look of death. I think our Expo may have combusted from that gaze had he not been wearing his super heat protection apron.
And the GM knew this was all because they (the mangers) had decided to cut kitchen staff too early. They didn't have enough staff to support the number of waiters they kept on the floor. We honestly were not busy, but tables couldn't move because they couldn't get their food. When you can't feed one table, the next can't get in. Back in the old day it wasn't a problem, we could have more than three tables, so we could just take another table while our current ones waited for food. Not any more, Red Lobster expects their guests to wait in the lobby, while the restaurant is only 40% full. Customers walk in, after having sat in the lobby for 20 minutes, and they wonder why they've been waiting when there is this sea of open tables. So now they get to the table unhappy, our sales are lower because they bought drinks at the bar, our tips drop because their food takes longer, and our tips are further hit because we cannot turn a table because they are waiting for food so they can't leave. It nearly reached the boiling point a couple of times tonight. I've seen it get ugly fast in a restaurant, and thankfully that didn't happen tonight.
Rarely do I feel bad for a host, but tonight was one of those rare occasions. Our young ladies up front (I'm pretty sure it was all ladies tonight) had nowhere to put people, and little explanation as to why on a Monday night people would have to wait 20-30 minutes minimum to get a table in our store.
Can you tell I'm still pissed about this?
And if that isn't bad enough, corporate Red Lobster/Darden in their infinite idiocy decided that with our new, lower priced promotion that started last week, that they should pour salt into our wounds as servers by issuing a coupon this past weekend. Coupons bring in some very undesirable people from a waiter's point of view. People too dim witted to realize that the $4 off doesn't even pay for their two iced teas. $4 off at McDonald's is a good discount. $4 off at Red Lobster isn't much. But to them, the $4 saved is enough to draw them into our stores, like moths to a light. But that doesn't mean they are tipping, or certainly not appropriately. The $4 off made our meals just barely affordable, but there's nothing left for a tip. Once again, screw the waiter.
Related Tags: Red Lobster, Darden, GMRI, Seafood, Seafood Restaurant, Restaurant, Dinner, Supper, Appetizers, Drinks, Server, Waiter, Waitress, Host, Bartender, Cook, Chef, General Manager, Manager, Food Service, Customer Service, Anger, Frustration, Pissed, Coupons, Cheap people, Bad tippers, McDonald's