Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Endless shrimp is back...

..in other news, Red Lobster servers across the country are contemplating suicide.

Thankfully it only lasts until November 15, 2010, so it won't run into the holiday season.

The Baked Parmesan Shrimp are good, but you don't want them if they get overcooked even a little bit.

The wait is over! Endless Shrimp® is back with our best value of the year!
Choose from a variety of succulent shrimp choices such as
NEW! Baked Parmesan Shrimp, Garlic Shrimp Scampi,
Shrimp Linguini Alfredo, Garlic-Grilled Shrimp and Hand-Breaded Shrimp.
The shrimp may be endless, but the offer isn't. Hurry in today!
Pick two of your favorite shrimp preparations. When you're ready, we'll bring more. Choose from:
NEW! Parmesan Shrimp Garlic Shrimp
Shrimp Linguini Alfredo Garlic-Grilled
Hand-Breaded Shrimp

So servers, get on your walking shoes.  Fatties get on your stretchy pants.  Let's all meet at the Lobster.


Sarah Beth said...

I quit my job at the Lobster yesterday after three years! :)

Lobster Boy said...

Now where is the fun in that Sarah? Rubbing salt in our wounds...


Glad you made it out!

AntiLobster said...

I love it how when I started we weren't allowed to give people boxes for endless or allow people to share. Years ago if a table came in and you caught them sharing you could charge them for another endless. When the table got the bill and asked for the manager the manager would actually back up the server (unheard of today I know). But today (many years and managers later) before my shift I was told that guests can have boxes and as many refills to go as they want. And if a table comes in and wants to share one endless that’s fine too. When I tried to ask questions I was told I wasn't part of the "shrimp police."

Kasandra said...

I'm sorry the majority of endless shrimp goers seem to suck so hard.

Having said that, I love endless shrimp. I went in yesterday and maxed out at 4 refills though my server was all to ready to give me refills #5 and 6 - I couldnt manage it. My server was unbelievably nice and I appreciated it even more knowing how soul-crushing the endless shrimp thing is for Red Lobster employees.

We tipped like 30% on a $40 bill and I felt guilty when (unasked) he brought me a box with the bill so I could take home my left-over shrimp pasta when I couldn't finish it.

John said...

So I went in and had the endless shrimp tonight. The shrimp were wonderful. The service was kind of screwed up.

I made no complaints. Did not speak to the manager. Still tipped something like 17%. Will return, but will hope the service works out better next time.

What I'd like to know, is if I had a bad server, if the kitchen was probably mostly responsible, or if the problems really should have been considered no big deal.

So I went in, got seated, and waited a few minutes for my server. I ordered a Shirley Temple (sorry, I like cherry sprite), and the Endless Shrimp with the parmesan shrimp and the shrimp alfredo.

I was brought a sweet tea, and shrimp scampi and garlic shrimp. It took about ten minutes to get my drink replaced. Since I was planning to try all the shrimp, anyway, I just asked for a reorder of the items I had originally ordered, and did not receive.

The tables around me got three reorders a piece, while I was still waiting for what I originally ordered. My server actually returned and tried to give me my check, when I reminded him I was still waiting for my reorder.

He actually asked me for the reorder at that point, which sure makes it sound like it was never put it.

So my 3 questions ... should I have spoken to anybody about it, or just ignored it as I did? Who should I blame in my own head for this set of problems? And how horribly inconvenient is it of me to order the Shirley Temple?

I've got to say, some of these shrimp dishes are really wonderful.

(Oh, and I took home about a half a re-order of two items, because I was too full to eat any more. I was not trying to abuse the system ... but does this make me a bad person?)

Lobster Boy said...

Thanks for your patience. That clearly is a server issue.

Even though it's not my job to say so, sorry that this happened to you. You deserved better. I don't know how/why this happened, but my best guess is you got a green server. That or someone fully incompetent or inebriated.

Shirley Temple aka kiddie cocktail in some regions is no problem to make. A splash of grenadine and a cherry and you're in business. Iced tea with a lemon is just as much work, so it clearly wasn't an issue with you ordering something out of the ordinary or exceptionally difficult. Plus, we make a ton of them, so we can do it in our sleep. Totally server problem.

Orders and refills - this particular situation again sounds very much like it was your server. There are times, espcially first day or two of AYCE Shrimp and our first big volume nights during the promo that can really hammer the kitchen because they just aren't fully up to speed on it. We try to avoid that, and most stores do a good job of seeing that doesn't happen (making refills of non-friend shrimp come out slow). But I can't see that being the case here, I certain it was a server issue.

If I was you (if this ever happens again, not just at RL but anywhere) I would definitely bring it to the attention of the manager.

Here's how I have done it in the past. I'll ask the hostess to send a manager over. I'll explain who I am (I state that I've been in the business since God made dirt) and let them know I don't want my meal comped or anything if it is a service related issue. They can comp my food/drink if they screw that up, but that's a different issue. I say here's what happened in a nutshell. I don't get mad, I don't yell, I don't make a fuss. The managers need to know otherwise this employee will likely do this again, costing everyone money. It may be a simple correction, it may be a big problem, but that is not on you as the customer. 99% of managers want to hear this feedback (though it makes them ALL uncomfortable) because it makes their stores a better place for everyone.

So sorry it happened, and please let a manager know next time. I guarantee if it ever happens at a Lobster again that you'll see grand improvement if you do this.

Also - FYI - don't wait until after the meal to share this. Get a manager involved ASAP so they can ensure your dining experience is as it should be. Also, it sometimes takes a bit of time for a manager to make it to the table, and this way you won't have to wait at the end of the meal to share.

One final thought - if service is horrible, you aren't obligated to tip. I think as servers we are still obligated to tip unless it is mindblowingly bad though, but not the general population. Yes, a double standard, but you get that when you work in the industry.

John said...

To tell you the truth, I came across this blog a couple of weeks ago, while looking for information on the (then) upcoming shrimp promotion ... it was after reading the horror stories here that I decided to not make any fuss about this, this time around ... and get some behind-the-scenes advice, instead.

I'll be honest ... I've never been a server, and never will be. I don't have the patience for it. But I read and hear stories, and learn a bit which helps me to be more understanding of problems that could come from the kitchen, and not be the server's fault.

In this case, I was pretty sure the problem was the server. And to be honest, I got a lot better service from other servers who were not watching my table, but decided to jump in and help out a little bit.

Thing is, the drink was not a really big deal. Though I was brought the wrong shrimp items, if the reorders had not been so slow, it would not have been that big of a deal, either. After all, I did plan on trying all the flavors. So I wouldn't have said anything until near the end, when the reorder had taken so long, anyway.

So what I'll take from this is balance ... neither complain too much, nor ignore the problems, which might just increase the chances of more people having more problems.

And not feel bad about the Shirley Temple, next time.

Anonymous said...

lobsterboy....you have totally drank the Kool-aid....you should try for a manager job.......the reply to John was the most suck up corporate thing ever and telling him not to tip if he gets bad service....you know as well as i that sometimes things dont go as planned, sometimes a needy table and you cant get back to your other tables as fast as you want to...ive been in the biz for 30 years ( mostly fine-dining) and was at the Lob for a little over a year...It was the WORST job i ever had.....Have you only worked in Chain restaurants???? if so you dont know what a REAL restaurant is....dont give people suck shitty advice....at least 10% is called for, they did bring you food and drink

Lobster Boy said...

We'll have to agree to disagree on tipping philosophy. I fully believe for the average person, if the service was indeed as bad a the commenter suggested (he has no motivation to lie) then they are in no way obligated to tip.

If the service is indifferent, or barely adequate, then certainly a tip is in order - the 10% you suggest would be appropriate. But when the server screws up nearly every single interaction with a table, there is no call for that server to have claim to have earned their pay.

A needy table doesn't screw up re-rings for shrimp refills that literally take 6 seconds to enter into a computer. A needy table doesn't make the server bring the wrong drink to the table. A needy table doesn't make a server wring in the wrong food items for their other table(s).

No honey, that is ALL on the server. Servers fuck up, and some servers are fuck ups. We have to be honest about that.

We all get needy asshats. It is our job to learn how to deal with them and take care of our other tables. That's how you keep high tip averages every night. Sure I've had ghetto tables that thought they were the only people in the restaurant and that it was my job to bring them more bowls (yes bowls) of blue cheese and french dressings while they wait for their rock hard burned black well done steak. But I still find a way to take care of my other tables. That's why we use the buddy system and why we have teammates. No server is an island.

So no corporate kool-aide here. I've just done this for a really long time, trained what has to be approaching a thousand people, and done so in everywhere from munch & purge lunch places to bar to places my average ticket per person was over $60 all day every day (yes, I do wish that place was still open, the money was filthy good...).

Lobster Boy

Gangrenous said...

i hope they still have it, i'm going there today and i'm hungry
check my blogs if you like interesting politics/economics!

greygardener said...

Eating shrimp is wrong. It's an abomination.

Schwimpfest said...

I can eat 144 Schwimps, and 16 Bisquits ! YUM !

Anonymous said...

My best friend loves the Red Lobster endless shrimp deal and always invites me. We are both trim and fit women and enjoy getting something for a deal once in a while in a world of over pricing. Most other times leaving Red lobster... the bill is over 100bucks for sub-par seafood. So I think it's only fair to defend the fattys of the world against the Lobster's servers cheap and easy hateful attacks on their size... Get another job... go back to school and work hard. Make the most of your life, and quit being a whinner.