Thursday, October 07, 2010

All you can eat shrimp commercials piss me off!

Every time that damn Red Lobster all you can eat shrimp commercial comes on TV, my stress meter pegs.  Not because work stresses me out, but because some corporate douche-bag gets paid way too much to torment me like this.  It's bad enough I have to deal with AYCE 5-6 days a week, and then I can't escape it on my off hours.  It interrupts football.  It's a poke in my eye.  Its like when a bull sees the matador waving this weak ass crappy flap of cloth.  I want to give it the horns and gore the hell out of it and then stomp on his balls to make sure he gets the point.  But that would only break my TV which I am quite fond of.

18 comments:

lee said...

my sister was at red lobster yesterday and got horrible service. she asked for a manager and was told he was unavailable. she leaves a message to be called. an hour later, she gets the district manager or some such manager on down the chain. turns out her bad server was actually a MANAGER trying to do the job he manages. needless to say, she's getting a wad of gift cards.

as i will be eating all the shrimp i can next friday, could you make a post about AYCE etiquette? if the server offers you a box and then proceeds to bring you a gillion servings of shrimp for you to take home, how much should i tip?

Lobster Boy said...

Tipping should be based off of the quality and quantity of service provided, though 20% will make you a lot of friends. And by no means is 20% the limit if you server rocks.

AYCE etiquette - my best suggestion is to be open and honest with your server. If you want a box full of food to take home, hand them some cash and say here's the deal. Very few will get in your way. Beyond that, order the slower to cook items up front, save the friend items for last. Don't wait until you are ready for the check to order your last set(s) of refills and then get mad because you had to wait. When I've done AYCE I've given my server an order list and just said here's what I want, in this order. Every few minutes ring another one in. If you see me not able to keep up, hold on a few minutes before the next round. I'll generally give a list of 5-6 of which 2 are my original order. Saves the server a bit of work, and makes sure you keep the shrimp flow going. If you really can eat 12 orders of scampi, tell them. That way they know to keep 'em coming and they won't be surprised that you keep ordering. It's the same way when I go to a restaurant after a softball game. I'll just tell the server to bring me two glasses of whatever I order (tea or water depending my hydration level) to save them some work. Places that have pitchers I'll ask for one of those. I'm happy to pour my own & save them some work and still tip well. You can basically do the same with your shrimp if you order it right.

On the managers serving - I have a post in the hopper addressing that very subject, so stop back in and I'll elaborate. But needless to say, there's a reason most managers don't train servers - most of them are pretty inept when it comes to actually serving. I say this quite confidently having trained dozens of managers in training myself. A few (generally with prior serving background) are good, but most struggle with serving. The one thing they do generally have going for them though is that they have a good grasp of the menu and food prep prior to serving, so they are at least competent answering questions and making suggestions. Beyond that though, it can get ugly. Very ugly.

Lobster Boy

cara said...

This is my third year of Endless Shrimp, and Its the worst one yet. I have no problem with the actual Endless Shrimp Promotion. Its really not that hard, and it brings people in during our slow season. The problem is the type of people that it brings in. People who don't eat out much, and are either ignorant to tipping, or just don't feel like they need to. You can barely get through a table approach without a table interupting with 'Water,bisquits, and scrimp'. I am literally counting down the days to November 15th.

cara said...

This is my third year of Endless Shrimp, and Its the worst one yet. I have no problem with the actual Endless Shrimp Promotion. Its really not that hard, and it brings people in during our slow season. The problem is the type of people that it brings in. People who don't eat out much, and are either ignorant to tipping, or just don't feel like they need to. You can barely get through a table approach without a table interupting with 'Water,bisquits, and scrimp'. I am literally counting down the days to November 15th.

Jason said...

To be absolutly honest, I have been with the company for many years. Endless shrimp is hard on the employees. The fact of the matter is though without Endless shrimp our dinning rooms would be empty. Although in your opinion the "guests that it brings in is the wrong kind" at least it is a guest...hince if the dinning room is empty you may not be scheduled at all and those good tips you recieved in between the bad ones you would not have been there to get at all. So yes you may get some bad tips....But atleast you are getting some tips. Use your VIP service and you may just see your tips go up even during Endless shrimp.

Lobster Boy said...

Jason - I'm glad I don't work in a store that is that dependent on AYCE Shrimp. Our sales stay steady or slightly increase in total dollars during this promo, but certainly not enough to make it worth our while. An assistant manager of our once commented that they'd option out of this promotion as a store if that were allowed (it's NOT an option though). So maybe we are uniquely positioned, or maybe it just sucks to serve where you are, I honestly don't know. But I do know I hate the promotion. I do know that my personal sales are down about 5% over this promotion as it impacts drinks, deserts and apps sold if you know you are eating 93 shrimp for supper. And that down 5% is with little or no change in # of customers served. Average weekly sales of $4000 X 5% down in sales = $30-$40 lost in a week of tip income + crappier tips on the AYCE tables on average = another $30+ lost so I'm losing most of a shift's worth of income on average each week due to the promo. I don't like that math. Not. At. All.

Lobster Boy

cara said...

VIP Service is a joke! They just keep making our table approaches longer and longer. Like I said before, half the guests just interupt me. Speaking of guests, yes, this is our slow season, and if you are going to quote me, Jason, at least repeat what I actually said. Guests are guests, and of course I want as many as possible in our 'dinning' room. However, I prefer selling more expensive meals to 2 tables, than 8 tables of Endless Shrimp.
And any server who likes quoting commercials ('try our buttery shrimp scampi, or creamy lobster dip') or fake charming your tables, ('so what brings you here tonight, just a regular Tuesday dinner?') is a sad excuse for a human being. That should just come naturally, not be forced on us by a corporation. Its ridiculous. First, they wanted us to to be 'classy and upscale', now they want us to be 'homestyle' its silly and confusing to the guests.
Just bring them some bisquits, it's the only reason they are there at all.

Jason said...

"The problem is the type of people that it brings in. People who don't eat out much, and are either ignorant to tipping, or just don't feel like they need to."


You are absolutly correct Cara I did quote you incorrectly this is what you said above I just paraphrased it.

Jason said...

Cara I would like to add one more thing. You know if you actually listen your intro got a lot shorter. There are so many thing they are not asking you to do any longer. I don't know if your managers are not telling you everything but you can honestly cover everything they are asking for in under 30 seconds. As far as sounding like a commercial they want you to be able to describe the taste of the food you would personaly order (paint a picture). What is wrong with that? If you can't do that then you belong at a Denny's and deserve $1 tips. Your duty as a server is to give your guests what they want. Now days your guests want to know what you think is good and want you to describe it in a manner you would hear on the food network. Not "Salmon New Orleans is blackened fish with burre blanc sauce" Sorry but as the average consumer what is "Burre Blanc sauce?" Servers are also sales people and need to describe what they sell. If you go to a car lot is the sales person going to just say "it's a Honda with 4 cylinder." I doubt it. Maybe you need to reread your job description because it is not to just take orders and clear tables.

sickofdardenbs said...

Endless Shrimp is everything that Lobsterboy and Cara said. Triple the work for less money. Don't get me wrong, there are some tables who really appreciate the extra work that Endless Shrimp requires, and tip accordingly, like my very first Endless Shrimp table ever who tipped me 50%.

Far too common, however, are the people who will leave the infamous crappy $3 Endless Shrimp tip. The worst is that the tip actually seems to DECREASE with the number of refills people order. More refills=almost always a smaller tip.

My retaliation is to go to Red Lobster's Facebook page and print out dozens of coupons, then use them at the restaurant to increase my tips. If Darden is going to run a promo which screws its front line employees and only benefits people at the top, you better believe I'm going to respond.

Nova Rc Products said...

Went to red lobster in carlsbad california ONCE and ONLY ONCE! Aweful shrimp scampi. They were sandy and had not been deveined, yuck. we didn't make a stink because we didn't want to spoil our son's graduation dinner.

Paula said...

Red Lobster SUCKS in all ways....The food is in a bag, the managers treat the servers like they are 2 years old and the GUESTS are the worst...i had never worked in a chain restaurant and i never will again..ive been outta there for 4 months and i could not be happier...im sorry for all of you that have to stay and work at a Red Lobster...Enjoy eating your hydrogenated soybean oil that they use as Butter...its called Buttery Z and comes in a gallon jug....yuck yuck yuck....Crap food

Paula said...

cara.....jason needs to drink some more kool-aid

jenwhatever1 said...

So my table actually told me about this blog site last night. So I thought I would check it out. I have to say I like your style Lobster Boy and not only did my table read this, as AYCE diners they followed your instructions to the T. Gave me a list, ordered 2 glasses of tea from the get go. So I applaude you. BC of you my life was made somewhat easier... I do agree, this year AYCE was rough. I asked my manager if more people were ordering it this year. Apparently, AYCE is up 7%which = more running. The only positive thing I have to say about this promotion is that I always manage to lose at least 5 lbs. 1) Because I run a whole lot more. (and now even more so with my new slip resistant leg tonining shoes) 2) Some of the people who come in and order AYCE make me want to eat healthy. 3) The amount of food people are eating is just nauseating. Other than that my tired and toned legs are counting down the days for AYCE!!! :-)

Lobster Boy said...

Jen - glad to be of service! Share the blog with your coworkers. I think of this as the online watering hole for Lobster staff, all are welcome!

Lobster Boy

Nichole said...

I have no idea how VIP service is making our speil shorter..i had to do my speil in front of the GM and it wasnt quite enough info for him so he told me what i had to add...so i went home and did my speil to my mom and timed it with everything that my GM wants and it rang in at a min and 30 seconds!! thats insane!! I also get cut off by the customers mid speil cuz they could really give 2 craps!

Licensed Poet said...

VIP isn't all that bad; part of it is judging from your table when to cut it short or modify it. There's an optimal version, which you perform for a manager so they know that you know how to get the details across to a group that clearly has no idea what RL has to offer.... and then there's the version that most tables will get when you start explaining the promo and they look at you like you're reading a long excerpt from "War and Peace". You know the look.

In other news... does any other RL server get a subtle but guilty pleasure when a customer requests "that all you can eat shrimp thing" and has to be told "I'm *so* sorry, but that promotion ended recently. We *do* have a surf 'n' turf promotion going on now..."?

Anonymous said...

You sound so racists & ignorant...I'm sure you have your share of friends from the trailer park as well.