The Bar Bitch Turns The Other Cheek

| June 8, 2010 | 7 Comments

It has been brought to my attention that one of my frequent commentors has a blog of her own–well actually several. It’s actually pretty hilarious from a server’s point of view and if you’re looking for a good laugh, check it out.  I might just post an excerpt from her blog at the end of my columns just for entertainment value. While I do think she makes some very valid points, most of them are completely absurd and off base. Being in and out of the restaurant industry for almost ten years and knowing what it takes to be a good server, I too, get fairly annoyed when I receive below par service.  Here are a few examples:

Just last night I was out with some friends and we were in the process of settling our tab. We paid the bill and were expecting about $15 back  in change. Our check wasn’t even $40, and our server didn’t give us any change back. If it was a few dollars, it wouldn’t have bothered me, and maybe she had made a mistake, but to assume that we are going to leave you almost 50% is a little unusual. I really hope she made a mistake.

One time last summer during a street festival downtown I asked the hostess if I could sit at an available table outside. She said yes and I grabbed the table. I sat there for about 10 minutes without so much as a menu when I flagged down one of the servers,  “Excuse me, I’m sorry to bother you. I don’t know if you’re my server, or who has this section, but would you mind finding out for me? I’ve been sitting here for a while.”

“No problem, ” was the reply.

Another 10 to 15 minutes goes by and a table next to me has been seated, ordered and already received their food. I flag down another server,  “Excuse me, I really hate to bother you, but do you know who my server is? I’ve been sitting here for quite some time and haven’t even been greeted.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry! I’ll find out for you.”

The table next to me finishes their food, pays and leaves. I still have not been waited on. Server #1 comes back outside again. I flag him down, “I really hate to be a nuisance, but I’ve been here for almost 45 minutes and have not seen a server. Can I speak with your manager?”

The manager comes out followed closely behind by the hostess. Apparently it’s the hostess’s responsibility to assign tables to the servers and she ‘forgot’ to tell anyone I was outside. This was wrong on so many levels. First of all, there were only 5 tables outside. Both of the servers that I flagged down could have picked up my table or at least gotten me a menu and some water.  It doesn’t matter that it was the hostess’s responsibility, I brought it to the attention of two other servers who both did nothing about the situation. Very poor teamwork and I have not been back to eat at the restaurant since. Federal  House, I hope you’ve stepped up your service since then.

I went to Kyma the first day it opened a few years ago and wanted to strangle my server. I ordered a dirty martini when we arrived and my server comes over and in his snooty voice says, “I took the liberty of making this martini with Hangar Vodka. There are only two cases in the whole state of Maryland and we, here at Kyma, have one of them.”

Okay, fantastic. I don’t remember you asking me what kind of vodka I’d like with my martini, and typically if someone doesn’t specify, you are supposed to give them the rot gut rail liquor or the closest thing you have to rail. I placed my order, a few small plates, one of which was bread with a variety of spreads. There were four spread choices and I ordered three of them (the fourth being pate, and my taste buds were not quite as mature as they are now). The bread comes out with four spreads. The waiter comes over and I ask him if he brought us pate.

“Yes, that’s the pate.”

“Well, I didn’t order pate, I ordered the other three spreads.”

“Yes, you did.”

“Excuse me? No, I didn’t. I don’t eat pate and I never would have ordered it.” Granted I have dealt with tables who order things they didn’t mean to, but I know for certain I never ordered the pate. So, I ate the food and avoided the pate and silently seethed at the snootiness and arrogance. When it was time to leave, I get the check an what do you know, I was charged $13 for my martini. I never went back to Kyma–and apparently many others did not either as it have been replaced with a great place called Level.

We all have bad days and sometimes slip up, but bad service never goes unnoticed. Out of curiosity, what are some of the worst dining experiences you guys have had?

And to close, here is Springs1’s thought of the day and my rebuttal:

14. NEVER REFILL A DRINK WITHOUT ASKING FIRST OR LETTING THE CUSTOMER ASK!

Haha! Do you know how many people would be pissed off when not receiving water or soda refills? A customer should never have to ask unless they don’t want refill. Does a customer have the right to get angry when their server takes the initiative to refill their water glass? Of course not!

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Category: OPINION

About the Author ()

I graduated with an Art degree from a small liberal arts college, did a bit of traveling and moved to Annapolis from Baltimore about seven years ago. I currently manage a well-known Annapolis restaurant, serve and bartend. I live downtown and I like sunsets and long walks on the beach :)