Thursday, July 17, 2008

Overheard This Conversation

I just happened to overhear an interesting conversation at the bus stop yesterday. Of all of the conversations I could overhear, I was really surprised that I heard this one. Fate maybe? Luck of the draw?

There were two women in their older twenties sitting at the bus stop. One woman was bitching to the other woman about the crappy service she received recently at a local wine bar (name withheld because it's not important). From what I could gather, it sounded like the woman had two bad experiences with the same bartender. When her and her party were first approached by the bartender for their drink order, everyone knew what they wanted to order except for one of the girls in her party. The bartender took everyone elses order, made their drinks, gave them their drinks and asked the girl if she had decided on what she wanted to drink yet. She hadn't. The bartender told the group that he had to move on and take someone elses order and that it would be awhile before he would get back to them. The woman telling the story was pissed.

Please excuse me while I interject. I can see both sides of this coin. Sometimes when you go into a bar and especially if it's your first drink of the night, you don't always know what you want to drink right away. That happens to everyone from time to time. It's all good. As a bartender, I can see exactly why he would have reacted that way in this situation. More than likely, the bar was packed and he was just trying to move fast and take as many drink orders as he could. Every bartender knows that the more drinks you make, the more tips you will get. Every now and then on a busy night, you come across someone clueless or has no idea what they want. It's all good, but most bartenders aren't going to wait around and babysit the customer until they decide what they want. They are going to move on to someone who is ready and holding cash. ;) On the otherhand, if the bar wasn't all that busy and a bartender obviously had time to work with a customer and figure out his or her's tastes, then that reaction would have been an inappropriate one. Customers have to realize that time is money in the bar world. There are a lot more customers then there are bartenders. Please help us help you and be prepared in the really busy times.

Later on in the story, the woman was bitching to her friend about how the bartender had made a drink for her that she did not like. She told her friend that she didn't even drink the drink and asked the bartender to take the drink off of her tab. When the woman got the bill to sign off on, she noticed that the drink in questioned was still on the bill. The woman asked the bartender why the drink was still on the bill when she had asked that it be removed. He told her that he had already ran her card and asked her what she wanted him to do about it. It was at that point she asked him to speak to the manager.

I am going to interject again. In most service industries, the customer is always right. When alcohol is involved, that above statement may not always be true. In most of these cases, the general manager is going to side with the staff because usually it is the staff who is sober and the customer is not. Generally, the manager will present some sort of comp to the customer and tell the staff person not to worry about it. Situation resolved. In this woman's case, if this situation is the way it really went down, I would have to side with the customer. If a customer didn't like a drink I had made for them, I would offer to make another drink immediately. If they weren't interested in another drink and had clearly not drank the drink in question, I would refund them or take the drink off the bill without hesitation. Maybe the bartender in this case was still frustrated with this group from earlier and just didn't want to deal with them in any way shape or form. Who knows? Maybe the woman's group did other things to piss off the bartender that she had selectively left out in her story to her friend. We will never know.

Bottom line, when you work at a job where your salary is based solely on the tips you make, it's in your best interest to please each and every one of your customers within reason. Pissing off people for no good reason or having a holier-than-though-attitude never flies, no matter which industry you may work in.

PS: Customers that order all their drinks at once, pay in cash, tip well on each round and are polite will not only get my attention faster, but might even get a shot or two bought by me over the course of the night and be deemed "Awesome Customers" of the night because that's the type of bartender I am. You take care of me, I will bend over backwards to take care of you.

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