Saturday, January 15, 2011

Two Things That Drive Me Crazy

There are two things that really drive me crazy whenever I am working behind the bar:

1. People who try to come in before we're open for business

I spend the hour before we open up for business setting up the bar. I cut fruit. I stock fresh garnishes. I bring out the mixers. I fill my well with ice. I stock up my juices. I make espresso drinks for the kitchen. I make fruit punch drinks for the runners. I count my drawer. I use this hour to not only physically prepare my bar for the evening, but I prepare myself mentally for the night as well.

It irritates me to no end when we get customers who come in before we open and demand a drink. Are you kidding me? If I take the time to serve you before I have a chance to set up my bar, I risk falling behind for the rest of the night. It might not be such a big deal on a slower night. If its a busy night, your stupid drink might set me back so far that I never quite get the chance to get caught up for the rest of the night. No one wants to start off their night already being behind. The bar and restaurant industry appreciates the business it receives from its customers. Please try to patronize the business during its set business hours. There's a reason why we open at 5 and not 4:30.

2. People who try to come in 5-10 minutes before closing

Slow nights suck. Slow nights are painful because the time drags by as you watch the clock and then watch the door, hoping and waiting for customers to come in. Now picture this. You've just spent the last 5-6 hours watching the clock tick by. You had a couple of customers here and there, but no one has come in over the last hour. Since closing time is officially less than 20 minutes away, you start to close down the bar because there's no one there. You've just tossed out the rest of your lemons, limes and fruit garnishes when the door opens and a customer walks in. Are you serious? There's no one in the bar or restaurant and it's now five minutes to closing. That sucks.

It's painful to keep a kitchen open long after closing for the one person who decides to come in right before closing. That means the kitchen staff, server, bartender and manager on duty all have to wait patiently and watch (in vain) as the customer enjoys their meal because none of us can go home until the customer does.

The next time you dine out, please reconsider when you walk into a bar or restaurant before opening or near closing and don't expect to be welcomed with open arms. Chances are if you were in the restaurant/bar staff's shoes, you would be just as annoyed if either one of these scenarios happened to you.

And don't even get me started on the customers who sit and chat at their table well past closing time.

If you ever find yourself in the position where you just can't resist patronizing a business outside of it's designated business hours, make it worth the staff's while by being a generous tipper.


The Restaurant Manager said...

"People who try to come in 5-10 minutes before closing" <-- This is the worst!! Hate it. At the risk of being fired I ALWAYS lock the door 10 minutes early to avoid this. My staff love me for this and so far no complaints from customers to corporate! ;)

Great post!

Cielo Gold said...

That's a great idea. We can't lock the doors at our restaurant. If a customer calls, we tell them nicely that our last seating is 15 minutes before our official closing.

If it's a slow night, management will make the decision to close down the kitchen early. Then once the kitchen is closed, it's pretty easy to tell the customer we've closed up shop for the night. Luckily it's the manager that has THOSE conversations with the customers and not me.

Anonymous said...

Hello and love the blog. :-)

I just have a couple of comments.

I don't know about San Francisco, but in many places, locking the front door with customers inside is a serious fire code violation.

I work late and like to catch last call. I often will pop into a bar 10-15 minutes before closing. I've know too many bartenders and understand your point of view. I'll always get a drink that doesn't require dressing, like a shot of scotch. I'll tip well and be out the door in ten minutes. I've never understood people that stay past closing. That is usually someone that works in a job where you can't hold them late. Extremely rude.

I do like it when a restaurant says open till 10 PM last seating is 9:30 or something to that effect.

Cielo Gold said...

Locking the door with customers inside can be a potential fire code violation, which is probably why our business doesn't do it. Instead, we just close up the restaurant and bar around them and then stand around with our paperwork and belongings until they leave.

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