Side Dishes

I’ve complained about side dishes before.  This is a completely different gripe.

Everything on our menu comes with side dishes.  The sandwiches get one, dinners get two and combos get three.  The choices are Cole slaw, potato salad, potato chips, French fries, baked beans, or corn on the cob.  Dinners served after 5pm can get a baked potato or boiled new potatoes.  For $1.99 additional, a customer can substitute onion rings for one of the sides or for $1.49 additional, they can substitute a tossed salad.  That is NOT a trip to the salad bar.  All of this is written very plainly on the menu.

A typical order goes something like this:

“I’ll have the chicken.”  Menu closes.

“Which two side dishes would you like?”

“I get side dishes?  I didn’t know about that.”  Opens menu.  Looks around as I start reciting them.  “I’ll have Cole slaw.”  Closes menu.

I said TWO side dishes come with the dinner; you picked ONE.  In other words, you can neither read the menu nor count.  Fabulous.  Public education at its best!  Where’s my aspirin?

Most of the time I have to play this game with every single person at the table.  I want to start punching people. 

A combo order usually goes something like this:

“I’ll have the big combo.”  Menu closes.

“Which three side dishes would you like?”

“I get three side dishes?  It says I only get two.”  Then why didn’t you order them?

“All the combos come with three side dishes.” 

“Where does it say that?”  On the damned menu!

“Right under the heading which reads, ‘Combos’.”

Opens menu, reads.  “Okay.  I’ll have a baked potato and beans.”  Seriously?!  If it wouldn’t waste even MORE of my time, I’d take your order back to the kitchen like this and let you whine about only getting two sides when I deliver your meal.  But then I’ll have to make another trip to the kitchen all because you can’t read, count or pay attention.

It takes every ounce of social grace I have not to scream at these people.  Why is it so hard to count to two or three?  Why do I have to lead these people by the hand just to feed them?  How do they cross the street by themselves?  A red light means what, again?

The kids’ menu is a little different and somewhat confusing, yet I never have to have this conversation with a child under the age of 12.  They can both read and count, but they have to argue with their parents who can do neither: 

“You only get one side dish.”

“No, it says right here I get two.”

“Well, which one do you want.”

Usually, the kids just look at me, roll their eyes and go back to colouring, while I have visions of stabbing someone, possibly myself, with a fork.

Read, people.  Read.


14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. M.T.
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 03:19:36

    Ok… I only read this one time through. So let me try to order, hypothetically.

    “I want the DINNER ENTREE, with baked beans and a salad”. The salad, if I recall correctly, is a buck or two extra? I get two sides right? But salad or onion rings cost a bit more? I think I’m right….

    “I’d like COMBO”… Three sides? Right? “Let’s go with baked beans, Corn, and the tossed salad”, again. The salad is still a buck or two extra? Cool.

    I’m not very smart, and honestly, I have trouble paying attention to anything. But I think I understand.

    I only read your post once. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Very good! You can order from me anytime!


  2. thelifeofjamie
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 06:57:50

    UGH! I used to work at a BBQ and we had one or two sides, plus they got salad or coleslaw. My favorite was when the big party came in and I had to repeat myself 15 times even though they were all listening. People are DUMB. And people who visit BBQ’s are even dumber. I think pre-requisite IQ to go to a BBQ joint is 75 or under…

    I see some of the dumbest people in the world, but I guess I didn’t realize it was BBQ related. Maybe there are intelligent customers out there.


  3. Bob
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 07:14:04

    I can’t believe people are that stupid. You really do get all kinds at your restaurant.

    During the summer I usually have around 40 tables a night. I have to force people to count at least 30 times a night. It’s ridiculous.


  4. izziedarling
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 08:58:42

    I don’t know how you do it. I would already be in prison for killing a customer. You are amazing.

    I ask myself every afternoon when I wake up if today is the day I kill someone or at the very least scream at them and stomp out.


  5. Still Waiting
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 18:36:29

    I have to repeat our sides, daily, once at each table guaranteed. If it’s a small table I have a better chance that everyone was paying attention the first time; large tables tend to not pay attention until it’s their turn to order.

    However, last weekend I had the pleasure of explaining our sides to each of four ladies (that means I listed ALL 14 of our side options four times) and then had to repeat all five soup options for each lady. WHAT THE FUCK, PEOPLE?

    I had a lady and her huband (both elderly) come in right after that happened and I had to explain to her FIVE TIMES that hers came with two sides and his only came with one. He also tried to explain it to her but she kept saying, “Now how come this doesn’t come with two sides?” even as I kept telling her IT DOES. I was clearly pissed off and the guy looked apologetic and I gave him a smile that said, “I’m not mad at you, but FOR GOD’S SAKE I could be doing something USEFUL instead of standing here.”

    He tipped 20% so I know he wasn’t offended at my obvious displeasure. 😉

    14 side dishes????!!! I’d go fucking insane. I can’t even imagine the amount of time it would take to get an order. Holy shit. And then 5 different types of soup. Screw that. I have a headache just thinking about it.


    • Still Waiting
      Jul 29, 2010 @ 18:37:52

      Or maybe he was afraid I was going to grab a kitchen knife from the cook and come stab her in the head.

      In all fairness, I did consider it…

      I would have probably stabbed myself in the head.


    • Still Waiting
      Jul 30, 2010 @ 09:53:44

      Oh yeah, I miscounted. SIXTEEN! Black beans, rice, mashed potatoes, loaded mashed potatoes, fries, corn cob, corn kernels, broccoli, coleslaw, mandarin oranges, pineapple, celery w/ ranch, cinnamon apples, a sub chili, a sub soup, or a sub salad. Of course, the soup/chili/salad cost extra so I guess we really only have 13 sides. 😉
      And that’s not counting crazy substitutions people always want to make.

      Fuck me.


  6. redriverpak
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 21:01:35

    I’m confused….can you explain all these to me again please……slowly…….thanks!

    No. They are listed at the top of the menu under ‘Dinner’.


  7. DarcKnyt
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 22:50:40

    Wait … do I get one or two comments with this post? What are my choices again? Stop — what’s was the third one? Can you repeat that please?

    Keep it up and you’ll get no comments and you’ll have to sit in the corner.


  8. DarcKnyt
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 00:36:37

    The salad bar is $4.99 extra! 😀 And no, I may not substitute the salad bar for a side.

    I had 4 people ask that tonight. One of these days…


  9. DarcsFalcon
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 00:39:18

    GRRR! When did WP log me out and log my husband back in?! Doggone it.

    Well, that was me up there with the salad bar thing, not him.

    I knew it was you. WP has been doing odd things to me today.


  10. whatigotsofar
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 04:19:52

    When I go to a restaurant and there’s two sides to my entree, my conversation with the waitress usually goes as such

    Me: “I’ll have the chicken with mashed potatoes.”
    Wait: “The chicken comes with two sides, what else would you like?”
    Me: “More mashed potatoes.”

    I already knew what your side orders would be. I wouldn’t even ask.


  11. noe noe girl
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 05:48:30

    Poor Baby!


  12. blogmella
    Jul 31, 2010 @ 02:15:23

    I know customers are stupid, And *I* understand your system, BUT the trouble you are having suggests to me that the fault doesn’t lay entirely with your patrons. If the current way of doing things wastes staff time and leaves customers confused (and possibly feeling ripped-off) maybe it is time for a change? I think the way meals are constructed should be simplified and/or menus re-printed in a way that makes the choices clearer.

    We didn’t have nearly as much trouble with the old menus as the newer ones. The newer ones look nice, and are set up like any other menu, but the type is hard to read. Then there is the whole verbal thing of me telling them they get 3 sides, yet they only order 2. No menu is going to fix that.


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