Simple Economics

I feel an ass chewing coming on.  Ask me if I care.  No, no I don’t.

My next to last table, a couple, left 20 minutes before close.  Dani had 4 men, who got up to leave 3 minutes before close.  I was cleaning the buser station when I saw this douchebag walk in with less than a minute left on the clock.  This is real time, people, not sports time where 30 seconds can stretch out for 30 minutes.  The last time Cora seated someone in an empty restaurant less than a minute before close, I nearly lost my mind.  This time she made a big effort to ask Darren, hoping the guy would take the hint that we were thisclose to being closed and the restaurant was empty, meaning the staff would be waiting on him.  Considerate people with intelligence realize this is a very uncomfortable situation for everyone, and they either get an order to go, or they go somewhere else that stays open later than we do.

This guy had neither consideration nor intelligence.  He stood at the front while Cora hunted down Darren, and it was a couple minutes after close by the time she seated the guy.  The restaurant sits between 2 hotels, kind of away from everything else, so if somebody wanders over from one of the hotels I usually give them a break because I know they’re stuck and they will eat fast and leave.  This guy is a local.  I’ve seen him in the restaurant maybe once in all the time I’ve worked there, so it’s not like he supports us that much.

At 4 minutes after close, I went out to his table and he started bitching.  “Can I have a different table?  The light from the salad bar is really annoying.”  Not nearly as annoying as you are right now.  He was standing in the aisle, so of course the light was shining in his eyes.

I explained that all the other tables had been cleaned (caddies wiped down, sauces taken off, benches wiped down, floor swept) and were closed for the night, but I could give him the table next to it.  Again, still standing in the aisle, he bitched, “Well, this one isn’t much better.”  Then sit with your back to the salad bar.  Once you sit your ass down, you won’t be able to see the lights at all.

That’s when I noticed 2 glasses and two menus on the table.  I asked if he wanted anything to drink and he said he was only having water, but he was meeting someone and had “no idea” when he was going to show up.

Hold on a minute there.

We’re closed.  It is our policy to not seat incomplete parties, which means this guy shouldn’t have even been seated until the rest of his party arrived, which would have been after we closed.  Game over.

Since he was busy bitching and messing around with his cell phone, I asked if he could maybe call his party and get an estimated time of arrival because, technically, the kitchen was closed.  He got pissed off and stormed out.

He is the type of entitled bastard who will call the owner and complain.  Then I’ll be in trouble for running off customers.  But let’s break this down:

It is my experience that even the fastest diner takes about an hour to eat.  This includes food prep time and cashing out.  For the sake of argument, I’m going to say he would have been there an hour after close, especially since his friend hadn’t even arrived yet.

What would they have ordered?  Our average dinner ticket price for two people is $35.  This includes drinks, which he already said he wasn’t having.  However, a couple of sandwiches and no drinks runs around $17.  So let’s say they ordered one sandwich, one dinner and one drink.  When they left, they would pay the restaurant $26.

I’m guessing Chris makes around $12/hr and Cora $10/hr.  Dani & I make $2.50/hr and we both have to stay to finish the closing.  Darren is on salary, so he’s free after 40 hours a week.  The total employee wages is $27.  The restaurant lost $1.  Oh wait, what about food costs?  Employees pay half price for food and that is supposed to be cost.  Looks like the restaurant lost $14 by staying open.

No one considers employees, but let’s look at that.  Dani has to stay, yet she has no opportunity to make any money.  She gets $2.50 for the extra hour she has to wait.  She’s super happy you came in.  I make $2.50 plus whatever you feel like tipping, which when you’re inconsiderate enough to insist on a table one minute before close isn’t likely to be more than 15%.  I’ll make a whopping $6.40 for that extra hour.  Wow.  Fucking wow.

So to everyone who leaves pissed off because we don’t want to serve you after close and who yells, “I guess you don’t want our money” as you storm out the door:  You aren’t giving us any money, you are COSTING us money.  If you can’t figure that out, you really are a nitwit.


12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. DarcsFalcon
    Feb 22, 2011 @ 01:19:04

    Many years ago I worked at a bank. We stayed open late one night of the week. One of those nights, it was about 5 min to close so I had my manager’s permission to count out my drawer. At close, as my manager was walking to the door with the keys, a lady rushed in who just *had* to do her transaction. Only her transaction turned into about 5. “Oh wait, can you do this for me too?” I was fuming, but of course, you have to smile. When she finally finished 30 min later, she grabbed her purse off the counter and said – quite flippantly – “Don’t you just hate last minute customers?”

    Thanks lady! You just made my 12 hr day into a 13 hour one! Noooo, I wasn’t tired at all.

    The thing that’s most irritating about people like her and the guy who came into your place is that they know exactly what they’re doing and take some kind of sick pride in “making” you wait on them.

    Oh yeah, there was no way he was leaving until I pissed him off. I know he’s going to complain.


  2. wigsf
    Feb 22, 2011 @ 05:56:59

    Stupid question, is there a sign facing out of the restaurant that says “hours of operation”?

    There are 3 of them. I’ve seen people read a sign, look at their watch/cell phone and come in to ask if we’re still open.


  3. paulac7
    Feb 22, 2011 @ 08:48:38

    Some people just get off by running ‘service’ people down–I think everybody should have to work in a service-based industry for 6 months–be it retail, banking, or foodservice, and then maybe they would actually have a clue as to what the real world is like. Wow–the salad bar light is too bright??? poor guy–I was thinking the same thing as you–turn the fuck around, and it will go away.

    Or wait a couple of minutes and we’ll shut it off cuz WE’RE CLOSED!

    I just love ‘welfare day’ at my restaraunt–get all these winners who think they are being so cool by ordering the rare steak, and then sending it back and demanding to see a manager because it’s still pink in the middle……

    I’m glad we don’t live in a really poor area where we could have “welfare day”.

    I hope your ass chewing isn’t too bad–I don’t think I could have been as nice as you were to this dork–that’s why I don’t wait tables, I guess. I admire *anyone* who can wait tables and do it well.

    I guess that’s why I’m a prep cook, now–I’ve done every job including manage the place. We closed a midnite back when I was managing, and people would come in at 2 minutes til close, just to piss me off, I think. Fortunately, there is a 24 hour VERY popular chain restaurant up the road 1/4 mile, so I usually could redirect them there…..

    In many ways, cooking is so much easier…


  4. Pyewacketcat
    Feb 22, 2011 @ 10:06:27

    I admire you ,I would have told them to go elsewhere,not that nicely either… I could not do your job, you all always amaze me how cool you are in those situations, I have seen things I would have dumped their food on their asses … jerks are everywhere in the service industry.I love the ones that drop their dog off,and ask what time we close,and show up about 30 minutes later,and smile and say sorry…. really??? You had all day to do your crap,and couldn’t get back before 6:00????

    Too bad you can’t keep their dog overnight and make them come back in the morning. People are never sorry for their inconsideration.


  5. Anton
    Feb 22, 2011 @ 13:36:52

    I cannot wrap my head around people who walk into restaurants at closing time. Half the time I won’t go to a place if it is an hour to close, because I don’t want to be those last diners keeping everyone there. (I only risk it if I know my party is not slow.) When I worked in a book store I used to have to make the loudspeaker announcements and then physically walk the store to tell people we had fifteen/ten/five minutes to close. It wasn’t even the people in line that made me so irate as the people just standing there in the aisles, reading and trying to ignore you.

    I love the people who come in at close then bitch because we’re out of everything. What do you expect?!

    I worked at Kmart a long, long time ago and it was the same deal as your bookstore. Sometimes you had to escort people to the front. Closed means closed, people!


  6. Lauren
    Feb 22, 2011 @ 15:05:04

    I had to wait for over an hour on tables both last Friday and Saturday nights. I am not a closer. Everyone but the closers are usually cut about an hour before the restaurant closes. These people (both times) decided to sit and talk for over two hours after they had paid me. None of the closers would watch the tables for me, and I was literally watching people talk. I eventually sat directly in their line of sight with my purse and coat, staring at them until they got the hint. People suck

    I hate people like that. I won’t sweep or mop around people who are still eating, but once they are finished and decide to sit and talk (which I believe is rude when we are clearly closed) I get rude and start slopping the mop around. They take the hint.


  7. TheIdiotSpeaketh
    Feb 22, 2011 @ 19:46:13

    I don’t blame ya for being pissed. I never try to walk into a place with less than 30 minutes to close because I take closing as meaning “This is the time our employees are leaving!”…..

    I don’t do it either. I don’t go to the video store, the grocery store or anywhere that people expect to close and leave at a certain time. This guy is a banker and I know if I showed up to open an account less than a minute before close, he’d tell me to come back the next day. Douchebag.


  8. Ahmnodt Heare
    Feb 23, 2011 @ 06:22:05

    I hated closing. I am like Pavlov’s dog. Closing time means I get to salivate. The last-minute people never want simple orders either.

    In the summer, we stop seating at 10, but we still have a full dining room and sometimes a waiting list. I can deal with that. I know I’m not getting out of the restaurant before 11:30, it’s part of the summer money. However, in the winter, when the restaurant is empty and some jackass walks in at closing time, I tend to get a little pissed off and lose my mind.


  9. marajaded
    Feb 23, 2011 @ 10:23:37

    I’m curious, does your restaurant have a last order timing? I live in Singapore and most places do this, they take last orders about 30 mins before the restaurant actually close. Anyone who comes after that doesnt get served..

    No, we serve right up until closing time. 😦 It’s a pain in the ass in the winter. The restaurant can be empty for an hour and some jackwad who can’t read the sign will wander in at the last minute. It’s annoying to say the least.


  10. Sparty Girl
    Feb 23, 2011 @ 18:33:12

    “I think everybody should have to work in a service-based industry for 6 months–be it retail, banking, or foodservice, and then maybe they would actually have a clue as to what the real world is like.” Paulac7, I couldn’t agree more. I have been saying this for years. The world would be a nicer place if this rule was in effect.


  11. twinklestar
    Feb 24, 2011 @ 10:49:19

    It’s absolutely crazy! I live in Canada, and servers get paid 8.25 an hour, about 1.25 less than minimum wage. Do you think 15% is acceptable then, or 20% is a must?

    I would say 10-15% would be acceptable in Canada. Servers in the US are paid $2-3.50 an hour so less than 15% means someone is a cheap jackass. And for all those people who take exception to tipping…it’s called fast food.

    I’ve never been a waitress, but I’ve read several blogs about it, and I admit I’d get pretty pissed off at those people! The doors close at 10, that means EVERY CUSTOMER is out at 10. That’s how it is in sales, and people don’t complain as much!

    We seat until 8pm, but have some consideration. The guy could clearly see the restaurant was empty and Cora made a big deal about whether or not we could seat him. He should have taken the hint.


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