Thursday, August 18, 2011

Food for Thought

Wednesday's PF entree of veal with eggplant.
You would think that four plus years into it, not even including 25 years before that of doing the very same thing, we would have dining room service down pat.  You'd think.  But it's been a struggle for the past two nights.  Part of the problem, as anticipated, is the lack of trained bus help.  Nothing improves a bus person's job security like a shortage!  In many ways they are the pins that hold the dining room together; I don't know how a restaurant does without them, unless they are just not very busy.  We usually have one busser on Tuesday nights, two every other night, plus a tray runner Thursday through Saturday - lately our experienced bus girls have been picking up that role as well.  Well, now we are down to one experienced bus person who is working doubles all this week and next.  Tuesday night - very busy.  One inexperienced bus person trying to hold down her end of the bargain, no bartender aside from yours truly, trying to hold down her end of the bargain as well, and two servers trying to work with what they had.  Not good.  But it wasn't as bad as last night, when we had two experienced bussers on and a real bartender.  The problem this time was that we got slammed.  We were so busy that I sat a table at 5 after 8 without even realizing what time it was - and you know me, that never happens!  One minute after the closing hour and we are closed.  I did my best to keep the orders coming into the kitchen to a manageable pace, but I was not successful.  The food for several (many) tables took way too long and there were some unhappy faces for certain.  Kevin was having his own troubles on the line, keeping things going in an organized fashion and still have the plates look the way they are supposed to.  Nights like this, when we come in with special orders, that is when the flow can go awry and sometimes never get back on track.

Two rough nights in a row.  It's been a long time since we had complaints about the length of time the food was taking; usually I am slightly amazed when a table is in and out before I can even get over to check on them!  I learned my lesson though - I already know that when I am out of menus the kitchen is going to get slammed; I need to do a better job at checking with Kevin before I put a new table into the line-up.  It seems most people don't mind waiting at the table for a bit, drink in hand, before they get a menu and start the ordering process.  Once they've ordered though, the contract has been made and we have to deliver our part of the deal.  

At least tonight I have a full crew in the DR; last night's lesson will be peering over my shoulder...


  1. Thanks so much for giving the dining public a peek behind the scenes! We all have bad days at work and for most of us, no one notices except a few co-workers...But when service goes bad in a restaurant, we're unfortunately quick to criticize and somewhat unwilling to be patient and understanding. Next time it happens to me - I'll take a deep breath and another drink and remember that @#$% happens!!!

  2. I think - I know! - that sometimes I over-share, but I am pretty sure that our occasional (or frequent, if you go by TripAdvisor comments) service difficulties are not unique to our dining room. Humans dealing with other humans, we are bound to fall short at some time or another. I really appreciate your comment, and hope that if %$*# happens to you at BT you will bring it to my attention!