Friday, April 8, 2011

party for 15! and no we don't have reservations...

"That wont be a problem, just give us a moment to get something set up!" (said in sickly sweet tones with an over exaggerated smile)

Large groups are the bane of restaurant existence (slight exaggeration), though they are often good moneymakers and guaranteed numbers for the owners, they are trouble for just about every other person involved in serving them.

Depending on the size of the party itself and the size of the restaurant, a large group can pretty much grind things to a halt as far as the kitchen is concerned.  Understandably so, after all, coordinating all the different plates for that many people just takes time! If the order goes into the kitchen for a table of two just after a large party, forget timeliness, their food wont be coming out until AFTER the larger order is completed.

Everything with a large group takes more time, not just multiplied, exponentially more.

Invariably it will be impossible to get the attention of the whole table at any given time which means every time you approach the table someone new will require something of the server.  Even if the server says in a loud voice "Would anyone ELSE like a refill on their beverage?  Another glass of wine perhaps?  Sir, another Heineken for you?" they are often ignored until the next trip back when the aforementioned 'Sir' asks in a snooty tone, "uh, can I get another Heineken?!?" What the server would like to say is..."Of course you can! But would you mind PAYING ATTENTION WHEN I ASK YOU NEXT TIME?!?!?!"

Large parties also believe the entire restaurant world revolves around them, it is inevitable that someone at the table will feel neglected by their server, though likely not because of a lack in the service, more regarding their own attention span.  A large group will think that every member of the service staff is tending to their table - of course every person wearing a uniform is indentured to them.  Other servers, from other sections, get requests at random, causing problems later when the inevitable separate cheque issue comes into play.  It's hard to remember what each person had if they ordered things from someone else.

The next time you are part of a large party in a restaurant, try to be a little courteous to the staff.  Familiarize yourself with who your server is, then pay attention to that person when they are at the table.  Realize perhaps, that it is somewhat your responsibility to order things subject to the timing of the rest of the group.  It's probably not your servers fault, but the fault of your friends/family, that you are without a fresh drink!  Even better is to have someone in the party take charge and be responsible for ordering the wine/shared appetizers/etc and to keep everyone focused when it comes time to order.

After all, though servers would like to multiply themselves and be at your beck-and-call at every possible moment, that technology hasn't been invented yet.

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