Thursday, January 12, 2012

please remain seated

Ok people.  This is a simple concept, when you are dining in a restaurant (perhaps with the exception of a diner or Cora's breakfast) you should not get up from your seat to pay your bill.  You may have noticed that your server has brought everthing else to your table throughout the course of your dining experience, there's a good chance they will also take payment while you are seated.

You may think that you are making it easier on your server by 'coming up to the machine' to pay.  This is not the case.  Here is why: your server is keeping an eye on your table and knows that he/she has just dropped off the bill and will come by in a few minutes to sort out payment.  When you vacate your table your server can lose track of you which will probably result in you asking another server to process your card/make change.  This may seem simple but servers have a list of things to do in their minds and for someone who is not taking care of your table, processing your bill is not on that list.

This is even more important when you are in a group of 6 or more, especially with separate cheques.  You may not notice in your oblivious bubble but crowding around the service stand (often where the debit/credit machine is located) makes it difficult for the servers who are using that area to get around you.  You were well situated around your table and now you are congesting the thoroughfares of the restaurant; blocking servers and guests alike.

This type of scenario also makes it more difficult for a server who is processing your multiple cheques to make sure that everyone has paid.  Again, everything is much simpler to do while everyone is seated so that someone doesn't skip on the bill.

The worst part of all of this is when you leave your table prior to getting your bill at all.  You then approach a random server and say "I'm ready to pay!" well that is so nice for you, I have no idea who you are, what you have eaten or who was serving you in the first place.  We then engage in a game of charades, "oh she was about this tall, about your height, hair down to about here, maybe blonde?"  Great, just a moment while I go find your server, ask what table you were at, try to describe you to your server in a similar charade fashion, borrow their swipe card to access your bill and then come back and print and process.  All of this takes more time than if you had just remained seated at your table until your own server had time to process your bill and though I'm sure you're not concerned about the other guests, I have to ignore my tables while I sort this out for you.

Now as always there are exceptions, if you have been waiting a really really really long time for your card to be processed then I can kind of understand.  But 6 minutes does not count as an eternity, have a little patience.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

please erect your tent if you intend to camp

Two ladies sit together in a booth, dinner has been ordered, served and cleared; coffee and dessert are long reduced to crumbs and rings on the table.  The bill has sat untouched for almost an hour and the conversation rages on...

It's been so long since you've seen each other, I know, you just want to relax and catch up and enjoy each other's company, I get it.  But what you are not considering is that you are reducing my income significantly by taking up a table long after you have eaten.

You see, in most restaurants each server has a section which is comprised of a specific number of tables.  Those tables represent the potential income, not only for the establishment in which you find yourselves, but more directly for the server in that section.  When you forge your way past lingering into the realm of camping we begin to get upset.

As with any industry there is an assumed amount of time it takes to process an order or deal with a client, the same goes for the restaurant biz, there is an average amount of time that it normally takes to 'turn the table'. Some other occupations charge by the hour so that they do not have to concern themselves with potential campers, we don't have that luxury.  Restaurants do not rent you a table for a specific fee but they do expect that once you have finished dining and enjoying the offereings of said restaurant that you will pay your bill and be on your way so that the next table may be given the same opportunity.

If you are planning to stay for the duration of an afternoon or evening it would be courteous to inform your server and perhaps include a little extra when it comes to paying the bill so that he/she does not lose out on a significant amount of income from that table.

Stratford is filled with lovely independent coffee shops that provide an atmosphere to linger in, have a few lattes and catch up on the last 20 years of your life there perhaps?