On the road homeward, spent the night in motel hell on the hill in Kamloops. Rolled in from 900km in 9hrs driving, got a room and got cleaned up. Wanted a decent meal, relax with a bottle of wine and did not want to go out, so I wandered into Ric's Grill. Now Don Lever and I had discussed the inadequacies of the joint in general steak house terms, but I was not expecting the the service I received.
I was greeted at the door by a dishevelled looking fellow with a spray bottle of cleaner in one hand, a kitchen towel in the other and for good measure a second kitchen towel over his shoulder. While I wasn't sure if he was there to seat me at a table or shine my shoes I did admire the fact that this Manager/Maitre de/bus boy clearly knew where his towel was. He asked if I would like to sit in the lounge where I could watch football and baseball or in the dining room. I chose the dining room.
I was seated and a waiter came by to offer me a menu, wine list, and asked if I would like something to drink. I declined a drink, saying I would look over the wine list and decide on something. He said he would be back with some bread and left me to look over the menu. A few minutes later the waiter returned, sans bread, and asked if I was ready to order. I requested a few more minutes to decide. He came back again, sans bread, and I place my order for a salad, entree and a nice red that I enjoy, though the 130% markup on the wine was a bit steep. The waiter said he would be back with my bread.
Now look at the picture, man dining alone, orders two courses and a bottle of wine. I would say the the patron would be looking for a slow paced dinner to finish off that bottle with the meal.
A few moments later, the waiter came by with my wine, broke the cork while pulling it, but managed to get the remaining stub of cork from the bottle and then mysteriously brought the bottle to his nose to have a good sniff before pouring a bit in my glass. The wine was fine, my glass was filled, but I now had a full bottle of wine on my table and nothing to nosh on. It was the last time any of the waitstaff filled my glass.
Moments later, a second server delivered my starter, immediately offered up the oversize pepper mill and I requested bread from her and it was finally brought. I sat slowly eating my starter, sipping wine and breaking bread. It was enjoyable, unwinding from the road.
About 2/3rds of the way through my appy, the Manager/Maitre de/bus boy appears on my right puts down a plate with main course. The plate is half hanging off the table, and he says "I'm not trying to rush you but you order came up and I thought it was better to bring it to you than to leave it under the heat lamps.
At that point I went into slow internal burn mode and thought to myself, you dirty filthy motherfucker, who controls the pace of service, the paying customers or a line cook? Now if I was allowed to finish my appy with a glass of wine, enjoy a bite of bread and a glass of wine between courses and then have my main delivered, I could have two glasses with it and then finish the bottle while contemplating dessert. I may even have a coffee or Port with dessert.
Then to top it off, while I am still eating my appy, out comes the phallic pepper mill hovering over my main. "Would you like fresh ground pepper with that?", "I don't know, I haven't tasted it yet, does it need pepper? I replied as the Manager/Maitre de/bus boy slunk off.
As with the appy, the food was good, though the carrots were under cooked and the rapinni could have used a moment on the grill.
As I finished my plate, except for the raw carrots, I still had my knife and fork at the 4 and 8 o'clock positions and two glasses of wine in my bottle when my waiter snatched my plates and cutlery. I pointed out that I still had plenty of wine to enjoy and asked if I could have a bit more bread while I think about dessert. My buddy, the Manager/Maitre de/bus boy appeared from the right to quickly put a bread basket down right under my nose. As he started to walk away I asked what the flavour of the day for their creame brulee was. He told me, and as he turned and was walking away, he rattled off something or other "nut" dessert. Because he had turned and was walking away, I had no idea what he was saying.
I finished my wine, paid my bill, tipped less than our resident dead guy and left.
Don't greet customers looking like a fucking bus boy. Be professional.
Bring me bread when or just after you give me my menu and keep bringing more through service. Right up until dessert is ordered. Breaking bread is a sacred tenant of dining.
Don't offer cracked black pepper until the customer has had a chance to taste the food. The whole cracked black pepper thing should be shit canned anyways. Pepper does not readily loose flavour after being milled.
Judge your customers order and set a comfortable pace for their dinner. Do not bring the following course while the patron is still eating. The wait staff should watch their tables and instruct the kitchen when to fire and finish the following courses. Five to seven minutes is quite acceptable between courses. It give the diners a chance to relax, converse, enjoy the wine. Hell, you may even sell an extra bottle at that redonkulous 130% mark up.
Do not serve from the right side.
If you notice a customers wine glass empty or nearly empty, offer to fill it.
Remember, you are feeding me something I can make at home for a third of what you are charging. That 2/3rds extra I am paying is for the dining experience. Ruin that experience and you have fucked up big time.
Last edited by Topper
on Mon Oct 17, 2011 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Over the Internet, you can pretend to be anyone or anything.
I'm amazed that so many people choose to be complete twats.