Monday, October 4, 2010

Apron Strings: Birthdays and Bar Drinks

I've decided to start a new mini-series of posts called "Apron Strings." I've seen the other side of food-service now, and WOW I had no idea what I was missing! I'd like to share my thoughts (and gripes) with you. Hopefully you'll laugh, feel enlightened, or roll your eyes, if not all three :)

Todays topics are birthdays and bar drinks. Here we go.

You've seen it before. Maybe you've done it. A birthday at a restaurant. The serving staff comes hollering from the kitchen, announces the birthday, sings, and presents a mini dessert. You think it's funny to embarrass the birthday boy or girl, or maybe you just want to score a free dessert. Maybe it's not their birthday at all. It's not like we check ID.

What you don't know:
*It's a pain in the ass!
 It's not so bad on a Tuesday afternoon, but on a Saturday night it's not so easy to execute. You see, when you tell us it's a birthday, we have to go get the dessert, and beg the other servers to STOP what they are doing (like running their food, getting drinks, greeting tables, taking Billy Bob four more ranch dressings, etc.) and make a ruckus. If I have four tables who want my attention, I don't like to leave them hanging while I wait for the servers to gather and do a birthday presentation. Sorry. =/

*It's not for everyone.
I love doing birthdays for little kids. That baby sundae is just their size, and they see that bright red cherry and beam. They feel like a little celebrity! They clap and laugh and it's toooo cute. I also don't mind participating in a birthday celebration for a 90 year old woman (they usually come in on Saturday at 2:15 when we're not busy), or maybe a 21st or 16th. What's NOT cool is doing it for Dad's 42nd or Stella's 61st. It's also not cool to embarrass a kid who would rather be anywhere but Applebees with her parents.

*We KNOW when it's not your birthday.
Ok, not always, but we get a pretty good idea. We over hear you joking about it, then watch you get up the nerve to ask. Also, we don't buy the "I totally forgot it was her birthday, too" line we get two minutes after you see us do someone ELSE's birthday. Even if it IS your birthday, if we just did one, it just isn't the same the second time. Everyone is tired of hearing it while they're trying to eat, and we have other things to do. If you didn't think of it first, let it go.

*We'll give you a dessert.
Well I don't know if WE will, but I will. If you tell me it's her birthday, but she really gets embarrassed, or that she hates being singled out, I'll bring you that sundae and wish you a  happy birthday all by myself, quietly. :)

Bar Drinks
Ohhhh the bar drink. You want a bottled beer, or even a draft? You probably won't have to wait for it. But you want a Jamaica Freeze or a Mudslide? Sit tight, friend.

What you don't know:
*The bartender makes all the alcoholic and specialty drinks for the building.
That means he might have four servers waiting for drinks before you. And he's only one guy. I can't make him move any faster, and I have no control over him. You and I both have to wait patiently for your turn to have your drink.

*No one likes making mudslides.
They're delicious. I love them, but bartenders far and wide dislike making them. Ok maybe not dislike making them, but would rather make you ANYTHING else. I'm not telling you not to order it. I'm just asking you to be patient. It's a hand-made milkshake basically, and it's not easy.

*Sometimes he (or she) is a jerk.
We all have our interpersonal relationships at work. Some are better than others. So if Barguy is pissed off at me that day (for whatever reason), he might take his sweet time on YOUR drink. He might take care of all his guests first, then wipe down the bar, then straighten the glasses, THEN start on your drink. Because he knows you'll get mad at ME, not him. He knows his pay/tip/etc. won't be affected. I have even had managers make your drinks because I felt your wait was excessive and the barguy was "too busy" to do it. But please, if you wait an eternity for your bar drink, don't get mad at me!

*Easy on the Margaritas.
If you want to have a margarita, be my guest. But if you plan to drink three margaritas, please sit in the bar section. Drinking is expected there. When you get loud and giggly, you irritate the people arround you, the families with small children, the old people, and the non-drinkers who happen to be MY guests also. If they're irritated and trying to hurry, they're more likely to get pissy with moi. So if you are getting tipsy at my table, you're affecting my tip. If you must sit at a regular table and drink three margaritas, please be gracious with your tip ;)

Have a good week :)


  1. Such insight! I really had no idea. I rather like your Monday blogs. Keep 'em coming!

  2. Thank you :) I'm going to try. I have plenty of material!