Large Party Lunacy

I work as a hostess at a chain seafood restaurant, and I love it. My
managers and co-workers are amazing, and for the most part my
customers are lovely people. My restaurant is a decent size for our
area, and can comfortably seat about 300 customers at a time. However,
as most of our seating consists of 4 top booths, we are very limited
on large party table space.

I was hosting a Wednesday lunch shift by myself, and we filled up
quickly, with my wait consistent at 10-15 minutes. Right at the peak
of my lunch service an adorable little old lady came in and asked me
how long the wait would be for 35 people. I honestly thought she was
joking. No such luck. I took a quick run around, and my manager
approved me giving servers additional tables (our servers are only
supposed to have three tables) and I quoted the lady 20 minutes. She
was very angry because her group was very hungry and it was outrageous
that they had to wait twenty whole minutes to be seated and they had
better all be at the same table because they refuse to be split and I
was obviously a terrible hostess. Moving on.

I pulled together 9 four person tables to accommodate them all, and
was able to seat them in ten minutes, not twenty. The lady who was
heading up the little outing obviously knows more about the restaurant
business than I do and explained to me that it was unacceptable that
her party had to wait 30 minutes to be seated (I had no idea that
12:25-12:35 was thirty minutes…she is so much wiser than me)
especially when they had been quotes 5 (…) and she would never eat
at this restaurant again. Fine by me…

After I got that party seated, another little old lady marched in and
informed me that she had a party of 10 that wanted to sit at a big
round table and the rest of her party would be arriving in twenty
minutes but she would like to be seated now. I explained to her that
it would be about twenty minutes before I would have a table
available, and to let me know when the whole party had arrived (policy
is that I cannot seat a party unless they are all present).
Well…”how dare you tell me when I can and cannot sit? This is an
office party for a DOCTORS office and I demand that I be treated with
the respect I deserve.” Wow. She demanded to speak to my manager,
and complained that my service was terrible and that I wasn’t doing
my job and that she expected her party’s meals to be comped. My
manager was trying so hard not to laugh that he was literally choking.

The rest of her party arrived and I had a large round table get up. It
took me a little while to buss it because there had been 5 small
children sitting there (pretty sure they all had crablegs) but I was
finally able to bring the lofty DOCTORS office party to their big
round table. Well, they don’t want THIS big round table, they want
the one directly across from it that is about six feet closer to the
bathroom. And is already seated with a table of 10. I explained to
them that it would be longer for that table because there was…oh I
don’t know…a party already at it. So the lady marched over to that
table and asked them how long until they would leave because this was
a DOCTORS office party. And somehow this became my fault and the party
of 10 started glaring at me. I got my manager over, but the party of
10 was already so mad that they just got up and left. Didn’t even
tip the server…like it was her fault.

Cleaned that table off, and seated the party of seven there, and went
back to the lobby just in time to witness a Coach bus pull up in
front. Apparently the service professional had neglected to relay to
my manager that a tour group of 45 would be dining with us.

- Lannie

5 Comments

  • Hemi

    January 1, 2012

    WTF? I hate people who are so freaking demanding. If I had been your manager, I think I would have told the doctor’s office party that we would we be unavailable to seat them. And for the table of 10 to get up and leave w/o tipping because the bitchy old doctor’s office lady was harrassing them??? Your tip for that party should have been automatically added to the doctor’s office party tab!!

  • M

    January 6, 2012

    WOW… frikkin old people!! I worked at a similar chain seafood restaurant in Seattle a few years back and it was the SAME shit!!! Damn… good for you for not telling em off, people outside of the industry don’t understand sometimes.

  • courtney

    February 22, 2012

    I love how ppl assume we can accomodate large parties without calling ahead! No I can’t seat 15 ppl on a Friday without a reservation!! You have to wait. And u should b lucky if it doesn’t take 20 mins or more.

  • Jose

    March 6, 2012

    Funny: A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man.

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