how to tell if you’re being kicked out of a restaurant

14 Jan

Occasionally we have meals with such beloved and exhilarating people that we wish it never had to end. But all good meals must come to an end. We in the restaurant business prefer that end comes sooner, rather than later, especially on a busy night.

Here are some insider tips to know when you are no longer appreciated at your table:

  1. It took you more than an hour to decide on an appetizer. No matter how the rest of the meal goes, it’s time to get out.
  2. You have been asked if you’d like a refill on your coffee more than twice.
  3. The server, hostess and busboy have all locked eyes with you for fifteen seconds each. They don’t think you’re hot, they want you to go home (or to Starbucks, they don’t really care).
  4. You try to go to the bathroom but the amount of people waiting for tables won’t allow you to get there.
  5. The table to your left and the table to your right have been sitting vacant for almost an hour, even though the restaurant seems packed.
  6. Your waitress approaches you every 45 seconds offering to bring you change, even though you have quite obviously not looked at the check yet. She’s subtly telling you that you need to stick the card in the check presenter and at least give her the hope that you’ll get up shortly.
  7. A small gang of unruly children stands a few feet away, staring at you/pointing/making ugly faces. Their parents stand three paces behind them staring at their watches/pointing/making ugly faces. Hey, they wanted to see where their table was going to be… it isn’t my fault if they get aggressive…
  8. There is LITERALLY NOTHING on your table. The busboy has taken your water glasses, your mugs, your napkins and your car keys, so your vehicle will be nice and toasty when you get into it. NOW.
  9. After sitting open for about an hour, the vacant tables on either side of you suddenly get decorated with giant “reserved” signs. Facing you.
  10. Even though you have already paid, your waitress visits your completely empty table every fifteen seconds to ask if there’s anything else she can get for you.
  11. I am standing over your table hysterically crying because hungry people who have to wait too long get like totally verbally abusive.
  12. The lights are turned all the way up, the music is turned off and the vacuum is the only sound other than your WAY TOO LONG conversation.
  13. Your waiter is wearing his street clothes and jacket, glaring at you in the corner because he can’t leave until you do.
  14. Finally, if it is between 7:30 and 8:30 on a Saturday night, please please please eat and get out. We’ll be your best friend.

Saturday night I served over 250 happy, full-bellied customers. But at the end of the night, the last party of 5 had no place to sit. I pulled out all the stops, particularly #2,3,6 & 7, but nothing. Nobody budged. So i went to my office concealing #11 because the party of 5 couldn’t take the wait anymore, shouted in my face and stormed out the door, still hungry. I know that I try to be lighthearted with these posts, but I can’t tell you how deeply terrible I feel if you have to leave with an empty stomach.

Luckily the shouting man looked a little like Liam Neeson so I was really excited to meet a celebrity.


One Response to “how to tell if you’re being kicked out of a restaurant”

  1. Lori January 16, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    The best one yet!!!

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