Among the things I don’t miss about running a restaurant…

True Story from Restaurant Week three years ago…


10:40 pm; Saturday, restaurant week. Full house, kitchen closing in 10 minutes.

Phone rings.
RR: good evening and thank you for calling Anonymous Restaurant, this is RestaurantRefugee, how may I help you?
Caller: we, um, have a 10:15 reservation, and we are, like, lost. Can you, um, give us directions?
RR: it would be my pleasure, where are you right now?
Caller: um, I don’t know?
RR: ok, well what do you see around you?
Caller: um, there are like, um, big buildings on each corner
RR: ok, well do you see any street signs?
Caller: um, oh yeah, um, 32nd street and J street.
RR: great you are just a few blocks from us. Are you on 32nd or are you on J Street?
Caller: um, I think we are like on J
RR: that’s great, go straight and make the next left that you can make. That should be 33rd street. You will pass a Four Season hotel on the left side of the street.
Caller: um, ok, um, like I see 33rd, we make a right?
RR: no, you need to turn left.
Caller: oh, um, like we missed it.
(Repeat the last four minutes – four minutes of my life that I will never get back)

RR: where are you right now?
Caller: um, like, we’re back at 34th and J.
RR: can you safely pull over?
Caller: um, like, yeah.
RR: pull over. What kind of car are you driving?
Caller: a Hyundai Elantra
RR: great, I will be driving a black convertible. I will be there in two minutes to guide you to Anonymous Restaurant.
Caller: ok.
RR: my pleasure, I will see you shortly.

RR: (to assistant general manager) I will be back in 5 minutes with some lost guests.
AGM: (very puzzled look about her) uh, ok.

Race to lost guest location. Slow down; wave heartily to indicate that their personal Sherpa has arrived. Drive, slowly, back to Anonymous Restaurant, lead lost guests to valet parking. Leave car in driveway to meet lost guests at the door. Meet guests at the door.

RR: good evening. We’re happy that you found us.
Lost guest #1: um, like, yeah, where’s the bar?
RR: just through this door, allow me to show you.
Lost guests #2: tell dude to take it easy on my brakes.
RR: absolutely sir.

Five minutes elapse; guests are seated at the bar. No “thank you” has been offered from either lost guest #1 or lost guest #2.

LG#2: (to our female bartender) dude, can I see the menu?
Bartender: here you are sir.
LG#2: (to lg#1) this isn’t French!
LG#1: no, this, is like, um Spanish.
LG#2: wanna go some place else?
LG#1: like, yeah.
LG#2: (to RestaurantRefugee) can you have that dude bring my car back, we’re gonna go someplace else.
RR: absolutely, sir. Have a good night.
LG#2: thanks, champ.



7 Responses to Among the things I don’t miss about running a restaurant…

  1. Oh my! That is so sad. I suppose their inability to determine left from right should have been the first clue that they lack class. I applaud you for keeping your cool!

  2. Shannon says:

    Oh my heavens. I’m sorry you had to go through that, but it does make an entertaining story for the rest of us.

    A secret about restaurants…
    GMs, Managers, Chefs, get together at secret tables at the end of the night to whine and wine about the awfulness of our day. After this night, I didn’t have to buy the drinks for a week.

  3. zipcode says:

    yeah I applaud you as well for keeping your temper in check….people amaze me.

    thanks zipcode and nothing fancy. i assure you, however, for every story of an obnoxious/clueless/annoying guest, i have five about abusive/boorish/insufferable owners.

  4. Lemmonex says:

    I loathe the use of the word champ…so dismissive.

    I am surprised that you have had time to read anything but all of the date offers you have been getting today.

    and certainly the “champ” comment at the end was the cherry atop that craptastic sundae

  5. Shannon says:

    Yeah,,,the Pimping of Lemmonex turned into my most-commented post ever. A testament to her hotness, I guess!

  6. Dara says:

    I have a love-hate relationship with restaurant week, and I don’t even work in the industry. I love getting to go to restaurants that may or may not be out of my ordinary price range and sharing a three-course meal with friends. I hate the crowds and how people who don’t ordinarily eat in nice restaurants suddenly develop a sense of entitlement.

    As we get closer to restaurant week, I promise I will post a list of places that get RW right. The fratenity of places that approach RW with snobbery and subpar menus is too large. I will get the list ready well in advance for people to make reservations.

  7. You didn’t even get to spit in their food!?!?! Personally, I think you were robbed.

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