Lat week we were swamped on Saturday night. The kitchen was a little behind but not terribly so. We had a couple in, the guy had previously been a frequent customer while in the area looking for property. As sometimes happens, he had built us up to his date and it took a little while for his entrees to arrive.
When he left he was really upset, not just because of the delay, but because his waiter told him, "well, you did take quite a while to decide and place your order," rather than just apologizing. He did take a long time to order, and it didn't take that long for him to get his food, so in that sense she was correct. She thought he might understand his role in the situation and leave a little happier. I told her in those circumstances to just apologize and don't try to educate. I told her I sometimes try to do it and it nearly always backfires on me. She ended up really upset and spent much of the rest of the night, bawling and red-eyed in the back.
Tonight as I bring a table their bill, the woman tells me, "I didn't want to put this in writing, because I didn't want it to reflect poorly on our waiter, who was great, but it took too long for the entrees. It took an hour for our entrees." I said, "I'm really sorry. I'm the owner, it won't reflect poorly on your waiter. Thank you for giving me the information."
Curious, I took a look at the ticket. They had reservations for 6:30. They arrived at 6:38. I only know this because when they arrived I happened to glance at the clock. Their order was put in the computer at 6:56. It was 8:10 when I looked this information up. To my mind, getting appetizers, entrees, desserts and having your bill paid in an hour and fifteen minutes, is not only reasonable, but actually pretty damn fast.
So what do I do? I go back to the table and say, "So, I just looked at the order and it went into the computer at 6:55. It's 8:10 now." She said, "No, we got here at 6:30." "Hmm, well the order didn't get into the computer until 6:55. I'm not sure how that happened" She huffed, "I'm sure it's our fault." "I'm not trying to lay blame. I'm just trying to figure out how we can improve. Again, my apologies."
Stuff like this pisses me off. Why do people figure their dining experience from the time of reservation? If you arrive on time, with a complete party, take your seats, and study the menu, you are going to spend at least ten minutes before you order. Now most people take longer than that, especially when they are visiting a place for the first time. There's a lot to take in, the decor, what you're in the mood for, what you're having to drink, having conversation with your companions.
What I really wanted to say was, "Get real! An hour and fifteen minutes is pretty fucking fast for you to be completely done with a three course meal for six."
Lord, Help me resist the urge to educate.