SF Restaurant Industry War Stories: Bare Feet on The Bar, $130 Bribes & More
Crazy things happen all the time in the service industry. If you've ever been a server or a host, you definitely have a story or twelve to tell. I, for one, will never forget the time, many years ago, when a fellow server had to somehow remove a maimed rat from amidst her outdoor tables during one particularly hot summer night in Washington, D.C. She saved the day—rather delicately I might add—with a take-out box. The point is, servers are asked to handle the unlikeliest of situations with poise all the time. In light of this, let's see what some Bay Area front-of-house folks have been dealing with these days.
For starters, Mission district server and former bartender Julia Keller shares fond memories of her days working a coffee shop “frequented by pimps and hos (seriously, as in prostitutes and their pimps).” She adds, “I've kicked people out [of bars] for fighting, for calling their server a bitch, and for refusing to take their bare feet off the bar.”
Locanda hostess Melanie Corta remembers one of the restaurant's earlier, busier Saturdays when a guy walked in and said he would give her $130 if she could give him a table. "It was kind of a random amount," she says, "And we really couldn't do anything for him."
Corta, who's been a hostess for many years prior to her current gig, says most of her nuttier requests come from adults who appear to be dining out for their first time. "I can't even count the number of people who come in with reservations for other restaurants," she says. "And then there are always the folks who use insane amounts of profanity if they can't get a reservation on a Saturday night." The best way to deal with them? "Take a pause. Let them calm down. Then offer an alternate option, like dining at the bar," says Corta. "I also remind people its much easier for everyone if they try to book their reservation about a month in advance."
Have a service war story to tell? Please do share/vent with everyone in the comments. We want to hear what happened and how you dealt with it.