Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Giving Foodies A Bad Name

I admit that I make fun of foodies and "RVA Foodie" in particular all the time, but most of it is all in good fun. I have no real bitch against any of them especially considering the fact that I'm a service industry peon and these people have been known to frequent my bar. But this post by RVA Foodie about a crappy brunch at Lulu's literally made my stomach turn.



"As we finished eating, I was going over in my head how to approach the bill. I was treating, but I didn't feel like we should be paying for one of the entrees. I mean, I couldn't take it out of the tip. It wasn't likely our server's fault and withholding the gratuity on $25 wouldn't really be much of a trade-off...

...I leave $5 on the table, which probably confirms most of my readers' suspicions that I'm not just frugal, but inappropriately cheap...

...In the end, I figure that bad tippers and burnt customers is the cost of doing a booming business for Lulu's and for our server."


Okay so it took forever to get your food, that sucks. But you get an entire meal comped and then you proceed to completely shaft your waitress, who was nothing but nice the whole time? One would think that a foodie would understand that a waitress is not a line cook and often times a server will catch hell for even suggesting the kitchen speed up. Plus, getting an entire meal comped is not a common practice. She probably had to beg her manager for it and possibly, just possibly, she may have had to eat some of that meal's costs out of her own money at the end of her shift. Punishing her because of a crowded restaurant and because "They (Lulu's) made a shitload of money that brunch service" is sad. The restaurant probably did rake in the dough and you should punish them by not returning.

I don't think I know the waitress in question, but if anyone can direct her to this post, let it be known that a drink and a shot is on me anytime. We all (in the industry) put up with a lot of crap with nary a frown, but c'mon??? 5 bucks on a free meal?

Some people should know better. Again, nothing personal against the Foodie, but I gotta stand up for my people sometimes.

Rant complete.

9 comments:

Nsidestrate said...

I'm not completely clear what went down. I *think* they are saying that the bill should have been $25 if they paid for both meals. If that is right, this is a fairly standard 20% tip, right? I'm down with the idea that you tip bartenders extra to cover "free" drinks, but shouldn't 20% of what the check should have been be cool there?

Jack Goes Forth said...

You're sort of missing the point. Yes, 5 bucks was 20 % and 20 % is almost always acceptable. But this situation was different.

While the food was slow, the service was not. From what I gathered the server was on it and apologetic. She then was able to get their entire meal comped.

Had Foodie decided to get up and leave without eating, then he could've gotten away with a poor tip (or no tip), but they ate the entire meal in anticipation of having to pay full price (plus I'm assuming the server gave them many refills of whatever). Their patience was rewarded and they ended up getting it for free.

Regardless of how long it took. My point is, show some class and leave the poor waitress some extra money. I can guarantee that their subpar visit to Lulu's had nothing to do with her. In the end you still ended up saving money.

Plus, as a self-proclaimed foodie and a person who frequents restaurants, I feel like he (and the other "foodies" in this town) should be held to a certain standard when it comes to restaurant etiquette.

Jack Goes Forth said...

Also, all that aside, I may have been a bit harsh on the Foodie, but tipping etiquette and situations like this are constantly in my face, so I felt the need to say something.

Clearly if anyone should be chastised it is Lulu's. If they can't handle a rush then maybe they should take a few tables out of there and start seating less people.

Nsidestrate said...

I'm with you now. I've never got something free by complaining, so I don't know how to deal with it. I do get free stuff from being a regular, but I figure that is just transferring money that I would have gave the house to the server, so easy to handle there.

RVA Foodie said...

I am smiling from ear to ear, Jack. Gosh, where to start. Hold on. Lemme fix a drink before I respond...

Okay, I'm back. For onlookers, a little disclaimer. This is not an adversarial show-down between two testosterone fueled internet warriors, so please pull your trousers back up and put both hands back on the keyboard. Jack works in "the industry" and I am highly skeptical of the restaurant racket. For one reason or another, we've both got somewhat unreasonable expectations and we're both nearly activist in our advocacy for our points of view.

Jack, I'm glad you spoke up about this and came to the aid of the unnamed server. Your readers might not realize it, since it's edited out of my excerpt that you included, but I was really stumped about how to handle the whole thing, I was in too much of a hurry to think straight in the moment, and I beat myself up about it for some time afterwards. In short, my blog is so self-effacing, I guess it's not surprising when people pile on.

Also, my blog also has a comment section and this very issue was just starting to heat up before it died down. For future reference, YOU ARE INVITED.

For the record, I really hope I AM giving "foodies" a bad name, because I can hardly identify with most of the ones I've met or read about. My criteria for restaurants is so contradictory, I never know what my angle is until I'm in the middle of an psychosomatic allergic reaction or I'm overflowing with praise about the best whatever ever.

That particular post doesn't boil down to soudbites very well. The longer confessional types generally don't. It's just a bunch of trials and tribulations that highlight my idiosynchrasies, the plight of people who shell out good money and time for the privilege of "the food service industry," and whatever I can throw in to get a reaction. If you ever find yourself right there with me every step of the way through one of my stories, then I think it's time to get yer head checked.

All that said, I'll make a fan of you yet.

Bookstore Piet said...

Copied from my comment on JG's blog...

I've left what I consider crappy tips when the server was incapable or incompetent. This sounds more of an issue with the restaurant then the server. I've had meals comped before leaving me wondering how to tip as I rarely carry cash. I offer a credit card and ask them to open a check. They run it for $1 (cheaper than a bank ATM fee) and then I tip. I've also had the server decline saying they couldn't accept after such a bad experience - releasing me from my obligation.

You should have tipped $5 a head. I'd go back and make this right.

TheDudeAbides said...

I do agree that skimping on the tip is lame, but what other recourse does the typical patron have? Just playing devil's advocate here. Sure, I can decide not to go anymore, but that doesn't bring any attention to whatever the problem there is. And in this case, a busy restaurant, it is doubtful that the manager/whoever would want to come over, let alone pay attention to a single word being said because they are busy just trying to keep their head above water and beat the rush.

This might work in some places where owners are involved. But otherwise, what do you do?

Anonymous said...

I was working at LuLu's on the day in question, but I was not waiting on this table, thank God... I probably would have lost my cool with them for some of the things that they said. To put it bluntly we got our asses kicked that day. We served HUNDREDS of people in 4 hours. Of course we are going to run out of specials when a restaurant is that busy. Im pretty sure that the reason for the time difference on the dishes is that food was taken to the wrong table for one reason or another (reading tickets wrong, etc.) So the dish has to be recooked. Because believe it or not, we will not serve food to a table after it has been at another table. My whole problem is, if you are already in a bad mood, you're gonna react badly to a situation. Im sure that if they had come in a great mood, they would have had a great time. A $5 tip after making your server's eyes well up because of things that you said, is almost like a slap in the face. Jack, I told the girl where you work, so be expecting her to come in...

Jack Goes Forth said...

HAhaha. Yes! I'll be waiting with a hug and an ice cold beverage of her choosing.