Random things that piss off a guy in DC

Friday, October 27, 2006

DC Waiters & Waitresses

The waiters and waitresses in restaurants in this area are the worst. Maybe I'm getting older and just expect better service. Maybe my standards are too high. No, screw that. I would like good service and to be treated well if my server wants a good tip. I think that's fair.

I'm sure everyone has horror stories about trips to this place or that. They just seem to be rampant in the DC area. The interesting thing is that you can almost measure it, at least from the Virginia side. The farther from DC you get the better the service is. In DC proper is where I have had some of the worst dining experiences of my life. Arlington is better. Alexandria better still. Vienna is heavenly compared to DC, and so on. You get the picture.

I think the worst area in DC is Dupont Circle. I'll begin with Cafe Luna. I went there three times, I only actually got food there once. The other two times I waited roughly 20 minutes for someone to take my order, then I left. Oh, the food is cheap and okay - if you ever get to eat. Firefly is another great one. I sat down, got beer (warm in a square glass) and then wound up waiting 35 minutes before seeing the table next to me, which was seated after me, get served first. I left. I wrote to the manager who then called to tell me that he would send me a gift certificate to go back there. He did, it was for $50. That was a year ago. I still haven't used it.

Great place to dine, if you've got 4 hours to kill

Shall I continue? I think so. Afterwords Cafe which is connected to Kramerbooks makes the list. I have been there a few times. The service is always the worst! Everything takes way too long to get from order to your plate. The servers all have attitude. I swear, after that my trips to Wrapworks were well worth it. I get exactly what I want in a timely manner and no crap from the staff.

Don't purchase a book 'til you leave. You can probably just borrow one and finish it before you get served.

I was in the Daily Grill in Georgetown a few weeks ago with a friend from out of town. I was telling him how I really like it, the Cobb Salad is fab, and all that. I consider the Daily Grill a mid-range place, neither cheap nor expensive with decent clientele. We get there and get seated. The waiter takes forever to come over, gets our drink order, and comes back about ten minutes later. My friend and I order. He orders Prime Rib; the guy brings him a Rib Eye. After being informed of the mistake, he tells us they are out of Prime Rib. We get bread - a the end of the meal. I paid the guy, $59.71, with sixty dollars - in singles.

An early Chrsitmas present for the Daily Grill staff

I believe I am an excellent tipper when I'm happy. I tip usually about 25 percent. When I get service like I have mentioned above though I always leave change. Just so the person knows it's not a mistake. I usually write a note on the check too if I don't say anything. "You are the worst" is one of my favorites. Conversely when I am very happy I tip well and sometimes will get the manager to point out how exquisite the server was, because I know they never hear that stuff.

Tips should be earned, not expected

To the waiters and waitresses in this area, this is what I expect from you when you are waiting on me: superb service. I expect my soda or water to be refilled without me having to ask. I expect you to not reach across the table in front of me to get anything. I expect you to take my order quickly and serve my food in a timely manner. I expect the food to be great, not good, great. In short, I expect to be treated like a king. I am out to dinner and letting you have the opportunity to make a good amount of money for doing nothing more than placing an order, filling a glass, serving and clearing food. If you do this, you can expect to be paid anywhere from $15-50 from me based on the check. That's for less than an hour's worth of service. I think that's fair.

So, I hate the waiters and waitresses around here. It seems like you all hate your jobs and want to quit. Please do everyone a favor and do it. No two weeks notice, no long good byes. Just get out, so I can get the service I pay for.

Forget quitting in style. Just go!


Blogger Golden Silence said...

I miss good service too. On the rare occasion I do get good service at a restaurant, I make sure to let them know and give good ratings online.

I just think it's society. People just aren't friendly anymore and don't care.

5:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, customer service in general sucks around here. That was one of the hardest things to get used to when I moved here.

Then again, I'm from the middle. Of the country, that is.

7:20 PM

Blogger Darth Bush said...

If you think this is bad, try Paris.

11:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're foolish enough to expect good service in a place like Kramerbooks & Afterwords, you probably get what you deserve. And when you say "I expect the food to be great, not good, great." as something you expect of the server, you reveal how little you know about restaurant dining.

1:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree on the farther you get from the city the better but i am sure it has to equate to the more 'family' style restaurants that are a rarity to find in the city.

1:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems unlikely that you'd just happen to have 60 $1 bills with you for your visit to the Daily Grill unless you planned to pay that way before even going to the restaurant. What are you, a stripper?

2:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that service is pretty bad accross the board. Most of the service staff that have worked with are usually college dorks that could care less. The rest are a combo of retired from another career or lazy slobs that can't get a job anywhere else. There are a few that are actually good,Professionals that make service their living. I just wish there were more. When I started cooking professionally my eye's were really opened to the gross lack of professionalism and caring in not just the FOH but also the BOH. I love cooking for people. This is my life and I cannot understand why someone that isn't willing to give their 110% is doing it.

2:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's crappy you didn't leave the waiter a tip when the kitchen didn't have the right food. That's not his fault. Way to shoot the messanger.

3:25 PM

Blogger dc gal said...

"I think it's crappy you didn't leave the waiter a tip when the kitchen didn't have the right food. That's not his fault. Way to shoot the messanger."

You're right in that it wasn't the waiter's fault that the restaurant was out of prime rib. However, the waiter should have told the patron there was no prime rib when he ordered, not after serving him a random substitute.

6:36 PM

Blogger Steven J Markbright said...

Just to address a few of these comments:

A: About the singles, we had just come from a poker tournament and had the singles. If you paid attention I made it clear that this is one of the places I really like.

2: I mentioned wanting great food as one of about 5 things that impacts the tip. Having worked in more than one restaurant, I think I know a thing or two about how service works.

C: On shooting the messnger; the food runner brought the food out and when we told him my friend had ordered Prime Rib, he shot the waiter a look of death, so clearly it was his fault. The runner actually told us they were out of PR. In most places there is a board in the back where they write what they are out of for all servers to see. This guy seemed high from the start, so it's no wonder he placed the wronf order and didn't know they were out.

7:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Besides Firefly, the other places you mentioned are not good restaurants, not the fault of the servers, just a fault in bad taste. And so what if the person next to you got their food first, some things take longer to cook than others. And nobody who actually put their time in some real restaurants could ever stiff someone, whether it was their fault or not.

7:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steven..I definitely concurr with your view on dining in DC proper and have also been the recipient of lousy service here. Sadly, I no longer dine in the District, but now prefer Bethesda, Old Town and other environs.

12:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this is a little over the top. I also think a few of your MUSTS of good service are not always possible... give me a break "never lean over or reach over." That is not always possible, I know I have been doing this for a very long time. The whole tone of this article is condescending.

3:01 PM

Blogger honeykbee said...

In singles? Ouch.

Well played.

3:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You do a good job of explaining yourself. Can you explain how you have gone, what I assume to be over 20 years, by being a HUGE douche? I'm curious.

It's obvious you have a small penis, but it isn't exactly obvious why you are a douche.

11:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to see you work in a restaurant for one day and I bet you wouldnt last 30 min. If you have had that many experiences with bad service you are obviously rude at the beginning and one of those customers that no server likes. Servers only get paid around $2.13 an hour, they have to deal w/ many other tables, you are not the only table that they have. Waitresses usually dont stick with their job because they like it, they stick with it until they can go out and get a better job or its the best money making job they can get. Dont blame the server for every bad thing that happens to you, go straight to the management. They are the ones in charge of watching their servers and making sure every table is being helped properly.

11:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My fav part of your rant is where you say that you don't want servers to reach in front of you!
Like they've had some say in the logistics of table placement!! I used to serve tables when I was in university and I have to say that it's a tough job. Most certainly, it's difficult to serve people like yourself who go into a place expecting the worst...and, thus, getting it. People who say that they're good tippers rarely ever are. "I'm a big tipper..." if everything goes my way. Do yourself a favor - stay home.

10:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, you're a real donkey. As a former server, I did execute all the tasks you so pleasantly described. However, it was "kings" like yourself that made me gladly leave the industry for good. I really hope you eventually get over yourself or just not frequent restaurants at all.

8:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a server, I find your statements to be completely inaccurate and poorly founded. I've been to many of the restaurants you've listed on numerous occasions, and I have never been very dissatisfied with the service at any of them.

Your "royal" tone likely sets the mood for the poor experiences you have. I know that I give preferential treatment to nicer customers, especially during extremely busy times when I cannot always give everyone everything they need (i.e. warm water, extra napkins, etc.)

I say keep your lousy tip. I'd much rather give you poor service for being an arrogant snob than take your dollars anyhow.

And some people decide to wait tables not because they are miserable and cannot perform other work, but because it's an extremely high-paying job (especially in cities) that actually pays a higher starting salary than most other jobs for recent college graduates (like myself).

You're likely the one with the attitude problem.

1:17 AM

Anonymous Janet said...

It's not the server's fault if your food takes too long--we aren't the ones who freaking make it! We're just the middlemen. And yes, if they got you the wrong food then it is their fault--but grab a pair and talk to the manager. Finally, excuse me for being one of those "college dorks" who HAS to work while I'm in school. Not all of our parents can totally pay the way for us. You're a jerk. Keep your change.

10:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wondering if you would prefer to have dirty plates sitting in front of yourself and your guests? I have tables in my restaurant that are way too long, and are placed up against the wall. Whomever is at the far end of the table, I cannot get to unless I reach across those seated closest to me. I always excuse myself, but come on, it is not like you are planning to help me by passing things along, I do not want things spilled on you, I don't want you burned, and I don't want to leave you staring at plates you no longer desire to have at your table. Unless you are helping, I am reaching. Simple. We can only use the tools that we are given. And by the way, my restaurant has less than good food, and I know this. I do the best I can to recomend the best items we have. I go way beyond acceptable to give every special request known to man, enough to where my cooks literally HATE me. So, when the F up my order, like they do 80% of the time, know that it is because of extreme expectations like yours that cause them to fail. They get paid whether I do or not, so next time you have a bad "food" experience, instead of griping so much after the fact, why not put your food server on the spot? Tell them what is the matter, and how they can fix it. They will never know what you expect unless you speak up. And I don't mean by being an asshole. I mean by one human to another. If you get repeated poor service after clarifying, by the same individual, I can understand that. But realize, this is a job. There are a lot of componants that are out of our immediate control, and we would like nothing more than to make your dining experience right. If you do not allow us to do so, and only want to complain after the fact(or be a jerk) why even dine out at all. These things happen all over the country, and you could be more understanding of what we are dealing with, aka a lot of people like you. How would you like someone to make you out to be the sole idiot of your profession day in and day out? You would want them to care enough, to communicate with you like a person, not a primate child right?
Food for thought, I get what you want, now try to get how hard it can be to accomodate your list of demands. If you feel like leaving change, a nice chat and a 0 on the check is more effective. Otherwise we just assume you're cheap.

12:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the person who mentioned Paris: Waiters don't work for tips in Paris, idiot.

1:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You sound like a cunt with an unnecessarily high opinion of himself. I was completely agreeing with you until the last paragraph or so.

You're not a king, and shouldn't be treated as such. You're not the person's only customer. If the food isn't great, that's not the server's fault. I don't know what restaurants you go to, but the quality of the food isn't the server's fault. If they bring the wrong food like rib eye vs prime rib, that's their problem. If the meat is overcooked, that's not their fault.

People like you make customer service jobs hell. Your lives are sad and you take it out on other people. Eat at home and save the world the displeasure of seeing you.

8:22 PM


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