How To Be A Respectable Human Being

I work in hospitality, and last night I was taking payment from a customer who had ordered some food to pick-up. His order came to $27.75, so I informed him (as I would to any customer) that we have a $30 minimum from credit purchases, a policy clearly signed above our till. Sure, it might be inconvenient, or even unnecessary, but that’s the policy I have been told to uphold unless otherwise advised. So I tell the customer “sorry, we have a $30 minimum for credit”, to which he responds “that’s all right”. Assuming he’d agree to use cheque or savings, I asked which one he would like me to pin in, to which he responds “no, put it on credit”. Somewhat taken aback, I once again told him about the minimum for credit, but he says “I don’t care, put it on credit”.  So I turn to my boss, who (not knowing how rude this guy was being), said it was fine. The customer then gave me a rant about why I would make him pay extra for his debit payment to be processed, and I told him that as an employee I have to uphold all policies management puts in place. Then I politely asked him if he wanted a receipt and walked away.

There’s a right and a wrong way to interact with hospitality (or any other service industry) staff. All this guy needed to do was politely ask me if I could check with my boss if I could put through his payment (which was, in fairness, very close to $30). That’s it. He didn’t need to bribe me, he didn’t need to get down on his knees and beg, and he didn’t need to be a douche-bag about it. No one benefits from being rude to staff. It puts us in a bad mood, and the customer in more of a bad mood than when they came in. In fact, believe it or not, if you are nice to staff, they might actually give you exactly what you ask for! Stop the press! Stop the internet! This is amazing!!

Continuing with a horror night of annoying customers, my restaurant had a reservation for 25 people at 7:45 pm. Now, 25 people is a big booking for us, and as such we gave them special treatment not necessarily given to every booking (“special” meaning giving more leeway with arriving/ordering on time, etc.). By 8:20, only about 10 of them had arrived, and by 8:40 there were about 14 people. We take last orders at 9:00, something which the group was informed of upon making the reservation. 4 people walked in at 5 to 9, and by close there were about 18 people all-together. To put this into perspective, downstairs we have three 6-person booths, and one 10-14 people table. For this group we had reserved two booths and the big table. There were at least five groups throughout the night that would have been seated on a table any other night, but were forced to sit on the benches along the wall while the booking slowly drizzled in. Not only did this booking cost us some business, they forced us to provide sub-par seating to other customers by not arriving punctually and in the promised numbers.

Now we come to the people who made this booking. I’m sure they are nice people, and I’m certainly not having a go at their personalities. HOWEVER, it is extremely disrespectful and, in some way immature to come into any restaurant the way they did. We understand people run late, and often we receive calls from people to tell us so (which is greatly appreciated). What we can’t tolerate is people treating our work as a house party, rocking up whenever they feel is fashionably-late enough, and then have the nerve to get angry when we tell them we close because it’s inconvenient to them.

People need to learn that everything runs smoother when both the staff and the customer do what their jobs. Be nice, be punctual, and don’t be an asshole.



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