Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Why restaurants should stop hitting themselves in the head with a hammer

If a business repeatedly draws fire for a routine action, it usually realizes the practice needs to be changed. But restaurants apparently have a blind spot, which is making them look like the biggest goobers this side of Honey Boo Boo.

Every week seems to bring another controversy over a thumbnail description some eating establishment printed on its receipts to identify the party. Most recently the publicity storm was ignited by “FAT GIRLS,” typed by a server named Jeff onto the order slip that was given to the women as a receipt by Chilly D’s in Stockton, Calif.

That tag was merely unflattering. Others have been outright racist or just plain dumb, like describing the patron as a bitch or the party as a “100 % shit show,” as if those are identifying characteristic for an order runner dashing through the dining room.
There are so many instances of restaurants blundering in that fashion that Eater.com has created a standing Receiptrocity tag for stories about Ripley's-caliber I.D.'s that came to light.

It happens so often that you have to wonder why an establishment wouldn’t re-write its procedures to avert any risk. Why, for instance, don’t they use table numbers in full-service places, or take the name and call it in takeout situations?

Years ago, I asked the hostess at a crowded New York hotspot about how she finds parties at the bar when their tables are ready. She explained that she jots down the style and colors of their shoes, then looks at feet as she navigates her way through the lounge area.

There have to be any number of ways of getting away from the use of physical attributes as the identifier. Go by the color of the orderer’s coat, or limit the palate to positive features.

Do anything but print an insult on a piece of paper that’s presented to the guest, as if he or she isn’t going to notice. If an order-taker can’t handle a challenge that small, maybe it’s time to re-think the whole receipt-I.D. system. Or maybe who you’re paying to take orders.http://eater.com/tags/receiptrocity

1 comment:

Ray Lee said...

When you've been triple sat with two or three other unruly tables, or it's four deep at the bar during rush hour, and the circumstances of your guests don't allow for you to ring them in under anything but an open check, sometimes the only choice one has is to come up with a clever moniker or phrase with which to identify the party in question.

Additionally, the bit of fun that comes from such naming is a way of quelling the flames of anxiety which may threaten to derail a server's entire train of thought, thereby making your experience even worse.

I think your complaint would be easily solved if managers could adjust their POS system to never print such "Name Check" functions on ANY tab.

Besides, who hasn't entertained themselves/identified others at least once by using fun phrases "native american Joe Pesci," "fat black Mariah Carey," "George Costanza in a toupe," etc. ?