June 9th, 2009

evil toys

(no subject)

I bartend at a TGIF in a town that has a lot of people and families who don't have a whole lot of disposableincome. This means that we're a semi-slow store, but get slammed beyond belief on major holidays and during important events. Holidays are usually fine, if just really busy with people who tend to treat the staff like shit and/or try to weasel out of paying for some/all of their bill. What kills us are teenage milestone events. Homecoming at the local high school is an absolute nightmare. Prom is pretty bad. High school graduation is typically nightmarish.

8th grade graduation is historically the worst night of the year. Two years ago one of our hostesess was followed to her car, beaten up, and stabbed (minorly, thank God) by freaking 8th graders.

Last night was as historically horrible. It was a Monday, so the restaurant and bar were super slow for most of the evening. We had maybe two tables in the dining room and just a few bar guests, when the 8th grade graduation crowd came in one fell swoop. We went from those two tables to every single table in the restaurant and bar being filled within 5 minutes. Perhaps it was our bad for not making people wait and staggering seating (which I might suggest for the next big event). but every single server was quintuple-sat at exactly the same time and we two bartenders got our 16 tables sat all at once. This meant the kitchen got slammed hard with almost 100  food orders at exactly the same time, and service bar got hit with with drink orders for most of the 60 tables in the place.

I happened to be filling drinks for a few tables at service bar when all of the tickets came through, so the other bartender and I organized it so she'd take all the tables while I dealt with all the drinks. First, I ran out of glassware for our "ultimate" drinks (we had maybe 9 glasses for more than 20 drinks that needed to be made), so I was putting 18oz margaritas and specialty drinks in 20oz Stella Artois goblets or 23oz beer schooners. Then I ran out of crushed ice for the 30,000 slushies I had to make. The servers were yelling at me to go faster/get them glassware, I was trying not to yell at them to be patient. I tried to run drinks when I could if there was a brief lull in drink orders, but it was tough.

We had a lot of tables get up and leave in the middle of their meals because "things were taking too long", and most of the tables were unsupervised 8th graders whose parents were next door at Red Lobster having civilized dinner. People were not staying in their seats, wandering back and forth between tables, asking several servers for the same thing and then getting pissed when they got 4 sides of ranch or 3 refills of Coke.

We ran out of breadsticks, all of our soups, ribs, bacon-wrapped shrimp, and most devastatingly, mashed potatoes. As one of the most senior employees, I had to run around playing pseudo-manager (as one manager was driving to the nearest not slammed Friday's to get extra and the other was on the line, cooking), talking to tables, apologizing for the mashed potatoes, asking what they wanted instead, and then dealing with yelling or very angry and upset reactions.

We also had to call the cops. Twice. The first time was semi-futilely to report people who ran out on their bills. The second time was pre-emptively when an argument erupted in one corner that resulted in about 20 kids getting up in each others faces. A couple of the guy servers went running up, calling out "Get ready to break up a fight!", and I took it upon myself to run after them to remind them that under no circumstances were they to physically break up a fight. The last thing we needed was a lawsuit...

About 2 minutes before a couple squad cars arrived, it seriously started sounding like a UFC match in the restaurant. A couple guys and girls were in each other's faces, screaming, while their friends stood around yelling. Servers and one manager were in the midst of it, also yelling, telling the kids to break it up or take it outside. The fight then started moving outside where two guys started getting into a shoving match in the entryway when the police finally showed.

No one made more than $50 the entire night despite being busier than ever. The place looked like a bomb had gone off in it.

The bright spot in my night was a group of high-schoolers who I had to usher out of the bar (21+ after 10pm) who saw the fight happen and the police show up, who asked "...does this happen often? Because the last time we were here, some guy punched a girl square in the nose." They were here for Homecoming in September.

All I ask is for one teenage-celebratorynight where we don't have to call the cops.