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as a patron at a big table..

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
We all know what big tables do to the BOH especially if there are modifications etc.. so I have to ask you all.. when you dine out as part of a large group do you ask for mods on your plate or do you consider the BOH staff and order it as is?

Myself I have to be careful because I am allergic to eggs but otherwise I tend to just order off the menu and pick out the parts (usually potatoes) that I don't care for.

Every year my husband's design house holds an annual Christmas party usually at an upscale place in TO, and they do offer us a prix fixe menu but we're at least 20 people or more and I always feel bad for the BOH when our orders finally come in. I have to say though that most of the places we have been to have done a good job with our order.. the worst one for me was at a place in the distillery district and I had a valid reason to ask for a sub as I was subbing something eggless for a hollandaise sauce. I asked for sauteed onions and mushrooms on my steak instead of holli and it was like I was asking for the moon or something, and you know.. I know they had onions and shrooms back there because one of the other dishes on the menu featured them!! eergh!

So what are your experiences as a diner at a big table?
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post #2 of 8
I personally hate being part of large groups for a number of reasons....but the biggest cause of my "hate" of large group dining is usually due to the people that I end up going with (usually only one group in my life that goes out in large groups....so its usually "them" that cause the problems.)

Here is usually what ends up happening with large groups i've been a part of....the people I go with NEVER plan far enough in advance and therefore they simply call ahead to a place that does not take reservations and/or is not prepared for "very" large groups (18 or more.) It is usually a popular chain, and they usually want to arrive at the busiest times of the night 7pm.

Next, the people I go with treat the whole experience as if they have NEVER been out to a restaurant before. Being loud is one thing, but yelling to the opposite end of a dining area to share a story that isn't worthwhile is just dumb and rude.

Getting a few subs on the entree usually isn't a problem, but the scattering of appetizers, and salads just seems to throw everything off each and every time. Some (or most) of the group will order appetizers. Then, usually ONE OR TWO of the appetizer-eaters will then also order a salad and want the salad PRIOR to getting their entree. So while this single person is delicately eating their salad, the rest of the table is starving and staring at the person with daggers in their eyes.

This salad eater also, I can only imagine, causes a major back-up under the heat lamps. Logistically, a restaurant who is not prepared for semi-banquet dining will not have the equipment or man-power to fire all 18 dishes at the exact same time. So, of necessity, dishes will be fired ASAP and kept warm. While more and more dishes are completed, the salad eater is just munching away....taking her time.

Now, fast forward to the end of the meal....these large groups want to use the restaurant as their own meeting space. While the plates (including dessert plates) have been cleared for 20 minutes, they are still gabbing away and expecting more water and drinks the whole time.

Add to this, that many times, this particular groups has kids. AND not all of this particular group have not taught their kids appropriate dining manners. So the poor servers are caught trying to manage a banquet, AND baby-sitting these kids and/or doing their best to satisfy the kids' whims.

No joke....I swear by this one.....this group I was with went out to celebrate a family event/bday for one single girl. So the server brought out a special dessert and the whole group of 22 of us sang happy bday. (Thank you server for being a great sport.) But then a weird thing happened....the sibling of the bday girl wanted to be sung happy bday too. So instead of saying no....the mom had the server RE-LIGHT the candle on the bday dessert and had the entire group of 22 of us RE-SING happy bday to a kid whose bday it wasn't!

Oh don't stop there....it gets worse. Now the kid of a friend wanted to be sung happy bday too. So the mom has the server re-light the dessert for a 3rd time and sing again.

I swear this is true! Not wanting to leave the next child out, the mom had the server relight the candle for a 4th time and RE-SING happy bday again!!!!

Oh I swear to god in the heaven's above that this is true.....the candle finally melted away. But there were still TWO MORE KIDS LEFT. AND INSTEAD OF TELLING THE BRATS "NO".....WHAT DID THESE PEOPLE DO????!!!!! THEY HAD THE POOR SERVER BRING OVER HER LIGHTER AND HAVE THE ENTIRE 22 OF US SING HAPPY BDAY TWO MORE TIMES AND HAD THE KIDS BLOW OUT THE POOR SERVER'S CIGARETTE LIGHTER!!!!!

I SWEAR THIS IS A TRUE STORY! I WAS THERE.....AND MY WIFE WAS THERE!!!

I AM SHAKING WHILE I AM WRITING THIS!!! I NEVER FELT SO BAD FOR A SERVER IN MY LIFE! WHAT'S WORSE IS THAT THE PARENTS DIDN'T EVEN SEEM TO GET HOW MUCH TIME THIS POOR SERVER LOST OUT ON JUST FOR THOSE @#$% BDAY SONGS!

Fortunately for the server, the person paying for the meal gave and extra large tip. But the tip is always at the end, right? She doesn't know that she will even get a PENNY more than the bill...so the whole time, she is playing along fully knowing that she may not even get an average tip (much less an extra large tip.) Good karma for her....she should get a medal of honor for that night. But regardless of tip after the abuse, it was still abuse. Kinda like on "Something About Mary." The cops beat the crap out of Ben Stiller, and after leaving him to be cuddled by an inmate in the holding cell, the cops finally release him when they prove his alibi and say "No harm, no foul, right?" Tip or no tip....the abuse was still there.

Whew...I think I blacked out in rage there for a few minutes. sorry all! Continue with your discussions. :confused:
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Oh my! Some of the people in that group sound really rude!! That poor server having to accomodate all of those "birthday" kids is just too much.

When we go out with the group from hubby's work, the timing of the meal is usually very well done so one of us are starving while one or two people pick away at a salad. I just feel bad for the already busy kitchen that they have a big table come in that they have to get out in good time as well as filling everyone else's orders too.
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post #4 of 8
About that b'day song ..Where in the world was the management when this was going on? Someone should have stepped in and had the brains to make it stop. If you were in a rage, imagine how the other patrons in the restaurant felt! What is it with parents who have to make their little darlings feel so special all the time? My kids know they're special to us, but that the rest of the world doesn't necessarily have to share in that feeling.

Oh yes, this wasn't a parenting thread.....sorry!
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
I was wondering the same thing with the bday song as well as what on earth are these parents thinking????? I know we are in the age of granola parents but still.. that is too much!! I guess I am one of the oddballs.. I cloth diapered, baby wore, made my own babyfood all before it was considered the "hip" thing to do BUT my kids knew how to behave when we were out and well if they acted up we left. peroid. I remember many times carrying my son out of TOYS TOYS TOYS in the TO Eaton Centre because his time with the Thomas Trains was done and he pitched a fit in hopes of getting more time. Too bad so sad.. I gave him the 10 min then 5 min then 2 min warnings so he knew.. he was just testing the waters.

Same with restaurants.. if they acted up.. we paid our bill very quickly, left a good tip and left. peroid. They knew what we expected of them when we were out and I did bring a bag full of things for them to do to pass the time so the times we had to leave it was due to defiance or overstimulation on their parts.

The best night out we had with them when they were young was when they were 2 and 4. I packed a bag of colouring books, puzzles and travel games for them whenever we went out to eat, so we went to a locak steakhouse and they were amazing. They did their thing while we got to enjoy the eveing. Our server was wonderful and she actually gave them free desserts and refills on their shirley temples because they were the best behaved kids she had ever served. We took up that table for a very long time, but we did order apps, dinner and dessert as well as tea so it did take a while to get through all of that. We left her a $25 tip.. for being so nice to our kids and also for letting us linger and not rush us out. That was an amazing night.
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post #6 of 8
I know what you mean. I was militant about getting my kids out of places if they acted up. I had been a server for many years and before kids, I thought restaurants shouldn't allow them in at all. After I had my first, I freaked because I didn't like to cook. If not for restaurants, I would have gone nuts!

We took a train trip from Boston to Santa Fe when my kids were 6 and 11, and I was so proud of them because the conductor (attendent?) came up to us and told us we had the best kids she had seen on the train in quite some time.

Little creeps were known to fight like cats and dogs at home on occasion....
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
My worst before kids experience was at Disneyworld on the monorail when dh and I were first married.. talk about way cranky overstimulated kids and parents who did nothing to stop their behaviour! It was on the walk back to our hotel (the now closed Disney Inn) that we swore to each other that when we had kids they would not behave like that in public and we would bring them to Disney when they were mature enough to handle it.

Mine like to b*** at each other now that they are teens and I have to tell them to put a sock in it alot of the time and just respect their differences. We went to the museum in TO today and it was great.. they got along but we all also went our own ways and looked at what interested us.
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post #8 of 8
Oh look I'm not a pro but I couldn't resist this thread (I used to cook but not at a high level)...anywho...

Manners are rarely taught and consideration for others seems almost non-existant. That salad eater annoys me...have the darn thing as a side with your main course rather than hold up the rest of the table, let alone the overworked kitchen staff.

And the B/day song thing...That server deserves a sainthood. Where was the FOH/management..surely it must have been pretty evident what a ruckus it was.

One of my pet peeves is children, "adults", anyone, misbehaving badly in public if they are affecting the enjoyment and/or employment of others. Don't behave badly if you wouldn't like to be a victim of bad behaviour yourself, yeah it sounds like I'm preaching (rant going on here :) ) but surely its simply good manners to control yourself and especially to train your children? They will do what they see by example (either by adults or other children) - if they see good behaviour -and are told in no uncertain form that they have to behave well or they will be leaving now, or won't be going out again for a year etc etc etc, it will have a good effect on their poor behaviour. But too often people not involved directly with that child also won't say a word for fear of trouble - the "don't get involved mindset". Yeah it's a tough call, but the weaker carers/parents get, the worse the kids will get, they'll bring up brats when they are adults... and so forth.

Blah. Stand up and teach the kids well.

Rant over :)

P.S. I seem to have gone off topic here. As part of a group of about 14, we visited a highish end restaurant in Adelaide, a la carte, people ordered all sorts of food for different courses e.g. salad for starters, half dozen oysters for main course, just a steak for mains....completely mixed up all over the place. The restaurant did a GREAT job!!!! Really well timed, no big gaps in service between courses, beautiful food, all well done. The host came to sit with us for a while and chat...ahhh it was good.

Was a lovely night. If you're ever in Adelaide, South Australia - head for La Tombola. This is not a plug, it's just where we were. And I'm glad. That would rate in my top ten dinners.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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