mystery beer weekend leads to mystery customer service

lexschmidt's picture

just left a very crowded memphis taproom, where we were invited to join some friends who were sitting at a table in the back. when we walked in to the bar - it was packed and there was nowhere to stand. so we thought we would squeeze in with our friends who had empty seats, and there were a bunch of empty tables.

e mentioned it to the waitress -- and she got all snippy and rude and told us that unless we were eating, we would have to stay in the bar. which, as i already mentioned, was pretty full - due to the mystery beer weekend.

our friends graciously offered to move to the crowded bar area, but i didn't want them to lose their seats, so we just left. i will not patronize an establishment that doesn't want my business. turning away real dollars for potential dollars is bad customer service. i would have had no problem getting up from my table had there been a demand for my table.

michaellouis's picture

I've been there a whole lot

I've been there a whole lot since it opened. The staff there has been so nice that I couldn't even imagine any of the staff being anything close to snippy.

It is pretty common in places like this that the dining area is only for customers that are dining. It sets a dangerous precedent to let people who just drink use the dining room, because there is no guarantee that even if you tell them you are willing to move, that you will easily do so.

NEW KENZO's picture

I too have been there a lot

I too have been there a lot and they treat me great. However, I've noticed the occasional waitress blind-spots, meaning, sometimes the service is a little inconsistent. I would suggest trying the place again and if it's still bothering you, talk to the owners about your concern. Im confident you'd be satisfied if you did.

brooke's picture

Yeah, I would mention

Yeah, I would mention something to the owners. I've never received anything short of super uber nice service there. I know you guys must go there pretty regularly too. Usually what I say to servers that first object to us sitting and drinking if no one is eating or just a few are eating is, "Don't worry--we're big drinkers. We drink more than we can possibly eat." It usually gets a laugh and the thumbs up from the server.

Just recently I was at Triumph Brewing Company for a friend's birthday on a Friday when Old City was pretty dead for some reason. The first floor was pretty packed but one person in our group of 8 or 9 wanted to eat so the hostess assured us there was plenty of room upstairs. We headed there to find that only one or two tables were full--there were probably 15 open tables. We then proceeded to get a server who told us until we were all eating, we'd have to go back to the bar. When we told her the hostess told us it was okay, she eventually conceded. (Had it been me alone, I would have left. I don't need to convince someone to get a tip from me.) So she proceeds to huff and puff and actually, a few more of us ended up ordering food than originally planned and many a drink was ordered. I think we were there approximately 30 minutes and the bill was somewhere around $140. Except when we asked for the bill, she was nowhere to be found. Apparently she went on a break. The bartender couldn't find her. A busboy ended up tracking her down somewhere and gave us the bill. I think we left just shy of 15% and afterwards, I wish we had left less (but I can never seem to do that).

I mean, is an empty table better than 8 customers...of even just drinkers? To me, that kind of resistance to us in the first place is just asking for a bad tip to begin with.

NEW KENZO's picture

brooke, Ive been to triumph

brooke, Ive been to triumph a bunch, mostly out of convenience. The servers are ok at best, but there is a really bad waitress there that sat at the bar, 5 feet from our table and ignored us while she laughed with the bartender. We wouldve had a couple more rounds but that waitress, maybe the same as yours, was so unprofessional.

As with MTR, It makes sense to pay and on the way out speak with the manager. We'd be doing the place a favor. Next time this happens to me Im gonna do it.

MichelleLynn's picture

I would definitly say

I would definitly say something to the owners as well, It is not like they were heading to an empty table, their freinds were already seated at a table! I had never heard of being asked to sit at a bar when you walk into a place where your friends are already seated!
I know it was busy that night but it is just those kinds of night when the service should be even more accomodating! I think it sets a dangerous precedence to turn away paying customers!
That was a bad call for that waitress and the owners should be told!

michaellouis's picture

MichelleLynn wrote: I know

MichelleLynn wrote:

I know it was busy that night but it is just those kinds of night when the service should be even more accomodating! I think it sets a dangerous precedence to turn away paying customers!
That was a bad call for that waitress and the owners should be told!

So if you are a paying customer, you can do just about anything?

I'm all for talking to ownership if the staff was rude. That's a given, it's just not a crazy concept that tables are for people that are eating.

I've been to a place like the Memphis Taproom when some people got all pushy about getting a table when they are just drinking and they said they would move if people wanted to eat. Then they became complete jerkoffs when the tables filled up and they were asked to move. So I guess from experience I have some sympathy when places have rules like that.

NEW KENZO's picture

michaellouis

michaellouis wrote:
MichelleLynn wrote:

I know it was busy that night but it is just those kinds of night when the service should be even more accomodating! I think it sets a dangerous precedence to turn away paying customers!
That was a bad call for that waitress and the owners should be told!

So if you are a paying customer, you can do just about anything?

I'm all for talking to ownership if the staff was rude. That's a given, it's just not a crazy concept that tables are for people that are eating.

I've been to a place like the Memphis Taproom when some people got all pushy about getting a table when they are just drinking and they said they would move if people wanted to eat. Then they became complete jerkoffs when the tables filled up and they were asked to move. So I guess from experience I have some sympathy when places have rules like that.

seems besides the point for this situation, no?

MichelleLynn's picture

I never said paying

I never said paying customers can do anything, which was not the case here anyway, Plain and simple, it was a bad call by the waitress and it is a bad move for a business to send away paying customers who were doing nothing more that attempting to sit down with their friends and have a drink.

lauraska's picture

Mike and I were at Memphis

Mike and I were at Memphis Taproom on Friday night, when the mystery beer weekend had just begun and the place was packed, both in the bar and in the dining area. We happily waited almost 20 minutes for a table, because we were glad to see the place doing such crazy business. I noticed, while we sat and ate dinner, that the dining room would fill up, and a line would form, and then it would empty out, only to fill up 15 minutes later. So even though these two friends might have come in at a time when there were empty tables, it's also possible that the staff knew the dining room was bound to heat up again as a new wave of diners came in. It's not really unusual for a bar/restaurant to have a rule about non-eaters sitting in the dining area. I think it's pretty unreasonable to publicly whine about the place when you didn't speak to any of the management about the issue.

michaellouis's picture

NEW KENZO wrote:michaellouis

NEW KENZO wrote:
michaellouis wrote:
MichelleLynn wrote:

I know it was busy that night but it is just those kinds of night when the service should be even more accomodating! I think it sets a dangerous precedence to turn away paying customers!
That was a bad call for that waitress and the owners should be told!

So if you are a paying customer, you can do just about anything?

I'm all for talking to ownership if the staff was rude. That's a given, it's just not a crazy concept that tables are for people that are eating.

I've been to a place like the Memphis Taproom when some people got all pushy about getting a table when they are just drinking and they said they would move if people wanted to eat. Then they became complete jerkoffs when the tables filled up and they were asked to move. So I guess from experience I have some sympathy when places have rules like that.

seems besides the point for this situation, no?

No, I thought this was pretty much on point. I was giving justification for why places like this have rules such as these.

MichelleLynn wrote:

I never said paying customers can do anything, which was not the case here anyway, Plain and simple, it was a bad call by the waitress and it is a bad move for a business to send away paying customers who were doing nothing more that attempting to sit down with their friends and have a drink.

But if you continue to read what I said, I think I justified why restaurant/bars have rules like this. It's not "plain and simple" (at least in my opinion, you are welcome to yours). Just because you are willing to throw down cash for a few drinks doesn't justify that you get a table, by what I was saying. It is supposed to be a restaurant/bar not just a bar.

belladonna's picture

Lex- I've been a waitress

Lex-
I've been a waitress for a long time. You are hardly a customer to a waitress when you order a couple of 3-4 dollar beers, even if you tipped 100%. This may be news to you, but waitresses work almost exclusively on tips. It's rude of you to think that you should be entitled to special treatment just for patronizing a business. Point being, you are so self-centered I wouldn't want to wait on you.

MichelleLynn's picture

I am not at all saying

I am not at all saying anyone should get special treatment or that rules are not there for a reason, I am saying, as it was said in the original post that they went in to meet friends who were ALREADY seated at a table, so I am assuming they actually were eating. I had never heard of a place, that when you are attempting to sit at a table where you are meeting people that you are told you can't/
I think it is great a neighborhood business is doing well, I think it is also great that they have whatever rules they have that makes them smile, but like I said in my original post, she should have talked to management if she felt it was wrong, which, reading what she wrote, I would agree with, and that it is bad business to turn customers away.

I am not attacking the Memphis Taproom, I am saying in this instance, knowing what I know from the original post, I think the waitress was wrong and lex should have gone to the owner.

lexschmidt's picture

it was 3:30 in the afternoon

it was 3:30 in the afternoon - between brunch and dinner. the waitress didn't even know what to call it.

there were 2 empty deuces and 2 empty 4-tops and the bar was uncomfortably crowded.

we just plain stopped by, to have one, maybe two beers with friends WHO WERE ALREADY SITTING AT A TABLE - isn't that clear enough?

i had no intentions of "causing a scene," by talking to mgmt., just wanted to air my opinions here on fishtown.us and see what everybody else had to say on the matter. and for that matter - if i had complained to the manager, not seating drinkers in the dining room is still their policy. what really would that accomplish? all i wanted to do was sit with my friends and have a beer. no need to get rude.

lauraska's picture

Right, instead of asking the

Right, instead of asking the manager to make an exception, given that the dining room was "empty," you came onto a public message board and said you would never patronize the place again, because you didn't want to have a face-to-face conversation with anyone at the establishment about your issue. I don't think there was anything unclear about how you described the situation...what's still unclear is how you think you had the right to demand an exception to a rule, simply because your friends were already there and eating, but you weren't going to be eating. Perhaps I'm still missing something, but I think the whole threatening to boycott the place is pretty ridiculous. (That's right, Dan and NK, I said "ridiculous!")

michaellouis's picture

lexschmidt wrote:it was 3:30

lexschmidt wrote:

it was 3:30 in the afternoon - between brunch and dinner. the waitress didn't even know what to call it.

there were 2 empty deuces and 2 empty 4-tops and the bar was uncomfortably crowded.

we just plain stopped by, to have one, maybe two beers with friends WHO WERE ALREADY SITTING AT A TABLE - isn't that clear enough?

i had no intentions of "causing a scene," by talking to mgmt., just wanted to air my opinions here on fishtown.us and see what everybody else had to say on the matter. and for that matter - if i had complained to the manager, not seating drinkers in the dining room is still their policy. what really would that accomplish? all i wanted to do was sit with my friends and have a beer. no need to get rude.

I also want to point out that I never wanted to imply, that you would get rude or anything like that, I'm just saying that I've been around in a similar situation where people did and the staff doesn't know you what you will do.

Another reason why you might want to talk to a manager is that the waitress, might have been told to follow this rule and with no exceptions (like even if you are going to be sitting with friends who are eating), but the manager probably can do whatever he or she wants.

Ftown66's picture

belladonna wrote:Lex- I've

belladonna wrote:

Lex-
I've been a waitress for a long time. You are hardly a customer to a waitress when you order a couple of 3-4 dollar beers, even if you tipped 100%. This may be news to you, but waitresses work almost exclusively on tips. It's rude of you to think that you should be entitled to special treatment just for patronizing a business. Point being, you are so self-centered I wouldn't want to wait on you.

So are you saying you base the quality of sevice you give on how much of a tip you think you'll get based on what they order. If not then a guy only drinking a few beers compared to someone maybe eating a steak dinner should recieve the same quality of service as everyone else in my opinion. When i go to a drinking establishment and have even a few beers I have been known to leave a twenty dollar tip if the service was good and the server pleasant. I'm not saying thats what he would have left you but you never know.

NEW KENZO's picture

lauraska wrote:Right,

lauraska wrote:

Right, instead of asking the manager to make an exception, given that the dining room was "empty," you came onto a public message board and said you would never patronize the place again, because you didn't want to have a face-to-face conversation with anyone at the establishment about your issue. I don't think there was anything unclear about how you described the situation...what's still unclear is how you think you had the right to demand an exception to a rule, simply because your friends were already there and eating, but you weren't going to be eating. Perhaps I'm still missing something, but I think the whole threatening to boycott the place is pretty ridiculous. (That's right, Dan and NK, I said "ridiculous!")

oh use whatever word you want laura, it's an argument for what? does everything have to be so dammm over argued? Can someone explain to me how joining a couple already eating at a table has any effect on the fact that that table was already occupied and therefore the empty seats adding nothing to the bill/potential tip? If Lex said he was just trying to take an empty table in a full dining room, it'd make more sense to focus on the RULES.

Ftown66's picture

NEW KENZO wrote:lauraska

NEW KENZO wrote:
lauraska wrote:

Right, instead of asking the manager to make an exception, given that the dining room was "empty," you came onto a public message board and said you would never patronize the place again, because you didn't want to have a face-to-face conversation with anyone at the establishment about your issue. I don't think there was anything unclear about how you described the situation...what's still unclear is how you think you had the right to demand an exception to a rule, simply because your friends were already there and eating, but you weren't going to be eating. Perhaps I'm still missing something, but I think the whole threatening to boycott the place is pretty ridiculous. (That's right, Dan and NK, I said "ridiculous!")

oh use whatever word you want laura, it's an argument for what? does everything have to be so dammm over argued? Can someone explain to me how joining a couple already eating at a table has any effect on the fact that that table was already occupied and therefore the empty seats adding nothing to the bill/potential tip? If Lex said he was just trying to take an empty table in a full dining room, it'd make more sense to focus on the RULES.

Well maybe they were planing on putting two strangers there that were going to order food like the melrose diner does. What you mind sitting at a table with perfect strangers while you eat.

codergrrl's picture

Maybe the waitress is not

Maybe the waitress is not making tips off the bar, but making tips off the tables.
It could make a difference to her, none the less, no need for snippyness, that doesn't garner any tips.

george's picture

I was in there last night

I was in there last night and was savagely attacked by three Latvian midgets in spandex leotards. Then the bartender threw Clorox in my face, duct-taped me, and threw me in front of a Septa bus. The service was fine otherwise.

lexschmidt's picture

hahahaha!!! thanks, george

hahahaha!!! thanks, george ... for hijacking what has turned into a particularly painful thread.

neilpuck's picture

george wrote:I was in there

george wrote:

I was in there last night and was savagely attacked by three Latvian midgets in spandex leotards.

The Fishtown Beer Runners strike again!

http://neilpuck.smugmug.com

george's picture

Is that what's known as a

Is that what's known as a Little Kiss?

neilpuck's picture

Exactly what the band is

Exactly what the band is named.

george's picture

neilpuck wrote:Exactly what

neilpuck wrote:

Exactly what the band is named.

I SWEAR I didn't look it up. Too funny.

brooke's picture

I hope I never have

I hope I never have belladonna as a server. She's likely to spit in my $7 salad. Apparently until I'm ready to order the lobster, I don't deserve to be in a place that serves food.

Lex (who is a SHE by the, Kenzo), I support your right to vent on a public forum...I don't think it's my duty to speak to management to make sure I get good service. I think you should expect it because that's their job.

Anyway, I hardly think the owners of Memphis Taproom, who are some of the coolest, down to Earth bar owners I know, would support your attacks, Lauraska and belladonna, on Lex who I'm sure is a regular customer and one of the nicer people I've met in my life.

jessv's picture

Lex should find something to

Lex should find something to actually worry about, other than thinking a waitress was rude to her. You sound like the kind of person who thinks the world revolves around you or who is just miserable about everything.

Lighten up. Be stoked that the MTR is as slammed as it is, and raising all of our property values while giving us an awesome place to hang out. Be happy they're an active part of our community, not just pouring beers. Appreciate that everyone has off days, and if a waitress came off as snippy, maybe she was having one. But if this is your biggest thing to complain about, man, I envy you.

brooke's picture

Wow...someone has a case of

Wow...someone has a case of the rainy grumpypants themselves if you pulled this up after the thread has been dead for 3 days to berate someone. Because she complained about a rude waitress she's a person who thinks the world revolves around her? No, maybe she's just a person who wants to give the bar money and talk to her friends at the same time...you know, like people do at bars.

I can't wait to trounce on the next thing you complain about--to tell you have no right to complain.

Ftown66's picture

jessv wrote:Lex should find

jessv wrote:

Lex should find something to actually worry about, other than thinking a waitress was rude to her. You sound like the kind of person who thinks the world revolves around you or who is just miserable about everything.

Lighten up. Be stoked that the MTR is as slammed as it is, and raising all of our property values while giving us an awesome place to hang out. Be happy they're an active part of our community, not just pouring beers. Appreciate that everyone has off days, and if a waitress came off as snippy, maybe she was having one. But if this is your biggest thing to complain about, man, I envy you.

Are you that waitress shes talking about?