Lookin' Good at 58

Monday, September 15, 2008

Do I Pack the Leftovers or Do They?

I have been giving some thought recently on what I should do when a guest wants the rest of his or her food packed so they can eat the leftovers at home or feed it to their dog.

More and more it is becoming a common occurence each evening when I am the busiest that I go to clear a table and the guest says can I have this and this and this packed to take home.Sometimes this happens 4-5 times a night and when it does it slows everything down for one big reason.The waiter nearly always unless it is a table of 2 has to bring that food for take-out back to the place where the containers are , slide everything in the container then go back to the table and finish off clearing.In other words an extra trip has to be made.

Now a lot of people may think that this is part of the service a guest should expect but is it really what they want? Does a guest want to see their food disappear from their sight taken somewhere else and brought back all packaged up without knowing how it was packed and even whether all they want to go has been included?

What is really funny is pretending they are full and asking for their leftovers to be packed then adding ,"may I see the dessert menu please."So rather than just present the bill you have some people even asking for dessert to go.More take-out.

So here is my solution to this question.

I bring the take-out container so they can pack it themselves.

What I do is clear everything off their table except the to go portion and when I come back I bring the container with dessert menu.On my return they have packed their food and made up their mind about dessert or whether they want the bill.Then I clear the remainder of the dirty plates.

Now in exceptional fine dining I wouldn't bring the dessert menu at the same time as a take-out container but in a restaurant where people want to be in and out in an hour this method works and the people don't mind.The restaurant I work in did about 600 people last Saturday.You use your discretion on the place you work.

Aside from the faster service I am able to provide to all my tables , what I have noticed is people take home food they pack 100% of the time whereas about 1 in 4 would if I packed it leave it behind thus costing the restaurant money on unused containers.

So in my case I let the guest pack their food.

Now if anyone out there has questions on how seriously silly I can be on such a trivial matter as a take-out container or whether I have taken waiting on tables to an extreme let me know your thoughts on the subject.

Would you pack the leftovers or not?

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