Lookin' Good at 58

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How I Handled Someone Who Had A Bit Too Much To Drink

Thank you everyone who took a moment to tell me what you like to see and what I can do better. Judging by the results , the Bartending segment on Tuesdays did not get a single vote so I will switch Tuesdays to something that may be better for the reader and maybe not so dry.

So today I start off with something related to drinking and that is what do you do when you get someone at your table who has had a bit already at the bar while waiting and who knows where else beforehand? Here is an example that took place to me on Saturday.

I get this table of 4 and naturally as any waiter does gave each of them a look upon saying hello. I could tell right there that these people with beers in front of them brought over from the bar were well on their way. Two couples , both men ordered another beer while one of the women ordered a tea. The other woman was going to order another beer but stopped herself and said ,"no I better not" , listening to the advice of her girlfriend beside her. She had water instead. A very responsible decision since she realized her husband was not going to be in any shape to drive home later.

I get their food order and except for quality checks I mention nothing of asking if they would like a beer. I made them just have that one beer before they ordered the meal.

It is a waiter's duty to see if someone has had to much too drink to do whatever they can to avoid getting into a situation where that person can order another. So all I did was fill up their water and clear their plates. I could tell the one guy especially was beginning to sober up after his appetizer and steak which was a good thing.

So here comes time for dessert. I present the menu and the lady who was drinking water orders a tea like her friend did earlier and the younger guy orders a coffee. Then the guy I was really worried about orders a Guinness. I leave them with the dessert menus and I am thinking and feeling that table did not want that guy to order another beer. He was the worst of the lot.

Here is what I did. I come back with the tea and coffee and decide to just pretend I didn't hear the beer order. I ask them if they would like any dessert to which they all shook their heads and said "no". I reply , "well I guess that will be it then."

The ladies smile , the one guy who had the coffee nods in agreement and the guy who ordered the Guinness agrees that will be all. I could sense a bit of relief coming back from the others.

I present them with the bill and the total comes to $212. A few minutes later , as they are chatting , the guy who did not order the Guinness finds me to pay by debit.

I say to him , " everybody is okay..." and he says everyone is fine. He tipped me $60.

I think he tipped me on how I handled the whole thing. My concern was evident from the outset and the deliberate forgetting I ever heard of a Guinness being ordered at the end was well timed.

Sometimes you really can show concern and make a right call by pretending you never heard someone order a drink. It could save their life and your reputation.


bulletholes said...

In a way, its amazing that liquor is not outlawed from being consumed outside your home.
Stuff makes people fall down, crash into buildings and anyone that drives home and actually makes it is a lucky bastard.

I like what you did here, very subtle, very smart.

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

Bulletholes...we have a lot of responsibility when you think of it.You have to make a call for people sometimes.It is for everyone's own good.