Monday, January 6, 2014

I'm Sorry Sir, But We Can't Do That

You know what we find funny? When you go to a restaurant and something like this happens.













Yes, today we're talking about customizing your order. It's amazing how some of the most simple requests can become difficult if they're not on the menu. How it's so easy to think inside the box - the box, in this case, being a laminated menu.

Now, don't get me wrong. We're not talking about being Mr. Pickypants. We don't mean to be this guy.



But really, asking a restaurant to make a simple substitution with materials they already have always seems like pulling teeth. It's as if you're demanding they concoct some kind of science experiment, the likes of which humanity has never seen.




Ah, those magic words. Let me ask the chef if he can do that. Like she's going to go have a conversation with this man and ask him if it's physically possible for him to only put one ingredient on a meal instead of two.

We want to know - what goes on back there when a server has to ask a chef if it's possible for him to do that?











And then your server returns, and you get the oh so sad, "I'm sorry sir (or madam), but we can't do that," leaving you to pick something else off of the menu. Something that's already written in stone like the chef's personal cooking bible.

Maybe there's an explanation for this. Neither of us know; we're not in the restaurant business. But it just seems silly that requests can become so complicated, even if we're willing to tack on an extra few bucks just to get what we truly want.

It's moments like that that I just wish I could do this...








So, does anyone in the restaurant industry know why these kinds of things can end up being so difficult and often require divine (or I guess the chef's) intervention? Is it because ingredients need to be accounted for, or are some chefs really that stubborn, or--God forbid--are some just that dumb? Let us know in the comments.

And before we go, rather than give you our usual Bonehead of the Week we wanted to instead give some much needed shameless promotion to a good friend of ours, Adam Lloyd aka Addman aka Muppets for Justice aka Rubbertits McClanahan Jr, Esquire. In addition to running a very funny blog, he just released an e-book this week and you should check it out.

Muppets For Justice - The Book

You should also stop by his blog and say hi. Tell him we sent you and give him the password 'put the pussy on the chainwax' and you'll be entitled to a free angry handjob.* **

*one per customer per day, non transferable, not redeemable for cash
**we are not responsible for any form of chafing, spraining, or scarring

Also, if you're not yet sick of us, go check out Pat Hatt's blog today where he honored us by stuffing our heads in jars and questioning our sexuality (so, basically just another day over here at ABftS).

http://rhymetime24.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-beer-guys-get-caught-it-must-have.html

Cheers and stay picky, friends,
B&B

Music: Twin Shadow
Beer: Lagunitas Sucks

107 comments:

  1. The sad truth is so many of those dishes come pre-made to the restaurant or they are made in huge batches earlier in the day. Neither option sounds appetizing, does it?
    And even asking for one extra spring roll can confuse your waitress to the point that nothing arrives on the table as ordered.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I can see that at a place like Chili's or Applebee's, but at a non-chain restaurant that's just kinda sad. I've already got premade, preassembled food at home. They're called TV dinners.

      Also, my wife wanted noodles as a side instead rice at one of the last places we ate and you'd think she just asked them to turn water into wine.

      Delete
  2. You made iced coffee from coffee and ice?! Get yourself some mandals, you need to walk on water and start a new church.
    Only crappy restaurants can't make changes like that, but those are the only places I go. When you order a "special" they're usually trying to get rid of whatever that is. Makes it sound a lot less special.

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    1. I've heard that before too, which makes complete sense when they say something like, "the special of the day is baked cod with salad dressing as a marinade and a side of boiled Brussels sprouts.'

      That sounds absolutely awful.

      "Oh no, sir, it's really quite special. Special as in no one else in this entire restaurant wants to eat it. So will you?"

      Delete
  3. I'm digging the improved illustrations and writing. Do we do that now? Do we "dig?"

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I "dig" the hell out of things, but I haven't been cool in 10 years... if I was ever.

      Thanks!

      Delete
  4. I'm not in the food industry and I never actually eat at proper restaurants so I can't attest to this, but I do find it odd they can't do simple substitutions. I thought they could. There's a small cafe near me I go to every week and they seem fine with substitutions. They're pretty friendly though. Maybe all the chefs in fancy places are jerks.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I'd be willing to bet that much like Alex said, a lot of that stuff comes preassembled, and at a small cafe, where everything's more likely to be completely fresh, it's a lot easier for the chef to just shrug it off and throw in whatever the hell he wants.

      Delete
  5. Well, of course, my first thought was of Jack Nicholson in that famous restaurant scene from 'FIVE EASY PIECES'.

    Funniest line: "Jesus Christ Himself could not turn shrimp into chicken".

    But that's OK, because turning water into wine is a much more valuable skill.

    Lagunitas 'SUCKS'? What crappy beer you blokes be drinkin' these days. Me too, by the way. I happen to have my Tervis Tumbler within my right arm's reach as I type these words, and it is filled with 'SUCKS'. (In fact, last night at work I started doing some Beer Browsing and it's interesting that quite a number of beer aficionados out there are saying on ale-related websites that 'Sucks' is better than 'Pliny The Elder'. And I couldn't agree mo'.)

    Betty, I got yer E and I hope to reply before I pass out (after yet another stressful "graveyard" SHIfT). In my (never) humble opinion, this was yer best blog bit since "the change of life" took place.

    [Comment posted from my Firefox browser. WTH?! Who would-a thunk this possible? I would have said that Jesus Christ Himself couldn't access ABFTS and post a comment from my "Sucks'd up" Firefox browser!]

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I love that scene. I didn't even think about it when making this post.

      "You can't serve me a side of toast because it's 'against the rules'? Fine, bring me a chicken salad sandwich on wheat toast. No mayonnaise, no butter, no lettuce."

      Waitress: "Anything else?"

      "Now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, and charge me for the chicken salad sandwich. Then you haven't broken any rules."

      Glad to hear our taste in blog posts today is better than our taste in beer! I might wash out the taste of that Sucks with a PBR.

      Delete
  6. Hmm... I really want to devour this blog post, but could I have the font in a different colour please and my salad dressing on the side?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I'm sorry, madam, but we can't do that.

      Your blog post was pre-assembled by a robot in China three weeks ago, so we can't actually "change" it. But we can bring you another blog post in the same general nature. Let's see, humor... we have here a funny cat video blog called "Mr. Mittens Farts and Wakes Himself Up LOL", will that be acceptable for madam?

      Delete
  7. Replies
    1. If this restaurant doesn't already exist... it should.

      Delete
  8. I worked as a cook at some pretty prestigious establishments (Applebee's and the Lux Level at Showcase). We've never had problems with substitutions and such.

    The only reason I would think that it wasn't possible is if the food is precooked and left steaming in a warmer the whole night. I know the thought of this process leaves your mouth watering, but there are restaurants that do this (especially Chinese restaurants).

    Other than that, I don't know why they'd be unable to modify dishes.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I figured, if anything, this post would serve as a great way to make me never want to eat out again. I'm waiting for someone who used to work at a dive to say something like, "Well, see, the chicken is in back by the rats, and you have to really fight them off, so it's just easier to use the pre-frozen shrimp-substitute."

      Delete
  9. Dude, you found the restaurant that hired the Swedish Chef after his stint on the Muppets? That is so awesome - I'm glad he landed on his feet, even if his cooking isn't very versatile. I mean, we all know what happened to Beaker...

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You can't play tennis with meatballs forever, not with all of the health codes and regulations they have in restaurants today. Poor guy's lucky to even be employed. And as you probably noticed, he finally had to learn English. I mean, welcome to America, jackass! Amirite?

      Delete
  10. I just go to McDonalds. Or IHOP. Never a problem there.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The problem won't occur for another 5 years, when your hair falls out and your leg rots off.

      Delete
  11. It is rather sad that they can`t do that. But as already said, many are premade. Also the more you tick them off for an easy request, the more you don`t want to eat as they probably spit in your food or worse.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Further reason why it's just better for me to stay inside and cook my own meal. At least then I know who's spitting in my food... me.

      Delete
  12. Wow, thanks for the promotion and the kind words. Much appreciated!

    I've often wondered this point myself. I've always assumed that any restuarant where this is a problem is serving prepackaged or preprepared food. As such, all meals are already portioned up and just need reheating, which is usually a sign of poor quality.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I know you should expect that kind of thing at a dump or a dive but when I go to Arby's I expect a fine dining experience of the utmost quality.

      Delete
  13. I just can't wait to go into IHOP and find the one day where they run out of pancakes.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Oh, you can make anything into a pancake, even if it means chipping away the plaster on the wall, stirring in into some water, and slapping it on a griddle.

      Delete
    2. which I believe is the recipe for pancakes at Denny's

      Delete
  14. I don't eat out often but around here it seems to depend on who is working the shift. I think it is more about the chef than the waitresses.

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    1. Yeah, I always worry that when the waitress gets that worried look in her eyes and says, "Let me ask the chef if he can do that," she's mostly just worried because he's a stubborn prick and she doesn't want to upset him by asking.

      Delete
  15. Pizza is easy to make substitutions to your order. I stick with that... but you can only eat so much pizza.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It's hard to get sick of pizza, and even if you do... you're only a week or two away from not being sick of it again.

      Delete
  16. I'm enjoying the waitresses' frowny faces.

    As a general rule, I've found it's best to not ever, EVER ask what goes on behind the scenes at a restaurant.

    And, finally, a question: Which is more disgusting: an eyebrow/eyelash or a head hair* in your food? For some reason, I'm horrified by the idea of an eyebrow/eyelash in my food.

    *Yes, obviously, a pube is the grossest, but IDEALLY that's less likely than the options above.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. One time we both went out to eat and the cook left the paper on the cheese slice that he put on my cheeseburger, and it was perfectly disguised by everything else, so I ate a huge mouthful of paper. For some reason that actually seems more disgusting than a tiny hair.

      But since you asked, I say head hair. Why? Because eyelashes can't get lice or dandruff. You're welcome.

      Delete
  17. Did you really just pull the connoisseur nose off his old artwork? Good, because it's a damn nice fit.

    The food could be pre-made, or changing things up could lead to incorrect ingredient stick count. Then of course there may also be some policies involved forcing staff to only serve what's on the menu, and when it's busy having to account for all kinds of little changes in the otherwise "generic" meals can get a bit hard, what with the time pressure and all that.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. We may change a lot of things, but we'll never change that nose.

      Also, I get those reasons, but you have to admit, it's kind of stupid when a place won't serve iced coffee but they WILL serve you a cup of coffee, a small glass of milk, and a glass of ice if you ask for it. That first scenario above? That really happened. And yes, the waitress was pretty amazed with my so-called "ingenuity."

      Delete
  18. You need to remember that that chef is an artist and that pad thai with chicken and shrimp is his artwork. You can't expect an artist to modify his art just to please an individual can you?

    I'm just joking. He's a dick.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I once tried to create a pad thai with chicken and shrimp but all I made was a ramen noodles with canned tuna in it. I don't know how these culinary geniuses do it.

      Delete
  19. I would tip that waitress double if she would contort her mouth like that at me. I almost want to see how many wieners she can stuff in there, and I ain't talkin' hot dogs!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Let's just say last time I went to lunch she got quite a few big tips. If you get what I mean.*

      *ejected, permanently banned, restraining order, heavy prison sentence

      Delete
  20. Maybe it's not about the chef at all.

    Maybe the chickens are getting pissed off at being taken for granted (everything is referred to as "tasting like chicken").

    Maybe they just want to see the shrimp get it for a change.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. And yet calling someone a "shrimp" is almost worse/more hurtful than being called a "chicken." They're both in the same boat of being mistreated. We need some meat unity.

      Delete
    2. Shhh....if the chickens were to unite with the shrimp, they could take over the world!

      Delete
  21. I know this all too well, I don't eat meat so I sometimes ask for pasta dishes without the chicken and despite the menus saying that every meal is 'cooked fresh' it still seems impossible. I genuinely didn't know that's what iced coffee was though... you are a wizard. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm no wizard, I'm just a coffee fiend, even in the hot summer.

      Delete
  22. I can explain some of it!

    For example, with the iced coffee- If it's not on the menu, the server might be unsure how to charge it on the computer. With the extra ingredient (milk), it should cost a little bit more. Or she may be unsure how to make it (some people are picky or not coffee drinkers). This is something the managers should think to teach them. Like, I had no idea that milk went into iced coffee.

    For other things (like lasagna or dressings) sometimes its "pre-made". That doesn't mean its left overs. But some things have to have time to set so that means all the ingredients are already in it, and the only thing you can change is the sauce. There was a dish at the restaurant I worked in, where it was actually an herb sauce all mixed up. People used to ask all the time to take the tomatoes out, but it was made prior because of all the dicing and chopping and stuff. Sometimes its just not enough time.

    I was also asked a lot to have the meat marinated in any sort of seasonings. The only time I never asked the chef if we could do it, was the only time he had marinated it all that morning in preparation for a dinner rush. The table was PISSED because I said we could, but we couldn't.

    But on the other hand, my regular customer, literally custom created his own dishes a few times. It really depends on what's on hand, what has to be made earlier in the day, if the server gives a fuck, and if the chef will stop to answer questions.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Woo! Great answer. And I completely understand what you mean about the server just not understanding how to ring it up or how the customer might want it, but it's funny that sometimes they don't try to solve the problem at all. They just say, "Sorry, can't do that."

      And milk doesn't always go in iced coffee, it can be liquid creamer, too. That was my innovative way of making my own iced coffee (as mentioned that first segment was a true story) so I just ordered a kid sized milk to have a splash of dairy in there.

      And I'm sure that some servers are more willing to work with people than others. Like, if you don't serve iced coffee, I could imagine a server saying, "Okay, I can bring you a cup of coffee, a glass full of ice, and some of our powdered creamer. Is that okay?"
      For me, that would totally be an acceptable substitute.

      Delete
  23. Fuck. That was the longest comment ever and it wasn't even funny. I'm sorry.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It's okay. Feel free to throw in a knock knock joke or a fart joke as a hilarious follow up.

      Delete
  24. When I was a chef the waitresses would give a customer anything they want to increase their tip and come in to the kitchen to convince us to change the menu, if it wasn't too much of a change we would agree if it was ridiculous we would tell them to jog on!

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    1. Waitresses there are different than here, then. Most will just say, "Nope, can't do that, sorry," and make you pick something else. I guess they'd rather not have to bend over backwards only to find out they're getting a shitty tip.*

      *I don't tip shitty, but others do, even after making the wait staff work his/her ass off

      Delete
  25. It is ridiculous how even some of the slightest substitutions can turn into the biggest headaches. I agree that Thai-tanic would be an excellent name for a restaurant. Your conversation with JKIRF was an added bonus!

    Julie

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    1. It could have so many fun food names, too. Like Iceberg (Lettuce) Ahead for the salad, or Going Down With the Chips for homemade potato chips.

      Delete
  26. OMG, I'm so with you on this one. I watch a lot of cooking/restaurant/save this restaurant/who's the best chef on the planet/ shows, like way too many, and it's about the only thing I watch except sci-fi movies with The Engineer when he's not off engineering one of his many projects. So YES, I'm in the restaurant business. This is what I've learned. There are many reasons why it's so difficult to get what you want.

    1) The chef is a total snob and will NOT change what he's making because he's the best chef on the planet, he's decided this is the best combination of flavors and he does not care if you like ketchup with your fries that go with his what really do look like they could totally be the best burgers on the planet. (True story. And he didn't win Top Chef Masters.)

    2) The waitperson doesn't know how to enter that request into the computer

    3) They don't have a computer so writing it all out on a hand-written ticket would be too much effort. Then the chef might not be able to understand it so it would be wrong when it got to you and they'd have to remake it. Can totally jam up a dinner service.

    4) You have a less-than intelligent wait person. They don't understand your request.

    5) You have a burned out, very intelligent waitperson who has spent his or her career doing this and is just fucking sick of everyone wanting it their way. Go to Burger King if that's what you want is what they'd like to say.

    6) You're at the wrong restaurant. At a good restaurant, the chef will do ANYTHING, and I mean anything to make the customer happy. On "Chef Wanted" it was a steakhouse and they planted a vegan customer and made the auditioning chef come up with something, on the fly, in the middle of all the chaos of running an unfamiliar kitchen for the first time. He said, "If you're a vegan, why the fuck are you at the best steak house in Chicago? Tell them they can have a free drink and some fries. I'm not dealing with this." He didn't win.

    Great post. Topic and art. And I'd be glad to be your consultant on restaurant related topics in the future ;-)

    Tina @ Life is Good

    P.S You've got some great commenters. They are quite enjoyable, as your retorts. I'm sorry I've been missing out on you Beer Boys for so long. My life feels a bit more complete now.
    P.S Again. Lefthand Brewery. Every have Ambidextrous? Excellent brew, and this word nerd appreciates the name immensely.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You rock. What a great comment and very informative (from two guys who don't watch reality cooking TV).

      "If you're a vegan, why the fuck are you at the best steak house in Chicago? Tell them they can have a free drink and some fries. I'm not dealing with this."

      That one made me laugh out loud. I'm no chef, but I always wondered the same thing when people do that. Or like when you're out to dinner at some greasy hole in the wall burger joint and one of the women is upset that she can't find a good salad. You know we were going to LardBurger, lady. What did you expect? PS, I know you're on a diet but that salad you just ingested, with its thick ranch sauce, bacon chunks, and tortilla strips, has more calories (1000) than my burger (700) so don't tell me you can't eat this because you're on a diet.

      P.S. Have not tried Ambidextrous. We've tried the Milk Stout and the Milk Stout Nitro, though. How does it compare?

      Delete
  27. I recently took a friend to a diner on her b-day. We got chips and asked for guacamole. "Sorry, we don't have that." Later, I asked if they'd bring her pie with a candle on it. "Sorry, we don't have candles." I couldn't believe it. Next, I asked if they'd sing to her. That they did.

    Another LOL post.

    It may be my computer (?) but the black background stops mid-way through EmptyNestInsider's comment. I can't read the rest.

    xoRobyn

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    1. I blame the Internet. I'll call up Al Gore and get him right on this. Because I sure as hell don't know what the problem is.

      (Anyone else having this problem? Looks fine on our end, in all browsers, no matter how long the comments get)

      Delete
  28. Let's put the substitution issues aside for a moment and discuss other problems that plague the food service industry. Like the additional ingredients request for instance.

    Me: I would like the rib eye steak with a baked potato.

    Server: That will be $25.99

    Me: Can I get sour cream and bacon bits on that potato?

    Server: Absolutely, sir! That will be $32.99

    Me: $7.00 for a glob of sour cream and a sprinkle of bacon bits?

    Server: We must account for ALL ingredients, sir.

    Me: Whatever. Can I also get my steak topped with sauteed mushrooms and onions?

    Server: You may, sir. Your total will now be $47.50

    Me: Dare I ask for a Coke?

    Server: $52.50

    Me: With ice?

    Server: $57.50


    See where I am going with this? The sad part is that this is only slightly exaggerated! It's the same at McDonald's too. A single slice of cheese can jack up the cost of a sandwich by nearly a dollar!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yeah, I absolutely hate that, especially since that sour cream is probably just out of a plastic tub. Don't tell me you made that shit from scratch.

      Or how about when you go to a breakfast joint and you want 1 extra egg? Okay, that'll be 2 extra dollars. How about a side of bacon? That's $3. $3 for 2 little limp pieces of bacon the size of my index finger. Is that a joke?

      Fuck. That.

      Delete
  29. The bit about the iced coffee reminded me of a real-life observation at a Cuban coffee place in which one customer requested a caramel latte à la Starbucks.

    Cuban Waitress: "Sorry, we don't have Starbucks drinks here."

    Customer: "No, no. It's simple to make this drink. All you have to do is add a swirl of caramel to the espresso and milk."

    Cuban Waitress: "Oh. Okay."

    I did, however, wonder why on Earth did this customer not just go to Starbucks if she wanted a Starbucks-esque beverage in the first place. (But then again, Cuban coffee...mmmm.)

    (And in regards to the comment left on my blog: I will more than gladly work for Belgian beer if given the opportunity to do so. However, as a responsible artist, I have to say that you two seem to manage quite well with your own cartoons. Heck, you've even progressed to drawing hands, complete with fingers and opposable thumbs! If I tried to do that with my current cartoon style, I'd end up having hands that resembled link sausages. Kudos to you two!)

    -Barb

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    Replies
    1. I think far too many people are used to only drinking Starbucks and don't understand when a small cafe, or a hole in the wall coffee shop, or a Cuban coffee shop make something that isn't a chocolate chip caramel cherry swirled junkaccino (extra syrup, please).

      Going to a coffee shop and getting coffee? Who'd have thought!

      And you're far too kind. I keep those hands in simple positions and they look pretty awkward but, you know, they'll do for now.

      Delete
  30. When that happens, I assume that everything is pre made and frozen or under a sad heat lamp. Wah wah

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pre-made coffee under a heat lamp makes the sweet baby Jesus weep.

      Delete
  31. Okay, those frowns from the waitresses really scare me.

    As for special requests, most restaurants have serious issues with comprehension. Like if I ask for my order to be put in early because I'm a diabetic and take meds, then put the damn thing in early. Don't tell me my order got lost 'cause it was passed around from person to person and don't put it in with the rest of the party who showed up a half hour later and thus ordered a half hour after that.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Ouch. Mine is just nitpicky, but yours sounds pretty serious. You'd think they'd be more careful with stuff like that. Remember, servers: G.B. can't tip if he's comatose from low blood sugar.

      Delete
  32. Wow, look at the length of some of these comments. You guys really got em going with this one.

    I know it's not substitutions, but my personal favorite is the lazy wait staff who says the cappuccino machine is broken and then you see the people at the next table (who BTW have a different waitress) order and get a cappuccino. Adding insult to injury you get the check and see that they have already added the gratuity in, so you can't even express your displeasure in the tip. OR the veggie burger that comes with bacon and they won't serve it without - HELLO, why do you think I'm eating a veggie burger. Sheesh!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I've never heard of a veggie burger with bacon, but then again I have common sense. And I don't see that cappuccino thing much but I've seen the beer equivalent. "Oh, I'm sorry, we don't have that," says lazy waiter. Ten minutes later another waiter grabs a keg from the back and refills that exact beer I just asked for, and brings one to the table beside mine. Just be honest, then, you dick - you didn't feel like doing your damn job.

      Delete
  33. You'd think you were asking for monkey brains

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Maybe they need a transplant? Couldn't hurt over what they're working with now.

      Delete
  34. The guy from the muppets sure does get around. Why I like cooking at home

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    1. After reading all of the above comments; at least I know what I'm making at home is a TV dinner. I don't want to eat out and play 'guess whether this was frozen solid 10 minutes ago.'

      Delete
  35. I hate the eye rolls when you ask for something different. I have been glad that almost every restaurant I have been to sense loosing weight have been accommodating when I special ordered my meals.

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    1. I know there are people who are just plain difficult, but I too hate the eye rolls when you ask for something simple. Sorry I really want iced coffee and don't want to drink hot coffee on a hot day. Is bringing me an extra glass of ice really that straining for you?

      Delete
  36. What a riot!!! While the reason for restaurants not wanting to accommodate menu changes is they have already put the dishes together just waiting to be microwaved so they can say "cooked to order" with a straight face.

    BUT...the other part of it is where you live. Here in KC, restaurants are super accommodating because they know that nearly all of their patrons would rather be in Denver (or a host of other places) Most people that live in Kansas City landed here with their jobs or their van broke down on the highway. So our servers and chefs will gladly custom design anything you desire to eat for fear that the customers might have already started looking for housing elsewhere. The way restaurants open and close here, each establishment tries to sign you on for life...and if that means customizing orders...no problem.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. All of my TV dinners are microwaved to order... I guess what I'm getting out of this comment is that I should start calling myself a chef.

      And my aunt lived in KC for 2 years. For a job. And she hated every moment of it. I don't think customizing her breakfast burrito made her stay any more pleasant, but then again, she's always loved Denver more than any other place she's ever lived.

      Delete
  37. Wow. The restaurant staff in Colorado must be real sticklers. I rarely have any problems with getting what I want when I'm out to dinner. "Okay, so I'll have the hamburger with fries. But hey, instead of the hamburger, can I get the fried chicken, and a bun with nothing on it? And instead of fries, can I get a house garden salad with no tomatoes? Or onions? Or lettuce? Okay, so just a plate of croutons?" And they smile and say "No problem!" And they do their very best to get me exactly what I want...but then they come back with a hamburger with no bun and a garden salad with all veggies and NO CROUTONS!!! So here in Utah, they have no problem taking special orders, but they have a BIG problem with not screwing things up.

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    1. So basically here's what I'm getting from all of this. Here, our servers are dicks because they won't even try. There, your servers will work with you but the chefs are dicks because they won't comply with the order and will just make whatever they want. In the end, no one ever truly gets what they want and we all die alone. The end?

      Delete
    2. But don't forget the epilogue: The chefs from Utah and the Servers from Colorado all get together and open one unholy AntiChrist of a restaurant called "The Fiery Pit," where the customers pretty much just get fork stabbed before they are seated in a chair that's precariously suspended over an actual pit of fire. And the staff of the restaurant laugh as they just bring out ready made food. No menus, just whatever the chef felt like making that day. If you don't like it, you get fork stabbed again. The End.

      Delete
  38. Kind of going along with what Tina said (and maybe others, but I didn't read all the comments (yeah, well, it's bedtime)):
    People don't much like to think, so, for some of them, special requests hurt their brains.

    However, and I didn't see this mentioned anywhere (which doesn't mean it's not there), it's kind of like working in customer service. When I was at TRU doing that, there were things we were just not allowed to do. So
    1. Customer comes in with an item s/he wants to return but has no receipt or no box or whatever.
    2. By policy, we can't accept those returns. We're required to say "no."
    3. Some of those people will take the "no" and leave. Some will be persistent.
    4. Dividing time.
    a. Item being returned is definitely a case of fraud (the item is obviously used and/or broken (due to use, not poor construction)).
    b. It's a legitimate return where the customer threw the box/receipt away because s/he didn't expect to bring it back.
    For either circumstance, we still have to say "no."
    5. If the person is persistent (as most of the fraud cases were), we have to call a manager. Inevitably, the manager would just issue the refund to get the person out of the store. We, the CU personal, were not allowed to do that. We HAD to call the manager.
    6. If we recognized that the other person, the legit one, should get the refund, we still couldn't do that. We HAD to call a manager.
    Basically, those people are told to say "no" to see if you will just take whatever it is as is, because it's easier, costs less, whatever. They're only going to take any steps if you're persistent. However, being persistent pretty frequently works if you get a manager involved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I sure hope it's not a case of management not letting them create items that aren't on the menu, because I would never talk to a manager just to get iced coffee. Or to substitute one meat for another. That just sounds like THAT GUY. You know, THAT GUY.

      THAT GUY: You REALLY won't serve me chicken on my pasta? This is unacceptable. I want to see your manager right NOW.

      Basically, it ends with the best chicken pasta marinaded in spit sauce THAT GUY ever had.

      Don't be THAT GUY.

      Delete
    2. Oh, I had a friend that worked at Outback for a while and what I learned is that it really doesn't matter if you're THAT GUY or not. You have a fairly good chance of having stuff happen to your food anyway.
      Like, just after they've tossed your food in the trash, "Oh, they wanted that to go." No problem! Seriously.

      Delete
  39. Or my favorite, "no substitutions." I won't eat in a place like that, because fuck them. No one has allergies, or wants a slightly different thing? Is it brain surgery to leave out one fucking thing? NO!

    My boss takes us out to these dinners once a year and always forgets that I'm vegan. How he picks places where it is difficult to be vegan in the most vegan-friendly city in the U.S. is beyond me, but I'll never forget the waitress who asked me, "Vegan? Can you eat bacon?"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should have said, "Yes, they have vegan bacon farmed naturally from organic, plant-based pigs," and asked if they served that type of bacon there. If only to see the look on her face when she went to ask the cook if their bacon was plant based.

      Delete
  40. And for this sort of service you guys are expected to tip as well?
    Have you tried the allergy angle? "If I eat shrimp I will die and you will get sued"
    Might work.
    PS The bottom half of your million comments is all white out, like those blizzards I am watching on the news
    Stay warm guys xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After reading about all these pre-made sauces and meals, I'm not even sure the allergy angle would work. Does no one cook anymore?

      And damn these technical problems. Everything looks fine on our end but you and another commenter seem to get the cut off. And frankly, I have no idea why.

      Delete
  41. Never, ever travel to the UK. Well, travel to the UK but don't eat in many of the restaurants. The service here is apalling, and much the same as described as above (though it's getting better over time). At the end of the day, surely you'll tip bigger if the waitress & kitchen are accommodating?
    Sadly many of these dishes are pre-made as above, but you'd think that they wouldn't mind taking out a few ingredients.
    Loving the new style, but I'm kinda missing the oval faces - did you also have to get plastic surgery?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You wouldn't believe how much we get laid now that we don't look like Charlie Brown. Oval heads just don't look attractive on anyone.

      Delete
  42. How is there not a restaurant called "Thai-tanic"? Almost every time, it's the waiter/waitress. They can't wrap their minds around the possibility of anything outside of...oh god, I almost said "outside of the box" except it was going to be "outside of the square menu" but same thing. I have to go curl up in a ball of self-loathing now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey now, it could be worse, sport. You could have said "someone just needs to think outside the bun."

      Delete
  43. I like messing with them. I order the vegetarian omelette and ask if they can put sausage in it. Talk about a look of confusion!
    Then I tell them I don't eat meat because I'm a veterinarian

    Oh and by the way speaking of A beer for the shower I just watched a youtube video where a bunch of guys plumbed there buddies house with beer. Truly was a beer for the shower.
    .http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezBZd4OQOXg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beer in the watertap sounds like something I would want to try when I had more money than sense. It has to be good beer, though. None of that pisswater "This is just technically water anyway" stuff.

      Delete
  44. Some places are just so caught up in their own ideas of what they can and can't do. I've worked in a fish and chip shop on and off for several years and some of the requests we get are weird but we can normally manage them...though we do have people asking for stuff not on the menu. Best example is deep fried apples (we don't have it on the menu because we normally don't have apples lying around a takeaway shop...) but the people who order them now bring their own apples. And we have people asking for deep fried anything really...personally glad to be out of the food service industry though. We don't get tips over here so there isn't a real incentive to be super nice to customers...though we generally are.

    And I would definitely go to a restaurant called Thai-tanic...especially with that tagline. Brilliant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know you have a problem when you need someone else to fry your apples for you. Apples can really be fried? Doesn't that take away the whole point of them being nutritious fruits?

      Delete
    2. I have found that nutrition and take-aways (fast food) do not always go hand in hand...we've seen some of our customers grow up and grow wide. I have also found that you can almost deep fry anything. One of the most popular things we sell are deep fried chocolate bars. The next is something we call blood and guts - fries topped with garlic butter, cheese and three sauces...

      Delete
    3. It's no joke that you can deep fry anything. Have you seen deep fried kool aid?

      Fried koolaid pic

      What's next, deep fried water? "I'm so sick of drinking this calorie free, tasteless liquid. I feel like I'd drink more water if it was a big, sugar-coated dough ball fried in grease."

      Delete
  45. Love the new look, love your sense of humor, love the illustrations...I luuurrrrve it all!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And it loves you right back in the way that only an inanimate object can!

      Delete
  46. I *think* I know why some restaurants can't alter their menu at all. It all comes in a ready made kit that they just throw on the griddle to warm up. They can't pick the chicken out of the kit. It's like trying to take the chocolate out of chocolate milk, once it's in there, it's not coming back out.

    The reason I believe this could happen is because I know that this happens. Mostly chains I think. Like O'Charleys or Applebees or something. If it happens at a finer place than that, then I'd bet its because the chef is insulted by your childish palate and refuses to alter on principal alone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do I look like the kind of guy that dines at a place called "O'Charleys"? Do I look like some kind of goober that has a childish palate?

      ...Don't answer that.

      Delete
  47. I don't know the answers to your questions, but I do know that it's perfectly legal here to go to the kitchen yourself and check everything out at any restaurant. I have my fair share of embarrassing stories, regarding this, but it's good to know you can send your meal back and be absolutely sure they won't spit on it.

    I haven't added a blog to my blog's list since last year! This is the first!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know if it's legal to just walk into the kitchen here, but I'm pretty sure that's extra grounds to get your foot spit in. This time - while he's making eye contact with you.

      Delete
  48. You, sir, an anarchist nonconformist ruffian to suggest such shenanigans.

    (And I think I caught up on your back posts now that Thursday is gone with the wind.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure, I could drink regular hot coffee - like a chump - but what am I, an animal?

      Delete
  49. Or they tell you they can do it and it's wrong when you get it. Just one of many reasons I don't go out to eat much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For sure. It's very easy to make food that's better than restaurant quality at home if you just practice cooking a bit. I mean, I'm no grand chef, but I'm pretty sure I can outcook any generic meal you'd find at a place like Chili's.

      Delete
  50. I work in a coffee shop, not a restaurant, but we are expected to bend over backwards to appease the customer. "Just say YES" is literally our motto (which makes the run-ins with creepy old men asking for handjobs a little weird).

    But this type forced concession, makes the instances when I have to say NO (we're out of something, the request is impossible) blissful. Magical unicorn fucking blissful! I know that's wrong of me. It makes me an asshole, and I'm sorry. Sometimes it just feels really good to tell people no.

    But that being said, I would've totally left the shrimp out of your cappuccino. No problem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are my hero, and I would tip you in so, so many nickels.

      Delete
  51. I was recently at one my favorite restaurants here, the Twisted Rooster, and my friend asked for some minor change. The waitress said, "of course we can do that! That's what we are all about, customizing your order!" So I think that's the new trend...restaurants that SPECIALIZE in custom orders. Which is weird, because I agree, why can't any restaurant do that??

    ReplyDelete

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