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Sunday, August 7, 2011

How To Scam Free Food

Someone posted something the other day (shout out to Rebecca) that made me remember an event that happened years ago. She was mentioning that age old custom of giving your tables a survey or comment card to fill out to ensure that they had wonderful service and enjoyed their crappy pre-cooked food. Most of the time, people will only bother filling out a form when they want to complain about something. No one ever takes the time to really compliment you on these things except on very rare occasions. The little forms suck, but there is a way you can make them work for you rather than against you. It just takes some effort. And stamps.

When I was working at the now defunct Houlihan's in lovely Times Square, we were always busy with tons of tourists who came into the restaurant because of its familiarity. Don't ask me why anyone would get into an airplane and travel hundreds or thousands of miles and then end up eating dinner at a place that is also in their local mall. But people did. I guess once you're in New York you get so homesick that you need nachos and Sysco food products. Now we didn't have comment cards or surveys there but plenty of times people would ask to speak to a manager in order to complain about the quality of food or their service. It was always surprising to me when people thought their steak or salmon tasted less than ideal or that they thought the service was sub-par. C'mon. It's Houlihan's. In Times Square, for fuck's sake. Of course everything there will suck ass. Eventually I had had enough of people dissing my service. Granted, my service sucked, but I was sick of bitches telling my manager about it. I devised a plan. A very special Bitchy Waiter plan.

One night I typed a letter from a "customer" that praised my serving skills. I went on an and on about how I went above and beyond their expectations. How I recommended what they would like the most on the menu and then how delicious the food was. I even wrote some fake ass bullshit about how good I was with their children and how I made them laugh and finish their veggies. I also wrote that I suggested which Broadway shows they would enjoy. Basically, I said that I was an angel sent from Heaven so that I could serve at Houlihan's. I then put that letter into an envelope, stamped it and addressed it to Houlihan's. Then I put that envelope into another envelope and sent it to my friend who lived in Georgia and mailed it to him. When Ron got the letter, all he had to do was drop it back into a mailbox so it would be postmarked Georgia and no one would ever suspect that I wrote it about myself.

A few days later, the letter appeared. My manager was elated. She was so proud of me that she stapled the letter to the bulletin board so everyone could see what high standards they needed to live up to. I was the superstar waiter of Houlihan's Times Square. Only a couple of people knew that I wrote that shit myself while most people just couldn't believe that someone would write that about me. But there it was in black and white and hanging in the kitchen. And it was postmarked from Georgia so it must be true. The letter stayed there for a few weeks. Best of all, my manager rewarded me with a $50 gift card for TGIFridays. Yep. And all it cost me was about ten minutes of time and two stamps. It really is one of my proudest moments. My manager would be so disappointed if she knew the truth. There was no family in Athens, Georgia who loved me. I'm sorry, Gladys. But thanks for the free food.



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11 comments:

L.Voss said...

IN FUCKEN GENIUS darling! If I saw left behind tickets I would pass them out to friends and family to compliment the service I gave lol.

Rachel said...

is this a repeat and you didn't say anything or is this new and I'm insane?

www.DiatribesAndOvations.com said...

Sonofabitch, you just keep getting funnier! I really enjoy your blog! (This is not spam. I really ready your posts!)

Maria said...

Genius!

fmcgmccllc said...

I love it.

tina said...

LOL....a friend of mine did that at her other job. She got one of her shifts back after having it taken away because of a complaint!

Anonymous said...

I'm a server in a chain restaurant that utilizes a third party online survey system. Essentially, it provides customers with a way of rating the restaurant. In return for their participation, they are rewarded with a free appetizer on their next visit. Ingenious system really.

The survey opportunity prints out randomly on guest checks at intervals determined by the location manager. My method of influencing the scheme is to open up every server's screen a few times during the shift, print out all their checks, and look for any that have printed out with a survey. In the event I find one, I then split the food on to a NEW check which will likely print out without a survey, then I close the original survey check out to cash (at a 0.00 balance). The servers have no idea I'm doing this, and it costs them nothing while ensuring they get a positive response from their "customer".

Our survey score has a huge bearing on how our location is perceived by regional upper management and can prompt their presence / criticism / wrath. In short, our survey scores have the potential to make our lives HELL.

I've been taking them home and utilizing IP proxy software, filling them out from locations across the state/nation/globe. This has to be done because I've learned that multiple survey responses from any one IP are voided and have no bearing on our results. Trial and error!

So far for the month, we've had our highest score to date. %100 positive responses. I even go so far as to write comments of praise for the server whose check I've hijacked. At this rate the entire restaurant will be able to hate our job just a little bit less ... I'm just curious to see how the experiment turns out. It's worth the hour or two a night I devote to it, not just for my peace of mind, but with the knowledge that my co-workers can live a little easier too.

I'm taking the power out of the hands of the "guests" and, hopefully, creating a more positive experience for EVERYONE involved. Happy management = happy employees = happy customers. Let's see how it all works out :-)

Pepper Potts said...

This is genius! I love it! I might have to do this myself when the going gets tough at my new restaurant.

Corinne said...

HA! I totally remember this! I was one of the few people you told...and your secret has been safe with me all these years :-)

Anonymous said...

You're my hero. Those surveys are complete bullshit. I can't stand that upper management takes them seriously.

Anonymous said...

You lied and got gifts for it, nothing to be proud of. I would say you're a lack luster polished turd. I would also guess you cheat on you lovers, drive like shit & have a low (very low) self worth.