Thursday, April 10, 2008

May I take your order...



You would NOT believe the experience I just had at Bennigan's. Before I start, please let me say that I am typing this and LAUGHING...this is not an angry post.

After a long day of working hard, my co-worker and I decided to have dinner at Bennigan's. It just sounded good. We walked in, we were seated...enter Kevin.

Kevin (obviously one of the newest guys in the restaurant) handed us our menus and asked us what we'd like to drink. I don't think I've ever heard such a thick southern drawl being spoken in such a rapid New York style pace! We placed our drink order and before we even opened our menus he said, "Are y'all ready to order yet or do you need a couple of minutes?"

Um...we need a couple of minutes. I've been a waiter and I know how nerve-wracking it can be when you're first getting started, but HOLY COW...we hadn't even opened our menus yet! So he goes away and comes back with our drinks in about 30 seconds (I would swear he was hopped up on SOMETHING) and says "Are y'all ready to order yet?"! At this point, it's already comical. But something on the menu had caught my eye and I decided to ask about it. They had a "Lucky Three" combo that allowed you to pick an appetizer, an entree and a dessert. That's what the menu said. It did not, however, list a price. So I asked Kevin, "so what's with this Lucky Three combo?" Most experienced wait staff would proceed to say something along the lines of, "Well, for 10.99, you can order an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert from this list." Not Kevin, he takes the menu from me and starts reading to me exactly what I had already read...without the price.

Trying to be patient and trying not to laugh I asked how much for the combo. He tells me 10.99 and then asks us if we're ready to order. Keep in mind this conversation has lasted all of about 30 seconds. I tell him we'll need another minute and my co-worker, trying to stifle his laughter, says "I'll wave you down when we're ready."

So we review the choices of appetizer, entree and dessert for this combo and make our decisions on what we want to eat. Out of the corner of my eye I see Kevin standing less than 10 feet away just watching us like a hawk! I glance up...barely make eye contact and he is on his way over.

So my co-worker places his order first. He asks for a caesar salad, but with ranch dressing. Kevin can't believe his ears! "You want RANCH on your CAESAR salad??? you want it on the side or something?"

My co-worker tries to explain how this is normally accomplished..."well, don't put the caesar dressing on it....just the ranch."

" you don't want the caesar dressing on it, but you want the ranch on the side."

"Sure." Again...he's trying not to laugh at this poor guy. He proceeds to order his entree which is a cajun chicken and shrimp pasta dish. It's supposed to be served on fettuccine. Apparently they are out of fettuccine...but our green waiter says, "We are out of the the thick round pasta [penne] ok?"

My mind is swimming with ways to keep from laughing at this guy. I feel bad for him, but at the same time, it's HILARIOUS. He should not yet be trying to serve a table on his own! Next, my co-worker has to order his dessert. "I'll take Abbey's Apple Sizzler."

"Apple chiseler?" WHAT??? "Oh, apple sizzler."

*WHEW* it's my turn. I order the buffalo wings (pretty easy for him to jot down). I also order the Cajun chicken and shrimp pasta...and then I order the "death by chocolate" dessert. I watch as he's writing with his neon-green gel pen and realize that as I am telling him what dessert I want, he's still writing the word "and" as he's getting through writing the WHOLE DISH NAME down that I ordered. I used to be a waiter and know that typically they try to abbreviate as much as possible to be quick. Then I watch him try to write the dessert I ordered...

B B B Death...

Congratulations, Kevin! You learned to abbreviate the order. Took you a minute to figure out how to spell it, but you wrote just DEATH!

He tells us it'll be about 15 minutes and then offers me a refill on my diet pepsi that is less than half-way gone. far, decent, if not very fast-paced, service.

For the next several minutes, we laugh about what other occupations Kevin may or may not be suited to work. He is kind of tied up helping someone with a large party order, and we're not in much of a hurry, so we don't mind waiting. Finally, after about 10 or 15 minutes, out come our appetizers...YAY!!! We were both famished! "Sorry that took so long guys! Kinda busy over there! Here are your appetizers."

"No problem. Thanks."

He walks away and in less than a minute returns with our entrees. Ok...a little quick on the entree, but neither of us is complaining. So we make it through the appetizers and start on our entrees and both of our glasses are refilled again...this time just by bringing replacement drinks while both glasses are still about half-way full. (Not complaining, just explaining). I ask for extra napkins, because we both only started with one. He brings back an inch thick stack of cocktail napkins and 4 wet-wipes. Did we look THAT BAD????

We get a few bites into our entrees when Kevin is back asking if we're ready for our desserts yet and if we'd like to go boxes!!!!!

If I was in a bad mood, this probably would have irritated me, but instead, because of my giddiness over how comical his service was, it was all I could do to stay out of fits of laughter. Seriously??? TO GO BOXES??? We hadn't been eating for more than 5 or 10 minutes! We waited longer than that for our food! As outsiders looking in on these two somewhat dishevelled
(from a long day of hot, tiresome work) loonies laughing as their waiter walked away, we must have looked like we were stoned out of our gourds.

Fast forward to dessert. My co-worker was ready for his dessert before I was, and so his dessert was brought out first. When I was ready for mine, Kevin ran...LITERALLY RAN to the kitchen to get it. He brought it out to me and I began to dig in to something that can only be described as sugar topped with sugar on a sugar crust with sugar drizzled on top. Death by Chocolate was really an appropriate name. I told my co-worker that Kevin must have had 3 of these before work.

After a few minutes and nearing the end of dessert, Kevin walks toward us and asks if we're going to be on the same check. I say we are and he turns around and YELLS to the person at the register "YEAH! THEY'RE ON THE SAME CHECK!" and jogs back to the register. When he brings us the check, he sets it down on the table and as sincere as can be says "Sorry if I made you wait too long for anything."

That was more than either of us could handle. We both busted out in laughter before he started walking away. I asked my co-worker "Did he SERIOUSLY just say that???" The only way we could have waited any less time is if he'd had the drinks on the table before we were seated and was bringing us the meal as we read the menus ON THE WAY to our table! I was surprised he didn't somehow already have my credit card to bring back to me with the check when he brought it the first time!

I paid the check, tipped him well, because really...he deserved it. And headed out the door. I couldn't help I walked out I asked the host if Kevin was if I needed validation. She kinda had that " really had to ask" kind of look on her face as she said, "yes". I said, "oh, it was good service...just a little quick on the trigger...but he did well!" and we left.

Truly...I hope this was as comical to read as it was to experience!


Crystal said...

The B B B Death thing had me rolling.

The Rock Chick said...

We had a Benningan's just a few blocks away and I would sneak in now and then for a "Death By Chocolate"! They closed about a year ago and I haven't felt the same since.

You hit it right on the head. Kevin was no doubt sampling some sugar in the back there! This is hysterical! I used to wait tables, too, so it's probably even more funny to me.

This was a great story---you and Crystal are spot on today--you two should write a book!