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(The Business Journals)   New generation of attractive restaurants in Seattle caters to Amazon tech workers. The winners adjust lunch seating to multiple 10-tops, emphasize happy hour, tolerate cheapskates, and don't pretend that people want to stay around Amazon for dinner   (bizjournals.com) divider line 17
    More: Obvious, Seattle  
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1714 clicks; posted to Business » on 06 Jul 2013 at 12:38 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



17 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2013-07-05 11:05:34 PM  
Why do waiters complain about 10-tops like they're that much harder than two 5-tops?  I get that they can be hard for the kitchen since they have to time the orders to come out together, and that waiters might get blamed for it when that doesn't work.  But that doesn't seem like that big of a deal to the waiter.  What else makes it different?

My only waiter experience was at Friday fish dinners at one of the local churches.  People put in their food orders and paid on the way in so I was only responsible for drink orders and bringing out food, that sort of thing.  Large groups weren't any different to me.
 
2013-07-06 01:06:09 AM  

serial_crusher: Why do waiters complain about 10-tops like they're that much harder than two 5-tops?  I get that they can be hard for the kitchen since they have to time the orders to come out together, and that waiters might get blamed for it when that doesn't work.  But that doesn't seem like that big of a deal to the waiter.  What else makes it different?

My only waiter experience was at Friday fish dinners at one of the local churches.  People put in their food orders and paid on the way in so I was only responsible for drink orders and bringing out food, that sort of thing.  Large groups weren't any different to me.


My only experience is from the kitchen side of things, but large groups were stressful because you hit the kitchen with a lot of orders at once.  I also worked in a 100 seat restaurant with a 100 sq ft kitchen that could barely fit 2 cooks and a dishwasher so we didn't even have space for 10 plates waiting to go out.  Fortunately we were a tapas restaurant so not everything had to go out at once, but for brunch it sucked trying to put together 5 benedicts, 3 different omelets, a pancake and a mac n cheese on a counter that could hold 5 plates.  Parties over 12 we just gave up and told them it would come out in 2 groups.  You did risk angering other tables though because the kitchen doesn't make anyone else's food but that large order for a while so if you ordered just after the 15 person party you had to wait a while for your food.
 
2013-07-06 01:15:32 AM  

serial_crusher: Why do waiters complain about 10-tops like they're that much harder than two 5-tops?  I get that they can be hard for the kitchen since they have to time the orders to come out together, and that waiters might get blamed for it when that doesn't work.  But that doesn't seem like that big of a deal to the waiter.  What else makes it different?

My only waiter experience was at Friday fish dinners at one of the local churches.  People put in their food orders and paid on the way in so I was only responsible for drink orders and bringing out food, that sort of thing.  Large groups weren't any different to me.


Part of the problem with large groups is you get stuck doing individual tasks for longer periods of time, even though the total time may be the same as smaller groups. These generally means service for other tables suffers, because say, you're filling drinks for 5 minutes, as opposed to doing three other things and circulating through the dining room between them.
 
2013-07-06 01:29:12 AM  
Effing SLUts. Like anyone stays in the area past 5:30
 
2013-07-06 01:38:31 AM  
First, booths with immobile tables and seating suck. Never mind the fact that big groups can't sit together - I'm a large guy, and rigid spacing typically means I can't use a booth. I need a chair. Add to that booths that are assembled with seating that can't support someone that's 250 pounds in a position suitable for dining, and, yeah, that's a turn-off.

Second, the environment and customer base in that area practically demands large group support, not just in seating, but in staffing. If you can't satisfy ten folks for lunch, you're not going to get much lunch traffic from large groups - and it's the intangibles that matter. If you can't seat a large group, you're probably not going to get those folks back in small groups or individually, because all they remember was 'we couldn't eat lunch there.' If you seat a large group, but you can't handle their orders in a timely manner, you're probably not going to get those folks back in small groups or individually, because all they remember was 'the service/food was slow/terrible when my team ate lunch there.'

Third, if your menu can't handle a lunch crowd, you probably shouldn't open for lunch. If you can't sling lunch at a large group, you're probably in trouble if you're in Seattle. I work in Bellevue, and you're talking City Center folks from Microsoft, Cisco, Caradigm, and other tech companies suddenly foraging for rapid lunch deliveries during their short lunch breaks - if you can't build it, they won't come.
 
2013-07-06 01:58:30 AM  
I thought all those hi tech companies had free lunches and snacks in the employee cafeteria?
 
2013-07-06 03:17:38 AM  

HempHead: I thought all those hi tech companies had free lunches and snacks in the employee cafeteria?


Yeah, not so much these days.

Dev teams at my software company still get delivered dinners, paid for by the company, on occasion when they're on a death march. We don't have a cafeteria, but each floor has a kitchenette with complimentary coffee, tea, various sodas, juices, and milk. We cut corners elsewhere - for example, we don't have individual wastebaskets (because the staff required to empty them cost money) or a whole hell of a lot in terms of office supplies. We're running on virtual machines for most of our workspaces, as physical machines cost money not just to buy, but to maintain, and we're all in low-wall cubicle seating (except for VPs and such, who get offices.) We're a newer company, so the hope is that we'll spin up on some of the big-boy benefits once our income picks up (and we have a LOT of sales in process, so the prognosis is good.) We'll see, though - we've made some rather short-sighted decisions lately, the impact of which are just starting to be felt. It's going to be a roller-coaster ride - we just don't know yet if it'll be fun, or if it'll derail on the first high-G turn and send us screaming into the parking lot, upside down.
 
2013-07-06 08:14:52 AM  
A Mexican resturant does great lunch business in a location near large companies....wow this truely blows my mind.
 
2013-07-06 09:01:52 AM  

serial_crusher: Why do waiters complain about 10-tops like they're that much harder than two 5-tops?


a table like that will usually ask for dumb crap, like to have 10 separate checks made, then complain when Bill's $1.50 coke ended up on Mary's check instead. And if they have a reservation, you can almost guarantee they will show up late (because Alice couldnt get her ass in gear) and then stay late swapping office gossip, so that means the table (often 2-3 tables pushed together) are off-line longer, and therefore cant get more customers in there. that costs the restaurant as well as the servers as there is less tip.
 
2013-07-06 12:02:02 PM  

LemSkroob: serial_crusher: Why do waiters complain about 10-tops like they're that much harder than two 5-tops?

a table like that will usually ask for dumb crap, like to have 10 separate checks made, then complain when Bill's $1.50 coke ended up on Mary's check instead. And if they have a reservation, you can almost guarantee they will show up late (because Alice couldnt get her ass in gear) and then stay late swapping office gossip, so that means the table (often 2-3 tables pushed together) are off-line longer, and therefore cant get more customers in there. that costs the restaurant as well as the servers as there is less tip.


Good points.  The separate checks thing is BS though.  If you can't keep track of who ordered what, you should write it down.  If you do write it down and still can't get it right, well...

/ There's a place here in Austin where all the ordering is done from an iPad.  It seems like a no-brainer that it would allow the purchasers to split their checks, but it doesn't.  You have to go through the waiter to do that.
// The waitresses wear skimpy schoolgirl outfits, so really I'd rather just have them coming by to take my order.
 
2013-07-06 12:30:38 PM  

serial_crusher: LemSkroob: serial_crusher: Why do waiters complain about 10-tops like they're that much harder than two 5-tops?

a table like that will usually ask for dumb crap, like to have 10 separate checks made, then complain when Bill's $1.50 coke ended up on Mary's check instead. And if they have a reservation, you can almost guarantee they will show up late (because Alice couldnt get her ass in gear) and then stay late swapping office gossip, so that means the table (often 2-3 tables pushed together) are off-line longer, and therefore cant get more customers in there. that costs the restaurant as well as the servers as there is less tip.

Good points.  The separate checks thing is BS though.  If you can't keep track of who ordered what, you should write it down.  If you do write it down and still can't get it right, well...


Its not the 'getting it right' part that is the issue for the servers. Its having to go back and enter 10 orders into the system instead of one, then handing out ten checks to ten people, then having to run a combination of 10 credit cards/making changes ten times. 


Plus, statistically, the larger the group, the less percentage the tip becomes. If its you and a date, yeah it will often just get rounded up near the 20% mark to a round dollar, but go out with all the secretaries and suddenly everyone wants to pay 15% to the penny.
 
2013-07-06 04:19:17 PM  

LemSkroob: Plus, statistically, the larger the group, the less percentage the tip becomes. If its you and a date, yeah it will often just get rounded up near the 20% mark to a round dollar, but go out with all the secretaries and suddenly everyone wants to pay 15% to the penny.


That's why most restaurants charge automatic gratuity for large groups(usually 6 or more). That's also an incentive for the servers not to worry about providing acceptable service, which in my experience tends to be the case when I've been with larger groups.
 
2013-07-06 04:26:25 PM  
Pretty sure that the failing restaurants generally have management with a healthy drug problem.  That's generally where the profits end up going, if there's no other explanation as to why a popular restaurant failed.
 
2013-07-06 04:34:16 PM  
FTA: The challenges: Lunch times are crazy busy, competition (including food trucks) is intense and the area pretty much empties immediately after happy hour.

In other words, restaurants are required to bear the cost of poor urban planning. Nothing new here.
 
2013-07-06 04:49:23 PM  

Kraftwerk Orange: Pretty sure that the failing restaurants generally have management with a healthy drug problem.  That's generally where the profits end up going, if there's no other explanation as to why a popular restaurant failed.


i have seen four of my most favorite restaurants get snorted up the owners nose.  The owner and his chef partner can create amazing food and atmospheres but one needs to enjoy it for the year its open because once they start getting money flowing they immediately run back to the coke.  Doesnt matter how often they go to rehab once they get that money its on again.
 
2013-07-07 01:37:45 AM  

FormlessOne: First, booths with immobile tables and seating suck. Never mind the fact that big groups can't sit together - I'm a large guy, and rigid spacing typically means I can't use a booth. I need a chair. Add to that booths that are assembled with seating that can't support someone that's 250 pounds in a position suitable for dining, and, yeah, that's a turn-off.

Second, the environment and customer base in that area practically demands large group support, not just in seating, but in staffing. If you can't satisfy ten folks for lunch, you're not going to get much lunch traffic from large groups - and it's the intangibles that matter. If you can't seat a large group, you're probably not going to get those folks back in small groups or individually, because all they remember was 'we couldn't eat lunch there.' If you seat a large group, but you can't handle their orders in a timely manner, you're probably not going to get those folks back in small groups or individually, because all they remember was 'the service/food was slow/terrible when my team ate lunch there.'

Third, if your menu can't handle a lunch crowd, you probably shouldn't open for lunch. If you can't sling lunch at a large group, you're probably in trouble if you're in Seattle. I work in Bellevue, and you're talking City Center folks from Microsoft, Cisco, Caradigm, and other tech companies suddenly foraging for rapid lunch deliveries during their short lunch breaks - if you can't build it, they won't come.


250 lbs!!! Look, I'm 6'3" and weight somewhere around 230lbs. That's overweight and I'm working hard at getting rid of that. Seldom should a human weight more than me. If you're 250lbs and a homosapien then you're either an outlier or a fat fark that needs the inconvenience to remind himself of how fat he or she is!
 
2013-07-07 11:10:51 AM  
"Amazonians are a great bunch that are communal in nature and place value in the perception of frugality,"

What a diplomatic way to say, "gang of cheapskates."

What a lunch crowd of Amazonians may look like:

media.treehugger.com
 
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