By the end of the year, there's a very good chance I'll have given more money to the Golden Nugget than to anything else. Possibly including rent. And no, not The Golden Nugget. The Golden Nugget. If there's one thing I know about me, it's that I have a soft spot for late night diners. Typically one's named "Eat'n'Park" that will occasionally sell me a whole pie and let me stay in the restaurant eating it, but as that's not a franchise that has yet made the break into Chicago (or out of the Pennsylvania-WV-Ohio tristate area), I'll have to deal with substitutes. And sadly, there are no Denny's within walking distance, which is a real shame as the perfect compliment to after-hours bars is a place where they'll sell you thirty pounds of eggs without asking questions. So I imagine I'll be frequenting this place, as it bumps my ability to read incredibly dryly written articles about tenfold. To do so, however, I might need to set down a few things I expect from the waitstaff at these establishments. Which might amount to printing out this post and pinning it to the front of my shirt so I can concentrate on reading and grunting at the coffee. I've worked at two different formats of restaurant, first doing the whole busboy thing at a sportsbar/restaurant/place with games, then a summer as a burger jockey at a major hamburger chain. So I understand that diners can be overneedy, annoying pricks. I'm simply trying to relay what I'd think to be ideal, so that we're both clear on that. I'm usually more a fan of "tell me what to do" if I'm serving someone, rather than the school of "guess 'til I'm happy." So here are the rules, as it were.
1) Don't even ask if I want coffee. I do. If I didn't, I would have no business being in your establishment. In fact, if any table has less than 50% coffee drinkers, their bill should be increased tenfold to make amends with the restaurant. Diners, if you weren't aware, are not in the business of selling food, but in the business of getting rid of as much cheap coffee as possible without actually just dumping it into the sewer. The food thing is merely a coincidence.
2) Regarding the fashion in which I should be served. You should check on whether I need more coffee at least twice during the course of my stay. I'd probably creep you out if I demanded, shaking, that you "leave the pot", so let's try to avoid that by just checking on whether I've drained the coffee and have started staring like an addict going through withdrawal at the people in the other booths and their full drinks. Any time you pass the table with a coffee pot that has any coffee whatsoever in it, at least glance at my cup.
3) You might want to relay to the cook that I can make French Toast. It's one of the few dishes I've mastered at this point that isn't HotPockets, and if necessary, I could whip it up at home, though it would probably be harder and wouldn't help you out with your problem of how to get rid of coffee. So here's the deal. When I make French Toast, it doesn't take thirty minutes. I'd understand more if the restaurant were really packed, or if I'd seen a single dish hit the countertop in that time. Don't get me wrong. It was magnificent, and better than I make (though I think thickness of the bread does have a lot to do with that,) but I came in because I was hungry, not because I wanted to sweat in a place that was inexplicably ten degrees hotter than the outside temperature.
4) I'm not that involved in what I'm reading. Feel free to ask me how I'm doing. That way, I can get the check from you before finally giving up and getting it at the register.
5) Those guys talking incredibly loudly at the next table. It's ok to spill things on them. Like coffee. Or fire. Except if I'm one. Then don't.
6) Follow those rules, and you'll usually get at least 30% tip.
Tonight was middling. Rule 1 was followed in that coffee was given before she gave me water, but then I only got one refill. I view coffee like I currently view Netflix. I'm paying a given amount regardless ($1.50 or $18, respectively), so I'd like each actual thing to cost as little as possible. As it went, I had two cups of $0.75 coffee. Not bad, but not as good as 50 cups of $0.03 coffee. I did have to go to the register to get the check, but it looked like she was the most productive waitress there, so that's relatively ok. I'll definitely be back. Perhaps with a note on my shirt like I'm five and going to the grocery store to get milk.