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  #1  
Old 05-19-2017, 06:50 AM
RTFirefly RTFirefly is online now
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The perils of ordering your second drink when your entree arrives

This is a problem I've had at a number of restaurants over the years, and it's fresh in my mind because it happened to me again last night.

Server asked us for our drink orders first thing, which is standard, and they were delivered promptly. We had appetizers, and by the time the entrees arrived, I was finishing up my beer - not unusual, either, if there's time to sip your drink before the appetizers arrive, and more time between the appetizers and the entree.

So the entrees arrive, and I ask my server for another beer. I start into my dinner, and sip from my water glass while I wait for my beer to arrive. After maybe 15 minutes, I go to the bar, explain the situation, and am given a beer to take back to my table.

By this point, I've eaten a good bit more than half my entree. The point was to have that second beer with dinner, not as an after-dinner drink. I had to step up the pace to drink most of the beer before we were ready to leave.

Sometimes I've gotten that second beer so late that I only get a couple of sips of it with my meal, and I'll wind up leaving most of it as we have dessert and coffee, or get the check and leave.

So the question is: what do I do about this? When I order that second beer when the food arrives, do I have to make a point of saying to the server, "I want to have this beer with my dinner, so please bring it right away"? I shouldn't have to say that, but I'm not seeing a better option. Any suggestions?

(When I can, I order the second drink before the entrees arrive. But that's dependent on seeing the server before the entrees arrive, and after I've made enough of a dent in the first drink that I know I'll want a second one with my food. That frequently doesn't happen.)
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  #2  
Old 05-19-2017, 07:01 AM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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Order two beers.
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Old 05-19-2017, 07:05 AM
Grrr! Grrr! is offline
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When I go out to eat for breakfast, I usually tell the server I would like a glass of milk WITH the meal. (Otherwise, that glass of milk would just sit there get'n warm until my food arrived.)


But heck, back in my bar drinking days, I always knew to order a beer when my current beer was half full. So maybe go that route. At worst, you'll have two beers sit'n in front of you. Ain't nothing wrong with that.
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Old 05-19-2017, 07:38 AM
steronz steronz is offline
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Order two beers.
This. It's lowbrow but it works.
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:00 AM
jaycat jaycat is offline
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No one ever said life was going to be easy.
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:17 AM
DrFidelius DrFidelius is offline
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The two-for-one happy hour pricing ends at 7, but our entrees didn't arrive until about 7:10. Next time instead of sharing my second beer with The Wife we will each order two, with the second being held until we are ready for it.
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  #7  
Old 05-19-2017, 08:24 AM
RTFirefly RTFirefly is online now
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Originally Posted by panache45 View Post
Order two beers.
If I knew I was going to want two beers when I ordered my first one, I'd do that. But it all depends. More often than not, I'll want that second beer with my entree - but not much more often than not.

Maybe 40% of the time, give or take a bit, my beer will only be half gone when my entree arrives, in which case the remaining half, plus some water from my water glass if need be, will get me through my meal.

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Originally Posted by Grrr! View Post
But heck, back in my bar drinking days, I always knew to order a beer when my current beer was half full. So maybe go that route. At worst, you'll have two beers sit'n in front of you. Ain't nothing wrong with that.
Tru dat, and I already do it when I can. As I said above, "When I can, I order the second drink before the entrees arrive. But that's dependent on seeing the server before the entrees arrive, and after I've made enough of a dent in the first drink that I know I'll want a second one with my food. That frequently doesn't happen."
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  #8  
Old 05-19-2017, 08:25 AM
Orwell Orwell is offline
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15 minutes to get a second beer? That's lousy service. Leave a 5% tip, with a note that it was reduced because you had to wait / waited on yourself for the second beer. And, yes, I realize servers get busy, but if they are so busy waiting on too many tables, that should be reflected in each individual tip, and works itself out in volume.

As for preventing this problem, when you order your first drink, say "and I'd like a second beer when the entrees are brought out". Not sure that will work, but at least you've made clear what you want.

----edit---- just saw the above post. If you don't know whether or not you will be getting a second beer, I don't know what to tell you. But I am sure that a 15 minute wait for a drink is lousy service. Even going to the bar yourself isn't always a good solution, as waiting at the bar can take quite awhile sometimes.

Last edited by Orwell; 05-19-2017 at 08:27 AM..
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  #9  
Old 05-19-2017, 08:29 AM
Shoeless Shoeless is online now
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If I had to wait 15 minutes, I would flag the waiter down next time I saw them (whether they had the beer in hand or not) and say it's too late, never mind, and make sure it doesn't show up on the bill. Then I would leave a minimal tip. That's just horrible service.
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:44 AM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Yeah, I would emphasize that I needed the beer to have with the meal. I don't think the survey would mind being told that. But what I usually do is make sure I order the drink (for me, it's a glass of wine) when I order the meal.

I've been cutting back (what a drag it is getting old!!) and sometimes don't have a glass before dinner anymore, so I tell the server (for me, it's usually he bartender since I eat at the bar most times) that I'd like a glass of wine with dinner. And that's another reason to eat at the bar-- getting that drink in a timely fashion is much less of an issue.
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  #11  
Old 05-19-2017, 09:13 AM
DeepLiquid DeepLiquid is offline
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I've experienced the same thing, so I've started ordering my second drink when I place my entree order and saying "please bring the drink with my entree, not before".
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  #12  
Old 05-19-2017, 09:38 AM
kayaker kayaker is online now
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Originally Posted by DrFidelius View Post
The two-for-one happy hour pricing ends at 7, but our entrees didn't arrive until about 7:10. Next time instead of sharing my second beer with The Wife we will each order two, with the second being held until we are ready for it.
I was at a crowded bar the other night right near the end of happy hour. A guy approached the bar, checked his watch, and asked if happy hour (half price drafts) was still in effect.

The bartender checked the cash register. It's a few minutes slow, so yes it is still the hour of happiness. Guy orders three Bell's Two Hearteds. While the bartender is making his change, she asks if he needs three menus. Nope, he's alone.
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  #13  
Old 05-19-2017, 09:42 AM
manson1972 manson1972 is online now
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Drink faster. Finish the first beer right before you are done with your appetizer and then order another one.
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  #14  
Old 05-19-2017, 10:04 AM
k9bfriender k9bfriender is online now
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Question, you said that you ordered your second drink when the entree arrived. Did your server bring it out, or was it a different person? It could have been a different server or a dedicated food runner who brought out your food. If that is the case, they may have very well forgotten entirely to put in your drink order, as they wouldn't usually be able to do it themselves, but would have to relay that info to your server, who would then have to put it it. This would slow down or possibly entirely stop the process of getting your beer.

Also, did your server bother to write down your order, or did they just assume that they would remember it? I have worked with many servers who think that they can remember orders without taking notes, but they really can't. If it was your server, they may have dropped off your food, heard your request for another beer, and then and taken orders off of 2 more tables before going back to a terminal, by which time, they have completely forgotten about your beer, and even if they did not, it will slow down the delivery considerably.

There is also the relation between waitstaff and the bar. Sometimes, if you have an order for a beer in, then someone fro the bar will bring it to your table. Most of the time though, your drink will sit in the server aisle until your server comes to pick it up and deliver it, which may be a while before they get to it, or even remember.

What to do about it? Well I cook and eat at home, so while the serving staff sucks, it doesn't do me any good to complain about it.

Realistically, about the only thing you can do is to be just a slight bit of a dick about it. When your entree comes out, and you ask for another beer, say, "And I'd really appreciate having it before I get too far into this meal." or something along the lines that actually puts a time metric in, an expectation, if you will. This will not always work, but it will probably increase the odds of timely beers.
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Old 05-19-2017, 10:12 AM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Yeah, I would emphasize that I needed the beer to have with the meal. I don't think the survey would mind being told that. But what I usually do is make sure I order the drink (for me, it's a glass of wine) when I order the meal.
I'd go for some sort of indirect phrasing--"Thanks! And I love to have another beer to go with this, if you could." But that might be my southern upbringing .
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  #16  
Old 05-19-2017, 10:16 AM
kayaker kayaker is online now
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Originally Posted by manson1972 View Post
Drink faster. Finish the first beer right before you are done with your appetizer and then order another one.
And another with dessert.
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Old 05-19-2017, 01:04 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Originally Posted by panache45 View Post
Order two beers.
Then the second beer is warm by the time the entree comes.
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:22 PM
Kimballkid Kimballkid is offline
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But that might be my southern upbringing .
Well bless your heart.

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Old 05-19-2017, 04:15 PM
Quartz Quartz is online now
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So the question is: what do I do about this?
Apart from anything else, leave a 1 penny tip.
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  #20  
Old 05-19-2017, 04:38 PM
Orwell Orwell is offline
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I'm struggling to remember ever having one beer with dinner. I typically have zero, two or three. But it seems to me that this thread is about lousy service, not when to order a drink. I know there have been times when I have been frustrated about not having a drink (could be water, coffee or beer), but it's always the service that's lacking, not my order timing. For coffee, I like the places that put an insulated carafe on my table.
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Old 05-19-2017, 04:43 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Then the second beer is warm by the time the entree comes.
Exactly what I was going to say. Maybe not "warm," but perhaps not as cool as you'd like it to be, depending on the beer, environment, etc. In the summer when dining outside, for example, I got into the habit of ordering the smallest size of beers just for this reason. When ordering a pint (or, rather, 0.5L in the cases I'm thinking of) of lager, if would be noticeably warmer by the time I got to the last 1/4 of it, so I'd order the 0.3L glasses, and that would solve the problem.

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Old 05-19-2017, 04:52 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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I'm struggling to remember ever having one beer with dinner. I typically have zero, two or three. But it seems to me that this thread is about lousy service, not when to order a drink. I know there have been times when I have been frustrated about not having a drink (could be water, coffee or beer), but it's always the service that's lacking, not my order timing. For coffee, I like the places that put an insulated carafe on my table.
I guess you can call this "lousy service", but one thing I've noticed is that bars in restaurants often have just one bartender. And he or she works his or her ass off trying to take care of the bar and the dinner crowd. It may not be all that much your server can do to rush you a beer that you order just as your enter arrives. Makes a lot more sense to order in advance, and make it really clear that you're very serious about wanting it with the entree.
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Old 05-19-2017, 05:01 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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I guess you can call this "lousy service", but one thing I've noticed is that bars in restaurants often have just one bartender. And he or she works his or her ass off trying to take care of the bar and the dinner crowd. It may not be all that much your server can do to rush you a beer that you order just as your enter arrives. Makes a lot more sense to order in advance, and make it really clear that you're very serious about wanting it with the entree.
In my experience, it often happens even when the restaurant isn't that crowded. The waitperson gets distracted or just forgets.

I can cut the server some slack when the restaurant is busy or there's some other excuse for it. But fairly often it's just bad service.

If possible, I'll order my second drink as soon as my first one is half finished if I can catch the server's eye, rather than waiting until the entree comes. That way I should have it by the time I've finished my first drink.
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  #24  
Old 05-19-2017, 05:03 PM
Orwell Orwell is offline
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Ok. I see what you mean. I try to order my next drink while I I still have some left. But waiting 15 minutes is bad service, no matter when you order.
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Old 05-19-2017, 05:37 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Order the drink at the same time you're ordering your meal and ask the server to deliver the drink with the meal.
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  #26  
Old 05-19-2017, 06:22 PM
thelurkinghorror thelurkinghorror is offline
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Originally Posted by DrFidelius View Post
The two-for-one happy hour pricing ends at 7, but our entrees didn't arrive until about 7:10. Next time instead of sharing my second beer with The Wife we will each order two, with the second being held until we are ready for it.
Exactly. One of those laws of life is that if happy hour ends at 7, you will not see your server from 6:45 on. The only thing that works better is to order 3.
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Old 05-19-2017, 06:41 PM
madsircool madsircool is offline
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15 minutes to get a second beer? That's lousy service. Leave a 5% tip, with a note that it was reduced because you had to wait / waited on yourself for the second beer. And, yes, I realize servers get busy, but if they are so busy waiting on too many tables, that should be reflected in each individual tip, and works itself out in volume.

As for preventing this problem, when you order your first drink, say "and I'd like a second beer when the entrees are brought out". Not sure that will work, but at least you've made clear what you want.

----edit---- just saw the above post. If you don't know whether or not you will be getting a second beer, I don't know what to tell you. But I am sure that a 15 minute wait for a drink is lousy service. Even going to the bar yourself isn't always a good solution, as waiting at the bar can take quite awhile sometimes.
Orwellian.
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:49 PM
seal_cleaner seal_cleaner is offline
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I've been to several restaurants (here in Arkansas) where the waiter asks if you want water after your first beer. Having more than one seems to be unacceptable.
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Old 05-19-2017, 10:08 PM
Enright3 Enright3 is online now
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If I had to wait 15 minutes, I would flag the waiter down next time I saw them (whether they had the beer in hand or not) and say it's too late, never mind, and make sure it doesn't show up on the bill. Then I would leave a minimal tip. That's just horrible service.
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Ok. I see what you mean. I try to order my next drink while I I still have some left. But waiting 15 minutes is bad service, no matter when you order.
I shouldn't have to play sneaky double ordering games to get the beer I wanted in a reasonable time frame. I don't know if I'd hose them on the tip over a beer; but I would definitely refuse the beer when it arrived and explain that I wanted it with my meal, not 15 minutes later. Of course could also flag down the waiter 3 or 4 minutes into waiting and ask about the beer.
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Old 05-19-2017, 10:50 PM
zoid zoid is offline
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Eat at the bar. Honestly it solves this problem quite well and I swear the food comes out faster as you don't have to wait for an overworked server. Just remember to tip your bartender as well as you would your server.
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:07 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Eat at the bar. Honestly it solves this problem quite well and I swear the food comes out faster as you don't have to wait for an overworked server. Just remember to tip your bartender as well as you would your server.
Not a good solution unless you are eating alone. You can't converse easily among your dining companions if there is more than one other. And I hate sitting on a high stool instead of a comfortable chair with a back or in a booth even when I'm alone.

Last edited by Colibri; 05-19-2017 at 11:09 PM..
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:24 PM
zoid zoid is offline
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I agree it's less that optimal for 4 people but for 2 or 3 it works quite well but if bar stools aren't your thing then I can see how you wouldn't like it. Me, I've spent so much time on bar stools it's second nature. :-)
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:52 PM
Lukeinva Lukeinva is offline
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Order two beers.
And an ice bucket to keep them chilled

Last edited by Lukeinva; 05-19-2017 at 11:53 PM..
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  #34  
Old 05-20-2017, 12:30 AM
Martini Enfield Martini Enfield is offline
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I've found the trick is to get a soft drink with the entree then, when the server shows up with the mains, ask for a beer to go with dinner. Never had any problems with that approach.

As an aside, the American habit of referring to the main course as the "Entree" is bizarre and confused the hell out of the the first time I visited the US.
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Old 05-20-2017, 12:40 AM
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I don't get it, either. Every time I've been to a place that has good service (which is most of the places I go, really), I've always been able to ask them for a refill of soda when I get my meal, and they get it quickly. Why would ordering a new beer be slower? If anything, they're getting paid more, so you'd expect them to be faster.

Is there some custom of only drinking beer before and after eating, but not during? Because, otherwise, I don't understand this behavior. It's not as if their job ends with the food. You still come by and see if anyone tried to flag you down.

I guess what I'm asking is, does this behavior happen with things other than beer? If so, then it's just that service is different where y'all are. If not, then I wonder what is special about beer.
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Old 05-20-2017, 12:50 AM
Drunky Smurf Drunky Smurf is offline
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And an ice bucket to keep them chilled
And a walrus to guard your bucket.
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  #37  
Old 05-20-2017, 04:01 AM
RTFirefly RTFirefly is online now
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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Yeah, I would emphasize that I needed the beer to have with the meal. I don't think the survey would mind being told that. But what I usually do is make sure I order the drink (for me, it's a glass of wine) when I order the meal.
The problem is, when I order the meal, I often don't know whether the first drink is enough for the evening, or whether I'm going to be done with it, or nearly so, by the time the entree arrives.

I suppose I could skip having a drink when I first get seated, in which case I'd be sure to want one with the meal, but I really don't want to do that either.
Quote:
I've been cutting back (what a drag it is getting old!!) and sometimes don't have a glass before dinner anymore, so I tell the server (for me, it's usually he bartender since I eat at the bar most times) that I'd like a glass of wine with dinner. And that's another reason to eat at the bar-- getting that drink in a timely fashion is much less of an issue.
If it came down to a choice between eating at the bar and staying home, my wife and I would say, "screw it, we must have something in the freezer we can nuke."

Anyway, I think I've come up with a tentative solution: when she brings me my first drink, I'm going to ask her to stop by in between the appetizer and the entree to see if I'm going to want a second drink with my meal, because by then I'll know, and that way she can bring me my second drink with my meal if I want one.

We'll see how that works.
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Old 05-20-2017, 05:49 AM
kayaker kayaker is online now
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If I know the server, I'll get their attention wherever they may be and do my not-yet-famous "thirsty man in the desert" pantomime.
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  #39  
Old 05-20-2017, 10:03 AM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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Beer in a small pitcher solves this problem.

Ideally you need at least two beer drinkers at the table. Sharing a pitcher works out to almost 2 mugs each.

A friend and I always ordered a pitcher with a large pizza.

Last edited by aceplace57; 05-20-2017 at 10:05 AM..
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  #40  
Old 05-20-2017, 02:14 PM
Grrr! Grrr! is offline
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I don't get it, either. Every time I've been to a place that has good service (which is most of the places I go, really), I've always been able to ask them for a refill of soda when I get my meal, and they get it quickly. Why would ordering a new beer be slower? If anything, they're getting paid more, so you'd expect them to be faster.

Is there some custom of only drinking beer before and after eating, but not during? Because, otherwise, I don't understand this behavior. It's not as if their job ends with the food. You still come by and see if anyone tried to flag you down.

I guess what I'm asking is, does this behavior happen with things other than beer? If so, then it's just that service is different where y'all are. If not, then I wonder what is special about beer.
If a server wants to refill your soda, she or he can just go refill it on their own. For anything with alcohol, they are at the mercy of the bartender. And if the bartender is busy, I might take a while. Especially since they tend to favor their own tipping customers.
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:59 PM
Quartz Quartz is online now
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As an aside, the American habit of referring to the main course as the "Entree" is bizarre and confused the hell out of the the first time I visited the US.
What? I completely missed that!
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Old 05-20-2017, 07:05 PM
Martini Enfield Martini Enfield is offline
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What? I completely missed that!
To the rest of us, the entree is the starter or the first course - the "entry", if we're going to get Francophone for a moment. Then you've got your main course, then dessert.

The Americans have "appetisers" then the "entree" (the main course) then dessert.

First time I was in the US I was looking at "entrees" on a restaurant menu thinking "Who the fuck eats a hamburger as the opening gambit for their dinner? Is the main course an entire deep-fried cow or something?"

The OP was lamenting their inability to obtain a beer after finishing the one you get when you're first seated, which has been finished by the time your main meal arrives.

Last edited by Martini Enfield; 05-20-2017 at 07:06 PM..
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  #43  
Old 05-20-2017, 07:08 PM
snfaulkner snfaulkner is offline
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Eat at the bar. Honestly it solves this problem quite well and I swear the food comes out faster as you don't have to wait for an overworked server. Just remember to tip your bartender as well as you would your server.
This.
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  #44  
Old 05-20-2017, 07:11 PM
snfaulkner snfaulkner is offline
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Not a good solution unless you are eating alone. You can't converse easily among your dining companions if there is more than one other. And I hate sitting on a high stool instead of a comfortable chair with a back or in a booth even when I'm alone.
That makes it the perfect solution. I don't have to fake interest in their boring stories.
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Old 05-20-2017, 07:22 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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That makes it the perfect solution. I don't have to fake interest in their boring stories.
You evidently go out to eat for entirely different reasons than I do. And my friends tell interesting stories. You might wish to find a better class of friends.

Last edited by Colibri; 05-20-2017 at 07:24 PM..
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Old 05-20-2017, 07:24 PM
snfaulkner snfaulkner is offline
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
You evidently go out to eat for entirely different reasons than I do.
Or I hang around too many boring people.
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  #47  
Old 05-20-2017, 07:24 PM
RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2012
I never want more than one glass of soda with a meal, and when they bring it right away, it sits there, with the ice melting. So I always specify "Please bring the drink with the food," whether that be an appetizer, or the main course. Half the time they forget. Sometimes they forget I asked, and go ahead and bring the drink right away. Sometimes they forget it entirely, and I have to flag them down and remind them.

So I feel for you.

I would just go to the bar as soon as you finish your first beer and ask for another one, if you are in a place where you have had this problem before. Otherwise, give the server a chance, but don't wait as long as 15 minutes. If the beer doesn't come within a few minutes, and you can't flag the server down, just go get it.
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  #48  
Old 05-20-2017, 07:41 PM
G0sp3l G0sp3l is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grrr! View Post
When I go out to eat for breakfast, I usually tell the server I would like a glass of milk WITH the meal. (Otherwise, that glass of milk would just sit there get'n warm until my food arrived.)


But heck, back in my bar drinking days, I always knew to order a beer when my current beer was half full. So maybe go that route. At worst, you'll have two beers sit'n in front of you. Ain't nothing wrong with that.
Eeewww!!! Milk? That stuff that leaks out of steak animals?
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  #49  
Old 05-21-2017, 01:10 AM
BigT BigT is online now
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grrr! View Post
If a server wants to refill your soda, she or he can just go refill it on their own. For anything with alcohol, they are at the mercy of the bartender. And if the bartender is busy, I might take a while. Especially since they tend to favor their own tipping customers.
Ah, makes sense. I didn't realize only the bartender could do it, at least, with basic beer.

That does give me an idea, though. Tell the server to tell the bartender that there's a tip in it for them if they get you your second drink within a few minutes of getting your meal.

Obviously just an idea, and nothing I've tried. But if tips are part of the issue, then give the bartender tips.
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  #50  
Old 05-21-2017, 01:22 AM
Grrr! Grrr! is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 13,837
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post
Ah, makes sense. I didn't realize only the bartender could do it, at least, with basic beer.

That does give me an idea, though. Tell the server to tell the bartender that there's a tip in it for them if they get you your second drink within a few minutes of getting your meal.

Obviously just an idea, and nothing I've tried. But if tips are part of the issue, then give the bartender tips.
Well, typically, servers tip their bartenders at the end of shift. But some servers are of the mindset "Screw that! I'm not giving the bartender any of my hard earned tips." Servers like this, are gonna have to wait. Servers who make a habit of tipping their bartenders, are going to get quicker service.
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