Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Restaurant Roughly Around the Center of the Universe.

Red Robin has a family-friendly policy to try to make their customers as smiling,, satisfied, and satiated as possible. That’s all nice and good, in a pre-Wall Mart Pleasantville land. But what if *I* was running a restaurant. How would it look? What would be *my* instructions to *my* employees. Do all of *my* personal pronouns have to be encased in *asterisks*? There’s only one way to find out! Keep reading… in my LONGEST POST YET TWO HOUR SEASON FINALE!

Restaurant Name.
A Restaurant by any other name may still taste as sweet, but can you imagine if McDonald’s was called McBain’s or McBeth’s? Superstitious theatre majors would never eat there. (And they would have a dastardly time cleaning dishes. Out, out, damn spot!)

Therefore, a title is important. With “Dick’s Drive Thru” already taken, I had a hard time coming up with a better name. But then it came to me: “Pity the Food.” It has the word “Food” in it, it makes people eat there out of Pity and it references Mr. T! It’s PERFECT!

Most popular restaurants have a theme as well. Red Robin has Family Values, Outback Steakhouse has Western, Wolfy’s drive thru has The Swinging 50’s, Del Taco has El Españolamente Languagemos, and Wendy’s has Surprise Human Limb Discoveries. Well, with Pity the Food the theme is obvious. FOOD! We can have all sorts of signs with Food on them. Maybe a mascot dressed up as a giant food. We can even- get this- sell food-related items along with serving our normal menu entrees.

Underlying Philosophy.
Thomas Hobbes, Nicholae Machiavelli and Adam Smith. Of course, even these brilliant mind bow to the enlightened thinking of George Washington. Abraham Lincoln. Alexander Hamilton. Thomas Jefferson. Benjamin Franklin. Ulysses S. Grant. You get the picture. The Green is King.

Birthday Song
Every good restaurant needs its own special birthday song, usually dealing with these two important themes:
1) Happy

Unfortunately, the most popular Happy Birthday song, “Happy Birthday,” is copyrighted.

(Those that were at my 9th Birthday party remember when the door to my house was kicked down by a team of subpoena-wielding copyright lawyers, in the middle of singing Happy Birthday. Thinking fast, I threw my Power Rangers cake through the air as a distraction, there was a flash of exploding party favors, and I had disappeared, leaving only red streamers blowing lonely in the wind.)

Usually, restaurants parody a popular public domain song like “The Flintstones,” “Ring around the Rosy,” “Handel’s Messiah,” or “Taps” but these can’t hold a candle to Pity the Food’s symphonic masterpiece:

Your birthday will be happy! Gifts you’ll get a lot!
You’ll have a happy birthday, unless of course it’s not!
Because if your faking it’s your birthday, just to get dessert!
We’ll hunt you down in vengeance… and make it really hurt!
Of course, it’s always best to flatter the customers by guessing low on their age.

Waiter: Why, you must be like, sixteen today!
Customer: Thank, you deary. But I’m seventy-five today. Consarn it! Sonny, have you seen my dentures?
Waiter: And you and I’m guessing you’re- what- 110 pounds?
Customer: You’re only 200 off. Can I get a ladle to eat this Chili with?
Waiter: And your Social Security number is 345-52-8345? With a pin number of 8453?
Customer: Now you’re just being creepy.

We used to give the customer as many spankings as was their age, until the lawsuit.

Employee Tips:

Hopefully, we can get either Billy Crystal or a team of two wisecracking African-American homedogskillets. If not, here are the tips for our employees. They shall be chosen on basis of personality, experience, and dancing ability.

-Greet every customer that comes through the door with something like “Good morning!” “How ya be!” “Heidy-Ho, customerino!” “Where can we sit you and your two baboons?” “We don’t serve your kind in here!” “I thought I told you never to show your stinkin’ face in here again!” or “IT’S A TRAP! Ha, ha! Just kidding. Come on in.”

-If you recognize them, greet the customer by name. “Why, Hello, Mr. Tony Blair, Prime Minister of England” or or “Hello, Dolly” or “Hello, Darkness, my old friend!” or “Hello, Ozzy Osborn, Prince of Darkness,” or “Hello, Bob Saget, Jester of Darkness.”

-If you don’t know his or her or its name, guess, and maybe you’ll get lucky. “Hello, Zit face!” or “Hello, Bug Breath,” or “Hello, Fatty McTubster!”

-Of course, in a year, you’ll have to greet most customers with, “Buenos Dias, Señor!”

-The most important thing a Host can wear is a smile. Also, pants.

-If there are any kids in a dining party, offer them the official Pity the Food placemat with all sort of fun games, including “Mini-Twister,” “The Screaming Game” and “Quarters.”

-Also offer the kids crayons to draw on the placemat, the walls, their parents, etc. Popular Pity the Food colors include “Melancholic Muave,” “Michael Jackson Black” and “Hamburger Patty Pink.”

-Be sure to offer booster seats to all babies, midgets, and Danny DeVito.

-As you walk to the table, make small talk with the party, asking them about their day, how they are, why did their husband leave them, if they’d be willing to spare any change for a poor Restaurant Host, etc.

-Hosts don’t get tips, but sometimes you can trick the customers into thinking they do.

-Choose a table that fits the customers. If they are a large party, give them a large table. If they are a small party, give them a smaller table. If they are a just-right party, give them a just-right table. If they are a table of WSU students, seat them as close to the bar and bathroom as possible.

-Give each of the customers a menu and recommend some specials, such as the “E-Coli Burger,” “Leftover Surprise” “Chilled Flambé” “The Ungodly Monstrosity Slab of Beef,” and the “Broken Jaw Beef Stew Milkshake”

-Answer the phone with “Hello, this is Mike Rotch, our refrigerator is running and all of our Prince Albert are in cans. *Heavy Breathing* Can I help you?” It’s called preemptive warfare.

-Offer leaving customers either complimentary mints or complimentary MACE, depending on if you’re in the Suburban or Downtown location.

-Also try to convince the customers to return with a hardy “Goodbye!” “Ya’ll come again now!” “Sorry about the whole dismemberment thing!” “Oh… you’ll be back. You’ll come crawling back, on your knees, begging for our tasty burgers,” “You may get away this time, customer! But I’ll get you back, if it’s the last thing I DO!”

Waiter/ Waitress/ Waitperson/Waitoid
-Male waiters have their choice of British or French accents. The advantage of a British Accent is that women seem to find it attractive. The Advantage of the French accent is that it allows you to spit in your customer’s food.

-Female Waitresses basically… well… all they have to do is be pretty. Nope. That’s not pretty enough! Try harder!

-If you can’t master that, work on your New Yoik Accent’s and smelling like an ashtray. There’s always the other end of the spectrum.

-Master the “Customer’s always funny” laugh”

Customer: “I’ll have a martini. Shaken, not stirred.”
Waitress: “Teeheehee.”
Customer: “I’m sorry, I’m out of it. My wife just died of cancer.”
Waitress: Teeheehee!
Customer: No. I’m serious.
Waitress: Teeheehee!

-The customer probably wants his food as fast as possible, that greedy schmoe! He’ll never learn patience without your assistance. That’s what waiters do. They wait.

-Allow the customers to fill themselves up on bread or tortilla chips before the real food comes. While the restaurant loses money on this practice, it’s more than worth the entertainment value trying to see already-full customers gorge themselves. Just keep eating, obese America! You’re a pound closer to being fat enough to push into my candy-house oven!

-A customer might fall down, the clumsy oafs that they are. A great business practice is to help them up. Usually, their wallet will be in their right jean pocket.

-The best waiters can bring enormous quantities of food at a time. Some waiters miss the possibility that the pockets, mouth, and ears provide.

-Bring your customer their bill. Then run. Run like the wind.

-Right before the time comes to collect your tip, “happen” to mention that your mother died and your father got in a car accident and your seven children can’t eat because you spent all your money on little Johnny’s kidney transplant- which is came from your own body- and so all you need is just a few schillings, guv’nor… please sir, you want some more.

-Every bartender must have a special drink they can mix-up. I call mine, “Orange Juice.”

-Know the signs of intoxication. If a customer is slurring his speech, drooling, staggering, using lampshades and chandeliers for unintended purposes, or laughing at “Everybody Loves Raymond” he’s clearly drunk.

-Make sure to withhold liquor from drunk patrons. Unless they’re just being hi-larious drunks. You don’t want to be a wet blanket (or a dry blanket, in this case, I suppose)

-ID everyone who can’t doesn’t know the theme song to Miami Vice.

-The ONLY acceptable forms of ID are drivers licenses, school IDs, social security cards, family pictures, narcissistic tattoos, embroidered underwear, and friends who can vouch for him.

-A good bartender ducks under the table when Gunslingin’ Gus the Sagebrush Strangler comes in. The piano seems to say that he’s a bad guy.

-Remember: Happy Hour is followed by Really Happy Hour, Aggressive Hour, Hallucination Hour, Sleepy Hour, and then finally, Headache Hour.

Dishwasher, Buser, Food Expeditor, Chef
What goes on in the back of the house, stays in the back of the house. I’m not one to reveal trade secrets.

If we follow all those suggestions listed above… I think we’ll get all the publicity we’ll ever need. Thank you, muckraking news media!