Friday, June 15, 2012

Non-Fiction Friday: Bad Bar Design = A Downer

Working in this bar would piss me off too. Seriously. Look at it. Going to work every day means going to battle with a 4x4x4x4 shelving unit in the middle of your office.

I sat down at the corner of the bar and scanned the menu for a Caesar salad. It didn't exist. But because it was a four-star hotel known for its outstanding service, I thought I'd ask the host who was standing right behind me if he could work some magic (don't call me's romaine and croutons people). Turns out the host was the manager and magic was his job. "Just ask the bartender to order one for you. It won't be a problem."

Well, it was. I waited patiently on my bar stool  to place my salad-to-go order and of course order some bourbon. Did I say patiently waited? Well that was nice of me because when a bar is practically empty, 5 minutes is a long time to wait to even be acknowledged. But then again, when you have to navigate around a 4-sided liquor display to make each drink and greet each customer, it takes time. Hell, I may have even been in his blind spot.

When the bartender finally did come over to ask what I wanted (as if it was the most painful thing he had ever done in his life) I did what the manager told me to do and ordered the salad.

Me: "I'd like to order a little Caesar salad please?"
Bartender: "We can't do that."
Me: (super nicely) "Oh, well the manager said you could? And could I get a bourbon neat please?"
Bartender: "Well we don't have a button for that."
Me: "A...I'm sorry, did you say a button?"
Bartender: "On the computer."
Me: "Oh. You don't have a button to order the salad. (not so super nicely) Did I mention that the manager said you could?"

If the rubber floor mats weren't two inches thick I surely would have heard stomping as he stormed out of the bar and over to the manager. The conversation that I was straining my neck to hear was brief but loaded with angry gesticulation. Within seconds the bartender was back in the bar, standing over the computer with the manager and I could swear I heard button every other word.

Moments later the manager announced to no one in particular, "I made you a button and put the order in." I don't think Mr. Bartender liked that or maybe I was just reading into his decision to give me my check before my bourbon. A first.

Eventually I got my stupid Caesar salad which was one of the worst I've ever had which is either what I deserved for ordering a non-button item or proof of the pull the bartender had with the kitchen.

But I really don't blame the bartender. I'm blame his working conditions. I mean, seriously. I'd be upset too.

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  1. Oh, this is absolutely not a problem of the bar.. it is a series of customer service issues most noticably - bad attitude. A good bartender would know how to work that space with ease, centrally located alcohol makes things easier to service clients, customizing an order shouldn't be an issue at all - if they have romaine, eggs, olive oil and anchovies in the house, there should be no reason they can't make a salad to your liking. And the fact that the bartender had the wherewithall to argue and fight with the manager, there is a serious problem of respect, for the manager as well as the customers.

    1. Yes- for the most part I agree with you. But I will say that the bar looked very cramped and difficult to maneuver. On my busiest nights at the bar I needed easy access to everything. I don't think I could ever work in a bar like this, though it made for excellent entertainment.