Time to present the bill
Unless requested by the guests, do not present the bill until everyone is
finished. Doing otherwise could be seen as rushing the guests. Often the
person who wants the bill will make this known to you during the ordering
process. If not, and there is no host at the table, simply set it on the
table. Let them know you will take it from them when they are ready (if you
are the cashier).
I place the check presenter the same
way every time I leave one at the table so I know when they have moved it.
When I say the same way, I mean exactly the same way, in precisely the same
place. I put it just a touch back from the edge of the table, every time.
This is so Iíll know if they have put their payment inside and set it back
down on the table. No one has ever put it back exactly parallel to the edge
of the table and half an inch away from it. Never.
Lingering guests, oh my. What to do about the ďcampersĒ you will get? How do
you get them out of the restaurant quickly? How do you get your table back
so you can make more? The answer is so simple you may not realize it. The
answer is, you donít! There is no sense rushing a guest. They are going to
spend however much time at your table as they are going to spend. There is
nothing you can do, short of angering them that is going to get them to
leave. Donít even bother trying. All you are going to accomplish is causing
bad feelings. When I first started serving I would try, politely, to get
them out and have now come to the realization they arenít going to budge
until they are ready. Clearing everything from the table except their
drinks, which should be done anyway, isnít going to make them want to leave.
Actually itís just going to make the table more inviting and less cluttered
so itís the opposite of what you want to do. Simply attend to their needs
until they leave and take the good with the bad.
When they have placed their payment in the check presenter: remove it from
the table without glancing inside, perform the payment and return it to the
table. If they left cash, even it the change is an appropriate amount for
your gratuity, return their change to them. I beg of you; please donít ask
if they want change when you leave the table with the payment. And by please
I mean never! Itís rude and unnecessary. If they want you to have the change
they will either tell you as you pick it up or simply leave it on the table.
Either way; no harm, no foul, you will get the change.
When everything is settled and done, thank them for coming into the
restaurant. After all, without them you would not have a job in the first
place. If it was a great table to serve, donít be afraid to tell them it was
a pleasure. I donít know how appropriate it is but when I receive a gratuity
which is a high percentage of the bill, I often let them know by saying
something like, ďThank you, I appreciate your generosityĒ.
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