Yeah, I know. We're in Panama City Beach, and the only non-chain restaurant we've been to has been a local Chinese restaurant. All these local places, featuring food with a local flavor, and we go to Tony Roma's.
Still, we do like the food there, so we went.
The wait was only about 45 minutes.
Now, we don't go to Tony Roma's a lot. The nearest one to the house is ... this one. Or Savannah. So, I'm not sure what's a normal wait there.
But, after a few minutes, I think I figured out why the wait was so long.
It seems the young ladies ... bless their hearts ... that were in taking the seating requests and calling the groups to be seated, were going down the list. Strictly.
Now, if you have never thought about that, let's take a moment and think about that. I mean, those young ladies ... bless their hearts ... must not have thought about that. Nor does it appear that the folks that trained them seem to make a point of this.
Let's say you're doing that job. And you have, say:
- Adam, party of 10
- Bennett, party of 6
- Charles, party of 4
- Daniel, party of 8
- Edward, party of 12
- Frederick, party of 9
- George, party of 7
- Harold, party of 2
- Ivan, party of 4
- John, party of 6
and so on.
Now, let's say a booth, which cannot be moved, comes open. The booth seats 4. What do you do?
Well, if you're one of the young ladies ... bless their hearts ... seating at Tony Roma's last night, you wait until you have enough tables to put together for the party of 10 that's first on the list. Then you wait until a 6-seat booth or a 6-seat table, comes open and seat the party of 6 that's next on the list. Then, and only then, do you seat the party of 4 that's third on the list.
Me? If a seating arrangement comes open for a smaller party ... and we're talking a seating arrangement that can't be adjusted for a larger party ... I seat the smaller party.
Like last night, when we got there, across one wall were three booths that could seat up to 4.
You can't move a booth. So it can't be used with a larger party. It will seat up to 4, and that's it. Okay, 5 if there is a small child that needs a high chair. But that's it. No using as part of a party of 10, or anything else.
But did those young ladies ... bless their hearts ... seat anyone there? No, they made those smaller parties wait until they were able to move other tables together to seat larger parties ahead of them.
At least, until one of the more experienced servers came by and wanted to see why she had empty seating in her area.
She started pointing things out to those young ladies, and encouraged them to skip ahead to seat people at available seating. In a moment, the manager ... I guess that's who he was ... saw the discussion at the front and came by, then "took charge." They began seating folks at available seating, and the list suddenly got smaller.
Now, understand this, had they used all the smaller available seating when we got there, we would still have had a wait. Because there were enough small parties ahead of us to fill them all.
But we ... and everyone else ... had to wait, because those young ladies ... bless their hearts ... didn't know, or think, to seat people in a more efficient manner.
It still took us nearly 45 minutes to be seated, because it was 40 minutes after we got there before the experienced server started things rolling.
Will those young ladies ... bless their hearts ... learn from that? Or will they remain clueless?
My hope is the former. My money is on the latter.