This Is Why We Don’t Seat Incomplete Parties

BWWEach day, I am surprised at how ridiculous the complaints are on the Facebook pages of corporate restaurants. So many of the complaints are by people who don’t seem to understand the way restaurants run and I want to take this opportunity to explain something to a certain Mary Catherine.

MC is all butt hurt because she showed up to a Buffalo Wild Wings with a “bunch of friends” and wanted a table even though she wasn’t “sure exactly how many and who were coming.” Of course the restaurant didn’t want to seat her at a table for 15 people when it might have just been 7 people who showed up and Mary Catherine and her friends didn’t even know when or if anyone else was coming. Oh, and they had just been involved in a musical. Upset, her and her friends did a “step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch…again” and left Buffalo Wild Wings to give their patronage to someone else. The manager was probably all, “Don’t cry for me, Mary Catherine. The truth is I never liked you…”

First off, you cannot expect a restaurant to keep seats empty for you on the off chance that everyone who might show up actually shows up. What if your friends are too engrossed in the original Broadcast cast recording of Wicked and can’t pull themselves away to join you at the restaurant? If that happens, your waiter is going to be belting out a rendition of “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” from Les Mis because that’s what his fucking section will look like. Hey, big spender, spend a little time waiting by the host stand for your friends to get there and then you can have a table.

Mary Catherine also claims that they have often given BWW’s their business after a performance which may be why the staff finally decided to tell her they were unable to seat the incomplete party. The odds are pretty good that Mary Catherine and her group of musical theater loving friends are as annoying as a high school production of Cats. I can say that, because I used to be Mary Catherine. When I was but a young musical theater queen doing shows, after many a performance the whole cast and I would head over to Bennigan’s and take up way too many tables and we’d all split a plate of nachos, some fried mozzarella and a bunch of waters. I am certain that Mary Catherine is that table. They all sit there and recite the lyrics to Legally Blond and Into the Woods and talk about how much fun it was doing Shrek the Musical even though Mary Catherine thought she should have been cast as Princess Fiona but instead was cast as the Sugar Plum Fairy and the third understudy for Ugly Duckling.

There is a reason for not seating incomplete parties. Those seats are real estate and leaving them empty is not gonna help anyone pay their rent and since this is real life and not the musical Rent, waiters actually do have to pay for things. And if you ask for a table that seats 15 people and only 7 of you show up, that waiter ain’t making any money. Besides, a 15-top of people who just did a show is basically a Little Shop of Horrors and no one wants to deal with it.

Hopefully, where ever Mary Catherine and her gaggle of friends ended up, they had a wonderful time. My guess is that they went to Applebee’s or Chili’s and annoyed everyone there with their incessant attempt to rap the lyrics from Hamilton.

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night, Mary Catherine.

I wait tables and bitch about it on my blog, The Bitchy Waiter.

49 thoughts on “This Is Why We Don’t Seat Incomplete Parties

  1. Work here we do this same thing if it is a party over 7 and you dont know if the rest is showing up we expect the rest of you party to be there within the time we get the table set up and if not you’ll wait and if a table your size comes in they will get your table

  2. If she was complaining about them wanting a table for 7 and not being sat she would have put that. I can’t believe you are mad because you wrote a stupid complaint about an unknown number of people possibly showing up and them not jumping when you snapped your fingers. I’m glad they didn’t cave to you and they were probably relieved you went somewhere else because then you weren’t taking up 20 tables in the restaurant for an unknown number of people who might possibly show up.

  3. Best part of this story for me was that I lived in Parkersburg for 3 years and have actually been to this ‘B-Dubs’ on multiple occasions. It’s pretty huge; there’s a normal restaurant-like dining area and a back portion more like a sports bar.

    There’s not a lot going on in Parkersburg, as you might’ve gathered.

  4. I never considered bigger parties like this money…… Only a waste of my time…… Oh…. It’s a party of 25 awesome. Party shows up its a kids baseball team with 4 adults. Well I’m going to be Busting my ass for 25 people for a tab that reflects 6 and getting tipped on 3…….. I learned my lesson a long time ago….. We were allowed to call parties because we didn’t have sectios we rotated…… Hey do you want this 15 top at 7? Nope. He’ll no to that you have fun with that….. I’ll take the next 4 tables that come in after it thank you very much. Rather be quadruple say than do parties over 8

  5. The only comment I had was about people incessantly trying to rap Hamilton.

    But what if they’re actually good, though? Lmao

  6. WOW!!! BOTTOM LINE IS MOST RESTAURANT DO NOT SEAT IMCOMPLETE PARTIES…..ISN’T THIS WHAT THE POST WAS ABOUT??? I too am involved in musical theatre and am a server and if you people can’t see the fun in the reply with all the musical quotes, then you obviously are on another planet! It was cute as hell….or are you from Peter Pan and “Don’t wanna grow up”?

  7. LOL what a bunch of losers. Hey if you don’t want to get called out on your behavior, don’t post complaints on the interwebs. If a restaurant is rude to you, LEAVE AND DON’T GO BACK. Or you could talk (or write) directly to the management if you want your complaints taken seriously.

  8. Damn, if they bullied the hostess of the restaurant like they are bulling the bitchy waiter, I feel sorry that I went to see the play.
    They wont back the fuckdown is like Donald trump.

    1. All in good fun? Your “pretty much done with this blog post”? Why? Not willing to admit you were wrong in posting what you did? Commenting with your own personal experiences in the restaurant business is one thing. People can be inconsiderate asshats. You however made generalizations based on your personal experiences with ZERO first hand knowledge about the situation. To top it off you made personal attacks. This is behavior of a pathetic cyber TROLL. And before you go saying I was attacking you note the wording, referring to behavior not calling you names. Doubt you would post an apology, but the least you could do is delete the blog post.

      1. Take your censorious ass back home and cry to your mother, troll. Because, yes, boo, you are the troll here, coming to another site to stir up shit. Go find a safe space elsewhere; you won’t find one here.

      2. #firstamendment #freespeech Plus, M.C. posted that shit publically, meaning it will be open to criticism by the public. He doesn’t have any obligation to her, her group, or any of their hurt feelings. He doesn’t have to do shit.

  9. Hmm, I saw this post. I am a part of this group, but I wasn’t there that night because I decided I didn’t want Buffalo Wild Wings overpriced food and crappy service. Not that all bdubs have bad service, but this one does, particularly late at night. I’ve been relayed what was said and the events that actually went down. You know being responsible, unlike the chattering of the author of this blog who decided that quips and witty insults were better than facts. The truth is this restaurant, in this situation, was idiotic. I’m a server in this town too and the people involve are heavy drinkers and good tippers. The fact of the matter is the policy is designed to maximize seating, which makes sense when you are near capacity. It’s utter stupidity to rigidly adhere to a policy designed specifically to not turn away customers and turn away business.

  10. Excuse me “Bitchy Waiter” who do you think you are? The post she made was nice and in no way angry. I was with her that night, and how we were treated by the hostesses and management was appalling. I am a server at another restaurant in the area, and know EXACTLY how a restaurant SHOULD be run, and what happened that night, SHOULD HAVE NEVER HAPPENED! All of the musical cracks you are trying to make also weren’t funny. We weren’t a group of high schoolers, we were a group of adults ranging in age from mid 20s to 70s. And we all tip EXTREMELY WELL, so the server that could have had us, missed out on a LOT of money. And yes we did go to Applebee’s, where the waitstaff knows us by name, and love to see us walk in the door. Why? Because they know they have good money coming to them. Don’t discuss something that you don’t know what you’re talking about. It wasn’t the point that they wouldn’t seat us, it was because of the way we were talked to, yelled at, and argued with. The way we were treated never would have happened at MY restaurant. I pray I never meet you, and NEVER have you as server, because just by the way you THINK you know everything, you would be a terrible server.

    1. Relax, girl. It’s all in good fun. Mary Catherine and I have emailed many times and she gets it. If she’s okay with it, why aren’t you? I pray I never meet you as well. You are far too whiny…

      1. How was I whiny in anything that i said? I was blunt and to the point. You were rude and trash talking Mary Catherine and the theatre. And how is it “all in good fun” when she was getting messages from people telling her to kill herself after her post and you are just contributing to that. I also highly doubt that you’ve been emailing her and that she’s “okay with it.” She’s mentioned to several people about how she had to delete her post because of it going viral because of THIS blog. Don’t lie. And I’m not okay with it at all. And I don’t have to be. What you have said is wrong. YOU obviously don’t know how a restaurant should be run. If I had spoken to a customer the way we were spoken to, my manager would have fired me on the spot. So please stop being a bully, and realize that the things you say always have repercussions. At least I stand up for what is right.

        1. Why don’t you ask Mary Catherine and see what she says. Bye, girl. Go do another production of The Music Man and pick-a-little, talk-a-little somewhere else.

          1. Hey man, Brittani is my friend, and she is just sticking up for me. Please don’t talk to her like that.

          2. Why don’t you ask your friend to stop acting like whiny teenage trash? Also have her learn what the word “bully” means, since she feels so free to misuse it; and to get the hell over herself. (“At least I stand up for what is right.” Okay, Wonder Woman, whatever you say. Don’t you have some civilians to save from Darkseid instead of being a crybaby bitch on the internet?)

  11. Now, if there musical was RENT and they went to the Life Cafe, danced on the tables and sang “La Vie Boheme” I might forgive them. In this case, no. I pay good money to see musical theatre. You pay good money to go out to eat.

  12. This happened to me once and I was not happy. I had to go out of my way to put together a whole bunch of tables for 16 people. Only the original 5 showed up. There was a “miscommunication”. Not to mention the fact that 2 of the girls that were there ordered off the the kids menu and a third only off of the appetizers menu. What a waste of my time, energy, and space.

  13. This happened to me today. And I had a empty table and it cost me money. But do they care? Hell no. And if course they sat there for 2 hours. UGH! I asked if I could move the empty table back to its original location but I was told they may still show up!!?? Unbelievable

  14. Used to work at a hibachi restaurant and people were extremely butthurt that we wouldn’t seat incomplete parties at the hibachi. They think the chef should wheel out one entree at a time and then come do a special show just for you when you decide you are ready to eat. Don’t even get me started on how much they bitched about having to sit at the seat i asked them to sit at. Every fuckin night i would seat a 5 top at the first 5 seats and explain that they need to stay in their seats, then 30 seconds later when id come with the next group of ppl they had nowhere to sit because assholes want an empty seat between everyone.
    What part of your 45 minute wait made you think there were extra seats available for your elbows and giant purses and horrible posture?

    Sometimes we’d have some dickhead straight up refuse to move back and i had to go get the owner who would basically tell them they can sit in their assigned spot at the hibachi and move their shit or they can be moved to a table and suffer through dinner without having shrimp thrown at their faces.

    Restaurants are business, be the type of customer who brings profit to a business and they will probably accommodate you.

    I’m also guessing the manager being very rude to her was simply the manager saying “I’m so sorry, but we can not do what you are asking” how dare you tell a customer “no” so rude.

  15. In this age of constant communication via cell calls and texts I can’t understand why people can’t know EXACTLY how many people are in their party. Especially if this is a business lunch. If you are his/her manager, can’t you DEMAND an answer to “Are you joining us for lunch?”

  16. Hey bitchy, I love your posts!! But lately I have been getting weird contest things while I am reading them. I don’t know if you know that this is happening. I took a screen shot. Where can I send it to you?

    1. Sorry about that. Send the screenshot to sideofmustard at gmail dot com so I can forward it to the ad team. Thank you!

      1. Listen..” Bitchy waiter” I was with her that night.. I was one of the seven with her that night and we are all adults mind you.. That don’t” share nachos.
        Understanding the policy, we even asked to just seat is 7 and the rest that came in could sit somewhere else and they still wouldn’t seat us and began to argue. So this is a simple case of bad customer service.
        Thanks

        1. But that’s not the complaint that was lodged. She didn’t complain about not being able to get a table for the 7 people who arrived at the restaurant, she complained about not being able to get a table for an unknown number and left that feedback on their reviews.

          Bottom line: holding tables for guests who aren’t present costs both the business and the server money and is unfair to other guests on the waitlist who ARE actually present. Also: separate checks are a pain in the ass.

        2. Agreed, I’ve been in the business for over 30 years a d there is no customer service at chain places anymore. I suggest locally owned, smaller spots.

  17. Request a reservation of 200 seats to their next performance. But let them know you’re not exactly sure if that many will come, but whoever does will pay for their tickets when they arrive. Say, “I think at least 50 will come, but just hold those other tickets, just in case the whole gang decides to come (as some would change their minds and not show, and some would bring friends/family).’ Let them know other casts have always done that for you.

  18. I have to admit, last month I failed as a customer in this way… sorta. I was meeting my kid’s dad halfway between where we both live at a little country style restaurant in the middle of nowhere, Texas and I grabbed a table for all of us, assuming he was going to arrive at the time we agreed upon. Now the restaurant was pretty much empty, but I felt awful because he ended up being 30 minutes late and didn’t even stay to eat, so I took up a 6 top with only three people for almost an hour. I tipped 100% to make up for it, but I know I’m going to service industry hell for that.

  19. Wouldn’t be awesome and fantastic if we had a device –one we could carry on our person–that had the capability to contact people and ask them; “Are you coming to B Dubs? We need a final number and time for them to set the table up!”

    Or maybe one that could contact the restaurant and give them a heads up that you’re coming? And –let’s dream big!!–since it would be a device that could contact your friends you could then give said establishment an accurate time and headcount?

    OhMyScience, if such a thing existed people could call and change the headcount–say if they had a reservation for 15 and only 8 were able to attend? They could notify ahead of time! Those tables could then be used for OTHER PATRONS! What a concept!

    Such a wondrous world it would be if we had something like that!

    A girl can dream, can’t she? 😉

    1. That’s cute, you & your expectations of reasonable & decent behavior from people.

      Have you met people? You must be new to this planet.

  20. This happens at our restaurant too often. The reso is for 17 people at 530. Two people show up at 510. The next 8 people arrive by 545 and then 2 more by 615. Your 17 is now a 12, but they manage to take up the entire table. They have all ordered at different times (because Janet is diabetic, Tom has to leave by 630 and the kids, well, are kids) and then bitch that their meals arrive at different times.

    1. Don’t forget they will want separate checks and then complain about how long it took you to make change for 10 checks.

      1. When a party of 10 want separate checks, so you separate them. Then adding the 15% tip on each since it is restaurant policy and clearly stated on the menu that large parties are automatically assessed the 15% tip. Then they all complain that since they all got separate checks, they shouldn’t be subject to the large party rules. So they complain to management, get the tip removed off each check, then they leave ZERO for tips. Cheap Bastards!!

    2. Haha this could not be more accurate. Dont forget the part where they take up 2 of your 5 table section and dont leave for the rest of the night. Leaving you as the last server on, cut two hours ago and for a fraction of what you could have made.

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