And I think it's because of... well, the customers.
We try to make this 4 Star restaurant accessible for everyone, so for V-day, there was a 3 course fixed menu for $50 per person. The problem with making the place accessible is that you get all the people who ONLY go out today, and they just don't know how to handle themselves in public.
One couple, despite the fact that everyone who made a reservation was told it was a fixed menu at $50 per person, demanded to be able to split a meal because they didn't want to pay that much.
A pair of ladies berated one of our waitresses because this whole special menu was offensive to single people, and SHE should remember that for next year. Muh?
The average tip for the night was in the range of 12-14%. Some were as low as 9%. I got slightly less than $25 from one table who had a bill of significantly over $200, and for whom I went out of my way to get something special for their 2 year old daughter so they wouldn't have to order off the fixed menu for her.
People with no reservations walked in and gave shit to the manager because he wouldn't seat them in any of the tables that were open. Repeatedly.
I was asked no less that four times for things that weren't a part of the fixed menu, and the people seemed genuinely offended when I told them that we just didn't have it available tonight.
We fed over 240 people between 5 and 10PM tonight.
The table who had to send their Fillet back TWICE because it wasn't prepared correctly still tipped me out at 22% (granted, I made the Fillet half price after try #2). But they were very pleasant and very understanding.
Two different tables offered to pay the bill for the Marine and his lady sitting in Booth 4. Unfortunately for those patrons, they couldn't pay for the Marine's dinner because we had already comped it. The fact that those people offered to do that, though, almost made me cry (hey, I was exhausted and emotional, sue me).
The elderly couple (she was practically blind [I had to read her the menu], he was practically deaf [had to ask him everything at least twice]-- it was like that Gene Wilder/Richard Prior movie) who came in early in the night were so thrilled with their dinner... the lady grabbed my hand as she left and thanked me.
All in all it was a long, stressful, but okay night. My tip percentage was only 16%-- but my sales were so high that even that number wasn't too shabby.
Next year, Morgan and I are going to try to talk the owners into doing a 7 course extravaganza for like $125-$150 per head including wine pairings.