The other night, the fellas and I dropped into Cafe Maude around 9:30pm. Their posted closing time is 10pm, so we were happy to get there in due time. We sat and ordered our food, which was delivered at a nice pace. But while we were still in mid nosh, our server came over and dropped the dessert menu. Then a busboy came over and motioned to clear a plate that one of us was actively still using. He was chewing food, eating off the plate: how does that indicate that it should be cleared?
We were being rushed out, we knew it. It's not that major of a service crime, but it does make you feel unwelcome, unworthy of their time. It was just around 9:45 that the host flipped the front door sign to CLOSED and proceeded to claim a space at the bar. The bartender was already putting paper cones on all the bottles and loudly closing the bar. Before it was even 10pm, she and the host were sitting at the bar having a glass of beer. The message was clear, there'd be no after-dinner drinks, at least for us.
Doesn't every guest deserve the same experience? Shouldn't we have been given the same attention that the 7pm diners had? We were paying the same amount of money for the same food. We weren't even stretching it out, nor were we alone: there were at least four other tables when we arrived and still one when we left.
Trust me, I've been on the other side, I know how it feels when someone walks in the door just as you've mentally wrapped up your night. I've been the bartender who has kept pouring drinks for the one table left in the restaurant, which is even harder when you know you'll be tipped the change on the dollar. But I kept pouring, because that's the deal. Especially now, when some servers aren't even getting enough shifts to cover their rent, the closing shift should be prized, not dreaded.