Get Out

“I love you,” the woman says dreamily.

“No, I love you more,” the man replies.

“How much more?” she giggles reaching across the table to take his hand.

“More than anything in the world,” he sighs.

It’s way past closing. The Bistro’s empty. The staff is waiting to break down the restaurant. Many of them have been here since 9 AM and want to go home. The only thing separating me from my post shift Guinness are these two saccharine love birds.

Taking a deep breath, I go over and drop the check.

“We’re not ready for the bill yet,” the man says sharply. The woman looks at me like I shot her cat.

I place the bill gently on the table saying “Whenever you’re ready sir.” (That’s waiterspeak for GET OUT.)

Of course they make no effort to pay. They continue to sit and prattle sweetly. I feel a diabetic attack coming on.

Now if you’re a waiter you’ve run into this situation countless times. What do you do when you have a late table that refuses to leave?

Well, since you asked…..

(Wait twenty minutes after table has finished dessert and coffee before implementing.)
1. Ask the table, “Can I get you anything else?” (Also waiterspeak for “GET OUT”)
2. Drop check.
3. After appropriate interval and ask, “May I take that for you sir?”If they pay and leave – great. If they shoo you away? Well…

4. Take off your apron. A subtle hint.
5. Take off your tie. Less subtle.
6. Take oils and condiments off table for cleaning.
7. Return said condiments. (Aforementioned table leaves at this time)

Still not moving?

8. Slowly turn off house music.
9. Turn UP loud Spanish music in kitchen.
10. Count out your cash in plain sight of the table.

Still not leaving? Sigh….. time to ratchet up the pain.

11. Have the clean up crew carry garbage past offending table. I like to make sure a fish head is peeking out above the rim. A classy touch.
12. Put the chairs up.
13. Have the guys start mopping the floors. Ammonia has a lovely smell.
14. Turn up the lights.

Not budging? Bastards.

15. Put on your coat.
16. Jangle your keys impatiently.
17. If the busgirls have boyfriends or small children waiting outside – bring ‘em in!
18. If you have a pregnant server (and we do) have them clutch their stomach and say, “I feel sick. I want to go home.”
19. Mention you have to get home to your own children. Whether or not you have any is beside the point.

Still no response? – Time for “The Nuclear Options.”
20. Start drinking.
21. Loudly talk about what you did last night and to whom. Details are nice.
22. Let it slip you have a brother, “Doing time.”
23. Perform your waiter with Tourettes impersonation.
24. Talk to yourself. (I’m really good at this one.)
25. Sit and stare at offending table with homicidal gleam in your eye.
26. Hover
27. Finally, go to offending table and say, “You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here.”If they still won’t depart, lock them inside the restaurant and leave. Since they like the place so much – they won’t mind.

In all my years as a waiter I’ve never gone past tip # 19.

Feel free to use any of my suggestions.But if you get fired don’t come crying to me.

36 thoughts on “Get Out”

  1. Toria says:

    OMG #19!!! LOL, that’s awful Waiter. Geez, where did these people leave their common sense? Obviously left it behind somewhere….I hope your weekend is decent. *HUGS*

  2. Portia says:

    I’m sure you’re familiar with the little manuever known as “crop-dusting”?

  3. Stacey says:

    You want to know how screwed up the restaurant that I work at is??

    I’m not allowed to ask if someone wants “anything else?” I must ask specific questions.

    We’re not allowed to take the condiments off of their table while they’re sitting there.

    I’d probably get fired for putting up chairs with even one customer in the dining room.

    Oh well, no one ever told me that I’m not allowed to turn up the lights- I love that idea. Thanks!

  4. aja-ng says:

    # 27…or you could just play the song.

  5. aaron says:

    at my restaurant we are required to make regular checks on the tables. we have to wait an hour after close before we can ask the table to leave but what I do is I leave the check on the table and if they have not pay, explain that I am very close to overtime and my manager is getting very impatient and wants me to clock out, you can still hang out but would you at least pay your bill so (manager’s name) will shut up? never have had a guest say no or ask for a manager.

  6. Kathleen says:

    People are so rude and/or clueless!!!

  7. Matt says:

    After working for years as a doorman/bouncer at some nice restaurants (and some dives), I’ve found these work well.

    Valet parking? Ask for their valet check and explain that the valets are closing the lot for the night.

    Bust out the brooms and make a show of sweeping the floor.

    Turning up the lights almost always works, but make sure you don’t do it subtly. A quick twist of the dimmer works wonders.

  8. Mike says:

    I used a tactic in a hotel lobby that might come in useful in such a situation.

    I once worked the “Night Audit” shift in a hotel owned by a major university. One night a fraternity booked the ballrooms until midnight; usually at 12:30 we would count the day’s receipts – cash, right there at the desk, but the janitor warned me that after these frat parties had to leave the ballroom they would spill out into the lobby where they would mill about drunkenly (and loudly) for hours, because they had nothing better to do.

    Or would they? I had a plan.

    In my eclectic collection of music, I had a very nice, soothing CD of Gregorian Chant. As the frat party started spilling out into the lobby, I slipped the Gregorian CD into my portable player. And then I cranked it – but not in an obvious fashion. I wanted the party-killer music to be subtle and subliminal.

    It worked. Within fifteen minutes the lobby was deserted. The janitor (who could not start stripping and waxing the floor until everyone was gone) wanted to give me a medal, I think.

  9. Stacey says:

    I love how clueless some people are. The restaurant I work in closes the kitchen at 10:45 on weekends. One New Year’s Eve, I had a couple that sat in the restaurant until 1:30. Me and the manager were sitting in our coats at a table staring at them for the last 20 minutes they were there.

  10. Jeff says:


  11. P.K. says:

    When I worked at a fine dining resturant, when we would get those late night diners that just wouldn’t get the hint, we’d clean up around them, turn the lights up and the kitchen would make us dinner and all of us would enjoy a dinner after a hard nights work. Which was nice, cause we chat about the night and have meetings, even our late night diners would join us and buy us a drink for the hard work. We waited tables for a private yacht club, and they most of them would treat us good, some better than others.

  12. Dara says:

    I’d move drinking up the list.

  13. Waitress says:

    Drinking is always higher on the list. Of course, I didn’t work in a classy restaurant. Best way to get customers to leave?

    Get half the staff plastered until uniforms start coming off. heheh

  14. Nicky says:

    I took to taking a CD of professional yodeling with me and cranking that up. Very few things will get people out of a place faster than yodeling. Small children learning to play violin is a close second.

  15. Kassia says:

    I worked at a cuban restaurantin florida and as you can imagine it gets pretty warm down here. we Closed at 9 and at 9 on the dot we would turn off the A/C and the music and sit there and loudly talk about how long we had been there and how bad we wanted to go home

  16. cassie says:

    Number 27 is always sooo tempting

  17. Katie says:

    I love this!!!

    Fortunately at the rest I work at, we have no qualms about telling people to leave once it hits an hour past closing. My manager is sickeningly polite and sweet about it, and so far we’ve never made anybody angry. She just goes to the table, asks if they need anything else, then says well, just to let you know we closed an hour ago, and we all would like to get home to our kids 🙂

    The bastartds that stay that late are usually the worst tippers anyway.

  18. Former Waitress says:

    Oh, man. I once dated a guy who had problems with pretty much every restaurant in town but one (picky eater). He wanted to go to his favoured restaurant close to midnight one night.

    They close at midnight. We’d have got there at maybe five minutes to.

    Would I go along with this plan? Fuck no. Of course I spoiled the night by arguing with him over not wanting to keep the staff hanging around because of us.

    This wasn’t the breaking point, but either way I’m not with him anymore.

  19. Bethany says:

    I have waited on tables for 6 years now. The worst is when people come in 5 minutes before closing time and get angry and indignant when you inform them that the salad station has been closed since the kitchen is beginning to clean up seeing as it is now past closing time. They spoke with my manager, who in turn made me go into the walk-in cooler and make a salad for my guests in the cold. (those of you who have worked it, know how cold that is, especially when your pants are wet because they’re hosing down the kitchen floor) after them sitting there until an hour and a half after closing. (i preformed all steps up until #17 – I’d get fired for anymore), they left $1 on over $100 tab.

  20. wai from hawaii says:

    play the song closing time by semisonic

  21. j h says:

    you people need new jobs, I worked hotels for 6 years, night audit, I would just tell people to leave, the lobby’s closed etc, if its loud kids the best thing in the world is to go them with a worried look on yoru face and say “hey i’m just letting you know someone called the cops they’re on their way.”

    if you’re in a particularly ghetto place and the manger likes you because of your work ethic you can tell them to “get the fuck out you fat stupid bitch” etc.

    also telling them you’re the manager helps, if you’re working night audit for all practical purposes you are, if htey don’t listen, call the cops and have them removed, i’ve done this many many times, usually just picking up the phone is enough to get them to go back to their rooms although sometimes i’ve actually called to have them removed, in some places a lot more than others

  22. j h says:

    oh and I should, if you get fired so fucking what you’re barely making minimum wage anyway, life’s too short to put up with the dumb fucking public.

    i still work in customer service but for public schools, the people are still stupid but nicer.

  23. Sean H. says:

    Is it not kosher to simply ask them to leave? I mean this posting reminds me of a woman who has a “stalker,” only she’s never told the guy to stop calling her. Ultimately taking a hint is a two way street; sometimes you have to take the hint that people can’t take hints.

  24. Mommyb says:

    I agree, you shouldnt have to tip toe around people. I was a waitress (worst job ever) and I know what its like. Also as a customer, I appreciate some one telling me its time to go or they are about to close. I would say,
    “just to let you know, we are locking the doors in about X minutes so if you need to get out come FIND one of the staff members”
    Or just say, “excuse me, the restraunt will be closing in X minutes and the staff is about to leave, thank you”
    Just nice honesty. If your at a place that doesnt let you do that,
    dont work there!

  25. tuk tuk says:

    If i have customers that have stayed longer when they should of on the dinner sitting. I just ask them if they would like to see the breakfast menu, this usually works and gets a laugh.

  26. Randi says:

    I’ve made it to #22 talking with other waitresses and my friends… You know, I’m more than happy to see blind or first dates go well… just not an hour past closing.

  27. Alice says:

    My mom was a horrible person and did that with us kids while growing up… *sigh* I always felt bad and now working retail we feel your pain (not as much, I’m sure, but we have people who demand to shop past time to close.) We normally tell them, “We’re closing the registers in 5 minutes, if you don’t check out in time, too bad.’

  28. MoreAndAgain says:

    I waited tables at a restaurant a few years back and one of our busboys (who had a two hour ride home) would never fail to stack all the chairs up (especially the chairs RIGHT next to the offending party) and start mopping the floor. This, along with putting the lights up and turning up the radio, worked everytime.

  29. Diana says:

    Best one ever!!

  30. aimp says:

    Yes interesting look at the world.

  31. PunyHobbit says:

    At the fine dining restaurant I work at, not only do you have to wait till they have paid the check but also till they physically get up till you can go. The “Stank Eye” works pretty well, and crankin up heat/AC.

    I’m gonna have to try the music thing, yodeling would be pretty good.

    The funny thing is the people that come in 10 min before close and sit there for two hours NEVER tip well. At that point the tip should be 50%, just to make up for being and pain in the butt.

    The best is when you stare at them with the Stank Eye and they get up and you grab your stuff and start walking out of the kitchen door, and you meet the customers on the way out of the front door! I love just looking at them like they have ruined my night! They always look so embarrassed.

  32. Paulo says:

    I’ve routinely had to go past 19… how sad.

  33. More than a Retail Clerk says:

    I just love it when they think it’s okay because “they know the owner.”

    I did my time behind the bar and my favourite line used to try to get drinks after last call was “It’s okay, baby; I know the owner.” Yeah, and I know the liquor by law guy, and he says it isn’t. Bah!

  34. Loved the book says:

    This book was perfect! So accurate!

  35. Sincerely, The Waitress says:

    I just slowly take away their furniture (people who stay late always sit outside). It starts with their ashtray, then one chair, then another chair when someone gets up to go to the bathroom, and that continues until there’s one guy sitting with his friends standing around him. By then they usually get it.

  36. Kempeth says:

    Having worked at a bar on a street festival last summer i was astonished how effective turning up the lights is! You can be swamped with people trying to get a last drink for the night. Turn up the light and they flee like bats…

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