14 July 2011

All-You-Can-Eat, Cowboys and Aliens

Tuesday nights are pretty much the one weeknight that is lovingly hated at Hooters.  I say lovingly because there is the possibility of making decent money for a weeknight, but I say hated because it’s all-you-can-eat wings.  Every Tuesday beginning at 6:00 p.m. you can shove as many wings down your throat as you can handle for the low price of $12.99.  Basically, if you’re going to order more than ten – all-you-can-eat are served ten a time – you’re getting a deal.  Everyone of course orders them.

Given that it’s a really great deal, rivaled only by 50¢ wings on Thursdays, Tuesdays can be busy.  While that’s nice, what’s not so nice is that people run your ass off more than usual and it’s nowhere near reflected in the bill or your tip.  Basically you could order 100 wings – it’s been done – and run my ass off the whole entire time and still pay $12.99.  Rather than spending over $60 in wings, you spend nothing and get to tip me on nothing (since you’re basing your 20% on the bill amount and not the food value).  But while your price may change, I’m still doing the work of $60 in wings.  So most of the time I’m getting royally screwed.

That’s the problem with all-you-can-eat, I run around like mad reordering plate upon plate of wings and no one seems to notice.  $12.99 sinks into customers’ minds and wings settle into the stomach and there just doesn’t seem to be room for the recognition that I’m working really hard to make sure that your next plate of Daytona wings arrives just as your finishing your last.  And let me tell you, that timing is a feet in itself.  I’d just love someone to notice once in awhile.

This Tuesday was pretty typical.  It was fairly busy and 90% of my customers were slamming wings like nobody’s business.  My sales were high and my tips were decent.  Around 9:30 things began to slow down and by 10:00 we had a fairly slow restaurant.  It seemed a comfortable way to end the night with a few stragglers getting in a meal before we closed at 11:00.

About 10:45 two guys came in and ordered a few sandwiches and two double Jack and Cokes.  I figured they would end my night.  I was of course wrong.

“We have like fifteen people coming.  They have a corporate card.”

No sooner had the words left his mouth than I saw them charge the door at 10:55.  Rushing to hold it open, I shared a knowing look with the cooks.  The kitchen had already closed.  Of course this was no matter to the group.  They wanted to drink.  I could have said no, but I’m not good at that.  I let them in and ordered their first round.

Now when you have fifteen people ordering double Grey Goose and double Kettle One and double any alcohol they can think of that shit is going to add up quick; after only one round the bill was over $100.  I decided to stick around at least for a bit – the autograt would be at least $15.

So I served the drinks and being the only Hooters Girl left I hangout and share the usual pleasantries.

Sauce: “So where are you from?”

Black-Rimmed Glasses Hipster Dude:  “Oh, we’re all from L.A.”

Young, hipsters from L.A. with a corporate card in Missoula, Montana?  I was intrigued.

Sauce:  “So what brings you guys up here?”

Black-Rimmed Glasses Hipster Dude:  “Well are you familiar with a movie coming out called Cowboys and Aliens?”

Sauce:  “Of course!”

Black-Rimmed Glasses Hipster Dude:  “We’re having a big press junket at a resort outside of town.  We’re sort of the facilitators and handlers.  We basically put it together and make sure it happens like it’s supposed to with all the stars.”

Oh my Han Solo.  These people were involved with the one and only Harrison Ford.  And Daniel Craig.  And Olivia Wilde.  And other people in that movie I don’t give a shit about.  These were people that knew people.  I had a feeling letting them stay was a good decision.

After a few more drinks and another couple hours, the entourage was slowing down.  Everyone else besides the manager and I had left hours ago.  Essentially the group had an impromptu private party at Hooters.  They seemed to love every minute.

I closed the $280 tab and as an Am Ex was turned over to pay the balance it was remarked upon how affordable it was to drink in Montana.  I didn’t tell them that locally people think our prices are high.  I also didn’t add the autograt.  The slip was signed quickly and without thought; just like that were on their way – with an open-ended promise to maybe see me on Thursday.  They’d left me $90 without so much as giving it a second thought.  They nearly doubled my tips for the night.

Sometimes going the extra mile and doing more than what’s expected really can pay off.  After all I could have easily told them they we were closed and sent them on their way.  But I didn’t.  I did my job and met some really cool people.  And got paid really well for it.  Worth the three extra hours at work?  Hells to the yes.


  1. I remember your entry about the football team who came in for all you can eat wings. They were probably above the norm for quantity consumed, but it does have me wondering one thing. On all you can eat nights, what is generally the average number of wings eaten?

  2. Janus, great question! I'd say the average orders two to three plates of wings. If they order two they eat them all and if three they generally have a few left to take home. However, it seems like lately the average has been going up. This Tuesday for example I only had two people order less than four.

  3. Cool! Stuff like that is what happens when one views events that should be annoying as opportunities! Something I keep trying to remind myself at my job when the phone rings at 4:58 . . .

  4. Thankfully they didn't expect you to do that creepy de-boning thing on all of them.

    That video still kinda haunts me.



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