Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Can't we all just get along

At the restaurant this time of year dinner is really hit or miss for us. Some nights we will have large holiday parties that require all hands on deck while other nights I like to close early. However, instead of loathing those nights I take them as a time to do a little extra cleaning and also spend extra time with tables doing wine service. Last night was one of those nights.

One of my tables , a husband and wife with two kids, ordered a bottle of Cakebread chardonnay right when they sat down . As I was pouring the CB we began talking and I probably spent 8 minutes table side chatting, just how I like to spend these nights. When I returned they wanted a bottle of Silver Oak. Knowing what was coming for entrees, a prime rib and salmon in a orange glaze, I didn't think that Silver Oak would be the best match. Also, I don't like to sell multiple bottles of big name juice to one table. So, I mentioned a Spanish Cab, Syrah, Petite Verdot blend that I had recently picked up. They loved it, the meal ended with a handshake, and everyone lived happily ever after. The exact type of table you love to have on a slow night, amicable and they love wine and food.

The next table was educational but didn't work out as well. They were well dressed, international, "people of society", ready to have a great meal and enjoy the wine they had brought for the evening. When I see people bring their own wine into the restaurant I immediately walk up to the table to make the uncomfortable announcement, "I am sorry I would like to open this bottle for you but it is illegal in Colorado for customers to bring their own wine into a restaurant". Normally this is met with disappointment, we all move on, and I try to go out of my way to find them a well priced bottle that can match whatever bottle they brought. Not this time suddenly it was, "We will pay, charge us what you must, I can't believe this".
"Not my fault", I said. But to them it was and it carried over through the entire meal. I really would have felt bad if they weren't so rude to me.

The interaction did make me think about Colorado wine laws: you can take wine out of the restaurant if you don't finish it (one 750ml per person) but you can't bring in your own. Why? Law says you can leave with what I would consider an open container, although if the cork is pushed down the law says that is a closed container, but you cannot enter with a truly closed container of wine. Really doesn't make much sense. Also from my point of view I would love a corkage fee. I don't have to order or store that bottle so no cost to me but I still make money off of it.

Believe me I would if I could.


Popehammer said...

It's absurd that the party that brought their own wine took out their anger on you. Did they mistake you for a Colorado Senator who moonlights as a restaurateur?

Any luck on getting your wine list posted?

Chris said...

Yes, my wine list was posted today on the Hotel web page and I will be posting about it tomorrow.