Monday, September 12, 2011

WTF?

I hit the tipping point (pun intended) at lunch on Thursday at Mahony's.

A 7 person work party traveled in 2 different cars to lunch, and I was with the first group of 3 to arrive. As we placed our order at the counter, the remainder of our squad walked in. The girl working the register asked if we were all together, to which we replied yes, thinking that she would just put every order under one name even though we were paying separately.

Then she layed the smack down like Tyron Mathieu on an unsuspecting Northwestern State wide receiver coming across the middle.

"OK, we have a 15% gratuity charge for parties of 6 or more."

Say what?

I struggled to hold back from unleashing a list of sarcastic inquiries as to exactly what service would be performed to warrant this added charge. But I have experience as the low man on the totem pole who often unjustly receives the lion's share of customer complaints, most of which are based on managerial decisions over which the victim of the tirade exercises no control. So I bit my tongue, took a picture of the receipt, enjoyed the onion rings as always, toughed it out through a terribly dry cochon de lait po-boy, and walked out the door feeling that the time had come to take a stand.

In my humble opinion, yelling out my name when my order is ready and then carrying my po-boy from the counter to my table does not constitute "service". Don't get me wrong - all of the employees were smiling, courteous, and performed their duties well. But at no time did anyone walk over to our table and offer to refill our drinks, fetch extra napkins, or ask if we were enjoying our food.

I understand that large parties have the tendency to linger and occupy coveted table space for longer periods of time than a deuce or 4 top would. But Thursday lunch at Mahony's is not the courtyard at Bayona on a beautiful Friday afternoon in spring or the dining room at Stella on Valentine's Day. I understand that volume is the name of the game and that the faster the tables turn, the more money a restaurateur makes. Had gratuity not been automatically added, I probably would have dropped a dollar or two in the tip jar. I do the same when I go to Felipe's, The Store, Creole Creamery, and the like. But at all of the aforementioned, it is my option to do so.

But we are still talking about a po-boy shop that bills itself as "a tribute/throw-back to the old neighborhood Po-Boy shops of New Orleans". I wonder if Clarence & Lefty's had a similar policy?

11 comments:

fump and manny said...

yeah, WOW wingery has some ridiculous "take out" charge. It is only $1.25 I think, but its a principle thing. I am picking up the food, there is absolutely no service involved. I don't dirty any dishes, take up table space, use air conditioning or restrooms, and you are going to charge me $1+ more than if I sat in the restaurant and ate the same meal. Not delivery charge mind you, take out charge.

Daniel said...

What rate would you have tipped had she not said anything?

I'm also curious about what fump and manny mentioned - what's a standard take-out tip rate? I've been doing 10-15% recently, but that was just a guess. I feel like normal gratuity has gotten closer to 20%.

On a side note, I had a bad experience with service at Mahoney's once. There was a small misunderstanding, and the staff could have been far more cordial.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why Mahoney's is so popular. Each time I went I tried a new po-boy, only to be more disappointed than the time before, with the Cochon making me never want to go back.

vmm said...

I'm with Anonymous, I don't find anything extraordinary about Mahoney's and feel they are way overpriced. They do not get my business or my recommendation when people ask (and I work at a local university, students, guests, faculty do ask our opinions).

Anonymous said...

Nice Photoshop work to remove the "bar" next to the $4.50 charge. No one will judge if you want to drink a beer at lunch on a Thursday.

Peter said...

Fump,

My guess is the that the justification for the take out charge is for the container, but I agree with you that the savings for the restaurant on the services that you are not consuming by dining in should off set any added charge.

Daniel,

I probably would have left $2.25 on my own accord.

Anon #1 and VMM,

That most recent visit to Mahony's was the only one that I would consider sub-par; most of the time I thoroughly enjoy the onion rings and roast beef. Y'all are right about the prices being considerably higher than other po-boy shops.

Anon #2,

I plead the 5th.

Peter

Nick said...

In my book Mahony's is to be avoided. It's way overpriced and I know exactly what you are talking about with the cochon de lait. "Throw-back to old New Orleans neighborhood Po-boy shops" my ass, there are many actual old New Orleans neighborhood Po-Boy shops that fill that roll.

Korey said...

I'm just glad to see a bona fide New Orleans resident ordering a poboy undressed. When I do it, I get menacing looks.

Anonymous said...

their cochon is always dry, it sucks. the meatball is the only thing I'd get there again, but I dont go anymore. too slow, too pricey. not a real poboy shop IMO.

Kopfsulzer R. said...

Well for whatever it's worth, anyone reading this obscure old assed review,
I think it's fishy to redact, photoshop out a bar tab on the receipt pictured with this blather. It most certainly calls into question all reviews on this site, and what other information is lacking in integrity and honesty.

I think Mahoney's is fine. I have only had a fried shrimp sandwich there once, which was fine not great, but i would go back for that or another sandwich, their daily specials, or 2 for 1 pint happy hour. You should accept that they have to charge more because they are probably sourcing better ingredients and put more time into the preparation. Which is to say, what are they doing at Magazine St. Po-boy Shop, Tracey's, Domelise's, etc.?

To people of the service industry, the resentment for being surcharged a tip for expedient service is basically, insulting. You are aware that food servers make between $3.15- $7.00 an hour before tips right?

Kopfsulzer R. said...

...and to Nick- reading this old thread- I challenge you to name your special 'old New Orleans po-boy shops'.