Restaurants have been operating at a limited capacity due to the pandemic, with most states allowing for only 50% seating capacity.
Another common rule implemented by many establishments is setting a time limit for customers, putting a cap on how long they can be seated at the table.
But when Beth, a restaurant server at Glenbrook Brewery in Morristown, New Jersey, notified a group of four diners that their time was almost up, they weren’t too happy about it.
And to express their disapproval, the customers paid their $86 bill and left no tip. The receipt also came with an angry note that read, “I’m sorry the server gets screwed on this. Don’t kick paying customers out after 90 minutes.”
The restaurant opened in late February amid the pandemic. Aside from complying with New Jersey’s 50% seating capacity, Glenbrook also uses other measures, including a QR code for digital menus, to keep patrons safe.
The brewery also limits seating to 90 minutes so that they can turn over tables and accommodate as many customers as possible.
The staff was surprised to get such a negative reaction from the customers toward a commonplace rule adopted across the service industry during this time.
“It’s not like we’re trying to keep people from staying here, it’s just something that needs to happen in 50 percent capacity for a business to survive,” said Beth.
Head brewer Heath Traver also said that the policy is posted online, at the door, and on signs at each table. However, the upset diners seem to have missed the memo because they paid their bill but didn’t add any tip.
The restaurant’s taproom manager had even asked if he enjoyed himself and if the service was good, and the customer said “Yes.” Sadly, he still chose to leave a zero tip.
Beth, the server assigned at their table, is a nurse working a second job at the brewery to put herself through a doctoral program.
Heath described her as a “hard worker and a sweet girl.”
“It hurt a little extra because she’s outstanding,” he said.
The restaurant never meant for the incident to become public, but it quickly went viral in a local Facebook group, the Morrison Stimulus Plan, where residents can discover and support new local restaurants.
A fellow server at another neighboring establishment shared a snapshot of the receipt inside the group.
“All of a sudden it started snowballing and now, here we are,” Heath said.
Members of the Facebook group began donating to Beth, and the total ended up at $2,000!
“The public support and outpouring, the kind comments, just the things people say bring me to tears,” she said.
Beth plans to put the money back into the community, taking just some of it for herself. The remaining funds will also be split with other servers who work at the restaurant. Beth also wants to use the money to help health care workers.
“It’s very heartwarming to see so many people come out in support of her and her efforts,” said Heath.
Although the brewery doesn’t have any solid plans yet, they’re currently considering ordering from local restaurants and have the meals delivered to health care workers or local first responders.
“We’re thankful we have so much support from the community,” Heath said.
We hope that this story inspires you to show more compassion and kindness to servers who are doing their best to accommodate and keep customers safe during this pandemic.
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