Sunday, July 12, 2009

Patio Madness

We have a tiny patio out back behind our restaurant. It's got a lovely waterfall and coy pond, and it's surrounded by flowers (which are replanted from the owner's own garden). Behind it is the Sullivan Mews, which is a private park with access only for those who live on the block; everyone has their own backyard, but central is a park with slate walkways and benches. I've seen it a few times and it's really magical. It's like you're no longer in Manhattan. We've got 14 seats out there.

Everyone wants to sit out there, but, as I said, we can only seat 14 people. So when people come up to the door and tell me they want to sit outside for drinks, the answer is "no." Especially during a busy Sunday morning brunch. (If it's a dead tuesday afternoon, that's a different story.)

Today, five people with a stroller wanted to sit on the patio for drinks, and I politely informed them it was against the management's policy. I even offered to seat them in our sidewalk cafe. You'd think I was a doctor refusing to give their kid a life-saving kidney transplant, judging by their reaction.

"Oh," this person said, snottily, "then I guess we'll take our business elsewhere."

That's exactly the point. We seem to have come to an agreement. I don't want you to sit on the patio, you don't want to sit in the sidewalk cafe. You want to go somewhere else; I want you to go somewhere else. We have a deal.

This may seem mean, or anti-business, but I don't want to give a $60 to $100 table to someone who's going to have the $5 mojito special (total check $25). It just doesn't make economic sense. So please take your attitude and your business elsewhere.

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