Monday, 29 July 2013

Who's Next?

When I was much younger, as I've mentioned before, I trained as a barman under an old school boss. You had to do it right, first time, every time, or you got a bollocking. It was a good training though for subsequent years and why I am sometimes critical of barstaff.  You see. I really do know how it should be done.

I was reminded of this when in the pub on Friday and was passed over more than once by the same barmaid, who always asked "Who's next? before serving the person directly in front of her, no matter whether they'd been waiting minutes or seconds. I was taught to look around as I was serving and acknowledge customers and advise them of their place in the invisible queue.  It isn't difficult, just requiring the most basic of observational skills. I'll be brushing up on it soon at the GBBF if you want to put me to the test. The lazy "Who's next? " is to me an annoying example of the indifferent service we often get in pubs.

Trust me on this one. What you don't want to hear from barstaff is "Who's next?" You want to hear "You're next".

And don't get me started on "You all right there?"  It is more or less the standard question you are asked at the bar now.


bailey said...

In Spain, the system seems to be that you, as customer, ask: 'Who's last?' thus establishing your place in the invisible queue. Works pretty well, but makes it look to us Brits as if there is no order at all.

Tandleman said...

In Spain I generally just relax. It isn't such a problem there somehow as I'll hopefully find out in a few weeks when we go to Gaucin.

m.lawrenson said...

Wear a paisley shirt. You'll be served first every time. If only because the bar staff want to remove the affront to their vision.

Cooking Lager said...

Some pubs ain't much cop.

But yeh, you're right. Better run pubs tend to have the invisible barber shop queue. Shite ones tend to have people going left to right with no idea of who is next. Annoying innit? Those same shite ones often have empty but uncleared tables that look grotty once you've got your drink.

I think the answer is to steer clear of grot holes.

Anonymous said...

Yes, hate the phrase. When I was a barman I knew who was next, but people who called out or waved money got put to the back of the queue. I must confess though that known tippers tended to get served very quickly!

RedNev said...

I got the "Who's next?" treatment in Spoons recently, and a man who had just approached the bar jumped in with his order, while I'd been standing there for a couple of minutes. I told the barman he shouldn't ask who's next - he should know who's next.

ian said...

Pub bar staff should know who's next, if not by observation and memory then by the customers' body language.

As a bar manager at my local festival, I can see immediately where anyone is waiting a bit longer by the distance glasses are pushed across the bar.

When the bar is 2 or 3 deep, its far easier for volunteers to work left to right, then back to where they started and left to right again - punters aren't too bothered about the precise order they get served in, as long as they can see they'll get served.

And if you do left-right with a packed bar, after a couple of repeats you'll automatically be serving in order of arrival!