I used to work for a semi-decent pan-Asian place called
Big Bowl that the Dr. Doom-like Brinker Corporation acquired back in 2000. This
was a great place to work, and until they unceremoniously fired us all when
Norman Brinker decided to sell off the concept to affix another jewel to his
walking stick, I had more fun there than at any other restaurant I've ever
I had a co-worker named Charles. Chuck and I would often pass the slow moments
at work by playing elaborate practical jokes on the guests and management. Some
I called in an 18-top right before the beginning of a Saturday night shift and
specified that we'd need "16 high chairs". My manager Floyd actually attempted
to set it all up, even going so far as to debate asking a neighboring restaurant
for extra high chairs.
We would routinely tell our new employees that the beef we used in our dishes
was so tender because Brinker had their cows mercilessly beaten with aluminum
bats prior to slaughtering them. I overheard one such new employee happily
relaying this information to a guest.
But our favorite game was something that Chuck and I invented called "Celebrity
We had a private dining room that usually remained closed unless the place was
packed, and during these times a large curtain and blinds were drawn across any
openings into the room.
When it was slow and this room was closed, we would tell our guests that some
celebrity was eating just beyond that curtain. To achieve complete entertainment
value, we discovered that it was far funnier to convince people that C-list
celebrities were in the building with them. You know, rather than someone really
It's far more satisfying to get some idiot excited about being 20 feet away from
Patrick Swayze (we supplied a fake autograph for one table when we pulled Swayze
off) or Ralph Macchio (who we told our tables was cruel and demanding, going
through Diet Cokes like he was dying of thirst and demanding to be called "Mr.
Macchio") than it was to see them get excited about, say, Brad Pitt.
On one occasion, we got a table stirred into a frenzy by causing them to believe
that none other than Tony Danza was hiding behind those blinds.
If you have a private dining room, give "Celebrity Dining" a shot.