I wanted to relay an experience I had last week at Brick & Tin in Birmingham and get your opinion of things.
First of all, I really like it there - the atmosphere, the approach to sourcing local ingredients, and the food (I've had both the Cuban and the New Orleans, both of which were great).
Two issues, though:
On both occasions I've been there for lunch, it's taken at least thirty minutes to get my party's order. The first time, I decided that since they had only been open a month, they probably were still getting the kinks worked out and that's okay. This last time I noticed from the time on the sales register ticket that it literally took thirty minutes to be served. I go out for lunch several times a week, a somewhat-regular at Ruth's Chris, Chez FonFon, and Bottega, and the rest of the time I try a variety of places all over town.
I can't think of a single other restaurant at lunch in which it's a thirty minute wait to be served. I've heard from a friend who also likes Brick & Tin that the long wait there is just expected and my (twice now) thirty minute wait isn't at all out-of-the-ordinary there.
Anyone else have that experience? If so, that's fine and I just need to adjust my expectations.
Secondly, and this is the part that really bothers me: this second time I was there, I paid for both my and my friend's lunch on my credit card. As my friend, as is our custom, leaves their tip at the table in cash, I leave mine on the credit card slip.
It was a $20 bill, and at the register once I ordered for us both, I left a $2 tip for my portion. That's right at 20% for my half of the bill.
When the person at the register saw what I wrote, he let out an audible 'hoo!' and *really* embarrassed me. I was so caught off-guard that I didn't bring up that the other half of the tip would be left by my friend for her portion as cash on the table. Was in disbelief that I would feel the need to explain the situation. Ouch.
When I told my friend (who left $2 as a tip on the table, matching my 20%) she mentioned that we were probably over-reaching by leaving 20% as the only service we received was that our dishes were placed on the table and were cleared once we left.
We ordered at the counter, got our own drinks and refills, and were never asked if everything was okay, etc. as is the custom there. A table next to ours had their order wrong and went to the counter to get it resolved rather than getting the runner to handle it.
All that to say: is she right? I leave 20%-25% at my usual lunch spots for worlds more service and did so here for worlds less service (I think there is one runner, maybe two, for the entire restaurant). What percentage is more in line with the level of service at Brick & Tin? I'd like to hear your opinion.