A Doorman Speaks: The front lines in the restaurant menu fight

By Openthedoor-man  | May 9, 2011 - 12:10PM

A resident finally gets home after a hard day's work. He has shirts from the cleaners draped over one arm, with grocery bags and mail in hand, while with the other hand he's trying to find the right key to insert into the lock.

Quickly entering his apartment, he throws the keys into a glass bowl and, finally, comes to rest on a chair or the sofa. That's when he notices two pieces of paper on the floor that appeared to have been slipped under the door. “Great, probably another maintenance increase," he thinks looking at one white rectangle.

The other paper is accordion folded with some fancy drawing of a dragon. It's yet another menu to toss. And in a building with a doorman on duty, if a menu makes its way to one or more floors, it's usually because a doorman fell asleep at the wheel and someone snuck in. That escalates an annoyance to an issue of a lack of security -- something we all want to avoid.

Now, there are instances in which menu guys try to be clever. One guy, for example, tried walking in behind an Italian couple and told me he was with them. “Not unless you’re an exchange student.” I said, redirecting him towards the street. There are other stories about door staff throwing punches, landing a kick to someone’s stomach, yanking a menu person’s bag and throwing all the stuff in the garbage, and holding a person in a lobby while the cops are called.

I admit to joining the festivities one time by observing a menu guy as he searched around for a building property he would be able to get into. He had chained his bike to a sign post while he looked for and finally found the target. As he disappeared into the building, I made my way towards his bicycle and proceeded to flatten one of his tires. Then I waited.

Suffice it to say when the gentleman came back and tried to ride off he wasn’t thrilled about his back tire having no air. My philosophy is if you are going to sneak into a place and basically trespass, then you must be willing to face the consequences.

With that in mind, some restaurants print up special “incentive” menus or coupons for doormen. Menu guys are instructed to give these coupons to doormen offering maybe a discount, a free meal or a side dish, if the doorman accepts a few menus at the desk and maybe allows the placing of a few in the lobby.

This tactic sometimes helps to quell a confrontation between the doorman and menu guy.

I even admit to succumbing to it once for a Coke and an eggroll. Hey, I’m only human. And I was hungry at the time.

For the most part, I’ll accept menus at the door and wait for the person to walk away. At that point I might toss them. I at least try to be polite with the person before doing so. My thinking has pretty much been that I might have to order food from one of these places one day. Who is to say a delivery guy I kicked out or roughed up recognizes me when I place an order or I go to pick it up? The last thing I need is for him to say something to someone in the back cooking, and my food suddenly gets some "special" sauce added to it.

That’s not an incentive; it's an additive I really don’t care for. 

Follow Openthedoor-man on Twitter: @openthatdoorman

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