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Jan 19, 2009 02:59 AM

AYCE Food rule enforcement?


Buddy and I are regulars at our local IHOP. He ordered his breakfast with the special all you can eat pancakes deal. After finishing the first round, the waitress asked him if he wanted more pancakes and he said yes. She brought three more. That was one more than he could eat, so he gave it to me. Just as I was finishing it, the waitress came by and scolded us for sharing, which is not allowed for AYCE specials.

We were not trying the game the system, which seemed to be what she implied. We just didn't want to see the food go to waste. Anyway, this laid a bad vibe on the scene. One of the reasons we frequent this place is because of the friendly, welcoming atmosphere, which has now been besmirched.

Am I wrong to feel slighted?

  1. sharuf, sharuf, sharuf! goodness alive, man! you write here to chow to say you were slighted by getting a bad vibe at ihop?!?!?!

    man up, dude!

    8 Replies
    1. re: alkapal

      Wassamattah A, you got a bad IHOP where you're at? The service and attitude at my local branch couldn't be better. And on Sundays, it's jammed with families who feel right at home.

      Anyway, I'm not a dude. I'm an old br---, er, an elderly lady.

      1. re: Sharuf

        wassamatta u, sharuf? i think you are trying to be funny about feeling "slighted" for such an insignificant event. that is, i think your post is a spoof.

        1. re: alkapal

          The waitress had a cop-like attitude, when she should have been more polite about it. This can be offensive, especially to regular customers who are accustomed to being welcomed and treated in a polite and friendly manner.

          1. re: Sharuf

            The waitress is possibly used to the "golden agers" stuffing their pockets with AYCE pancakes, plus sugar packets, toilet paper from the restroom, and then the tea bags from the beverage bar.

            Some AYCE places are very anal about their rules. Like playing pool in a town, that is new to you, or on a golf course, at which you have never played - get the rules and follow them to the letter.


            1. re: Bill Hunt

              "Like playing pool in a town, that is new to you, or on a golf course, at which you have never played - get the rules and follow them to the letter."

              or when driving off interstate through a one-stoplight town, with a 25 mph speed limit and a hungry sheriff who is also town comptroller. ;-).

        2. re: Sharuf

          ***Anyway, I'm not a dude. I'm an old br---, er, an elderly lady***

          Thank god. I thought my radar was broken! '-)

          1. re: Sharuf

            ok, then....woman-up!

            what had you ordered, anyway?

            1. re: alkapal

              I recommend their crepes. I had their garden-stuffed crepes, with extra hollandaise sauce, please.

        3. All of the AYCE places I've ever gone to do have two rules: One is that you don't share food UNLESS the other person is on the AYCE program too, and second, NO doggy bags. Yes, it does seem to promote waste, but I can also see the logic to it.

          1. Yes, you have no reason to feel slighted. You're entirely in the wrong on this.

            25 Replies
            1. re: ccbweb

              It was the waitress' call to bring three pancakes. We weren't trying to promote a surplus.

              1. re: Sharuf

                why didn't your buddy say, "please only bring me one or two -- i'm not that hungry"?

                you say you are regulars there?

                1. re: alkapal

                  He probably thought she was going to bring only one or two.

                  1. re: Sharuf

                    thats odd as the ads etc are pretty clear that they bring three at a time.

                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                      yeah, the three count pancake "refill" was very clear on their deal promotion. that specificity struck me particularly because i'd heard stories on other threads about people asking for more in AYCE deals at places like applebee's or red lobster. they'd get progressively lesser amounts, and those "seconds" (or thirds) were sloooow to get to the customer.

                2. re: Sharuf

                  Nonetheless, it's pretty clear for anyone who has been in an all you can eat establishment (and clearly if you're regulars there, you have been) that if one of you orders the AYCE and the other doesn't then the second person doesn't eat from the first's AYCE options. Period.

                  If you were still hungry, you should have ordered and paid for pancakes (or whatever you chose to eat).

                  1. re: ccbweb

                    I agree with what you said, but IHOP is not an AYCE establishment. From the commercials it appears that the pancake AYCE is a special. therefore the rules on sharing might not have been as clear.

                    I would think that since Sharuf is a regular and an "elderly lady", the waitress could have been nicer (not scold) or just looked the other way.

                    1. re: viperlush

                      Age and gender should ave influence over how diners are treated?

                      1. re: invinotheresverde

                        Yes, sometimes it should. I don't think that a grown woman (or man) should be scolded. Scolding to me is what one does to a child, not an adult. Only Sharuf knows the tone that the waitress used, but any tone to me that is described as "scolding" I think is inappropriate in this situation. Unless the server said something earlier or the AYCE rules were spelled out on the menu, Sharuf didn't go out of her way to skirt the rules. Therefore the server should have used a more respectful tone or just let it slide.

                        1. re: viperlush

                          If a grown woman or man is breaking an establishent's rules, it is well within the right of an employee to let the person know. Hopefully it's done politely.

                          I'm still confused about why the waitress should've looked the other way because the OP is both elderly and female.

                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                            Exactly, let them know in a polite manner. "Scolding" doesn't come across as polite to me. In the OP's case I think the server should have shown more respect (tone, language) to the OP because she is a regular and an elderly person (woman in this case).

                            It's not like the OP was part of a group of teenage males ordering plates and plates of pancakes, passing them around when the waitress isn't looking. Knowing what the rules are, but blatantly breaking them and purposely trying to scam IHOP. The OP's Buddy couldn't finish his second helping so the OP (an elderly woman) ate one. Assuming that the OP didn't know that she couldn't eat the pancake (why would she have posted on Chowhound if she did know?) and because her Buddy didn't order additional plates, why not just look the other way? It is really worth it to upset a regular over a minor infraction of the AYCE rule.

                            1. re: viperlush

                              As we weren't there, we really can decipher what "scolding" meant. It could've been polite or not.

                              I'm pretty sure that a) it's common sense that two people can't share one AYCE option and b) this was posted on the menu/table-tent/etc.

                              I think the reason the waitress mentioned anything is because other customers notice everything. If another table saw OP sharing and the waitress looking the other way, what's to stop them from pitching a fit when told they're not allowed to also do so? The other table doesn't know the OP was just eating the leftovers. It's a slippery slope.

                          2. re: viperlush

                            children shouldn't be scolded either, especially not by waiters and other strangers

                            1. re: thew

                              children shouldn't be scolded either, especially not by waiters and other strangers

                              I disagree....

                              Both children and their parents should be scolded for allowing bad behavior to persist, e.g., running anywhere within the confines of the restaurant, especially in the dining room near tables and other patrons.......

                              and before you disagree with me, consider what would happen if a child tripped near a table and hit their head , possibly on the corner of the table and directly in their eye......whose fault would it be?

                              1. re: thew

                                Sure they should. Reading the papers and even some of the posts on Chowhound it seems like too many parents aren't scolding enough.

                                1. re: thew

                                  Absolutely they should, if "parents" allow their kid to run wild in a restaurant. A restaurant is a dangerous place full of breakable, sharp, and hot objects. It's not a playground. Any kid who acts as if it's the latter needs to be corrected.

                                  1. re: Leonardo

                                    not by being "scolded" by strangers

                                      1. re: thew

                                        If the parents are negligent in their training of the child, and this child is inflicted on society, then the child should be scolded, as should the parents. It is the parent’s responsibility to train their children. If they fail, then the rest of society should speak up.

                                        Parenting should be done at the home. Barring that, then it’s up to the “village,” to take the responsibility for it. Along the way, maybe the parents can also be trained, as it would appear that they, too, were lacking.

                                        If society has to take responsibility for these children, in lieu of parental guidance, they should also have the power to do something about it. Considering the courts’ rulings on liability responsibility), the other side is power to do something about it.

                                        If I am held responsible for something, I fully intend to be empowered to do something about it.


                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                          Please, address the parents and ONLY the parents. You are not related to that child and you ARE NOT a member of the tribe.

                                          And please understand that this is coming from someone who only takes her child to child-friendly restaurants (hoo-boy, is that getting old) and has requested that the meal be boxed after apps are done if the little one doesn't seem like he can handle the public space much longer.

                                          I do my damndest to make sure my child doesn't interfere with others when dining but that doesn't mean I won't kick your &*#! if you were to approach him negatively.

                                          1. re: sebetti

                                            Well, that totally depends. I have been the victim of some absolutely terrible children. If parents want children that behave that way, let them do it at home!

                                            I was once entering a doctor's large waiting room. I had had recent surgery on one foot and was totally reliant on crutches. As I was crossing to room to the nurses station to sign in, a child of about five came running over (from his parents) and grabbed one of my crutches, nearly knocking me down. I took the crutch back angrily and scolded the child with a "Don't do that!" The parents scolded me for scolding the child, so I returned the favor with a tongue lashing about allowing children to recklessly endanger others. The parents were still angry, but a nurse came out and told them they would have to control their child or leave.

                                            There are situations when I truly believe it is well within my right and a personal obligation to scold a child I've never seen before.

                                            Come to think of it, I once slammed on my brakes when a three year old intentionally ran out in front of my car and stood there sticking her tongue out at me while her mother was hand watering the flowers. I got out of my car and spanked the child. The mother thanked me. I'd rather spank the child than kill it.

                                        2. re: thew

                                          Better to be scolded by strangers at a restaurant rather than by a judge at sentencing.

                                    1. re: viperlush

                                      My MIL counts on people like you (not being snarky). She uses the little old elderly lady card whenever and wherever she can. University of Richmond has a Sunday buffet & she and my FIL would show up and she'd have her Tupperware in tow. Not only is the buffet not open to the public, she'd take home plenty for her and FIL and when someone would say something to her, she'd smile that elderly lady smile and pretend she didn't understand. She uses it as a manipulation tool (not saying the person at IHOP did, but it just made me think of my scheming MIL).

                                  2. re: viperlush

                                    The question of tone of the waitress is one I can't answer and certainly I hope that everyone is respectful when speaking to anyone else. It often isn't the case and that's always too bad.

                                    Beyond that, though, when it is, in fact, a regular it may actually be more important to say something as that person may otherwise settle into that behavior and come to expect that he or she may share AYCE pancakes with their dining partner without issue. A much better way to go would be for the regular to ask the waitress about eating the final pancake in which case the waitress may say "ok, but just this time, we're not allowed to let people share these normally. If you want fewer pancakes next time, just let me know." Or perhaps the waitress would have offered to bring one fresh pancake on the house to the regular customer. Ultimately, this isn't something that I would stop going somewhere because of nor worry about too long if I were the customer.

                                    1. re: ccbweb

                                      Communication of both sides is important. The best would be for the server to say something when taking the order so that people know upfront that they can't share. Or for the customer to do what you suggested.

                                      This discussion reminds me of all the threads about plate sharing fees.

                            2. Sorry old dudette :-)), and jfood says that affectionately, the waitress was in the right about sharing, but only you were there to hear the tone and verbiage.

                              But you should have learned for next time versus taking it as an insult. Sort of like taking a second freebie at Costco and the server tells you only one to a customer. Place your tail between you legs, smile, walk away slowly and move on with life, never to repeat the guffaw.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: jfood

                                Sharuf: While I concur with your desire to not waste food, you were totally wrong to do it. They have their rules for sound reasons. Please respect that. So I suggest you get over your bruised feelings, admit you were wrong, and stop blaming others for your mistake.

                              2. Sorry I was a waitress for years. Yes I know the rules but come on. No food to waste, it isn't like you commited a crime. My god. The waitress should of just looked the other way. No harm done. Is this what society has come too. No. You did as I would of. Sorry, but I think the waitress was wrong and you shouldn't feel bad about what you did.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                  " The waitress should of just looked the other way. No harm done."

                                  the waitress has to answer to her manager, doesn't she?
                                  what of others observing this and doing the same thing?
                                  why is it the waitress' "responsibility" to look the other way (ignore the rules), and not sharuf's responsibility -- and the buddy -- to abide by the rules?

                                  the waitress was right and sharuf was wrong, as to substance.

                                  could the waitress' style be better? i don't know, as i wasn't there. but sharuf is upset on two levels, style and substance. however, because sharuf is completely wrong on substance, she has a lot less room to complain about style.

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    Then the manager shouldn't be a manager. You didn't originally share, just finishing up the plate. My god, I was a manager of a restaurant for 10 years. I would of sided with the waitress if she looked the other way. A bit different if you originally got 1 plate and shared ... that wasn't the case. The waitress should of handled it better and the manager shouldn't be in that position he would be like that. Sometimes you just got to be a bit compassionate and understanding. I guess that is why the country is so screwed up these days because people forgot how to have feelings.

                                    1. re: kchurchill5

                                      um, we still don't know what sharuf ordered....

                                      and the manager shouldn't be a manager because she expects the waitress to enforce the restaurant's rules? now THAT position is the problem with our country -- it's all about "feeeeeeelings" -- emotionalism over rationality.

                                    2. re: alkapal

                                      The waitress should of just looked the other way. No harm done.


                                      This reminds me of the Free Refills on soft beverage ordered for a table of four....and the other three others say.....oh, I'll just have a sip of yours.