I really look forward to the Wed bike hangs. Good food and atmosphere are icing on the cake, but it's the visiting that I crave. I've grown damn fond of the hang gang.
Tonight, at South Perry Pizza, it was impossible to chat, harder even to meet anyone new and double harder to get service. I tried to scoot a puny little table up to the main table, but a server told me it was reserved for more important customers that hadn't yet arrived. I love beer and pizza, but I couldn't buy either. I felt like a second-class citizen. No, actually, I didn't feel like it, I was.
So that was enough of that and Mike, Sarah and I headed over to Hucks and had a coupla beers and hooked up with some other bikey types that wandered in and it was all good and I'm not ranting (well, maybe just a little), but it got me wondering about the whole dynamics of the hang and what we do to establishments. The FBC has been through this to the power of ten (remember Jeff's rant about The Maxwell House?), but has it come to the point that our relatively small hang gang is a royal pain in the ass for the places we choose to patronize? Do we inject just a little too much uncontrolled chaos into the controlled chaos when we show up? (I know we ran a couple of ladies out of the the Rocket Market with our F-bombs in the dead of winter, but that was an isolated incident ;-)
I don't have any experience in food service, but I walked in with cash in my pocket and I wanted something to eat and drink and I'm a damn good tipper because my daughter, who spent a lot of time in the business, trained me well (insists). So all in all, I bet I would have spent 20 or 25 bucks, if I coulda. Maybe more, if the beer started flowing. Maybe that was above average, but say everyone at the table spent 15 bucks, on average, and maybe we had 20 people there, well that's $300. Not massive, but it damn sure helps pay the bills and if you were willing to work our crowd and provide some actual service, you could probably bump that up a coupla notches.
We're entering a new season and the hang paradigm is changing, but I'll bet for damn sure the group is gonna wanna eat and drink after our rides and I think we have a tiny bit of spending clout and instead of begging the trendy dopes to take our cash, it would be fun to find places that would be delighted if 20-or-so hungry/thirsty riders landed on their front porch. An example of the kind of place that come to mind is the old Zips on 3rd, that has since been an Asian restaurant that went out of business and is now a family Mexican restaurant (man, you have to have balls to open a restaurant on 3rd!). Every time I drive by they look starved for customers and I bet we get treated like actual citizens or maybe even royaly if we show up there at dinnertime on a weekday.
Anyway, thanks for listening to my non-rant and I look forward to our next hang. I'm not pissed, but now I have to go chew on some leather.