“Two bean tacos, a chicken burrito grande, and a side
order of Spanish rice, please,” Ivan Karetski called his
table’s order into the kitchen as he prepared the beverage
orders. Business was brisk. Karetski liked it that way. Lots
of customers meant lots of tips and, as a struggling graduate
student, the extra income was greatly appreciated.
Lately, however, his tips had been declining.
José’s is a small, 58-seat restaurant that offers a reasonably
broad range of Mexican food prepared and presented
in a traditional Mexican style. It is located in New
England in a mature business district on the edge of a large
metropolitan area. The site is adjacent to a central artery
and offers limited free off-street parking. The restaurant’s
interior decoration promotes the Mexican theme: The
walls appear to be made of adobe and are draped with serapes,
the furniture is Spanish Mexican style, and flamenco
guitar and mariachi alternate as background music.
Patrons enter the restaurant through a small vestibule
that opens directly into the dining area; there is no separate
waiting area. Upon arrival, patrons are greeted by a hostess
and either seated directly or apprised of the expected wait,
Seating at José’s is usually immediate except for Friday and
Saturday nights when waits of as long as 45 minutes can be
encountered. Because space inside for waiting is very limited,
patrons must remain outside until their party is called.
José’s does not take reservations.
After seating patrons, the hostess distributes menus and
fills glasses with water. If standards are being met, the
waiter assigned to the table greets the patrons within one
minute of their being seated. (Being a traditional Mexican
restaurant, all its waitstaff are male.) The waiter introduces
himself, announces the daily specials, and takes the
beverage orders. After delivering the beverages, the waiter
takes the meal orders.
The menu consists of 23 main entrees which are