This Bickford's was about the only restaurant in a twenty mile radius that was 24 hours which explains why it was busy at 1AM on a Saturday night (er...Sunday morning!).
Typically they have three or more waitresses, a hostess and a manager that helps when things get real busy. There must have been a scheduling snafu because on this night when my GF and I arrived there was only one waitress serving the entire restaurant and the manager was playing "hostess" (about 20-25 tables).
My problem wasn't with the waitress, the poor girl was really trying her best and she was completely overwhelmed. Considering what was happening I'm surprised she didn't just walk out. You see, the manager was only doing two things. She was seating people when they trickled through the door and whenever someone complained about the slow service she would find the waitress and yell at her about it.
I swear to God, the manager was either sitting at the hostess stand twiddling her thumbs looking bored (while the one waitress tried to serve 50+ people), was seating a new party or was yelling at the waitress telling her she was slow, lazy and people were complaining about her! It was F***ed up!
At one point I got up and grabbed a pot of coffee from inside the server station to re-fill my and my GF's coffee. I wound up walking around the entire restaurant re-filling everyones coffee (and going back for a second pot, getting one table decaf and brewing a new pot of regular...I mean come on, I don't even work there!). The waitress thanked me, the evil manager just gave me a dirty look but kept her mouth shut (I was waiting for her to say something about my going into the "employee only" area so I could lay into her about sitting on her ass not doing anything).
I was only a teenager back then...if something like that happened today you can bet I would be talking to the GM about his night manager.