Don’t Be A Jerk Customer

Working in restaurants for over 7 years, I’ve seen every type of customer and I have definitely seen my fair share of jerk customers. I understand every job has its ups and downs and I know that I choose to do this job. That being said, the fact that I am your server does not mean I am your servant. Servers are humans with feelings too. It’s very easy to not be an asshole, just use common sense and simple human decency.

Here are some things to keep in mind while at a restaurant to make sure you are not coming off like a jerk.

1. Don’t ignore me. This is common respect.
This happens at least once a night and is probably my biggest pet peeve. When I walk up to your table and say “Hi, how are you tonight?” It is not retoracle and if you don’t like conversation, that’s fine, at least give me a “Fine.” or “Hi.” Don’t just stare at your menu or your phone while I’m standing there waiting for an answer. I will assume you are not ready for me and I will walk away.

2.When the server comes to greet your table, quickly finish your current conversation or put it on hold.
How would you feel if you went to Starbucks and the employees wouldn’t stop talking when you walked up? When I come to greet your table, I likely have 10 other things I have to do when I walk away. I don’t have time to stand at your table for 5 minutes while you finish telling your best friend about how you can’t stick to your diet. If it really can’t wait, tell me you need a few more minutes but don’t expect me to stand at your table to wait.

3. PLEASE do not cut me off during my greeting speil.
When I walk up and say “Hi my name is” and I’m cut off with “water. lemon.” You are not saving time because I will simply say “ok” and finsih what I was saying. The only thing you accomplish is having me curse you under my breath foe the rest of the service. Don’t be rude.

4. Don’t snap your fingers or whislte. 
I am not your pet, I will not come to snapped fingers. It will actually make me ignore you and get to you when I’m ready. I told you my name during my greeting so you can easily use that. Even a small wave when I’m looking in your direction is fine. Snapping and whistling is just plain rude.

5. Let everyone at the table order their own water.
Unless they are your children, there is no need to order water “for the table.” All this does is slow down my ability to get the drinks that people actually want to the table and takes me longer to clear the table when you leave. It drives me crazy when 1 person out of 7 orders “water all around.” I know I’m going to end up clearing 6 FULL glasses of water when you’re gone.

6. Please don’t let you children take 10 minutes decide what they want.
I have a son of my own and I am all for children making their own decisions and telling me their order but please help them pick it out before I come to take the order. It happens too many times when I’ve taken the table’s order and when I get to the child, the parent leans over and asks “Do you want the pasta, steak or chicken?” and the child just keeps coloring. Talk to them about it before I get there ot tell me you need a few minutes.

Doing these simple things will help to ensure that you have a pleasent experience and the server has a better night overall.

A Letter To Upper Management

To whom it may concern,

As your employee I would like to ask that you stop treating us like children that don’t know what we’re doing. Most of us have been serving for 5, 10, or 20+ years. How can you expect us to feel empowered to make decisions when you keep micromanaging?

We know how to manage our tables, we know when to walk the pool deck, we know when to add auto gratuity to the checks and we also know when to ask for help. I only work once a week but every day that I come in, there’s a new rule for something we’re not allowed to do.

Please take a step back and see how well we can work without having every little thing managed for us. All it does is make us feel like we’re children who have to ask to go to the bathroom.

Thank you,
Your slightly fed up employee

7 Tips for being a great server

I have been serving for just over 7 years now and I love it. I would like to think in pretty good at it too. I never get complaints about my service and I tend to get good tips. If you are a server or intend to be one, here are some tips that I find helpful to being a good server.

1. Be friendly but not overly so. Make sure it’s genuine, not forced, the tables can tell. Find something to comment on when you greet the table. I.e. a piece of jewelry or clothing. If there’s a child, show interest in the toy they have.

2. Try to anticipate the tables needs and bring it before they ask. From extra napkins for messy meals, to condiments, or drink refills. Think about what you or your family would need if you were eating that meal.

3. Learn to read your tables. Some like to talk a lot, some don’t want to be bothered. You can usually tell if you go to the table and they either respond with one word  before going about their business or look interested waiting for you to talk. Sometimes they will strike up conversations with you.

4. Multitask. Learn to write one order while asking for the next one, it will fill the silence and get the order faster. It helps if you have shorthand for everything on the menu. Treat your station like one big table. Get drink refills for all at once, check on all of them when you check on one.

5. Prebus whenever possible. Clear plates, trash, empty glasses. Anything you can take away is less you’ll have to clear when they leave which means faster table turns. 

6. Always, always ask before you remove anything. Even if there is nothing left on the plate/in the glass. You never know if they plan to use it for their spouses leftovers or whatnot. You don’t want to ruin your tip over something easily avoided. It’s especially important if there is even a little bit on the plate, they might be saving it for whatever reason.

7. Have the check ready when they ask. When they are almost done with their entrees print the check. That way if they refuse dessert you can drop the check right away. Just don’t forget to reprint the check if they do get dessert.

Follow these tips and you’ll be sure to make a great impression on every table which will hopefully lead to more money in your pocket.