During summer and on breaks from school I work as a hostess in a restaurant. Now before I started this job, I never knew how much behind-the-scenes work actually happens in order to secure customers a pleasant dining experience. However, what patrons of restaurants also don't understand is how what some of the things they are doing during their stay, is actually driving staff of the restaurant crazy.
1. Do Not Tell The Hostess Where You Are Sitting
Believe me, we aren't sitting you in a specific area because we have some kind of personal vendetta against you from the way you walked in the door. We are sitting you in that spot because there is a system set up so that every server gets about the same amount of tables. You can't sit one server four tables in a row while another server hasn't got one. So please don't walk in the door, look at the hostess, and say "I'm going to sit in this booth right here" and then proceed to seat yourself.
2. Don't Demand A Booth
Going hand-in-hand with the above paragraph, we don't purposefully not seat you in a booth. Maybe the next server up for a table only has tables in their section. Maybe we don't have any booths open or perhaps no sections with booths in them currently have servers. Do not holler over not getting a booth, just sit down and be happy you didn't have to wait 30 minutes.
3. Don't Treat Your Server Like A Slave
Chances are your server is working this job to support their family, fund school, or support themselves. So do not act like they are living to literally serve you. Yes they're technically called a "server" but that doesn't make them a slave. There is no need to scream at them for not bringing your appetizer fast enough or for not being able to honor your expired coupon. They have been working an 8+ hour shift on their feet and the last thing they need is you screaming demands at them.
4. Please Understand Why There Are Wait Times
Sometimes the kitchen is backed up. Sometimes the restaurant is full of other customers, and sometimes we just had a huge rush come in and if we sat more people, the kitchen wouldn't be able to cook anyone's food on time. So before you scream and point to "all the open tables" realize that there is a reason for the wait and we are in no way trying to cause you unnecessary stress. Please don't yell at us and tell us how to do our job.
5. Your Server Doesn't Cook Your Food
Yes it is probably annoying to wait 40 minutes for your food. But bringing it back to that sometimes the kitchen staff gets overwhelmed, sometimes food takes a little longer to come out. Do not scream at your server that the food took too long to come out. Also, don't yell at them if the kitchen forgot to withhold pickles from your burger or cooked your steak well instead of medium rare. Ever hear the phrase "don't shoot the messenger"? Well all your server does is pull your meal from the kitchen when it's ready to go to your table. They took no part in the cooking of your food.
6. Don't Demand Everything For Free
Perhaps the most annoying thing is when a customer gets to the end of their meal and then demands to see a manager. They then insist everything was cooked wrong, cold, and their service was awful. After they list their complaints to the manager they demand everything be free. If you were really that unsatisfied with your food you would have said something after you took the first couple bites, not after you ate almost all of it. If you don't want to spend 20 dollars on your plate, order something cheaper or go somewhere else.
7. There Are Other Patrons Besides You
Therefore, do not think you dictate the temperature of the restaurant, the volume of the music, or how quickly you are waited on. Just because you're cold doesn't mean everyone else is, just because you don't like the music doesn't mean others don't, and your server has four other tables who have already been there and need attention too. Be patient and understanding. We try to be more than accommodating to everyone but be kind to us in return.
8. Don't Bark Out Orders Over Top Of Your Hostess/Server
"Our new promotion going on is..." "WATER!!!!! NO LEMON!!!!!" This not only startles whoever is speaking to you but is also incredibly rude. I don't really find joy in listing the specials over and over again to every table that comes in. The least you can do is not scream your drink order over the middle of someone's sentence. If you wait through the minute long spiel on what's new on the menu, your drink order will be taken right after, I promise.
9. Don't Treat The Staff Like They're Beneath You
The restaurant staff is actually comprised of intelligent, fully capable, and great people. Maybe working in a restaurant isn't what you personally consider a great job but that doesn't make anyone working their beneath you. Please do not talk down to the employees or degrade them. You don't know, maybe they're your boss's sister or your best friend's cousin but you're treating them like less of a person because currently they're serving you dinner.
10. Promotions Are The Death Of The Staff
Special promos such as Endless Appetizers or Never Ending Pasta Bowl are actually specials that the staff considers their personal hell. Realize that these are all you can eat deals for a pretty low price. Therefore they come with rules and regulations that CORPORATE decided, not the servers and managers. So please understand if your fourth round of food takes a little longer to come out than the first, we have other customers to serve too. Also, please don't tip your server two dollars because the promotion is 10 dollars. They are doing a lot of work bringing you eight plates of never ending food, be mindful of that.
Perhaps the next time you enter a restaurant you'll remember some of these things. Every restaurant wants you to enjoy your meal and time in their establishment. However, no one wants to feel unappreciated or be yelled at while trying to make that experience happen for you.