Being a waitress can be tough.
Although the job is seen as kind of a dead-end profession, most people simply don't understand the true ambition and hard work it takes to be a server.
One of the difficulties, besides running our butts off and keeping our minds totally focused during a rush, is encountering difficult customers.
Without customers, our jobs would not exist. Without them, we would not get paid, we would not be doing what we do.
There are several types of customers a server will probably come in contact with at least once during their time as a waiter or waitress.
1. The Chatter
They always seem to come in at the most inopportune times. Of course you want to be polite and have a conversation with your table but you just got triple sat and you haven't been to table six yet and table 14 needs ranch and you haven't put in table nine's order but table seven seems to think that you have all day to sit and chat with them.
As an added bonus, they're usually older and speak rather slowly.
2. The Complainer
"What's taking so long on my burger?"
"Well sir, you ordered your burger well-done so it will be a while."
"This is ridiculous, I demand a discount on my bill!"
No, for real, this happens.
"Oh, I forgot I had this coupon I cut out of the paper!"
"I'm so sorry ma'am, but this coupon expired last month. I'm afraid you can't use it."
"What?! This is completely unfair. Where's a manger?!"
No matter what the situation is, there is always someone who tries to get a discount on their bill, demands to speak to a manager, or simply just causes unnecessary trouble. They're an inevitable part of a restaurant's population and you'll probably have to deal with a difficult complainer more than a few times.
3. The Parent
There are two types of a parents in a restaurant.
One parent allows their child to roam free, cry over their too-crispy french fries and hide under the table and play games while the adults continue to eat.
Another parent makes their child sit in the booster seat provided, interacts with them and plays with the coloring sheet and crayons provided by the restaurant and makes sure they are pleasant and mostly quiet throughout their time in the building.
Guess which one restaurant staff likes better?
4. The Bad Tipper
You can have the nicest people in the world and you can be the absolute best server you can be. You can be attentive, pleasant and not step one toe out of line, but you will still only receive a 10 percent tip.
This is an unfortunate instance because tips are really what make or break a server. While most people do not understand this, it's still imperative to tip your server well if they provided excellent service. Remember, servers don't get paid much to wait on you and the least you can do is reward them for treating you well.
5. The Business Owner
This is usually a middle-aged, well-dressed man or woman who waltzes into your place of work and insists they know the correct way of doing things.
If it's a busy night and there is a 20-30 minute wait for a table, this customer will push their way through the crowd and brag to the host that they own their own restaurant and this would never happen there.
6. The Cheapskate
There will always be that customer who asks, "Well, what's cheaper, this or this?"
While I do believe there should be boundaries, going out to eat is usually a treat, a special occasion, and it's okay to spend a little extra to get what you want.
It's not going to kill you to add an extra dollar to your bill so you can get french fries instead of chips with your cheeseburger.
7. The Dummy
It's like they've never been out of their house before. Simply asking what kind of dressing they'd like with their salad can lead to a "Well... I don't know...?"
Have you never had a salad before?
Even other simple questions such as "Would you care for any seasoning on your steak? We have a garlic or house option this evening," can earn you a blank, panicking stare.
It baffles me that people go out to eat at a restaurant and they don't know what they like.
8. The Nice Ones
These are your ideal customers. Very nice people, easy to talk to, simple order, don't need much when you check on them and 20 percent tippers. Perfect.
9. The Creep
It's that one guy who comes in alone, sits at a bar table and throws back beers all night while staring at all the waitresses walk by.
If you're unlucky enough to be his server, he might try to strike up conversation with you, ask for your phone number or ask you out on a date.
It's uncomfortable as hell, but you just have to put on your waitress smile and provide excellent service.
10. The Travelers
You'll get a table at one point with some crazy accent that you probably don't recognize.
It's pretty cool and it creates a good topic of conversation so you can interact with your table and hopefully get a bigger tip.
I usually start by asking "So where are you folks coming from and where are you heading next?"
Working in a restaurant is a unique experience that exposes you to all different types of people.
Not only does serving build customer service skills, people skills, multitasking, focusing energy on the task at hand, and responsibility, but it also teaches how to handle different situations in a mature and professional manner.
Any kind of person can walk into a restaurant and you have to be prepared to meet their needs.
Not to mention tips will be great if you can keep your tables happy. You're there to make money, so you better earn it.