Serving in restaurants is a job that comes with an inherent amount of stress and hard labor. To those who have not served before, serving may seem like a simple, menial job, but there are a lot of factors that determine your service in a restaurant that have nothing to do with your server. There is a phenomenon in the service industry called "serving nightmares" that can plague your server as they fall asleep, long after you've left their table. These nightmares and extraneous stress on your server are a result of other factors in a restaurant that your server can't control. So, rather than placing the entire responsibility of your dining experience on your server, here are some other factors in the restaurant industry to consider.
1. Your server would like nothing better than to bring you your food immediately. However, they are at the mercy of the kitchen's timeframe, and they have no control over this.
2. Your server will often run food to other tables to help their fellow servers. This does not mean that they are not paying attention to the delivery of your food.
3. Many restaurants also offer to-go services that can slow down the wait time for food in the restaurant. This is neither your server's, nor the kitchen's fault, but something that is to be expected on busier nights.
4. When you order alcohol, your server does not control how quickly your drink arrives. The bartenders pour drinks for servers in a restaurant, and if the bar gets exceptionally busy, your server will have to wait to get you your drink.
5. Your server also has to tip their bartenders at the end of the night. When you order more alcohol at your table, the amount of tip they have to pay increases, and should be taken into consideration.
6. Your server has other duties they have to attend to while they are serving such as filling ice bins, restocking dishware, bussing tables, and rolling silverware. This does not mean that they are not paying attention to your service if you see them performing these tasks.
7. When your server is given a large party, they will need to multi-task while serving their section, and if they are attending to their party's needs while serving you, it does not mean that your service is any less important.
8. A server's section can vary in size on any given night. If a restaurant is very busy, and you have already paid your check, it will help both the hosts and servers of the restaurant to give up your table in a timely manner so that the server can put that table back into circulation.
9. When you are part of a large party, and you know that the check will be separated, it is best to let your server know ahead of time, so that they can split the check ahead of time, and make the payment process as smooth as possible later on.
10. While many restaurants will serve customers as late as within one minute of closing time, it is best to be aware of the lateness of your arrival, and be considerate of the employees' time. While they are happy to serve you past closing, it becomes difficult for them to close the restaurant for the night if their customers stay for extended amounts of time after closing, once they have already paid.
11. While your server is knowledgeable about their menu, it is best to check the ingredients of an item before you ask your server what is in the item, as their minds are processing many other things and other tables' needs, and may not be able to give you the most accurate information.
12. Restaurants' tables and booths are organized by sections that are assigned to specific servers. The hosts seat people in servers' sections in turns, assuring that servers receive an equal number of tables and tips. So, if customers request to switch tables, servers are happy to accommodate, but keep in mind that the seating rotation will be put out of order, and maybe request to keep your server at your new table, to ensure that your server is receiving the same amount of tables as other servers.
13. Restaurants tend to keep the air conditioning fairly cool for the sake of their servers. Servers are on their feet, running around the restaurant throughout the entirety of their shift, and they often have to serve outdoor tables, which can be quite warm. So, when going out to restaurants, it is advisable to take a sweater with you, just in case the air conditioning is uncomfortable for you.
14. When the restaurant is out of stock in an item on the menu, it is not your server's fault. They would like nothing more than to keep you as happy as possible, for your sake, and their own.
15. Your server really is trying to give you the best service possible. During a long shift, one perfect, happy table can make a server's night, and they are trying their very best to make sure that you are their perfect table from the minute you take your seat.
16. Lastly, but certainly not least