As I write this article during a slump at the brewery and restaurant I work at, I ponder how many people who will read this have worked as a server. My mom, sister, best friends, and some exes of mine have served food and alcohol to the hungry and thirsty masses. This temporary as well as long-term profession has been around since people could eat. So how has the service industry surrounding food and drink developed?
As far as restaurants go, they have a rich history as a place to converse and possibly get a place to sleep upstairs. But our modern restaurant service isn't just a bar maid and a couple of cooks. There are vast empires of dining establishments with complex menus and schedules for what food is served when and how to serve it. The waiting staff is at the end of that chain of production. And often enough, they get the crap end of the stick having to deal with customers. Yes, this could be considered another complain-y piece about the service industry. But have all of you out there thought about what goes into the plate that is set down in front of you at a restaurant? Here are a couple things to think about next time you're being served.
1. No, we don't make the menu or select the prices.
There is most likely a business team behind the menu that you see before you that determines the price based on resources used as well as public value placed on a dish. And unless your server is an owner of proprietor of the restaurant, they most likely didn't set the price for the dish that you want. To say this frankly, either buy the food and hopefully enjoy it or select something that you feel comfortable paying for.
2. We have other customers.
While you may be attending a restaurant with limited time or are devastatingly hungry, you have to wait your turn. Sure, an hour and a half is longer that any waiter wants their table to be waiting for food. But if you arrive to eat after a large table or during a busy time, you will most likely receive slower service than if the restaurant was empty. That's just how restaurants work. While not everyone who serves is always on top of their tables, most of the waiting staff that I know moves as fast as they can to make sure you get your food as quickly as possible. So basically, chill out sometimes and enjoy being served.
3. It's okay to send your food back...For the right reasons.
We get it. Sometimes, the food is too cold or you find a hair in it. Maybe you got the wrong thing. There are mistakes made in a restaurant and we want to hear about it. Input is integral when it comes to food and we want to make sure that you have the best dining experience that you can have. But if you're sending your food back for petty reasons or to get a free meal, we see what you're doing and dearly wish that you'd just cut it out.
4. Yes, we need that tip.
If you came to a restaurant with enough money for food but not a tip, that's your oversight tbh. While there are different tipping policies globally, some places not even requiring a tip in addition to the bill because they included it in the check, you are most likely eating in an American restaurant. While it used to be 15 percent, many waiters prefer closer to 20 percent because it makes waiting tables with gusto and a smile worth it. I get it. Not all service seems worth 20 percent. But if you want to go back to that place and receive good service, consider your tip a pay-it-forward. For example, there was a man who left my friend two dollars IN PENNIES on a $40 bill. PLEASE don't be that guy.
5. We legitimately want you to have a good time.
I personally love hearing how much my tables loved the food and the service. I want people to have full and happy bellies as well as good vibes from the place that they are eating. I have met some wonderful people while waiting tables and give warm hello's to our regular patrons. You know why? Because they love food and I love food. While I don't plan to waitress forever, I appreciate the skills and the happiness that I have picked up and witnessed while serving food. I don't appreciate the jerks, but they are few and far between. So sit back and have a good time being served. It's what we are here for.