I have only ever worked in the food service industry. My first job was at a Buffalo Wild Wings and then I got a job at a private-owned restaurant where I have worked for the past three summers. But it seems that no matter where you work -- in a chain or a small, local joint -- the same kinds of patrons seem to appear. Some of the most frequent include:
1. The Soccer Mom
She enters the front door as if she owns the place, the slew of rambunctious, post-game kids running around behind her. But little does the soccer mom know that there are rules regarding seating at most restaurants. Of course those rules have nothing to do with fire safety, but everything to do with providing her with the most inconvenient experience possible. She will argue with you while the kids go run around and usually try to seat themselves or, after you have set up a table large enough to seat forty, she will say it is not what she wanted. In the end, the soccer mom exits with her head held high while you are left to put that table for forty back in its original place.
2. The "How About That One?"
It doesn't matter that there is a strategic system to make sure that each of the servers get an even amount of patrons. This guest will never be happy with what table you seat them at, even if that new table is exactly the same as the one you originally tried to place them at, just one spot over.
3. The "How Much Longer?"
This one may also be known as The "How Many People Before Me?" or The "There Are Seven Tables Open! Seat Me Now!" Either way, the wait will never be short enough to satisfy this particular customer.
4. The "No Tip For You"
Sometimes it is not enough to greet people within two minutes, get the food out within fifteen, give plentiful refills, and still juggle five other tables. You did not focus your whole, undivided attention on this customer, so therefore there will be no cash tip. My personal favorite is when the cash tip is substituted by a "tip" on how to make service better the next time.
5. The "It's Too Hot On The Patio"
One of the biggest draws to the restaurant I work at is our outdoor patio that is open only during the summer months. So, yes. It is summer. The sun is out. Plus there's a humidity index of 80%. But apparently that went unnoticed in your time walking to the restaurant. Now excuse me while I go back to standing at the host stand under a nice air conditioning vent.
6. The "It's Too Cold In The Restaurant"
Ah, the lovely cousin of "It's Too Hot." Or they are possibly the same exact people who just complained about the heat.
7. The "Can You Get Me This?"
I get this is what we signed up for, and I have no issue getting a customer what they want. It's my job to make sure they are happy. But perhaps thinking about everything you need so I can get it during one trip to the kitchen? Not that running back and forth after every delivery isn't the most fun I've had all day...
8. The Picky Eater
I'm one of these, so if I know I'm going to a restaurant, I'll usually look at the menu beforehand so I know if there is something I will like. But not everyone does that, and then they show up with the expectation that we will modify our entire menu to fit that person's tastes. Our kitchen has worked hard to create a menu that the majority like. They work hard, even if you cannot see them doing so behind the closed doors. No need to complain about them just because you don't like most of the foods on this good, green earth.
9. The Screaming Kid
Nothing will calm it. Absolutely nothing. Hope everyone brought ear plugs!
10. The Regulars
Nothing makes working at a restaurant worth it more than seeing your favorite customers. They come in so often that you know them by name, can ask how their family is doing, or put in their order without needing to ask. They know when the rush is over so that you can finally just relax and enjoy a good conversation, making everyone thankful for some peace during a busy day. And the best part is that you know they will be back (possibly) the next day to keep the carefree environment alive.