Basic Restaurant Etiquette- A Friendly Reminder
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Politics and Activism

Basic Restaurant Etiquette- A Friendly Reminder

From a hard-working server to you.

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Basic Restaurant Etiquette- A Friendly Reminder

In the last few months I have been working as a server to raise some money while I'm home from school. Beginning the position, I anticipated some stress in attempting to memorize the menu, bar, and serving style. Nothing, however, prepared me for the ongoing stress that comes with guests lacking in dining manners.

It is important to remember that although a server is getting paid to do their job (serve the guest), that doesn't mean the guest has free will to impose any demand on the employee. Just as a server follows a strict style set by the restaurant, so should the guest follow a respectful dining style. Here are a few reminders to consider next time you're dining out. 

1. Servers should not be treated as though they're invisible. Admittedly, no server should step beyond the line of professionalism and comment on any conversation without an invitation by the guest. However, this doesn't mean that dialogue between employee and guest should be limited to taking orders. Basic manners include saying "thank you" when the server fills a beverage, takes an order, brings a meal, etc. They may be getting paid to be there, but they are still working extremely hard for the guest -- a service which deserves to be thanked.

2. Most complications are not the fault of the server, rather a misunderstanding within a busy kitchen. Consider an order for a well-done steak that is delivered medium-rare. These moments are just as frustrating for the server as for the guest. Situations like these are beyond the server's control. We, as servers, are simply messengers between guest and chef. Taking the frustration of a flawed meal out on a server will not fix the plate any faster, it is only wasting the employee's time. 

3. 15% is old news. Very old news. I won't waste your time with the math, but a 15% tip is on the low end nowadays. Reserve 20% for a server, 15% if the employee was anything less than polite. If s/he anticipated the guests' needs and served the dinner with a smile, the job was well done. Keep in mind that an hourly wage for a server is nearly $4... that means gratuity is responsible for a vast majority of a server's earnings. Not having enough cash is no excuse. When picking a place to eat, calculate tax and gratuity in advance -- BOTH are necessary in properly paying for a meal. 

4. The more a server runs, the longer an order will take. The most annoying thing to a server is a sporadic order. Having to take a single drink order, retrieve the drink, take another order when delivering the first drink, retrieving the second drink, and so on is tiring and a waste of time. Wait to order until all guests are ready. There is no reason for a server to make so many trips.

5. Don't make a server interrupt a conversation. There is NOTHING more awkward than approaching a table to take an order and having to stand there waiting for the conversation to end. It is incredibly rude to continue a conversation pretending that the server is not there. Pause the conversation. If it is that important, at least take two seconds to ask the server to come back in a few minutes. If it isn't that important, take two minutes to give an order. The server is there only to assist the guest, be courteous in acknowledging their responsibility. 

Above all, remember this: a happy server is a happy meal. Frustrated servers aren't nearly as anxious to go above and beyond for guests that have been rude to them. All respect should be reciprocated. 

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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