We are all well aware that most of us don't make minimum wage and we rely heavily on tips. So, work for that tip! Give the people what they need, when they need it. The initial greet should be within a minute of them sitting, checking up on them should be instinctual, and make sure they are not waiting around ever.
As a server, the last thing we want to do is annoy the guest by frequently hanging around them, but it's better to be around more than less. You know the drill, just do it! Side-work and back of house tasks can wait if your senses tell you to check on tables or food.
For the server...
1. Tables are always your priority. They're the ones who are putting money in your pocket.
We are all well aware that most of us don't make minimum wage and we rely heavily on tips. So, work for that tip! Give the people what they need, when they need it. The initial greet should be within a minute of them sitting, checking up on them should be instinctual, and make sure they are not waiting around ever. As a server, the last thing we want to do is annoy the guest by frequently hanging around them, but it's better to be around more than less. You know the drill, just do it! Side-work and back of house tasks can wait if your senses tell you to check on the tables or food.
2. Make sure tables have what they need.
If you can make sure they have silverware, napkins, appetizer plates, or whatever they need beforehand, they can't possibly ask you for it later on! Heck, they should not even NEED to ask for those! Of course, they may ask for drink refills and more sauces, that's not predictable. Some restaurants follow the "silent refill" on drinks rule, but mine does not. I think it's better to ask if they want the drink refilled, because they may end up asking for water instead of soda this time. It'll save you a trip to the soda fountain, and it's more communication!
3. Do not be afraid to chat with customers.
I actually have trouble with this myself. When it comes to young people my age, it's very easy. Talking to the middle-aged and elderly crowd isn't always easy, but sometimes a compliment goes a long way. I'll tell an older woman that I LOVE her nails (even if I don't), she might respond back with a compliment about my earrings or something. Then I can tell her where I got them from and that they only cost me A PENNY! (yes, I receive compliments on my 1 cent pair of earrings always). They usually respond with a shock like they can't believe. Use anything you can to get the conversations rolling!
4. Always double check the order.
People are unpredictable; we know this. If someone orders soup and a salad (commonly an appetizer) and everyone else are ordering entrees, ask if they want the soup and salad together, or one before the other. As silly as it sounds, some people get angry when those two things come out together or if their appetizer food comes out the same time as main meals EVEN if it makes more sense that everyone eats everything at once. Stay safe by repeating back orders, and asking what they want to come out first if you're unsure.
5. When things go wrong, don't make excuses.
Guilty as charged. It's easy to blame the kitchen because their faces will never be seen. It's easy to blame the bar on drinks taking too long. The guests know who's fault it is better than you think. Saying sorry it won't happen again, and letting them know the manager will be alerted is probably the best thing you can do.
For the guest...
1. Order like a normal person and without the high expectations.
Saying you don't want tomatoes on your burger is totally OK and not the least bit annoying. Asking for extra cocktail sauce for your shrimp is again, not annoying. When you want to combine two things that can't go together, like two different appetizer platters. Or wanting us to pick apart something that's pre-made, we think you're annoying. When you go into a chain restaurant, stop expecting it to be like the family-owned restaurant on Main Street.
Silverware is going to have water stains on them, and it does not mean it's dirty. Plates might have insignificant cracks in them, and the food is the furthest thing from quality, and healthy. You get what you pay for. Half priced appetizers are probably microwaved garbage.
2. Don't ask what's taking so long for your food if:
There's a ton of people on a wait list in front, every table is occupied or if you just ordered five minutes ago. Seriously. You're not the queen of England. When your food is ready, trust me, I'll bring it out so fast you won't even know it just because I want you, and your negative attitude out of my life forever. Also saying "finally" as to when it comes, makes me want to drop kick you.
3. Don't make the server take extra trips.
Tell me everything you need at once if possible. If little Joey wants another lemonade, I'll gladly go get one. I also noticed your other child is low on their drink. If I offer to refill it as well and you tell me no, I'll be DAMNED if I need to get little Sophia another lemonade if I already got Joey's and returned with it. There's nothing my brain can't handle. Give me multiple tasks at once so I'm not back and forth with you people constantly. If I am making many trips, tip me properly, because I've been ignoring my other 6 tables for you.
4. Tip SOMETHING.
Tips are a reflection of service. Not required. Some places, however, make the server give a portion of their tips to hosts/bussers. So if you eat an expensive meal, and tip absolutely nothing, it's like I paid for you to eat. Your $100 check with no tip means I have to give out $3 that I don't have, to the tip pool. Thanks for wasting my time and money! Most restaurant workers aren't making minimum wage. So the common argument here is "don't work a job with the risk."
In the end, it's always worth it, thanks to Susan and her husband for tipping me $20 even though she should have given me $10, but she knows certain jerks like you won't tip, so she was extra kind. Even if a $3 tip on $100 check is nowhere near what the server should be getting, I would rather have that so I can at least cover the bus boys.
5. Behave yourself.
Kids are unpredictable; we get it. They're messy, loud and obnoxious. I don't mind cleaning a mess. However, your kid should not be running around as if it's not a hazard. Crayons are meant for the kid's menu and not the table or regular menus. And do I really have to say it? KEEP YOUR SHOES ON AND FEET ON THE FLOOR. Too many kids are in their socks with their feet on the table lately. If you can't control your kids, don't bother bringing them.