Learn To Serve: A Guide For The Serving Impaired
Start writing a post

Learn To Serve: A Guide For The Serving Impaired

A satirical guide designed to aid servers everywhere. This guide is guaranteed to help you become a better waiter or waitress. Results may vary.

Learn To Serve: A Guide For The Serving Impaired


Before we begin, I must inform you, as one server to another, that waiting on tables is not for everyone. If you cherish being off on holidays, serving is not for you. If you do not like working long hours with no breaks, serving is not for you. If you like spending time with your family, serving is not for you. And if you dislike being yelled at by people you do not even know, serving is not for you. So before continuing your job as a server, you must ask yourself: Do I really want to do this? If you are OK with this lifestyle — since it means you will be making more money than your friends — then you are well-equipped to begin your training as a waiter or waitress.

Part One: The Greeting

Greeting your table is one of the most important parts of your job; this is when your guests first meet you, and you always want to make a good first impression. So it is essential that you introduce yourself using the name that is on your name-tag. For example, if the name on your name-tag is Jesse, introduce yourself by saying, “Welcome to [insert restaurant name here]! My name is Jesse, and I’ll be taking care of you folks tonight.”

Always remember that before or after you introduce yourself, you should always ask your guests how they are doing. Ask like so: “How are you folks doing?”

More often than not, guests will respond with: “Water,” “Coke,” or “You got any Dr. Pepper?” No, those are not states of being; this is their way of telling you that they are thirsty. At this point you need to take their drink order.

Sometimes guests like lemons with their drinks, and if they ask for one, put a slice on the rim of their glass. And make sure you do not forget the lemon when they ask for one. If you should forget it, be prepared for a verbal beat-down because out of all of the tragedies that occur in this world, your guest not getting his lemon is by far the worst.

This is what a lemon looks like:

Do not, however, make the mistake of putting a whole lemon in their drink. That is unacceptable.

Part Two: Taking Orders

Upon taking your guests’ orders, you must always, always, always repeat their order back to them at least twice so you have less of a chance of messing up their orders. For example, when your guest says, “I would like the Super Colombo Margarita Max Burger cooked medium,” you must ask, “The Super Colombo Margarita Max Burger cooked medium?” to which they will reply, “Yes, the Super Colombo Margarita Max Burger cooked medium.” And you say again, “One Super Colombo Margarita Max Burger cooked medium.”

You will need to write this order down in your serving pad so that you do not forget it when you input it into the computer. Your serving pad will probably look something like this:

It is crucial that you do not mess up your guests’ orders—that is the kitchen’s job. However, your guests will still believe that you were the one who messed up their order, which is okay because it will only affect your tip a lot. And if you do mess up your guests’ order(s), you must always apologize and blame it on the kitchen.

When in doubt, blame the cooks.

Part Three: Attending to your Guests

You must always stay on top of your tables; you must always be quick when guests ask you for things, and you must never challenge your guests’ demands. Some guests think that servers are robots, and that is just something you have to deal with. If you are a robot, however, you will have no problem whatsoever attending to your guests.

When a guest’s drink is 2/3 of the way filled, ask him or her for a refill. Do not bring a refill on your own volition — sometimes guests will get angry with you. Why they get angry, though, is a mystery.

It is not uncommon for a guest to ask you for one thing at a time, making you go back and forth to and from the kitchen numerous times in a row. For example, a guest may ask you for a refill, and when you return with the refill, they will ask you for some napkins, and when you return with some napkins, they will ask you for more ketchup, and when you return with more ketchup, they will ask you for mustard, and when you return with mustard, they will ask you for some barbecue sauce, and when you return with some barbecue sauce, they will ask you for extra ranch dressing, and when you return with extra ranch dressing, they will ask you for wet-naps, and when you return with wet-naps, they will ask you for more refills. But when your guests do this, try your best not to stab them with the bread knife. If you must stab them, use the steak knife.

Guests this needy normally look like this:

It is especially difficult to attend to a guest’s many demands when you have more than a few tables. However, my only suggestion to you is move as fast as you can. You’re a robot, remember?

Part Four: Dessert

Dessert is the best part of any dinner. It is equally as enjoyable for you as a server because it means that it is almost time for your table to leave.

When your guests are done eating their entrees, you must always offer them dessert by reading each dessert off the menu. It is vital that you tell them every dessert you have because corporate restaurants believe that guests are incapable of reading the dessert menu themselves.

Make sure you know every ingredient for each dessert because guests will ask you difficult questions like, “The hot fudge sundae doesn’t contain any dairy, right? I’m lactose intolerant.”

You may need to double check this, but I do believe that hot fudge sundaes contain dairy.

This is what a hot fudge sundae typically looks like:

Part Five: Closing Out a Check

Finally, the time has come to let your guests go home. This has been the best 45 minutes of your life, but you need to move on now.

Politely drop the check off at your guests’ table and say, “I’ll take this whenever you folks are ready.”

If your guest pays with a credit card, pick up the check and say, “I’ll be right back;” you do not want your guest to think you are stealing his credit card. However, if they are paying with cash, say, “I will be right back with your change.” And when they say, “No change,” you are allowed to jump around and cheer because that means you do not have to bother the bartender for change when they are attending to their many guests.

Bartenders, while we are on the subject, are in charge of making a variety of alcoholic beverages, from martinis and margaritas to White Russians and Old Fashioneds.

These drinks look like this:

Some Final Words

Now that you have examined multiple parts of serving, you are better equipped to take care of your guests and work more efficiently.

Before you finish reading, I want to inform you on one last thing: it is always important that you remain calm. That is key for any good server. So stay relaxed; having a tranquil mentality will keep you from becoming overwhelmed. A dose of apathy is fundamental when waiting tables because the less you care, the harder it is for you to become overwhelmed. And if you become overwhelmed, you might end up stabbing someone with a bread knife, which is especially disappointing since I told you to use the steak knife.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments