I've worked in a restaurant for about 4 years now, mostly during the summers, but occasionally I will go home on the weekends to pick up a few shifts or see the staff. Working in a restaurant has taught me that I love working with the public, but I also hate working with the public.
You learn patience and you learn to let things go because in the midst of having an 8 top, being double sat, arguing with the kitchen over grill chicken for a salad, and having a customer upset because you forgot to bring them their third side of ranch, something is bound to go wrong.
Chances are unless you've worked in a restaurant before, most of them won't make any sense to you, but here are a few things that servers hate when you ask or talk about and how we actually react versus what we wish we could say.
1. Which is colder? Bottle or draft?Drunk Beer GIF by Bayerischer Rundfunk - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy
What I say: "They are actually in the same cooler, so our bottles and drafts are about the same temperature. It's really whichever you prefer."
What I want to say: "I hate when people like you ask this. Honestly, dude, it's hot outside and it's a pretty day and I want a cold beer just as bad as you do. I promise I'm going to bring you the coldest beer I can find. So, bottle or draft?"
2. I want the appetizer to come out before the meal.Giphy
What I say: "Of course. I'll put it in before your order and do everything I can to get it out as soon as possible!"
What I want to say: "Don't we all, but considering you ordered you an appetizer and your meal at the same time and the kitchen is swamped, good luck with that. I'll be sure to bring you appetizer plates and napkins in a few minutes to make you think it will be out soon."
3. What's your favorite thing on the menu?Giphy
What I say: "Oh grilled shrimp for sure and our mac and cheese is amazing, but our sandwiches are good as well! There's not really much you can go wrong with on our menu."
What I want to say: "Honestly, I eat this food all the time and I'm probably going to beg the kitchen to cook me anything that's NOT on this menu as soon as my tables leaves so I'm just going to recommend one of the most expensive items and probably eat chicken tenders when I get off because I have the taste buds on an 8 year old."
4. Can I get a cup of soup? Actually, make it a bowl! I'm really hungry!Giphy
What I say: "Absolutely, our soup is homemade and it really good. You'll definitely be glad you got that bowl."
What I want to say: "Did you know that a cup and a bowl literally hold the same amount of soup but you're paying a dollar more? HAHAHAHA. More tip for me. Thank you, next."
5. Oh, we are going to need lots of ranch. We love ranch. Your ranch is the best. RANCH.Giphy
What I say: "Oh, I'm the same way. I love our ranch and I'll be sure to bring a few out before your meal."
What I want to say: "Did you know our ranch is literally made in 5-gallon buckets and I have no problem being a sarcastic ass and sitting the entire bucket on your table if your talk about our ranch one more time. Or maybe I'll be really mean and accidentally 'forget' to bring you some."
6. I know the owners. Are they here?Giphy
What I say: "Oh yeah. They are good people! They aren't here right now but I saw them earlier, I'll be sure to mention that you asked about them!"
What I want to say: "Really? Me too. No, they aren't here because they don't really work here, they basically just make money off of people like you and me. Oh, and when I say they were here earlier, they were really just having a beer, not actually working."
7. Your eyelashes are so long!Giphy
Maybe this one is a little specific to me but I hear it way more than you would think.
What I say: "Awww, thank you so much" *batts eyes*
What I want to say: "Wow, I'm surprised you noticed through the sweat dripping off my brow. I feel forced to do my makeup for every shift because the tips are better when I look cute."
8. Oh honey, you are so pretty. Do you have a boyfriend?Giphy
What I say: Well thank you and no, I'm single. What can I start you guys with to drink?"
What I want to say: "Thanks a milly but I'm just trying to take your order so I can go stand in the walk-in because it's so hot and no, I do not want you to hook me up with your 30-year-old son who probably lives in your basement. What. Do. You. Want. To. Drink?"
9. What time do you get off?Giphy
What I say: "We normally stop seating at 10 but the bars are open until 2 so I'll be here a little while."
What I want to say: "Are you asking because you want to wait until the last minute to order food or because you want to buy me a drink after because my answers are going to be very different depending but honestly I just want you to get up from my table."
10. Your accent! Where are you from?Giphy
What I say: "I'm actually from here. I grew up about 30 minutes from here."
What I want to say: "I know I sound like a hick but I'm actually from here, you Yank. Maybe I can use my southern belle accent to charm you into leaving me a better tip."
11. You're really tall and you've got some nice legs.Giphy
This one's also pretty specific to me.
What I say: "Haha, yeah", I say awkwardly as I squeeze out a smile.
What I want to say: "Thanks for commenting on my body. Yes, I played basketball. Yes, I lift weights. Yes, my thighs are thick, you should see how chaffed they are from running around this restaurant and waiting on pigs like you. Thank you for making this awkward."
12. Honey, can you wipe this table off for us?Giphy
What I say: "Absolutely, give me just one second to drop this check off and I'll be back to wipe it down."
What I want to say: "Or better yet, you can just sit there in filth for a few minutes since you walked passed the 4 signs that say, "please wait to be seated" and the host herself to seat yourself and I'm not even your server. If you think that table is dirty, you should see the kitchen floor after a Saturday dinner shift. You can wait. And don't you dare ask me for menus and silver wear."
Honestly, servers are some of the sassiest people you will ever meet. They have to deal with rude customers and even worse, they have to deal with co-workers that have to deal with rude customers.
Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy being a server, it's probably my favorite job ever, but it can be quite the headache sometimes. Occasionally you will meet a customer that is genuinely interested in you but more than likely they are just wasting your time to try and make conversation in hopes to get on your good side or to try and get something for free.
I promise that I will do the very best I can to serve you and give you a pleasant dining experience. I will assure you that as long as you cooperate with me, I will cooperate with you.