Working as a server can be both a blessing and a curse. It's a great way to earn a large sum of money in a short amount of time, but like every job, it has its downsides.
Working as a server puts you in situations with many different types of people who can get on your nerves. But working in the customer service industry means you have to handle any difficult situation or person with politeness and hospitality, even if that means biting your tongue.
From rude customers to inadequate tips, here are ten annoying things only servers will understand.
1. When a customer asks for the check… but takes forever to actually pay it
As a server, it’s critical that you are attentive to your tables. But when customers don’t pay their tab right away after they ask for it, you tend to become over-attentive and impatient. So, you hover uncomfortably around the table to ensure you get them their tab back in a timely manner.
2. When a customer complains about food.. as if the server cooked it.
If the food is bad, by all means, please complain. But sometimes, the way in which customers approach the matter can be disrespectful and irritating for servers. Some customers don’t realize that the server isn’t the one in the kitchen...they just bring it out.
3. Making ridiculous requests
As someone who works at a restaurant in a busy city, I can tell you that you will encounter all types of people. The requests from these people vary greatly, from turning the music down on a busy Saturday night to asking for quarters when you’re in the middle of running food and drinks for ten different tables. And sometimes it can be more pressing requests like threatening to leave if the staff won’t turn the channel to the game they want to watch. Either way, it's quite tiresome.
4. No tip, or barely tipping
This one is straightforward, but it is a slap in the face when you work hard serving a table and they end up leaving without tipping.
5. Being interrupted when you’re on the monitor
It can be annoying when you’re running around during a busy shift and one of your customers seeks you out on their own. Unless you have been a bad and inattentive server, this can be incredibly frustrating. When a customer interrupts you in the middle of a task, it leaves you flustered and stressed.
6. Outrageously messy table
As a server, it’s typically your responsibility to clean up after your tables. Some people are so messy that it’s hard to comprehend how a group accomplished to create such a mess. I’ve found that more often than not, the perpetrators are grown, adults.
7. When your tables all ask for something at once
It often happens where it seems like all of your tables are in sync, and need help all at once. This can be difficult when five different tables all want to pay at the same time, but a server can only cash everyone out so quickly. This can lead to customers becoming impatient and inevitably complaining that you're being slow.
8. The mute table
Sometimes it’s a full table and sometimes it’s just one person out of a group. But from time to time, you will get a table that barely responds after you ask a question. "Need anything else?" Chirp chirp chirp. It’s even more awkward when a person at a table says someone else wants another drink without validation from the actual person. Blank stares or ignoring me altogether is extremely frustrating. Do you want another drink or not?
9. When a customer gets too intoxicated
This can be tricky. Sometimes it’s your call to decide whether or not to cut someone off. But that can cause unnecessary conflict and uncomfortable interactions. Every server has seen that one person who was so intoxicated they could barely walk out. Sometimes customers can still function and are either rude or inappropriate. This is almost worse.
10. Misunderstanding what someone said
Sometimes, when you’re busy during a rush, it is possible to hear incorrectly what someone said, forget to write something down or put an order into the monitor wrong. This can be frustrating because there is nothing you can do about it except apologize and move on.
Although these things can be annoying, the pros of working in the service industry overshadow them. Sometimes all you can do is take a deep breath and continue to be the stellar server you are.