We've all been there. We've all either decided we had to get a job because we needed money, because our parents forced us to, or because we needed experience. Whatever the reason, you did it. You got a job. For many, their first job is one as a server. This entails taking orders, serving food and drinks, and most importantly... kissing ass. As a server, you have to be on your best behavior. This means being incredibly nice and polite, offering fast and efficient service, and letting the customer think they're right even when they're wrong. As a matter of fact, especially when they're wrong. By doing so, you can ensure more sales and a larger tip (hopefully).
I have been working as a server since the minute I turned sixteen. Since then, I have worked three different serving jobs. There have more than plenty of moments in which I really wanted to quit or in which I really question my decision to continue working as a server. Serving is as much of customer service as it is food. If a customer is happy with the service and the food, they continue to come back. If they continue to come back, the restaurant, as well as you, continue to make money. In the end, it's all a happy ending. Or is it?
In all honestly, serving is a nightmare. I can admit sitting in my car crying before a shift in order to prepare myself for the nightmare I know is approaching or crying in my car after as a result of said nightmare.
There are many different types of customers. You have those that come in, spend all their time on their phones, or various electronic devices, ignore all eye contact and are completely rude. You have those that come in, order a crap ton of food and ring up a very high bill, just to leave a crappy tip. You have those that ask fifty million questions about different items on the menu just to order something else entirely, or order something they've already had in the past. You have those that seem very nice, commend you on your great service, and then leave a horrible tip. You have those that don't tip at all. You have those that confuse the rules in terms of the specials and then yell and blame you for their confusion, despite explaining it to them already. You have those that come in five minutes before closing. You have those that come in, eat, then sit there for hours talking, not signing their check, and not leaving, thus not allowing you to flip tables and order more money. You have those who demand your manager over every little thing.
The list can go on, but for your sake, I'll stop.
Over my years of serving, I can admit that I've learned a lot. People hate to be wrong and they hate to be told they're wrong. In order to make it through your shift, you just gotta smile and pretend that they're right. For instance, I once had a lady argue with me and tell me that her food was "too spicy," to the point where she can't even eat it and it's hard to breathe. Despite telling her that all the chef used was pepper, as in the spice rather than any actual peppers, she became angry and demanded to see my managers who told her the same thing. In the end, the item was taken off their bill and the rest of the bill was deducted by 50%.
I've had people who ordered a meal, proceeded to eat about half the dish before they told me they hated it, then demanded a new dish and that they get the first one for free. I've had people scream at me because they modified their order and even though I sent it back correctly, it came out wrong. They never considered the fact that I wasn't the one who made their food but rather was just serving it, but please, continually yelling at me because your steak was cooked medium well rather than medium!
All in all, serving as a hassle. That's a nice way to put it. If you aren't a people person then don't even think about becoming a server. Over my three-plus years as a server, I've definitely grown a thicker skin and learned to take all the insults or all of the screaming with a grain of salt. Surprisingly enough, despite all of this, I actually love being a server (most of the time).
Photo by Terje Sollie from Pexels