No, You Can't Touch Your Waiter

No, You Can't Touch Your Waiter

Restaurant rules for adults.
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Working in the service industry is something that I believe every human being should have to do at some point in their lives. Everyone deals with the service industry and interacts with the people employed within it. When we were little our parents sat us down and told us how to behave in a restaurant before they braved the outside world with our strollers in hand. I've found that as adults, the human race needs a major refresher course.

1. You cannot touch your server
under no circumstances is it okay to touch a restaurant industry employee. Would you grab the arm of your mechanic and pull them back towards you to say "where's the bathroom?" then don't do it to your server either. I have seen men and women in the restaurant industry sexually harassed by customers far too many times. Just because they are providing you a service does not mean that you are free to put your hands on this stranger you just met thirty seconds ago.

2. Do not scream in the restaurant
just like when you were little, you're still not allowed to scream in a restaurant. I get it, at a bar there are tons of people and it can be a loud environment, but please do not scream your servers’ name, or more frequently "miss" or "sir," from across the building. And when your server introduces themselves, please don't interrupt. Just let them get their kind greeting out. The time for "hello my name is-" "water with lemon," is never.

3. Don't flag your server down unless it is super important
servers have a million and one things they are trying to remember on their walk from table to computer. Please, unless it is of the upmost importance, try not to pull them aside when you see them busting it from one side of the restaurant to the other. The second you break their stream of consciousness, they just forgot three drink orders, two sides of ranch and a check that they had to print. All so that they could grab you ketchup right this second.

4. Communicate with your server
restaurant employees cannot please you if you don't speak up. If you don't like your meal, let your server know so that they can get you something else. You're not going to have to pay for it if you didn't eat it. If you feel that you've been waiting too long, politely let the hostess know, or ask to speak to a manager. 99 percent of the time, you'll get free appetizers sent to your table as a thank you for your kindness and patience. Employees can't help you and fix mistakes unless you let them know about it. Don't just go home and write a nasty yelp review because you couldn't use your words face to face.

5. The wait list is real, slipping the host a $10 won't help you
it will most certainly help them, but there are no hidden tables in the back. It's not like in the movies. If a restaurant is on a wait, it's because there are no available tables. If you see tables open, it's because there are reservations. The host can't seat you there when in the next thirty minutes a reservation for that table is going to come in, so don't go up to them saying "what about that table right there?" it. Is. Reserved. The restaurant is not trying to screw you over and make you wait. If there is a wait, there are no tables available.

6. Hosts cannot predict the future

calling in and asking, "Do you think it'll be busy around 6:30?" is the most frustrating thing that you can do. Yes, the host/hostess works there. This does not mean that he or she can predict what the people within an hour radius of them are going to want to do for dinner. There is also a google feature that helps you with this, and can give you real answers based on data. If you google your question, a little graph pops up that tells you the average times the restaurant you're asking about will be busy. Don't be angry when the host gives you a vague answer. How could they possibly know? And if you seat yourself, they cannot read your mind. When you're angry because no one has brought you menus and a server has not greeted you yet, remember that you didn't even let anyone know you were in the building.

7. Don't play dumb
there have been far too many times that restaurant policies have been made clear to a guest prior to their arrival, and when the time comes they choose to ignore it and act like they were never told about it. If the restaurant does not do separate checks for parties of ten or more, then they just don't. If you don't like that policy so much that you're going to cause a scene at the restaurant when the time comes to pay your bill, then you should have chosen to go elsewhere when you were made aware of it in the first place. Restaurants have policies for a reason, and that reason is to make sure that the night runs smoothly for both you and their employees. Please respect them.

8. Do not hit on your server
this is by far the most inappropriate thing I have ever seen that is so strikingly common in the restaurant industry. Your server does not keep coming back to your table and checking on you because they are romantically interested in you. They are doing it because it is their job. To trap someone who is in a situation where part of their job description is to be kind to you and serve you is disgusting. Their job is to be nice to you. Don't ever put your server, host, cashier in this position. It is the most demeaning and uncomfortable thing to deal with. They are at work. If you wouldn't act that way in your own work place, what makes you think that you can act that way in theirs?

9. If you don't have $ to tip, you don't have the $ to go out
it's as simple as that. Tipping is part of going out to eat. Servers make $2.83 an hour. When you take out taxes, that's a whopping $0.00 paycheck. If you do not have the money to tip your server, then you do not have the money to go out for the night. Period.

10. If you have a great time, let the restaurant know
if you had a great time, let someone at the restaurant know so that they can relay it to your sever. Nothing makes a 14 hour day doubling, running inside and outside, not eating for eight straight hours and being covered in grease even the least bit bearable apart from hearing that you're doing a great job. If you leave a server a note on your receipt, I guarantee you they'll be talking about how sweet it was for the rest of the week. If you start to become a regular and you're kind, you tip well, you develop a rapport with your sever, you become a beacon of light to them. Little feels better on those long days with table after table that doesn't follow any of these rules, then to see the face of a regular who knows the drill.

If anyone has any additions to this list please feel free to share/reblog with the remainder of the list, because I’m sure that it could go on forever. Or if you disagree, that's even more interesting. Let me and the rest of the industry know. And next time you go out, please remember these rules. This will make your dining experience so much more pleasant for you and for the restaurant employees. Nothing is more important to restaurant workers than you having a good experience. Don't use that as an excuse to treat them like garbage. Have the same respect for them as they have for you.

Cover Image Credit: Serverlife

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Your Wait time At Theme Parks Is Not Unfair, You're Just Impatient

Your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself.

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Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios "unboxed" on June 30, 2018. My friend and I decided to brave the crowds on opening day. We got to the park around 7 AM only to find out that the park opened around 6 AM. Upon some more scrolling through multiple Disney Annual Passholder Facebook groups, we discovered that people were waiting outside the park as early as 1 AM.

We knew we'd be waiting in line for the bulk of the Toy Story Land unboxing day. There were four main lines in the new land: the line to enter the land; the line for Slinky Dog Dash, the new roller coaster; the line for Alien Spinning Saucers, the easier of the new rides in the land; Toy Story Mania, the (now old news) arcade-type ride; and the new quick-service restaurant, Woody's Lunchbox (complete with grilled cheese and "grown-up drinks").

Because we were so early, we did not have to wait in line to get into the land. We decided to ride Alien Spinning Saucers first. The posted wait time was 150 minutes, but my friend timed the line and we only waited for 50 minutes. Next, we tried to find the line for Slinky Dog Dash. After receiving conflicting answers, the runaround, and even an, "I don't know, good luck," from multiple Cast Members, we exited the land to find the beginning of the Slinky line. We were then told that there was only one line to enter the park that eventually broke off into the Slinky line. We were not about to wait to get back into the area we just left, so we got a Fastpass for Toy Story Mania that we didn't plan on using in order to be let into the land sooner. We still had to wait for our time, so we decided to get the exclusive Little Green Man alien popcorn bin—this took an entire hour. We then used our Fastpass to enter the land, found the Slinky line, and proceeded to wait for two and a half hours only for the ride to shut down due to rain. But we've come this far and rain was not about to stop us. We waited an hour, still in line and under a covered area, for the rain to stop. Then, we waited another hour and a half to get on the ride from there once it reopened (mainly because they prioritized people who missed their Fastpass time due to the rain). After that, we used the mobile order feature on the My Disney Experience app to skip part of the line at Woody's Lunchbox.

Did you know that there is actually a psychological science to waiting? In the hospitality industry, this science is the difference between "perceived wait" and "actual wait." A perceived wait is how long you feel like you are waiting, while the actual wait is, of course, the real and factual time you wait. There are eight things that affect the perceived wait time: unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time, pre-process waits feel longer than in-process waits, anxiety makes waits feel longer, uncertain waits are longer than certain waits, unexplained waits are longer than explained waits, unfair waits are longer than equitable waits, people will wait longer for more valuable service and solo waiting feels longer than group waiting.

Our perceived wait time for Alien Spinning Saucers was short because we expected it to be longer. Our wait for the popcorn seemed longer because it was unoccupied and unexplained. Our wait for the rain to stop so the ride could reopen seemed shorter because it was explained. Our wait between the ride reopening and getting on the coaster seemed longer because it felt unfair for Disney to let so many Fastpass holders through while more people waited through the rain. Our entire wait for Slinky Dog Dash seemed longer because we were not told the wait time in the beginning. Our wait for our food after placing a mobile order seemed shorter because it was an in-process wait. We also didn't mind wait long wait times for any of these experiences because they were new and we placed more value on them than other rides or restaurants at Disney. The people who arrived at 1 AM just added five hours to their perceived wait

Some non-theme park examples of this science of waiting in the hospitality industry would be waiting at a restaurant, movie theater, hotel, performance or even grocery store. When I went to see "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," the power went out in the theater right as we arrived. Not only did we have to wait for it to come back and for them to reset the projectors, I had to wait in a bit of anxiety because the power outage spooked me. It was only a 30-minute wait but felt so much longer. At the quick-service restaurant where I work, we track the time from when the guest places their order to the time they receive their food. Guests in the drive-thru will complain about 10 or more minute waits, when our screens tell us they have only been waiting four or five minutes. Their actual wait was the four or five minutes that we track because this is when they first request our service, but their perceived wait begins the moment they pull into the parking lot and join the line because this is when they begin interacting with our business. While in line, they are experiencing pre-process wait times; after placing the order, they experience in-process wait times.

Establishments in the hospitality industry do what they can to cut down on guests' wait times. For example, theme parks offer services like Disney's Fastpass or Universal's Express pass in order to cut down the time waiting in lines so guests have more time to buy food and merchandise. Stores like Target or Wal-Mart offer self-checkout to give guests that in-process wait time. Movie theaters allow you to check in and get tickets on a mobile app and some quick-service restaurants let you place mobile or online orders. So why do people still get so bent out of shape about being forced to wait?

On Toy Story Land unboxing day, I witnessed a woman make a small scene about being forced to wait to exit the new land. Cast Members were regulating the flow of traffic in and out of the land due to the large crowd and the line that was in place to enter the land. Those exiting the land needed to wait while those entering moved forward from the line. Looking from the outside of the situation as I was, this all makes sense. However, the woman I saw may have felt that her wait was unfair or unexplained. She switched between her hands on her hips and her arms crossed, communicated with her body language that she was not happy. Her face was in a nasty scowl at those entering the land and the Cast Members in the area. She kept shaking her head at those in her group and when allowed to proceed out of the land, I could tell she was making snide comments about the wait.

At work, we sometimes run a double drive-thru in which team members with iPads will take orders outside and a sequencer will direct cars so that they stay in the correct order moving toward the window. In my experience as the sequencer, I will inform the drivers which car to follow, they will acknowledge me and then still proceed to dart in front of other cars just so they make it to the window maybe a whole minute sooner. Not only is this rude, but it puts this car and the cars around them at risk of receiving the wrong food because they are now out of order. We catch these instances more often than not, but it still adds stress and makes the other guests upset. Perhaps these guests feel like their wait is also unfair or unexplained, but if they look at the situation from the outside or from the restaurant's perspective, they would understand why they need to follow the blue Toyota.

The truth of the matter is that your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself. We all want instant gratification, I get it. But in reality, we have to wait for some things. It takes time to prepare a meal. It takes time to experience a ride at a theme park that everyone else wants to go on. It takes time to ring up groceries. It takes patience to live in this world.

So next time you find yourself waiting, take a minute to remember the difference between perceived and actual wait times. Think about the eight aspects of waiting that affect your perceived wait. Do what you can to realize why you are waiting or keep yourself occupied in this wait. Don't be impatient. That's no way to live your life.

Cover Image Credit:

Aranxa Esteve

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With Liberty And Justice For All

Does granting justice to others mean we have to sacrifice our liberty?
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Like most public elementary school kids, I grew up saying the Pledge of Allegiance before the start of class every day. But to be honest, I always dreaded it. It was something extra we had to do. A box we had to check.

No one understood the true meaning of the words. As an eight-year-old, no one taught me what justice or liberty were. It wasn't until years later that I finally understood the true meaning of the words I said in a classroom so long ago.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…

To what are we pledging our allegiance, our loyalty to? The United States of America, sure. But what does that entail? Not many know. Does it mean to vote? Does it mean to fight in the military? Everyone has a different answer to that question. For me, the answer is to fight for the rights of migrants and other immigrants.

And to the republic for which it stands…

What exactly is our nation standing for? What are its values? Its beliefs? Does it involve treating those less fortunate than us with compassion? Or is it everybody for themselves?

One nation under God, indivisible…

Indivisible. United. Are we united? As a country are we united? On April 30, 2018, President Trump tweeted in response to a group of 1,200 migrants that traveled from Central America to seek a better life for their children. Only 200 of them, most of them children, desire asylum in the United States.

Asylum is a legal immigration process where those that have been victimized or fear being victimized in their home countries “based on their race, religion, nationality, political belief or membership in a particular group" can apply for a special type of visa to live in the United States.

According to his tweet, President Trump viewed the migrants as a prime example of how ineffective U.S. immigration laws are. On April 30, 2018, eight of the migrants were allowed to apply for asylum. This does not mean they will be granted citizenship. It simply means they are starting the process to legally enter U.S. borders.

With liberty and justice for all…

Many of the migrants want a better life for their kids. Many of them are fleeing their countries due to poverty and threats of violence from gang members. As a child, I never had to worry about sleeping on a cold, cement floor because my parents didn't make enough money. As a child, I never had to worry about my parents being threatened in the dead of night by a gang member, demanding something in exchange for my life. One thing is certain for these migrants: there is no going back.

Everyone deserves justice. It's easy to judge the situation from so many miles away. But I am not in their shoes. And neither are so many others. It's easy to dismiss what you can't see.

But what can I do? I have my own family, my own life to worry about. I have bills to pay just like everybody else. But what would you do if it was your kid? Your mother or father? Your friend who was treated without compassion when they entered another country?

Everyone deserves liberty. Does granting justice to others mean we have to sacrifice our liberty? Not necessarily. Not if we act. As corny as it sounds, not doing something is the worst thing to do. Vote. Write. Protest. Let your voice be heard. And one day, change may happen.

Cover Image Credit: Everypixel

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