Working in a restaurant, whether it's table side service or cafe style, there are things that customers do that cause servers to roll their eyes and question humanity.
1. There's ~never~ a reason to berate your server.
When I first started serving, I encountered a man that threw his debit card at me when he was paying because he was unhappy with what he ordered. If you feel the need to tell a server that our job is not that hard, then by all means you can take over our shift. Yelling, being condescending, or even throwing things at your server is never okay. We're humans just like you. We are trying our best to serve you with the best service, but if you do any of the following and then feel the need to make us feel worthless, you better check yourself.
2. When the customer asks, "do you really do anything that warrants a tip?"
When you enter an establishment that is find your own seating with self-serving water stations, you need to know that the staff who is taking your order, also serves you and buses your table. All tips are shared and they do everything equally in cafes. In table side, there's a waiter waiting on you, it's only them you're tipping. However, despite the type of establishment and the size of your bill, you should always tip your servers. I've seen more college students tip than people who flaunt how rich they are.
3. Leaving your phones, bags, and other things on the table.
When we come up to your table with our arms full with food, we need a place to set it all down. It's awkward for us to ask you to move your stuff, and it's even more awkward when you sit there without moving and watch us attempt to keep everything on the table. You think jenga is stressful, you not moving your stuff causes our anxiety to rise because we'll get yelled at by you, our manager, and the cooks if we mess up the food.
The only time we're going to kick you out -- if ever -- is when we're hitting two hours past closing time and we've done everything. We don't want you rushing through your food, but if you've been done for hours and you're just talking, be conscious of your environment, a lot of servers have families to get back home to or homework to do.
5.Talking over your server, while they're doing their job.
Part of our job is to introduce ourselves at the table and tell you what the specials are, please let us get through that.
6.When customers are loud with their friends but speak to you like it's a library.
We know you can talk, we heard you across the restaurant tell a story about your night out and how drunk you got. When we come to the table and you drop your volume to library volume in a busy, loud restaurant this is asking to give your server an aneurysm; we want to get your order right the first time and not get yelled at for ringing in the wrong dish.
7. Being on your phone or talking with your friends when your server is present.
This is a sure way of ending up with something you didn't order. I've had to repeat the order 3 times before someone realized they meant the chicken sandwich not the salad or that they were missing two pizzas, because they were so focused on what someone else said.
8. When customers complain that they didn't get what they ordered because they forgot to order it, didn't hear you repeat the order three times, or a server accidentally gave them someone else's order.
When we repeat the order it's because we want to avoid mishaps.
And then some won't even tell you until they finished they're whole meal.
You are the most infuriating type of human being if you wait to tell us after you finished eating the dish to say it was wrong!!
9. Cafe expectations.
If we have told you that water is self-serve, then it's self-serve. We're trying to have a relax environment. There's a reason silverware, napkins, and water is sitting out, it's so you can get what you need if you find you run out, that way you aren't waiting for a server to finish what they're doing. If you are young and active there is no reason for you to be smug to your server and say "I realize it's self-serve water, but I want you to get it."
10. Putting your finger up to wave over a server who has their hands full.
That being said, we're more than happy to assist, but sometimes we are trying to help another customer, serve food or bus. We'll get to you as soon as possible. Putting your finger in the air and having a smug look on your face, really drives us insane.
Or trying to get your attention by clapping their hands or snapping fingers.
Why would you do that?! We're are not dogs!! Be respectful!!
11. Next in line to order, but don't know what you want.
You're wasting everyone's time! When it's super busy and the servers are running around trying to keep customers happy and the establishment clean then it's the middle of rush. There are customers behind you and are hungry and they will soon turn hangry and take their anger out on us because you don't know what you want. When your order is being taken at your table, you're keeping your party from getting their food because we're not going to put in half the order -- that causes more work for us.
12. When a huge party comes into the establishment, that doesn't take reservations, and then expects you to bend over backwards to give them special attention.
We're not going to roll out the red carpet and treat you differently because you called ahead to warn us or because you have a ton of people. A big party stresses us out because that means split checks, indecisiveness, loud and unruly members and there's always that one person who is so cocky expecting everything to be done to their standard.
13. When you expect free stuff on your birthday.
Not every establishment gives out free stuff on your birthday -- so if we don't immediately react to your oh-so-subtle hint that your best girlfriend is having her 20th or 40th birthday, it's because we can only offer you a "happy birthday." But who knows, we may actually buy something for you, but we're definitely not going to if you ask.
14. When servers ask to see IDs and the customers react.
We've heard all the possible reactions. Over 45, customers tend to really flip flop between being flattered to offended. Most states require that servers to ask for identification on everyone who is going to be drinking. We don't care if you look over 50 or your mom is there to verify that you're 21, it's state law and we could be fined.
15. When you snidely remind servers they ordered one other dish.
We know you have more dishes at your table, we looked at the ticket. Whether we're carrying the food by tray or in our arms, we can only carry a certain amount, especially if there are bowls of soup and pizza involved.
16. Not keeping your kids under control.
This is a restaurant not Chuck E. Cheese. We're carrying hot plates of food, drinks, and bus bins full of dishes constantly -- having to watch out for kids underfoot is stressful.
17. This is a restaurant not a business center.
If you're going to take a table, please order something -- even if it's just a drink or chips.
18. When customers complain the table is dirty, even though they sit down at the only dirty table or immediately after the lasts guests leave.
Look, you sat at that one table when there were three right next to that were clean. Don't get mad at us that you *chose* to sit down at the only dirty table. While summer approaches, outside seating is hugely popular and in seat yourself establishments, we're trying hard to keep up with turn overs, but when you're hovering over guests, waiting for them to leave, and immediately sit down .02 seconds after they leave, you have no right to get disgusted and yell at us because the table wasn't cleaned before you sat down.
19. Never touch your server.
The obvious inappropriate touching aside, unless you're shaking our hand, please just refrain from touching us. It makes a lot of us uncomfortable. We deal with a lot of people and that can be very draining. Any invasion of personal space can make us uncomfortable.
20. When customers expect to have a perfect menu tailored to their dietary needs.
Don't go to a steak house expecting to get away with not eating meat or go to a vegan restaurant to get a steak. We try to accommodate for everyone, but it's ultimately the chef's decision on what's going in the dish. We'll have vegan, vegetarian, diary-free, gluten-free options but you may be very limited because it's how the chef wanted it.
21. Treating servers like we should be mind readers.
If get to the front of line, look us straight us in the eye and say that you want a pizza and a glass of red wine, that's awesome, but which one would you like? And don't say "I don't know" in the most demeaning possible way, we don't know what you want but clearly neither do you. Let us help you.
22. When customers assume, as the server you're also the cook.
We're in communication with the cooks, but we aren't cooking your meal. We just serve it, so by a standard, pizzas take a minimum of 15 minutes to cook. We can't speed that process up. But when we bring you the food there's no need to degrade us for how something was prepared, all we can do is pass on the note to the cook.
23. It's extremely busy and you think you're the most important person in the room.
When you come in during the middle of rush -- the busy time -- the cooks cook everything according to the time stamp on the order. So if you ordered a dish that takes less than 5 minutes to prepare but you were behind a huge party or even just a few people who ordered something a little more complicated, you're going to have to wait. Reminding us every two minutes doesn't help the process go any faster. We want to get the ticket out at the same time so half your party isn't waiting while everyone else is done. The more that you feel the need to remind us that we're doing a bad job, the longer you'll have to wait to get your food because you're wasting our time. Read the room, if you keep seeing the same 4 servers running around like maniacs, we're probably short-staffed and very frazzled. If the whole restaurant is filled, it's busy and we're all trying to accommodate each and everyone of our guests; no one is more important than the other.
24. When customers spread out and block walkways.
When you come in with bags, whether it's handbags, backpacks, brief cases, shopping bags, etc., please keep them out of the way so we don't trip over them. A lot of restaurants will allow you to move tables around, just be wary of where doors are located and the hallways that most frequently used.
25. When we see customers come in 10 minutes before closing and order a full course.
Obviously if the restaurant is still full, we aren't going to be upset because we're going to be waiting for others anyways, but if it's practically empty, we're going to be annoyed. Try to approximate your meal time with our closing time, because you'll be keeping your server.
26. Not tipping on a discounted bill.
Regardless of why you got a discounted bill, we still do everything we would normally do, so there shouldn't be a reason why you wouldn't tip us. It makes you cheap.
27. When customers tip in change.
No one likes change. If you're putting it in a tip jar, that's acceptable, but when you're just trying to get rid of change that's annoying. I once got tipped 96 cents in nickels and pennies.
28. Splitting a small tab between 3 or more people.
We're happy to do it, but it's actually a lot more complicated than you would think.
29. The server police a.k.a. if you have the "I need to talk with your manager" haircut
If you're constantly paying attention to how we're cleaning, like moving a chair and you feel the need to complain that we aren't moving it like we're on cloud 9. You need to check yourself. We want you to enjoy your meal but don't nitpick at everything. We're trying our hardest -- we're at work, we can only keep up the cheery act for so long.
30. We are your servers, not your servants.
There's a difference.