After working 40 hours this weekend, I believe this article is highly necessary. There are just a few things that need to be addressed about the correct mannerisms when entering a restaurant. I promise nothing rude, just some concerns that many coming to eat don't realize when talking to their servers.
I just finished working open to close for three days straight. Yes I'm exhausted, slightly overworked, and still have loads of homework to complete (including this article). I just want to start off by reminding everyone reading this, that servers too are human. Just like you, we have good and bad days, and sometimes we make mistakes. Yes, I said it. SERVERS MAKE MISTAKES and (120% of the time we apologize endlessly for doing so). We don't mean for your burger to come out with no mustard or for your bar drink to take more than 5 minutes, it's just sometimes things get misread. You have to remember it's an assembly line for your order to get prepared. You come in and are greeted by a host who seats you so you can be seen by a server. That server then takes your order and relays it back to the kitchen and bar. From there, the food is prepared and the food runner must then bring the food out. During this, many mistakes can happen and we try our best for it not to but every now and then there will be a slight hiccup.
So here it is, some things to remember when it comes to eating at a restaurant.
1. We're human.
Yes, I said this earlier but I really need this to sink in. We aren't robots. We don't take an order, grab your refills, fill your fries, and leave. We have lives too and if your servers are anything like me, they haven't slept in days. College student servers have to balance working doubles on the weekends to make up for the hours they miss during he week from school. During the weekend is also when we should be finishing up homework. So, please be mindful that we're tired but we're trying our best.
2. You're not our only table.
This cannot be emphasized enough. While we want to give you the best experience possible, we also have 20 other tasks floating in our heads. *Table 13 needs fries, table 15 wants dessert, table 11 is probably ready to order, and table 14 wants their checks split and food for the road.* It's difficult trying to remember every little detail for every table we take. Just please try to remember that when you get upset that we greeted another table before coming to check on you.
3. We live off our tips.
Servers make an average of $3-$5 an hour. That's it. Our paychecks barely reach double digits and we're often scavenging to make ends meet. When I say we live off our tips, I mean it. Those tips are what pay for my car, my gas, my utilities, and sometimes rent. I can tell you that receiving a tip of $0.99 on a bill of $80.01 is not a good feeling. We just ran around this restaurant for an hour trying to accommodate your every need. If you do not have enough money to tip correctly, you shouldn't be ordering rounds of $9 bar drinks. It's that simple.
4. Plate stacking isn't recommended.
While we appreciate the gesture, often times it creates a bigger mess for us. Our plate stacking is like an art. The dishes underneath are wiped off before placing another on top. This way, when we head to the dishwasher we're able to give all the plates underneath and only have to clean off the top plate. This not only cuts down our time for staying back there, but allows us to come back to you quicker. If you want to help, please leave empty plates and glasses on the edge of your table so we can quickly walk by without disturbing the conversation and grab it.
5. Don't snap at us.
Never ever ever snap or clap at your server. We're not animals, we can understand words. If you see that we're talking to another table don't continually try to call me over to your table. This goes back to you not being our only table. I cannot and will not stop what I'm doing at one table to come to yours. In doing so, you're saying that your needs are more important than the rest of the restaurants. We're not all that special. So be mindful, give us time to finish up at our tables and I assure you we'll be right over to check on you.
6. Be mindful of the time you come in.
If you come in an hour before closing, just be prepared. Yes we are open but often times that is when cleaning tasks must begin for the kitchen. There are certain fryers that are shut down for cleaning while others are left intact in order to feed those that come in late. If you notice that we just sat you and 6 other parties, don't be upset that your food is taking slightly over what it usually would. We basically just destroyed our kitchen and now they're scrambling to get your food out as quick as possible.
7. Please pay attention to us.
If we're asking you a good amount of questions, it's to assure we don't screw up your order when we put it into our system. Please, just put your phones down and give us direct eye contact so we know you heard us. If I come over to greet your table and no one is paying attention to me, I will casually walk away and retry in a few minutes. I won't bug you to try and get your food and drinks in.
8. Our demeanor is directly correlated to how we're treated.
If you assume your server is boring or plain, 9/10 times it's because we tried to be peppy or funny and you didn't react. We feed off our guests personalities. So if you're in a good mood and willing to tell me about your day, believe me, I'll sit there for hours talking to you. If you want to ignore my greeting and not acknowledge me, I probably won't try to spend time at your table. How you treat us will sometimes disrupt our mental focus.
I understand every server is different but at the end of the day we all have the same job, to ensure you have a nice time out with your family and friends and enjoy good quality food. Just knowing these small tips will surely create a better time for not only you, but us servers as well.