I am more of an eater than a server but I worked in the food industry for several years, in fact, it’s in the same field where I had my very first job. I was sixteen then. I worked as a restaurant server in a Lebanese restaurant in a 5-star hotel when I first came here before moving to my current company two and a half years later and I can say that I also enjoyed the years I’ve worked there and at the same time had my fair share of restaurant horror experiences. I can tell you several stories about hungry humans during those years I was in the business but I’ll save that for another post. I guess, everyone who worked more than their summer vacation as a server have at least one work-related nightmare.
It’s an easy job for some but not so easy for others. I think there’s no easy job in a restaurant and in my experience, the servers have it the hardest. In one shift, a server can attend to a hundred or so restaurant patrons — some nice, some very hungry and of course, some just plainly rude. In addition, there’s the endless demands of the guests (and managers), the very long time standing or walking back and forth, cleaning, delayed breaks (or sometimes none!), malfunctioning microwaves, juicers or coffee machines, dumb questions from guests, managers and collagues, quick-tempered chefs, lazy workmates and so on. Maybe it would be nice if it would be a requirement to have one-year working experience in the food industry before entering the university. 😉 Just so everyone would know and understand how it’s like.
In between shifts, during breaks, in staff parties or whenever there’s a chance, restaurant staffs (I and my former coworkers included) can’t help but talk about you — restaurant patrons/guests — what they wish (and would really appreciate) you would stop doing.
1. Ignoring the staff’s greetings.
I don’t understand why you choose to ignore the staffs when they greet you. Many of you just immediately demand for what you want instead of acknowledging the staff’s “Hello” or “Welcome.”
Sometimes, servers are cut-off mid-sentence while greeting the guests. Worse still, I’ve never known where on earth do they teach that “Give me turkish coffee, sweet,” is the proper reply to “How are you?” Rude!
2. Letting your children run amok.
I hate this, big time. Letting your children run amok in a restaurant is dangerous. It’s a disaster. It’s chaos. It’s not funny. It’s not entertaining. If the servers trip over your children and dump food or juice or hot coffee or anything on them, the server almost always gets the blame when in truth, you should be responsible for it. You should be responsible for your children. Not the servers. Restaurants are not playgrounds. You are the only ones thinking that your unruly children are cute and adorable. If you can’t control your children, stay at home for lunch/dinner because servers are not babysitters.
3. Treating your servers as servants.
There is a difference between a server and a servant. Servers are not supposed to kiss your asses. While it’s nice to have someone to fill your glass of water or your cup of tea or coffee, or serving you with your meal and other requests, that doesn’t make them your servant. It also doesn’t mean they’re lower than you. It just so happened that their job is different than yours. So keep in mind to treat them with respect. Don’t talk down to them. Servers are not your personal employees and they’re not obliged to do anything other than taking and serving your orders politely and with utmost respect while making sure you enjoy your dining experience.
4. Not asking for the extras you need at once.
Why do servers ask you if you need anything else after you or your companion ask for something extra? Come on, save the server the trouble of taking several trips here and there by trying to tell them what you need all at once.
5. Whistling & snapping your fingers at the servers.
This is something I’ve encountered a number of times when I was still working in that Lebanese restaurant. Unfortunately, guests whistling to the servers and snapping their fingers when they need something appeared to be a common practice! You should never, ever do that to your servers. It’s downright rude!
6. Blaming the servers when your food is late.
It’s perfectly okay to ask the server what’s taking your order too long. Don’t blame them when your food is late though! It’s annoying alright but they are as miffed as you are when your order is taking forever to be ready.
7. Blaming the servers for not following cooking preferences/requests.
What happens between the time the server takes your order and the moment they serve it to you is out of their control. When you request for a dish without garlic, they jot it down and relay it to the chefs. Whenever possible, they also tell the chef directly about your requests/instructions. However, if the dish you ordered still came with garlic, the servers aren’t the ones you should blame. They take your order, they serve your food BUT they DON’T cook your food.
8. Bitching about your food after consuming everything on your plate.
One of the many dick moves diners do is bitching about the food after devouring their plates clean. Servers usually check on you if your food is okay and if you say yes, then the servers really take that as a yes. If there’s a problem about your food, let the server know as soon as you have the issue so they can find a way to make it right. Don’t bitch about it after you’ve swallowed everything already — a common drama to get the food for free. Ha! These types of guests can burn in hell.
9. Not asking for separate checks before/while ordering.
It’s totally fine to ask for split/separate checks but inform your server at the beginning or while ordering. It’s common courtesy. Splitting checks equally among you is alright but if it’s seven ways for every person’s order (seven hells!), oh, definitely a heads up!
10. Staying too long after closing time.
Closing time means the restaurant is closed. Go home.
11. Putting your cash/card on the counter when the server’s hand is already out.
Your servers don’t have contagious disease, or else, they won’t be working there in the first place. If their hands are out to receive your payment, hand it to them and not on the table/counter.
12. Hitting on your servers.
This is very irritating. You go to restaurants to eat, I believe, not to find someone to mingle with. But it’s a common scenario in restaurants here. Anyway, just let them do their jobs. Don’t hit on them.
13. Anything phone-related.
This is another dick move I personally wish diners stop doing. You shouldn’t expect your server to stand and wait ages for you to be ready to order until you finish your call or finish texting or whatever business you have with your phone. It’s irritating taking orders while your attention is on your phone.
14. Interrupting the server while attending to another guest.
Learn to wait for your turn and don’t be rude to both your server and the other guests. You’re not the only guest in the restaurant so wait for your turn.
Anything else you’d like to add? Share them!