SERVER STATUS: WHAT’S REALLY ON OUR MINDS
Eating out is an occasion most would call a treat. Who wouldn’t enjoy eating fresh meals with no cooking, cleaning or mess involved… There might be one person who isn’t always having the best time. Your waiter. Servers work hard to create an unforgettable dining experience for their customers and some even go beyond that with true entertaining. But there are a lot of things you could do, or stop doing to make their work easier. We talked to restaurant workers across the country to get the inside scoop on what they really think. Take a listen, you might be surprised at what your server is hiding.
We are not ignoring you. We know you want service, but we are busy, so be patient.
Although slow service can be frustrating, it would be appreciated if diners could keep in mind that servers are waiting on on other tables as well.. It can be pretty annoying to be working and see another party in the peripheral waving us down.,
Tips are our salary, so they are extremely important to us.
Waiter’s salaries are low because they get tips. The minimum wage for restaurant servers varies from state to state. But according to the U.S. Department of Labor, waiters’ minimum wage start only at $2.13 an hour. So when diners do not tip their servers at least the average, it’s frustrating. Speaking of the average tip, it is 15% in the U.S. A good tip = 20% or more. We also tip out our staff internally (i.e. bus boy, bartender, etc.) So, you can imagine if you don’t pay us tips, we’re basically paying ourselves to serve you.
We can tell when you have no idea what you’re talking about.
Whether diners try to school their server on the wine list, or argue about the taste of certain ingredients, it’s obvious to waiters if a customer knows what they’re talking about – or when they don’t. Especially in high-end restaurants. It’s better to plead ignorance than try to fake “foodie” knowledge. We don’t judge you if you just let us know you need help in making decisions, trust us. That’s what we are here for!
A simple “thank you” goes a long way.
A server always hates it when people place orders and can’t say thank-you or some sort appreciate in return. It’s plain manners! Waiters are employees of the establishment, not your servants. The same goes for eye contact. It’s amazing how many people avoid eye contact to perhaps avoid tipping well. Even a smile can make a big difference in you being served better.
When you are finished eating, leave!
Although restaurant staff understands that diners want their meal experience to last, camping out at your table to catch up for extended amounts of time can be fairly annoying to servers. In the hour that a couple spends staring at each other over a long empty table, two other paying (and tipping) parties could have sat down. It may be charming and romantic in comedies, but it’s something else when one table lingers after the restaurant has visibly begun to close for the night. Your server wants to go home.
Not everything is as “fresh” as you think.
Those celery sticks you get with your order of buffalo wings are touched by at least 10 people. The same is true for the lemon in your water. You’re eating out, not at your home. Just remember that.
Do not complain after you have eaten your meal.
Most restaurants are very accommodating about rebuilding a erroneous meal or compensating the food and drinks for dissatisfied customers. There is no need to consume something you aren’t enjoying. However, a restaurant cannot do much to resolve the situation if the diner doesn’t speak up until the end of the meal. Frankly, a customer who cleans his plate and then expresses dissatisfaction is far less credible. Other tricks to get free food are simply a waste of time. Servers do not own the establishment. Even if they did, the restaurant is a business, attempting to make a profit and gain a living. One more thing; please stop stealing the Splenda packets!
Do not give your plates to the server when it’s time to clear the table.
There is a method for stacking 16 pounds of cast iron plates and bowls. A general requirement for a nice dinner is to see the whole table cleared at once. It throws me off if a customer hands over a half empty cup of coffee. Although servers know it is innocent, and well-meaning diners are just trying to help, it can be frustrating because we now have to take an additional trip to clear the rest of the table.
We can feel tension, just like you.
When couples who argue go out to eat- their moods, eyes rolling, and overall negative demeanor can cause not only the other guests at the restaurant, but even their waiter to feel very awkward as well. And yes, we are talking about them in the back. In cases like these, we would rather the customers return when they’ve worked out their differences and can be civil with each other publicly.
Ask us not what we “do.”
To ask what your waiter does for a living can be offensive and overbearing. A waiter never appreciates being treated as if what he does being is a “low status” job. Yes, a server may still have a another job, or may be going to school for their MBA, but he or she can also work full-time as a server. In which case, the “what do you do” conversation just becomes awkward for both parties, and it’s best to just avoid it altogether.