As a server and bartender, I really do love my customers (well, most of them anyway!) and I know that they really do mean well. However, there are a bunch of things that our customers do where they think they are helping us, but it actually slows us down. We never say anything because we genuinely appreciate the effort you are making in trying to be helpful. Hopefully the following will help you recognize if you have been doing any of these things while dining out!
Waiting to Split the Check Until the End
Splitting the check, but not until the very end, as I go to drop it off to the table. People have told me they feel bad saying something up front but I would much prefer that. It makes it easier to write out my checks in a specific way with seating arrangements and who ordered what. Otherwise, I have to sit down and go back through each individual line item to figure it out. What’s worse, is when I cannot recall every single food and drink item and who it belonged to…I have to go back and stand at the table and have each person reiterate what they had so I can put it all on separate tickets. Embarrassing!
Stacking Glasses for Me
Stacking glasses may seem helpful, but trust me, it is not. I cannot tell you the number of times guests have been trying to be helpful and stack their glasses and push them to the end of the table. Inevitably all that does is crack each and every single one of those glasses and slow me down while I clean up to make sure there is no glass left behind where someone could get hurt.
Grabbing Plates & Glasses off My Tray
I know that my tray looks heavy as I carry it over to you…trust me, it is. It is also strategically balanced and items placed in a specific way for me. Having a customer try to “help” by grabbing plates and glasses off my tray in an attempt to help me deliver the food to the table, actually throws me completely off balance. The result of that ranges from me having to quickly compensate and shift my weight or how I am holding everything, to me losing the entire tray and watching it all come crashing down. Please, just leave your glasses where they are!
Stacking Plates for Me
You like to stack things. I get it. Sigh. Stacking plates has to be probably my number one cringe when it comes to guests thinking they are helping me out. That is, unless it is done properly and by the standards that we as servers use ourselves. Nothing is worse than having a hodgepodge of dishes, utensils, and leftover food stacked all over each other and me having to spend extra time undoing all of this and redoing it the correct way! Now, if you wanted to do it properly…I would GREATLY appreciate it. It does not take really any additional time, but just a little bit of industry knowledge and you will be golden! Stack the pile largest on bottom, smallest on top. Food scraped from every plate and put on the top of the pile so that the staff can easily dump in into the garbage. Finally all utensils are placed on the top layer and not stacked randomly throughout. If you can do this, I guarantee your server will be eternally grateful for saving them some time!
Hopefully you have gained some knowledge from this list and can adapt any of your behaviors that fall within it, appropriately. We always appreciate your help and know our guests mean the best!