Friday, December 5, 2008

From the Vault: "Servers are people too"

    Since my recent return to my hometown from Athens, I have picked up my old job as a waiteress at a local restaurant to pay for college, as well as to pass the time. In the short time that I have been back, I have realized why the job of serving and I have had a "love-hate" relationship over the past couple of years.
    That being said, I thought it appropriate to break out an opinion story I wrote for The Cougar's Roar last year about why the general population should remember that servers are, indeed, people too.

   "Typically, waiters and waitresses are friendly and hospitable towards their guests, but eventually they are all pushed to utter the words, “I hate people.” Not to say that all customers of the average food joint treat their server as a food slave, but the fact is, many people enter restaurants without the proper knowledge of how to act.
   For the sake of servers everywhere, here are some brief tips on how to make your dining experience a pleasant one for all who are involved. Feel free to cut this out and store it in your wallet and/or purse to refer to as needed.
   If the restaurant puts up a sign that reads “please wait to be seated”, they are expecting you to read it and follow directions. Seating yourself will only make things difficult for everyone. Hosts try their best to rotate tables so that each server gets an equal amount of tables; this is to ensure that your waiter or waitress does not get overloaded and can give you the best service possible.
   When a server walks up to you with a smile and asks “Hi, how are you doing today?”, “coffee and ice tea” or “we’re not ready yet” are not acceptable answers. Servers are humans too. That’s not how you greet people on this, or any other plane.
   If your server asks you if you are ready, be honest. It may seem fun to make your server stand at your table while you actually decide what you want, but he or she does have other things to do and could be serving other customers. Also, if you tell them you’re not ready, please keep in mind that they can not read minds and may not come back the second you’ve decided.
   Your server puts in your order, brings you your food, and furnishes you with all the utensils, napkins, and extras your little heart could desire, but he or she does not cook your food. If there is something wrong with it, please let them know, but do not take it out of their tip. Your food is being made by someone who will get paid hourly regardless if your food is correctly made or not while your server makes what you give them.
   Take into consideration your surroundings. At 7 p.m. on a Friday night, chances are your food may take a little bit longer than usual. If your server comes out juggling drinks, napkins, silverware, and another table’s check, the questions “is our appetizer ready?” is irrelevant.
   If you’re sitting in a large group and you insist on splitting the bill, please have at least enough consideration to tell your waiter or waitress upfront; also, sit by those on your bill. Chances are you’ll end up paying for something that’s not yours if, after the bill has came and everyone has played musical chairs, “he’s on our bill, and those three are on their bill, and the boy with the blonde hair is on our bill”…
   If your server is serving another table, it is both rude and inconsiderate to flag him down, shout at him, or come up and tap him on the shoulder. You don’t interrupt others when they’re talking, this rule does not change as soon as you enter the four walls of a restaurant.
   When you bring children along, it is not cute to let them open things and dump them all over the table. Sure, you don’t have to clean it up but someone does; namely, your server. Also, it is not safe to let them get up and run around the restaurant like an animal when servers are carrying out hot food.
   When you feel that it is necessary to stay longer than fifteen minutes after your meal is finished, consider this in your tip. If you are sitting at a table, that means that other customers are not, and your waitress can’t make any money. Also, if you feel that it is necessary to come in ten minutes before close, please remember that your waitress must stay there as long as you do. Closed means closed, not sit and continue to talk. Servers don’t come into your work place and sit on your desk long after you should be home and in your slippers.
   Tipping: the times have changed. As it is no longer 1853, the minimum amount you should be tipping your server is 15%. Yes, there are times when your waitress is not particularly friendly (although you have bad days at work too) or you didn’t make them run that much, but keep in mind that after you leave they must clean your area , fill various containers, and do other jobs to clean up the store, all for around $3.15 an hour.
   Also, it is nice to get verbal praise, but compliments do not pay bills. Neither do prayer cards or religious pamphlets; it is also insulting for you to think that your server is without religion. If it is Sunday and they are not a church, it is because they were required to work on Sunday because everyone goes out to eat after church.
   Sure, the majority of restaurant dwellers are considerate; if this weren’t the case, the job of waiteressing would not be an easy one to fill. Although it is stressful to serve the public, most servers continue to do the job because of their love of the people. So don’t be the reason a poor waiter or waitress gives up on humanity. Do your part: smile, acknowledge that they are human too… and, oh yeah, don’t forget to tip."

   Okay, so maybe I came home from work and wrote this after I had waited on one table too many, but, I think you get the point.

1 comment:

Cassie The Venomous said...

"...Neither do prayer cards or religious pamphlets; it is also insulting for you to think that your server is without religion. "

People actually DO that?! That's intense!

I had a very odd experience with the guy serving my friends and I today: I think he got fired toward the end of our meal, and he ended up running out with our change. Quite the strange experience, that was... Luckily the change wasn't too much, but I feel bad for the waiter.

I really cannot believe how some people can act toward those who are serving their food. Those ones can just go to a buffet and serve themselves. Ha-ha!