Things Your Server Will Never Tell You, But I Will
As much as I wish it did, the restaurant industry does not exactly replicate the movie Waiting.
You know...that one with Ryan Reynolds being insanely amazing acting like a Server?
Trust me, there are similarities but I wouldn't say that is exactly what it's like... There are however quite a few things that we, as Servers and Bartenders, get very annoyed with across the board.
Here are a few things that your Server will never tell you, but I will.
Coming in 15 minutes before closing time and ordering a well done steak is not cool with us, even if we say it is. We are lying.
We have nightmares. Server nightmares. Anxiety ridden nightmares filled with forgetting orders, being alone in a full restaurant and basically having your entire world implode because we just can't seem to keep up with everything. It ruins our ENTIRE day when we wake up. It is not fun.
It is rude to assume that every young person who is a sever is in school or "in-between real life jobs." Sometimes this is our real life job, and sometimes we like it that way.
If your meal is free by any means (the restaurant comps you, gift card etc.) you are still expected to tip. Just because the meal is free doesn't mean that our service should go unrecognized.
Yes, we do get paid lower than minimum wage and yes, that does mean that you are expected to tip because of that. No, we don't have a choice in it. Take it up with our government, not the server who is trying to pay rent with $5 bills.
If you don't leave a tip, we lose money out of our own pocket to serve you. Just like you tip us for our service, we tip our cooks, hosts and bussers for theirs. It is based on what we sell, not what we make. So if you have a $100 bill and you don't tip, we lose about $3 out of our own pocket.
It is okay to have a conversation with us while we are serving you. Most of us are really social people and like having conversations and learning about our guests. However, we also don't want to be rude so if you see us looking around constantly and only half listening it means we probably have 100 things we have to do and it might not be the best time for small talk. Be aware of your surroundings and let us do our job if it's busy. We can always talk later.
If something is wrong with your food and it bothers you, please tell us. We are not mind readers and if we ask "how is everything?" and you say "great!" and then complain when your plate is empty, there is literally nothing we can do to help you. Most of the time if you eat your entire meal the restaurant won't compensate you for poor quality food. HOWEVER, we will happily re-make your food for you if you are disappointed and let us know before you clear your plate. Most of the time if you don't even touch it, some starving student in the back is dying to eat it.
Me: "Hi, my name is Megan welcome to......"
You: "DIET COKE WITH ICE"
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE let us say hello first before you ask for a drink. A lot of the time we have important information we are required to tell you at the start (drink specials, food specials etc.) and if you interrupt us while we're talking we will basically just roll our eyes at you and think you're rude.
When you come in, if you don't see a sign that says "please seat yourself" then please, DO NOT SEAT YOURSELF. You have NO idea how annoying it is if half the restaurant is closed and you seat yourself in the farthest booth in the farthest corner of the Sahara desert and then complain when we forget you're there. 99% of the time we have a seating arrangement and process we follow and when you seat yourself you basically just screw it up.
If we forgot to bring you your extra dipping sauce we most likely will remember it three days later at the most random time. Sorry.
For those still wondering, and again for the *people in the back*:
20% = GREAT SERVICE
15% = STANDARD SERVICE
10% = BAD SERVICE/TERRIBLE....you should still tip anyways as much as you don't want to.
For the love of God if you are sitting in a large party do not play musical chairs. We can't figure out your bill if you keep moving seats constantly. We use seat numbers to organize ourselves so that when it comes time to give you your bill, you actually get the right one and not Jenny's from Table 26.
Oh, and if you drink and drive we will call the police. It's either your ass or ours and we certainly like our asses better. So don't even bother.
And that's pretty much how she goes...Hopefully this is a lesson learned, and I'll be happy if it ends with one less annoyed server rolling their eyes in the dish pit.