Rules of Engagement: Tips from your Server on how to Avoid Being a Social Dining Douche Bag.
By: Lori SleeAs much as it pains me to have to write and post this, I have observed and experienced firsthand that it is indeed, a necessary evil.
We have all been to a restaurant to eat. Some are small mom and pop joints. Some are our favorite national restaurant chain…or on occasion, we might be visiting a world class city, and meander into a place that’s noted for fun, food and a bumpin’ atmosphere. In either and all cases, there are certain rules of conduct that should be adhered to. Not by your server, but by YOU…the guest.
In most establishments there is/are a host/hostess to guide you to your seat, give you your menu and in some cases (not all) take your drink order. That is all. They work on a rotation system for seating tables. When you as the guest are sat, stay put. There is a reason you are in that spot. Now, mind you, if after being sat you notice the table is wobbly, there is a screaming child nearby, or some unidentified liquid is dripping from the ceiling; when your server comes to greet you, let them know of the situation. They will be more than happy to help you to another table, either in their station or one belonging to a nearby colleague…DO NOT get up and walk willy nilly to another table. This may result in not being greeted or noticed, thus causing you possible angst (brought on upon by yourself) and in the end you have only you to blame.
After being sat and greeted. Be kind to your server. Take a look around you, noting other guests and tables. Yes that is right. There are other people in the same establishment! The restaurant is not your oyster. Look at your server, smile. Speak directly at them, especially if there is an atmosphere of loud music and whatnot. DO NOT look into your menu and mumble your order. This may result in your getting something you did not want. If this happens, again, you have only you to blame.
Take care to leave your personal hang-ups outside the door. If you are fighting before you arrive and cannot come to some agreement, DO NOT come into the restaurant with clenched teeth and fists and a belly full of hate. We your server along with surrounding guests DO NOT want to witness your bullshit. Again, you are not the only people in existence. Take mind to the fullness of humanity around you.
Even though we all wear the same cartoon uniforms, this does not make us cartoon characters, servants or robots. This was put upon us by the corporate minds to keep some kind of image for the restaurant. We have agreed as servers to don the garb, still underneath it all, we bleed real blood…just like you. There may be days your server had to come into work and is having a bad day. It happens to all of us.
So if they seem a bit despondent or off kilter, keep in mind they may have just received news earlier that day from a government agency that their ex-husband passed away two months prior, and nobody in the family had the decency to notify them. These things happen. DO NOT leave an outlined synopsis of how your server was ‘inadequate’ and ‘mediocre’ on the bottom of your credit card receipt; just because you have the vernacular ability to do so. This just makes you look like a pompous asshole. And your server will hold absolutely no regard to what you believed to be helpful constructive criticism.
Now, if your server IS the pompous asshole (because these things do happen, and chances are they won’t be in the industry for long) take note to the degree of their rudeness. In some cases the remedy is easily handled by your gratuity. Bad service, bad tip. If the server is way outta line, like mackin’ on your date, or sloppy drunk, please ask to speak with a manager. It would be greatly appreciated by not only other visiting patrons…but fellow servers as well.
If you DO NOT have enough time to sit down and enjoy a meal, just keep going and hit a drive through. We are the server, a kind of data entry/delivery employee. We do not rule the universe with the wave of our pens, nor do we traipse our asses into the kitchen and prepare your meals. We are just a cog in a greater machine.
“I believe the children are our are future; Teach them well and let them lead the way…” TEACH THEM FOR GODSAKE! I have four of my own, so yes I have a certain authority on this subject. DO NOT let them run amuck around the establishment. This is rude and dangerous. We servers balance huge trays that weigh upwards of 40 pounds on one hand one shoulder whilst walking through an obstacle course of tables and people meandering (looking at all the ‘memorabilia’). If a child were to get under our feet, it would not be pretty, especially if that tray has a hot Sizzling Fajita on it. People, really. And please, please, please, keep purses and diaper bag straps off the floor and out of sight. Too many a server has biffed it because of the unseen booby trap set next to your feet.
A food that stimulates the appetite and is usually served before a meal. Unless of course you decide AFTER your entrée order, that ooopsie…we wanted an appetizer. Chances are very high that your main food order has been put in. So, your new order will more than likely arrive after you have your main meal. This is your faux pas…not ours. Ok, so DO NOT ask to have it voided from your check after you have eaten it, just because it didn’t arrive in true dinning sequence.
Water, soda, coffee, cocktails, beer and the like… almost always delivered by your friendly helpful and duteous server. If you are a complete jerk, beware there are certain servers out there that may “Miss Celie” your refreshment. If you don’t know what “Miss Celie” is, watch The Color Purple.
After your meal has arrived and you are getting ready to grub, chances are and this is usually the case, one finds they need something. Like a side of Ranch, some ketchup, or a refill on their drink. This is a common occurrence, and we as servers are more than happy to retrieve and deliver. However; when your server arrives to the table, whether it be just you or a party of twenty, please consolidate what it is you need. That way we can take care of you in one fell swoop, and avoid having to run our asses back and forth for a small ramekin of dressing, two lemons, or an extra straw, or spoon…seriously people, note that you are not the only humans in existence.
Splitting the Bill:
Don’t do it. You went out to eat with people you may enjoy conversation and company with. Pay with one form of payment. This helps expedite your departure and our cash out at the end of the evening. See…we can all help one another and do each other a favor. If you insist on paying your own way, please keep it to a two party check. Four is max. Parties of ten or more who want ten separate checks are just looking for complications.
Coupons and Vouchers:
These are a pain in our asses; distributed by the think tanks that run these places as a way to generate business. Now, if you really want to use your coupon or voucher, chances are you cannot, CANNOT combine two different ones. Come now people, we all know this is the way of the world. And do not take it out on your server because the world is crap, and you can’t save an extra five dollars. When tipping, please be courteous and tip on the original amount of the bill, not the deducted price. This just makes you look like a cheap bastard.
This is the tip left. It is a standard custom and tradition. The gratuity is 20%. Not 10% and not five bucks. If you cannot figure out the math, take out your cell phone, find your calculator and work it out.
Plus, many of you may not be aware, but we as servers have to “tip out” five percent of our tips to bussers, directors and the bar. So when you leave me five dollars on a seventy seven dollar tab, or worse, NOTHING… I lose income.
Note to foreigners and our Canadian friends: I cannot do anything with your currency. Please leave my money in American notes. Thank you.
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