First, I’ll say this…I LOVED being a server at a restaurant, you get to meet new weirdos every 20 minutes, you can speak in a horrible British accent if you get bored, and if you hate people, they’ll be gone in an hour…pretty much the best situation ever.
While working at a restaurant in college, I got to wear an outfit that made me feel more like a doucher than ever before. Close your eyes and picture it…black flared-leg pants (from Express naturally), insanely starched white button down shirt (unisex and huge..I looked like an onion with legs), red bow tie (think femmy Pee Wee Herman), white heavily starched apron down to my knees, and top it off sexily with yesterday’s gumbo-encrusted black vest with a clipart embroidered lobster on it. And just to add insult to injury, hair pulled back in a tight bun, and very little makeup (although I obviously always broke that rule). Yeah, I was the hotness. If you can get dates while wearing this outfit, you must actually be Giselle Bundchen.
(this was the actual uniform, although this is not me)
The point is…the restaurant industry is a hard place to work, but EVERYONE should do it at one point or another…it will seriously change the way you eat out and will decrease your assholeness by about 500% instantly.
Here are some tips to make your dining experiences more enjoyable for everyone (including your server):
-Big Groups: When you go out with your entire 15-person bowling league, understand that sh*t WILL take longer. Just know this and deal with it. Maybe you shouldn’t have so many friends.
-Listen: Look, the server really doesn’t care about telling you that the Brandy Salmon is the featured item and that it comes with a side of Japanese asparagus risotto from the hills of Kyoto…but that’s her freakin’ job. So when she’s doing her routine, just shut up for 30 seconds, listen, nod your head, and it’ll ease the pain. No one wants to scream over you, and no one wants to talk to you while you stare at your phone mid-angry birds level…so give that tiny shred of respect right there at the start.
-Names: When a table can call you by name, or care enough to learn it…it makes a huge difference. Trust me, if you put in that extra effort in, it’ll come back to you in spades. Guess whose food isn’t getting the “special” treatment? YOURS.
-Complaints: As a server, I never cared if people complained about the food. I mean, sure…it’s annoying to have to deal with, but if there’s a hair in your food (it’s probably mine), or if there’s something else wrong…the server usually doesn’t mind handling it. We actually usually genuinely feel bad about the mistake but when you act like a total jerk, that’s when things get really annoying. If there’s something wrong, pull your server aside quietly, don’t make large demands, and see what they’ll offer you to fix the issue. They should know if you aren’t happy, but it’s not their fault, they didn’t cook the food, so don’t be a bitch. Oh, and don’t pull that Better Business Bureau routine, we don’t actually care.
-Bus Boys and Other Servers: General rule…if you need something, wait for your server to come around. Don’t ask the bus boys or another server…they probably aren’t going to be able to help you, may not speak the english, and they have other things to be doing other than being your personal concierge, unless you plan on tipping them too…which you won’t.
Jokes: It’s painful for us to hear the same jokes over and over. It always goes something like this…
Server: Did you enjoy your meal?
Patron: (sitting in front of an empty plate) No! I hated it! Ha Ha Ha.
This is not funny. After the 4th time hearing this during a shift, I want to drown myself face first in your mushroom crab soup and take you down with me. And now, I shall figure out how to poison your dessert.
Be good to your servers folks. They work super hard and are those special gatekeepers that get to determine if you get a pube sandwich or not.