6 Things Not to Say or Do to Your Server
Before I worked in radio, I spent six years working as a waitress in my hometown.
While I enjoyed interacting with people and sneaking bread during my shifts (apologies to my old boss), there are some things customers would do that drove me absolutely crazy.
So, without further adieu, here are things you should not do the next time you go out to eat:
1. Interrupt the server with your order.
"Hi, how are you today? Welcome to -"
"I want a water."
No one likes to be interrupted, and that includes servers — especially when we are in the middle of a (sometimes mandatory) introduction. Even if you are in a hurry, just wait a few seconds for them to tell you their name before you cut them off. You'll get your drink soon enough, I promise.
2. Forget what your ordered as soon as your server shows up with a hot plate.
There is nothing worse than having a customer try to remember what they ordered while you have a hot plate burning your hand. Of course, people forget. But if you do, allow the server to set the plate down on the table so you can give it to the proper person once you figure it out.
3. Take items off of the server's tray.
I know you're trying to help, but please do not take food or drinks off of the server's tray once they arrive at your table. This throws off their balance and is likely to result in a gigantic mess.
4. Blame the server for something that is kitchen-related.
It sucks when you're starving and your steak is over cooked...but the server isn't the one cooking your steak. Try and base your tip on the server's presentation and attitude rather than on the food. And if you don't like the food, it's okay to send it back.
5. Cat call and/or follow your server.
If you need to flag a server down, simply say 'excuse me' or notify the manager. Whistling or snapping at a server to get their attention is downright demeaning. I've also had customers follow me into the kitchen or the bathroom to ask about their food. Trust me, that is not going to make me want to serve you.
6. Walk in with a gigantic party and no reservation.
One busy Saturday night, we had a walk-in party of 36 people with no reservation...and they all wanted separate checks. If you know you're going to have a big party like that, please make a reservation. It will help the restaurant serve you much more efficiently.
I could go on and on, but I think that's enough for today's customer-improvement session.
Obviously, there are exceptions to all of the above, but these are good rules of thumb to follow the next time you're at a restaurant.
And of course, thank you to all of my past customers who left me good tips and kind words — you're the best.