By Hanna Ronish
I have been working in the front of the house of a restaurant for 11 years. (bartending and serving for those who are not familiar with the restaurant lingo) and I LOVE my job. It does not feel like work when I get to hangout with people who tell fascinating stories and (my favorite) mediocre dad jokes. Although my day is filled with positivity and people who bring a smile to my face, there are the few who test my patience. And let me tell you, all servers and bartenders have a few things in common. You have definitely starred in the wait staff’s “server nightmares” if you have done the following:
Finish your entire plate of food and then criticize every last bit of it. At this point, I have silently tallied up every single time I visited the table to make sure everything was running smoothly, only to come to the conclusion that you had more than enough opportunities to tell me about your dissatisfaction. Too many people try to get free things in this world. Just don’t do that.
Customer- (never having met this customer before) “Make me something good.”
Bartender – **Face palm.
Complain about the temperature of the restaurant/the volume of the music. Did someone’s mom forget to teach you to bring a jacket wherever you go? Servers are on their feet and walking more miles in one 5 hour shift, than most people will in a week. We cannot function properly if it is 80 degrees in the building. If we cannot function, we cannot serve you, you will starve. End of story. (Studies show people eat less when they are hot. If you have a problem with that, take it up with the owner.)
“I know the owner.” Yeah… you and everyone else. If you think that taking a class 20 years ago with the guy who writes my paycheck is going to get you a free drink, think again. He can fire me.
Order a drink but ask your bartender to present it in a different glass than the norm. If you are not comfortable enough with your sexuality to drink rose out of a wine glass or a lemon drop out of a sugared martini glass then let me give you a quick tip, order a beer like a real man and drink it out of the tough guy, pint glass it comes in.
Sitting at the ONLY dirty table when there are clean, fully set tables in every direction around you. For the love of God, just don’t do this.
It’s not a Cuba Libre, it’s a Rum and Coke. I don’t know who came up with the pet names for drinks but let’s skip that step and just call a vodka cranberry with a lime a “Vodka cranberry with a lime.” Not a Cape Cod. **Insert dramatic eye roll
Two words. Hot. Tea. Its not your fault if you like this tasteless drink, just know that as your server is juggling the lemons, honey, spoon, extra piping hot water, assortment of tea flavors, sweetener and hatred, they have probably started fantasizing your funeral.
Above all else…
Treat your server like a human who has feelings. Waiters and waitresses don’t just talk to hear themselves talk. When approaching a table and asking the question, “Good morning everyone, how are you doing?” THE. MOST. Disrespectful (and far too common) answer any server will cringe over is “Coffee with cream.” (at this point I’m assuming you are going to be bitter and unenjoyable the entire visit. Just like coffee is to me)
This should go without saying, but any snapping, whistling, aggressive waving motions, clapping, unnecessary interrupting, or calls from across the bar or restaurant should just be illegal. We are servers, not servants. When this behavior arises, we are more inclined to walk the other direction than to tend politely to your needs. If your waitress walks up to the table with a smile after you have whistled or snapped at her, she has perfected the poker face, that smile was not genuine.