Earlier this summer my lovely colleague Smaxxie wrote a piece about people’s behavior towards their wait staff in restaurants — a true gem! As a server, I felt an instant connection to her profound piece of literature!
Lately I’ve been busting-my-ass at work trying to make ends meat and I can’t seem to escape tables that think they are the only people waiting to be served. Reality check: it’s 7:30 p.m. on a Monday night when nobody feels like cooking and I have a FULL section of hungry people. Maybe it’s because they have always been privileged with maids and butlers who only cater to them – I don’t know – but there are some people who don’t give-a-damn who else I’m serving, if they need something they need it now!
Just last night I had a guest completely interrupt me as I was retrieving an order from a table across from them talking about “When you get a chance could we get some more bread..? Oh, and some water please…” Umm…Rude! I’m kind of in the middle of taking someone’s order here!
These kind of gestures from guests will always reflect my level of service. So it looks bad on my part if it seems as though I’m not paying enough attention to my tables to make sure they have everything they need before they have to ask – even if they decided to wait a full ten minutes after I asked if they needed anything…minor details. Let’s not forget to mention I am now juggling the attention of two tables when I was trying to make one feel important at the moment. Thanks!
Now, I understand my job is to make each table feel uniquely special – I get it. However, when it is mid-dinner-rush, please understand that everyone within the establishment is doing their best to exceed the standards and expectations of service. So please, cut us servers a little bit of slack!
My absolute favorite is when people don’t understand the concept that humans make mistakes. Yes, we’d rather not make these mistakes, however sh*t happens! Especially with a kitchen dishing out hundreds of plates a night – there may be a slight mix-up. If your table just-so-happens to be the table with the unfortunate fate, know that it was far from intentional and we are truly trying to do our best to correct the issue. You have to remember, our income is a reflection of our service, so messing up is the last thing we wish to do – every hiccup is money lost. At the end of the day we wish for things to go just as smoothly as you do so that we can make our money and go home. Therefore, all the bullsh*t we go through is almost worth it…almost.
Quick story time: last night was definitely one for the books as I had a table of four that decided to create their own dishes for the night. Now, my restaurant is a fine dining Italian restaurant with recognized chefs. While we have all the ingredients for unique orders, its kind of insulting to just come in and say “Screw the menu!” You should have stayed home.
Anyways, each person at this table decided it was “Make-Your-Own-Pasta-Monday” and gave me a long description of what they wanted. The best part was that after one person would order, half-way through the next person’s order they would change their mind and add something else.
After I finally get through the order and send it through I have to now make my way to the next five tables because since first arriving at their table to take the order, my section gained about three more tables. While I’m greeting my other tables and taking drink orders, the kitchen is doing their best to prepare the complicated order and before I know it, the food is being run! I didn’t even have time to clarify the order with the kitchen before it was already at the table.
Of course, there was a problem. The table of innovators did not recognize what they ordered as their individual dishes and sent it back to the kitchen. Strike one. Then when I figure out the problem and send the food back out, one lady has an issue because it was not what she asked for. [Her heirloom cherry tomatoes were not cherry enough]. Strike two. Of course I’m never going to argue with a guest so I send it back to the kitchen. Now it looks like I’m incompetent and I am basically waved off. Before I found myself at strike three my manager intervened and ordered them a round of drinks to compensate. Sometimes I think people just complain so they can get free stuff. Little did she know, THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH HER DISH IN THE FIRST PLACE! But you know what…
Ultimately, I have no problem with owning up to my faults in any misunderstanding or confusion of orders. I know I’m not perfect and I never will be. But please, try to lighten up and understand we all make honest mistakes from time to time – it is nothing malicious toward humanity. And the next time you are out to dinner and notice yourself being THAT high maintenance table – just remember, you are important, you just are not the only one.