Calling All Servers!

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Original poster
Alright. So I've been in the restaurant business for over five years. It's needless to say I've just about seen it all. I've worked in corporate places such as TGI Friday's to California Pizza Kitchen, but also in non- corporate businesses which are run solely by the owner. However, no matter where you work there are some of those patrons that you just can't escape. They always find you. Serving is one of the most unappreciated jobs out there, because those who never work in the restaurant business do not understand what they go through. I thought about putting this as a post in the ranting thread, but I know I have some fellow servers out there, and as all servers know we like to rant and rave together. So this is open for all to join in and/or add thier opionion. Anything said in my posts are not meant for any of you personally. It's is for all those that make my life hell on a daily basis. So.. here it goes.

I'm going to take you through a busy weekend night, and explain what it is like on my end. Let's atart from the beginning. There they are. The non appeasable guests, they come strolling through the door ignoring all the other guests waiting patiently in the lobby and walk up to the host stand. "Hi. We need a table for two." The host proceeds to tell them that there is about a 15-20 minute wait and would like to take down thier name. With a disgusted look on thier face they popint to a table about 20 feet away and say, "Oh really? What about -that- one?" The host replies "Well that one is for this couple over here.. who has been waiting patiently for thier table." The angry guests mutter something rude no doubt and take a seat in the lounge. You can be assured they will now unleash thier fury o whomever thier poor server may be even if it isn't thier fault. Also, as a side note, if it is a slow day like a tuesday night and you go into a restaurant and they tell you that there is a 5 minute wait even though you see plenty of tables open, do not be alarmed. That is because usually on those nights there is only one server for the entire restaurant and they got slammed with about 6 tables and need about 5 minutes to catch up before they can get to you. Point is.. if you want to be seated right away.. Make a reservation!

Next is greeting the table. From a server's side it is like an art. You have to be able to read yor tables. If it is a young couple you must proceed with caution. You can never win in this circumstance. Being a female, (this is opposite for male servers) you can not look directly in the man's eyes. The lady at the table will feel threatened, and either be rudde to you all night, be needy and make you run your ass off, or might even call you out. You must say a quick "Hello how are you two this eveining?" You look down at the table while placing napkins and glance up at the female so she feels she is getting the attention, not her boyfriend. When asking what they would like to drink you can look at the female, but conviently when the male is talking you look at your notepad you are writting on. However, you -always- have a smile on your face. He is normally the tipper. You don't want to make him feel shunned.

So you have thier drink order and you get the drinks. After placing them down in from of them you give them some time with the menus and check on your other tables. However, they now know what they want to order and so rudely interrupt you while you are with your other tables. They do this by either waving thier arms back and forth like a rabid monkey, or by the non-stop " Miss....miss... Ma'am (Never- ever call your server Ma'am!) ....excuse me! Ummmm we're ready to order!" Now the way you handle it depends on where you work. Corporate would insist you smile politely and say "Oh hi.. I'll be there in just one second." In non-corporate I have on many occasions turned around with a blank look on my face and said "Hey! I heard you the fifth time. As you can see I am helping another guest who has waited patiently for me to get to them. I will be with you in a moment." And there is no problem. Bartenders especially can ge away with this.

So you got the food order and you're waiting for it to come up. So in the meantime you are walking around your sectionmaking sure everything is fine, giving refills, bussing your tables, you were probably sat again in this time period which makes this whole process repeat itself. Thankfully, if you've served long enough and you're good at what you do you will sense when the food is ready. So you gather it and bring it out. Of course the girl will ask you for ranch..with everything... so you go back and if you're smart you get a boat of it and bring it to her. Of course when you get back she wants ketchup too. You return with it and she needs more napkins... you see a pattern here? Naturally, her steak is Medium Rare. However, she ordered medium. Of course she throws a fit telling you how you don't know how to do yor job, and you should be fired. However, you put in the food order right. You did your part right. The cooks made the steak wrong. From the outside you can not tell the difference between medium and medium rare a=until you cut into it. You didn't go back there and cook the damn thing. So you take it back and have them cook it more.

The end of thier meal comes and they order a ginormous dessert. She eats maybe two bites. Then she complains to the manager that you suck at your job, the food came out wrong, you were hitting on her boyfriend, you didn't bring the food fast enough, and they want a discount. So the manager takes off one of thier meals. Normally this meal would be let's say $65.00. After the discount it is now $40.00. And what do they tip you? $5.00. Oh and of course they don't just leave. No, they sit in your section (we call it camping out) for a couple hours. So you can not have any other tables in thier place to make money off of. And do they tip you more for doing that? no....

This is just one instance of a crazy table. There are endless stories and I am interested to hear your experiences. I have sooo many of them. Hopefully this shed a little light on the crap that servers have to put up with. Keep in mind that wasn't thier only table. They have about 5 or 6 more of them and who knows what they were like...

Lastly, I understand that some people were never taught how to tip. Some people just do not know. Now a days bare minimum a tip should be 20%. That means if the bill is 30.00.. you multiply the 3 X 2 and you get 6. 6 would be an average tip. You take whatever number is in front and double it... However, if the bill is 100.00... that does not mean the tip is 2... no it means the tip should be $20.00. Now have you observed your server? If she is busy... like the whole place is slammed but she still comes to you with a smile on her face and communicates openly with you then she deserves a great tip even though your food may have taken a while to come out. It isn't her job to make the food, but she is doing her job to the best of her abilities. In that case I would tip 30%. But that's just me and I really appreciate my server. Now if it is slow and not much going on and you can see that there are a lot of servers, make sure you're not thinking of hosts, and they are slow, don't care, get everything wrong, and don't refill... that is when I'd give 10%... but that's rare. I almost always give at least 20%.

Anyway... Sorry this went on so long... I just had to get all this off my chest..
Same is true for all public service jobs. In my time been a buzz boy, waiter and a service oriented computer technician and in every job I have ever had there have been people asking for the impossible, taking offense fore nothing at all, seeming to purposefully trying to make your job hell or just plain being assholes. Management seem not to know what you actually need to get your job done and seem to expect nothing less than miracles. Thus is the condition of tertiary industry. AT least these days I can speak technical gobldygook and they'll just smile and nod like they know what I mean and "come back later"