I am twenty-three years old and have been working in a restaurant or bar since I was 16. I believe that everyone should do it at least once in their lives. It’s not an easy job. The labor itself is not necessarily hard, but dealing with certain people can be a bit of a stresser. I have compiled a list of things that I have acquired from this job, and if there are fellow servers/bartenders/etc reading this, I think you will agree.
1. The customer is rarely right.
Whoever coined the phrase “the customer is always right” clearly never worked a day of their lives in customer service. If there’s one thing I did learn from working the past seven years of my life in restaurants and bars, it’s that people are really stupid. Maybe I’m just bitter, but I’m sure several servers and bartenders who are reading this right now can agree with me. You are not entitled to a free meal because you came in on a Friday night without a reservation and had to wait an hour to eat.
2. There’s a special place in hell reserved for people who don’t tip.
I don’t like you because you’re cheap. Had I known I was wasting my energy serving you for nothing; I would have given you horrible service. If you’re going to pay your tab with a $100 bill and don’t leave me anything after giving you your change, then you’re scum. I don’t give a shit if you wrote “you’re the best” on your cocktail napkin and compliment me on my excellent service. Verbal tips don’t pay my bills. And you’d better bet your ass, I’m not calling the number you left on the credit card receipt after that 10% tip you left me. If you can’t afford to tip, then don’t go out to eat, it’s as simple as that. There’s a perfectly good fast food place down the street that is right in your budget.
3. Judgment towards foreigners, teenagers, the elderly and any race other than white.
Stereotypes exist for a reason, prove me wrong and I’ll change my views. #sorrynotsorry. We’re in America, and I make $4.69 an hour before taxes. Leaving 10-15% for excellent service is insufficient nowadays. I make my living off of the tips that I make, and I have to tip out a percentage of my sales to either my bar back, bartender, hostess, busboy and/or food runner; your lack of tip actually means that I am paying to serve you.
4. There’s no such thing as T.G.I.F.
If you work in a restaurant or bar, you know that you’re working Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You have to request off of work in order in order to make any real weekend plans weeks ahead of time and the same goes for holidays. Martin Luther King, Labor Day, Memorial Day and July 4th mean nothing to us except the fact that all of our non-hospitality friends will be at the beach while we are scheduled to work, having what we call a “slow day,” making no money because –just like our friends—everyone is at the beach.
5. The best things in life are not free.
This has got to be the thing that has affected me the most throughout my time working in a restaurant/bar. If you order something without reading the menu and then are surprised by it when it comes out, then you’re still paying for it. If you’re allergic to mushrooms, maybe you should be cautious of that when you’re ordering. Sending drinks back because “they don’t taste right” is the most illegitimate reason I’ve ever heard. Most drinks are standard and if they are specialty drinks, then the recipes are typically listed on the menu. The whole “I don’t like something, so I’m going to send it back and order something else for free” excuse doesn’t work with me. If you have a legitimate reason for sending something back, like “I asked for it without mayo and there’s mayo on it” I will be more than happy to exchange your item for a new one. In the case of a cocktail, if you don’t like it, I can do what I can by adding more juices or something to make it meet your standards, but remaking a drink because “it wasn’t what you expected” doesn’t fly with me.
6. Yes sir, thank you sir.
When I go out to eat, I find myself thanking my server about 37 times throughout my meal. I also tend to feel guilty when asking for anything else, so I say things like, “whenever you get a chance” “if you don’t mind” or “no rush at all.” It’s the server’s job to get what’s needed of the customer, and considering that I tip quite generously, I shouldn’t mind asking for it.
7. Server etiquette.
I can’t tell you how many times I have gone up to a group of people to check on how they are doing or ask for their drink order and they just flat out ignore me and continue their conversations. I KNOW YOU SEE ME! I’m not just standing here like an idiot while you finish talking to your friends about your lames lives and interests. I’m working, and I have other tables to attend to, don’t waste my time. If a server comes up to your table, postpone all conversations to give the server your attention for a few seconds and then proceed when the server walks away. Which leads me to my next rant; SPEAK UP! There’s nothing I hate more than a customer who whispers their order to me. If I ask for your order and you’re whispering, I’m not going to be able to hear you over everything else going on in the restaurant. Are you intimidated by me? Would you like me to mess up your order because I didn’t hear you properly? I don’t know how to read lips, so don’t expect me to try and then you get mad when I get your order wrong.
Let’s face it; everyone who works in hospitality is a drunk. I don’t know why, but we just are. Most of us have had at least one DUI and it’s normal. We end up spending most of our nightly tips on alcohol, because we either had a really bad night, or a really good night. Our coworkers end up becoming our best friends and we drink with them multiple nights a week after our shifts.
Woo, I’m happy to have gotten that off of my chest. Thanks for listening to today’s rant