Annoying Things Servers Do: Rebuttal
Types of Restaurants
- Full Service Restaurants
- Fine Dining
- Casual Dining
- Fast-Casual Dining
- Quick Service Dining
Annoying Server Habits
Recently I read an article titled The 20 Most Annoying Things Servers Do At Restaurants, thinking I would learn something new about the job I perform while funding my way through college, I decided to give it a read. I assumed that I would read things like wiping your nose on your sleep or attempting to memorize the order and coming back to ask again in five minutes, sadly, this wasn't the case. This article listed many common sense things that any employee would need to do to conduct business with a customer. Not only was the article distasteful, but it was also quite angering considering the author clearly had not been on both sides of the spectrum.
Understanding the Injury of Insult
By now you may be tempted to read the article, if you currently or previously have ever waited tables, prepare yourself. However, I would like the opportunity to respond to this author with my own reasoning for being so annoying.
The first item on the list of annoying things servers do is introduce yourself by name. Now this is a strange thing to have on a list of annoying things, much less the first thing off the top of your head that you find annoying. The author states that by introducing ourselves by name feigns some sort of intimacy that he knows will not exist in the hour or two that he may be dining there. This is an amazing statement considering other ice breakers aren't very appropriate in a restaurant setting. Perhaps the thought escapes this author that the reason we introduce ourselves by name is so when you wine about needed another sauce, or your food is cold, or you need a fork for your chips and salsa you won't be rude enough to snap your fingers at your server or my personal favorite, scream "hey girl". As a server, we aren't "feigning intimacy", we are in fact attempting to establish a mutual business-respectable relationship.
The next item that was baffling was finding it annoying if we inquire if the customer has dined there before. The author attempts to suggest that this is a servers way of finding out if the customer is aware of what all the extra charges are, and as a result, can boost the check as high as possible. Personally, I believe it is a professional method of finding out if a new customer will need some help deciphering the menu or if we should recommend anything. The restaurant where I work has the servers ask if their table has dined there before, not to find out if they know we charge extra for loading potatoes, but so we can give them a new customer sample of an appetizer that we are famous for.
Another annoyance is being told to wait for your waiter for something you need. I find this an extremely rare circumstance, because most restaurants promote teamwork among the servers where everyone helps everyone. If you are told, "I'll let your server know" or "your server will be right with you", its because some other needy customer is barking orders from across the restaurant, and since it is that table that will leave the tip that puts gas in our cars, we prioritize. Plus, whatever you need may be strenuous and requires as edit to your ticket that your server should be made aware of.
The author continues to make it apparent that asking for change is quite annoying. Most servers don't memorize your tab, nor can we see through dollar bills and know exactly what you gave us in cash. Asking for change is our polite way of asking if we should make another trip to the table, or if we can have your two dollars in change. If you want to hand me a folded one-hundred dollar bill and not have me ask for change, I'll gladly not return it.
The article lists several more annoying habits that servers everywhere must never do ever again. However, I think the main subject here is that this guy will find any excuse not to have to tip his server. The people that wait tables aren't robots and aren't perfect. Every server has unique characteristics about them that make each dining experience different. In the sports bar where I work, we have every kind of clientele from families to college kids, from reverends to bikers, you name it, they come for the wings. Ultimately, servers do work for their tips, and we apologize if you find the things we do annoying, but sometimes we are trying to ensure your happiness so we can keep our lights on.
In summary, be nice to your servers, they work long shifts and wait on a variety of people both nice and nasty, our goal is to make money to pay our bills and keep our jobs. If your lucky, you will have a server that makes you night memorably entertaining, and if you don't, tip her anyway.