Being in the restaurant industry can be very draining. Many industry workers joke about being “dead inside.” It’s made a pretty big cynic out of me.
Did you know that the servers, cooks and managers in every restaurant work hard to cater to your EVERY need? We do, and there are many more times it goes unappreciated by our guests. Please keep this in mind during your future dining out experiences.
If something is wrong with your food, we obviously want to know, and aren’t going to spit in your food for sending it back if it’s wrong. If it’s something small, like a piece of lettuce being out of place, don’t make a big deal out of it by calling over a manager and complaining about the server not knowing how to carry a plate. This is clearly an over exaggeration, and hopefully nobody has ever actually complained about a piece of lettuce being out of place, but come on people, be respectful! Those of us in the restaurant industry work at least as hard as anyone else. No, I’m not discrediting the true heroes of the world, such as police, firefighters, military, etc., but we work hard too.
Be sure to tip your server(s) for their service. While some restaurants are steering away from tipping, it is still considered industry standard for servers and bartenders to earn their living on tips. Did you know that servers have to tip out bartenders and food runners (sometimes bussers)? Did you also know bartenders have to tip out barbacks? This means that even if you leave a 20% tip, which is currently considered the “standard” amount, part of that tip is going to bartenders and food runners and/or barbacks. That means if you leave less than 20%, your server will most likely go to the back of the restaurant and complain about you to all of their friends. So while you’re out posting to Yelp about your dining experience, your server is rating you as a dining guest. If service is terrible, no you don’t have to leave 20%. I’ve had a few times, even after joining the ranks of the restaurant industry, where terrible service was rewarded with significantly less than “nice” tip. When I say “nice,” I mean 15% for sub-par service. Reward good service with a proper tip, 20% or more as you see fit. If your server ignores you, or only checks on you when it’s time to order drinks and food, less than 20% would be understandable. Keep in mind, though, there are times your server has been seated 3-5 tables of various sizes, all within a matter of 5 minutes. Could you handle that? Maybe, but if you haven’t been in that situation before (if you’ve never worked in the restaurant industry), you have no idea. What’s worse is when this happens and 1-3 of those tables contains needy guests, who require their server to walk them through their meal one bite at a time. Don’t be that table!
Needy guests are the worst! If you need your server to walk you through your meal one step at a time, go somewhere there aren’t many guests, or go during a slower time of day. If there’s a wait and you are one of those tables, you’re going to want to re-think your process. Here’s some advice: don’t make your server take multiple trips back and forth to your table, one right after the other. When drinks or food arrive to your table, let your server know what else you’d like to help you along with your meal–don’t wait until they bring something for your friend and send them back for something else for yourself.
All in all, be polite and you’ll receive the same in return. When you feel something is wrong with your meal, let your server know. If you see the restaurant is busy, be patient–your server can only make drinks and food get to you as fast as the bartenders and cooks can crank them out.