I've written a lot about serving. In fact, someday when I finally write a book there is going to have to be a whole chapter devoted to my time in the food service industry. So many stories to tell, my friends. Everything from the behind-the-scenes secrets to unexpected encounters, like the time I waited on an MLB All Star catcher whose last name rhymes with Brucroy. Yes, that actually happened.
Recently, I've written about 5 Ways to Bless Your Server and about how The Customer is Not Always Right, so check those out!
One of the coolest things about serving is that every shift is different. I may work with the same group of people each day, but the people I encounter at my tables are always different, which means there is always the potential for the unexpected. Earlier this week, there may or may not have been an incident where I accidentally yanked on a guest's chest hair because I thought it was a loose string.
It's been an interesting couple of weeks at the restaurant, so I've come up with 5 things we servers would like our customers to know. All five of these have affected me or my co-workers in the last week, so they were on my mind to share.
Five Things Your Server Wants You to Know:
1. Writing a scathing Yelp review does not make you a powerful person. Plus, I'm pretty sure the only people using Yelp anymore are the same people who want happy hour specials in the dining room so they can get their glasses of White Zinfandel for half price. We've seen reviews from people who have given our restaurant one star, but have rated TACO BELL with five. *insert wide-eyed emoji here*
2. We probably haven't had a break today. They aren't built into our work days like "normal jobs." We probably haven't eaten, and if we have it was likely stone cold and we slammed it down our throats standing up. Plus, we have to hide somewhere to inhale our food because it's not cool to allow customers to see us eat. It's important that we maintain plausible deniability that we might be robots. Oh, and it's very possible I haven't even had a chance to go to the bathroom. Breaks of any kind don’t really exist to servers. Remind me to tell you about the time I wet my pants at work. True story.
3. If a customer takes both copies of a charge card slip, we get nothing. In fact, we end up paying to serve that table if you take into consideration that we are having to tip out the busser who clears the table, the bartender who made the drinks, and the expo who made sure the food was perfect before it came to the table. Oh, and we also pay taxes. Don't look at me like that; we do! Anyway, can you please do us a favor and double check to make sure you are leaving us a signed copy of that credit card slip so we don't have to chase you into the parking lot and awkwardly ask you to fish it out of your wallet? Thanks a million.
4. We tend to pick up weird side jobs to make a little more money because serving isn't likely to be our lifetime career goal - Sure, some of us have normal day jobs like teaching, office staff, students, or retail. But many of us try to fit one more thing on our plate so we are exploring every legal income avenue possible. Some examples might be nannying, blogging or beard modeling. Yes, I work with a guy who tried to get into beard modeling. This is real life.
(He hasn't given up, by the way. I'll be his agent if you're interested.)
5. When we ask to see your ID, we aren't trying to insult you. We are trying to stay employed and not get sued. - Here's the thing. If you order a drink and I don't card you and it turns out that you are actually only 20 and then somebody who happens to know your mom sees you as she's going to the bathroom and she stops to chat and realizes you are drinking, she might be so inclined to let the manager know or - better yet - make a phone call right to the owner. Next thing you know, the restaurant is subjected to a HUGE fine and I'm fired. Sorry. I would rather risk offending you by carding you than risk my job by not.
Here to help, friends.
Your friendly neighborhood server