Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Things I Have Learned From Being a Waitress...

So, I am just like everyone else. I have been to a restaurant and thought to myself, "Why can't that blasted waitress just refill my soda? This job isn't rocket science after's not like it requires a degree of some sort. I mean, seriously, how difficult can this be?"

Well, as Karma would have it, I find myself recently employed as a server at Mimi's cafe. I figured that I could do the work...after all, "how hard can it really be?", as I have asked myself on numerous eating out excursions. I have worked for years in the medical field balancing blood draws and lab tests and billing and keeping pregnant and other hormonal women happy...I should certainly be able to handle bringing food to people, right?

I quickly learned that my frustration with serving staff was a direct result of my lack of understanding of situations. My server might not refill my drink immediately because as she was off to get my soda, one of her tables may have accused her of stealing their debit card, or other such nonsense. Here is a list of what I have learned in this position...

1. I was unprepared for the lack of respect that people have for servers. Contrary to popular belief, I am an intelligent and educated person...NOT your servant.

2. I work TOTALLY on tips. Server wage is TWO DOLLARS and HOUR!! ALL of my paycheck comes from you. Even if I wasn't flawless, please be generous with your tips. Imagine going to work all day and having your boss yell at you and tell you that today you get to go home with nothing because you suck so bad...

3. The cooks and bussers and hosts get paid...your server does not. If your food is incorrectly prepared, or your table was not cleaned off properly, this was NOT the fault of your he/she should not be penalized by you.

4. If you can't afford to leave a tip...stay home or eat fast food.

5. Your server really does want you to be happy...if you aren't, please tell them so they can make it right.

6. Servers HATE "Girl's Night Out". Often, they fight over who has to take these tables. Let me explain something to you...a server is given a certain number of tables to wait on during a shift, and if you take up a table for HOURS ON END you should probably tip your server extra, because you are LITERALLY causing them to loose money. Also, groups of girls/women traditionally try to "out under-eat" each other, so the amount that you are going to tip will already be less....however, these groups usually require A TON OF BABYSITTING, so really, just be aware of what you are doing.

7. Don't assume that your server is an idiot. Believe it or not, I have a college degree.

8. If your server if forgetting something, just remind them in a polite way. They really do have a million things going on, and may have just had a table chew their face off and insult their parentage, which may have legitimately caused them to forget. Again, they really do want you to be happy.

9. If your food is not tasting the way you would like, it is fine to mention this rather than just sit and seathe. Again, what everyone really wants is for you to be happy, leave a decent tip, and come back again.

10. Mistakes will be made....are YOU flawless?

11. No one is gonna spit in your food...we are really just too busy.

12. Consider getting an appitizer and a soda. I know it costs a little more, but we really get reamed by our bosses if we don't sell a certain amount. Also, if we have a little scripted thing that we have to say...just let us say it. If a manager happens to be listening and we don't say everything we are supposed to....we may get yelled at. (And truely, we get yelled at a lot).

I totally understand that I have been guilty of many of these things pre-server...and it was because I really didn't understand the job. I am glad that I understand a bit better now, and hopefully you won't have to go through the hell that serving can be before you learn. Payback's a bitch.