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.


Springs1 said...

“Contrary to popular belief, I am an intelligent and educated person...NOT your servant.”

Then act like that. KNOW your MENU BETTER THAN I DO!! I have actually have had quite a number of servers over the years known the menus BETTER than the servers did. It is SOOO TRUE!!! I don’t mean memorize, I mean actually get a menu and look up something if you aren’t sure about something. I don’t expect you to have it 100% memorized, but I do expect you to take SOME EFFORT into your job.

You aren’t my servant, but you are supposed to get me what I ask for. I ask nicely, I expect an apology if you forget something. Do you realize most servers don’t apologize for their mistakes? They act like we aren’t real people with FEELINGS too!!

“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...”

That’s why if you are that affected by that, you go get yourself another job that an EMPLOYER pays your wages and isn’t dependent on customers. If it wasn’t perfect, HOW did you HANDLE IT? I have had once a waiter that admitted he forgot to put me and my husband’s appetizer order into the computer. He handled it in the most caring way(offered us something for free, which we said we’d rather have something off the bill, which he got $5 off our check). He also profusely apologized twice. We left him 16% BEFORE the discount. It was also because I saw he had time, but he had time to hug someone, so that was the main reason why he messed up in the first place. If he wouldn’t have apologized or offered us anything else, a BIG FAT ZERO would have been in his future, because it was a major mistake. Do you get that it matters HOW you handle things? Once, I had a waitress that I just said “I ordered salt” which she brought out a margarita with salt. Instead of saying “Oh, sorry, let me go fix that” as I WOULD HAVE, NO, she was a total bitch. She actually faulted the bartender by acting like she was blind or something. She said “He didn’t put it on there.” I just said “no.” She said it JUST LIKE THAT and NO SORRY OF COURSE !! Salt on the rim of a glass can be seen even without margarita in the glass, so how can she blame the bartender for HER ***SERVING IT OUT WRONG*****!! She got herself 12%. You want to be rude, that’s the way to handle someone mean, to hurt them as they have hurt you in the pocketbook. If she would have said she was sorry, I may not have even bothered to take off for that or maybe 1% worth from 20%, but that’s it if she would have been NICE about it.

“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.”

90% of the time it's the SERVER'S FAULT:

1. They can put in the order wrong into the computer or if it's a written ticket they submit, they could have written something down wrong or hard to read.

2. They could have forgotten to put in the order in the first place.

Continued next post:

Springs1 said...

3. Most mistakes with food are visible:

A. Condiments of any kind regardless of who brings out the food can be brought out by the server ahead of time.

B. If someone orders extra crispy bacon with their pancakes, then the bacon looks limp, not stiff, and you can even see some white fat on it, guess what? MY SERVER COULD HAVE SEEN THAT TOO AND TOLD THE COOKS IT WASN'T CORRECT, TO RECOOK IT INSTEAD OF BRINGING IT TO ME WRONG IN THE FIRST PLACE!

C. If I asked for bbq sauce on the side of my ribs and none on my ribs, if when you take the plate from the kitchen, my ribs have bbq sauce on them guess what? It's YOUR FAULT you BROUGHT me the ribs with bbq sauce on them. That's a DUH mistake.

D. I have had this happen twice that I ordered 2 sides of bbq sauce with baby back ribs, then the servers brought out ribs without any bbq sauce. They didn't listen. I NEVER SAID I didn't want bbq sauce on the ribs and that I wanted it "on the side", I said I wanted "2 SIDES" of bbq sauce. If you think about it, that means I want a LOT of bbq sauce. If I said I wanted it on the side, then that's different, but I didn't. I also didn't say I wanted no bbq sauce on the ribs either. Ever since those 2 times, I end up telling my server I want bbq sauce on the ribs as well as 2 sides of bbq sauce, although, I shouldn't have to tell them what's already on the menu already. It comes with bbq sauce, so I shouldn't have to truly say that. It's pathetic that they ASSUMED I wanted my ribs delivered completely dry. One waitress at Bennigan's doubted herself before she handed me my plate when it was in her hand and asked if I wanted bbq sauce on the ribs. I was thinking, it would have been nice if she was confused to have asked me when she was getting ready to put in the order. What an IDIOT!!

E. Any wrong side dishes or entrees are the fault of the server if they bring out the food even if they put in the order right. You can tell the difference between a baked potato and mac n' cheese, yet, a waiter at Logan's Roadhouse was so stupid as to bring me mac n' cheese when I ordered a baked potato. I noticed it within 5 seconds of the food hitting my table. Like DUH a baked potato looks completely different from mac n' cheese.

F. Any MISSING side dishes, appetizers, condiments, or entrees ARE the server's fault if they bring out the food as well. Have had that happen a few times or so. Our servers aren't blind, so they can tell if something is missing or not.

G. I have seen a red steak delivered to someone before at Outback which means let's say the customer ordered their steak well done, that the server could have noticed the color difference.

H. If something looks burnt such as a piece of bread with the food and the person didn't order it burnt, my server is at fault for serving me that.

I. If my server forgets an item that an entree or appetizer comes with, that's their fault if they brought me my food without the item such as a side dish or ranch.

Continued next post:

Springs1 said...

F. I have ordered at Outback my fries "lightly cooked" "Not overdone and yellow not brown." I have had their fries before cooked the way I like them before many of times before this time I am talking about. This stupid waitress decided to blame the kitchen staff for REALLY DARK BROWN FRIES as if she was blind or something and my husband even told me he could see that they were really dark. My husband may not agree with me on every subject of course, but with that, you could EASILY tell just by LOOKING that those fries were overdone and very dark. She said she put in the order correctly. I am thinking, SO? I wish I could have said "Are you blind?" That was HER FAULT she DECIDED TO SERVE ME THOSE FRIES THAT WEREN'T CORRECT. I noticed the mistake within 3 seconds of my food being placed in front of me.

You can tell in this picture above the bacon is very crispy just by simply LOOKING at it.

You can tell in this picture, the bacon is NOT CRISPY, just by simple LOOKING at the bacon.

While the server didn't "COOK" the bacon, it's obvious to the EYES that one batch of bacon is crispy and the other isn't to decide to BRING the food to the customer wrong or not. It's my server's fault if they decide to bring me the bacon that's like in picture 2 if I ordered it crispy that she or he didn't tell the cooks it was wrong and get them to cook the bacon more instead of SERVING it wrong. WHY bring it out only for the food to be sent back?

My server's job isn't just to bring out what the kitchen staff gives them, it's also getting the order OBVIOUSLY correct to the table as much as possible in order to get that good tip.

Same thing with dark brown fries vs. lightly colored fries, that you can tell just by LOOKING at fries if they are really overdone or not.

You also can notice if someone has wing sauce "On the side" vs. "On the wings" themselves. This isn't rocket science.

Most of the things that are wrong with the food can be caught by the server if they bring out the food, even if they didn't cook it. If it's another server, they can catch obvious errors on the ticket and menu(such as menu states the item comes with bbq sauce and the ticket doesn't say "no bbq sauce") if the ticket was correctly put in by the original server that took the order. Condiments(in bottles or on the side in containers) can always be offered to be brought out ahead of time REGARDLESS of WHO brings out the food to the table.

So most of the time when the food has something wrong with it, chances are, your server or another server could have caught the mistake before it got to you in most instances. I NEVER said ALL, but in most cases, it can be caught BEFORE bringing out the food(unless another server brings out the food with the ticket wrong), because then the original server that took the order is at fault for putting the order in incorrectly into the computer.

There are few rare cases where the food being wrong is the kitchen staff's fault such as raw food(such as raw chicken), slightly undercooked or overcooked food that you'd have to CUT into to know if it was under or overcooked, or anything the server cannot see with their eyes unless they were to TOUCH the food. Things such as a pickle under a bun the server can't notice unless they lift the bun, so unless they put the order in wrong, they wouldn't be at fault, but in general most food mistakes can be caught BEFORE bringing the food to the table.

What I am saying is, MOST mistakes ARE PREVENTABLE by the SERVER if they bring your order to you that they can NOTICE things wrong by comparing those written orders to the plates of food.

Continued next post:

Springs1 said...

Once a waiter at Chili's said "The kitchen forgot" when I had ordered 2 sides of mayo and 1 side of mustard. The thing is, my waiter brought out the food, so NO, HE HE HE HE HE FORGOT, the kitchen staff didn't step out the kitchen to bring me my food and forget obvious missing containers from my plate that aren't covered up by anything. MY WAITER DID THOUGH!! I HATE this type of attitude. YOU have that attitude it seems.

You walk in one room in your house with a plate of food, but forget the ranch. Even if your mom or significant other plated your food, which you even told her you wanted a side of ranch for your fries, but you bring it to another room. HOW IS THAT THEIR FAULT? It's YOUR FAULT YOU LEFT THE ROOM WITHOUT THE RANCH AND DIDN'T NOTICE IT SINCE IT'S SOMETHING OBVIOUS YOU DON'T HAVE TO *TOUCH* TO NOTICE THE MISTAKE!!

Even if he didn't bring out the food, that waiter could have prevented that type of thing from being forgotten since it needs no cooking to bring it out ahead of time. It is always the person bringing out the food that is at fault for any type of mistake that you don't have to TOUCH the food to notice the mistake, unless of course, the ticket was put in wrong by the original server that took the order with another server bringing out the food. Of course unless, the kitchen goofs up, making it correctly even if the ticket is wrong, but that's highly unlikely scenario.

I cannot believe you honestly think that the server is not at fault for most food mistakes. WE LIVED THROUGH THE "DUH" MISTAKES, SO WE CAN SEE WITH OUR EYES WHO WAS AT FAULT!!

We had a waiter once admitted he grabbed the wrong entrée from the kitchen. It was just my husband and I. This waiter not only admitted he didn't compare the WRITTEN ORDER with the entrées he was bringing out, but also we saw he had other entrées for another table that he didn't ONCE get his pad of paper out to see WHICH ENTRÉE WENT WITH WHICH TABLE!! So 2 times he could have caught his mistake, but didn't *****TRY HIS BEST AS HE SHOULD HAVE, because that's HIS JOB**!!

He admitted that he grabbed the wrong entrée from the kitchen. He brought my husband fried shrimp w/fries when he ordered crawfish au gratin w/baked potato. Those items look NOTHING A LIKE, but yet THAT WAITER WAS TOO LAZY AND UNCARING TO VERIFY WTF HE WAS BRINGING US!! We still left him 17% BTW, just to let you know since he profusely apologized TWICE and FIXED THE SITUATION IMMEDIATELY just about. We honestly shouldn’t have though, because that really didn't make him LEARN anything. If I had to do it all over again, I would have tipped 13%. It's because since that happened(a number of years ago, maybe like 4), we have had some terrible experiences. We have had good ones too of course, but the servers need to LEARN that they can't just hand you ANYTHING like McDonald's cashiers do. They are there to EARN a tip, NOT to just hand you anything.

Continued next post:

Springs1 said...

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

Then don’t expect 20% or more, because that’s what a flawless service is or if you do some minor errors, you apologize for them and fix them immediately.

“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.”

While we do most of the time, HOW DARE YOU TELL PEOPLE WHAT TO ORDER!! WHO THE HELL ARE YOU TO TELL PEOPLE HOW TO RUN THEIR LIVES IN A RESTAURANT? Everyone can order what they please. If they would rather order less and have the money to tip you properly for good service then wouldn’t you rather them save money to tip you with than to give you something like $5 on a $50 check? If they want to not order a soft drink and drink water, it might be because they like water. My mother-in-law drinks water all the time. It’s a health thing and she is very weight conscious. She goes to weight watchers, not because she is fat, but because she wants to maintain her weight. Some people don’t want an appetizer. I don’t want an appetizer all the time and I bet you don’t either, do you?

WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE TELLING PEOPLE WHAT TO ORDER? We don’t care about your boss, we care about our food and what WE want for OUR MONEY, NOT about you. THE WORLD DOESN’T REVOLVE AROUND YOU!!! WHAT A SELFISH PERSON YOU ARE!!!

"your table was not cleaned off properly, this was NOT the fault of your he/she should not be penalized by you.”"

Table not being cleaned off, ARE YOU KIDDING ME, ARE YOU THAT LAZY? FOR REAL? GET A TOWEL AND START WIPING!!! YOU ARE VERY LAZY TO LAY BLAME ON SOMEONE ELSE FOR SOMETHING 100% IN YOUR CONTROL!!! WHAT A LAZY WAITRESS YOU ARE!!! I have never heard of such BS in my life!! Just because you aren’t the busser doesn’t mean you can’t WIPE OFF A TABLE!!! YOU ARE VERY LAZY!! I have servers getting me utensils all the time even if it’s not THEIR INITIAL JOB, it BECOMES THEIR JOB. Sometimes you have to work as a TEAM instead of a lazy ass person refusing to see other things as your job.

Springs1 said...

I made a typo on my first post, the waitress brought the margarita without salt on the rim, but I stated it had salt. Sorry.

Springs1 said...

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

Don't bring me the completely wrong food then. Don't bring me the wrong check or the wrong drink(if you took the order of course).

In other words, don't act like an idiot.

When servers hand you the completely wrong thing, they do look like a moron with only a party of 2. If I was in a large party(such as 10 or more), I can see making a mistake like that, but not in only a party of 2, no way!! Especially if it's not busy.

Don't make me tell you something about the menu you don't know. You work there, you should know things better than me since I am not there hours, days, weeks, months, and possibly even years.

I have had servers that didn't know menus and yes, I feel they were lazy and stupid for not trying their best since their MONEY depends on not making errors.

You know your money is on the line, you should try your best, not your least.

AnnMarie said...

Wow, someone had fun here.... I however enjoyed the post. Thanks for the tips...

Jamie said...

Wow! Those look like some intense comments, too bad nobody is going to read them because really, most of us don't even have time to read the blogs of our friends, let alone nasty comments left on them.
Your post did make me feel bad about the handful of change we once left our server at sizzler once though. I didn't know you were working as a waitress, when you talk about work on FB I assumed you were in the medical field again. I've never been to Mimi's cafe but I think I have a free kids meal coupon so maybe we will come check it out. And don't worry, I will tip on the amount of the check BEFORE the price of the kids meal comes off! :)

Dev said...

Who is Springs1? They obviously have too much time on their hands.

Nicole said...

Springs1-didn't have time to read your many posts, but hmmmm, there is some RAGE goin' on!
Dena-still wondering why you decided to waitress in the 1st place? Just a fun thing to do? (or so you thought)

Gandalf said...

Springs1, I wish you a job serving. I was suprised at the way that I have been treated as a server, and realized that I didn't know previously some of the things that I know now. I used to be kind of a pain to servers, and so I was trying to let people know how their actions affect people.

You are arguing something you don't understand, and you seem to have entitlement issues. I believe that people are either "part of the problem" or "part of the solution", and you seem to lean more to one of those sides than the other, my friend. Does it make you feel big and cool to be mean to people, and show them your supeority complex? I have the feeling that everyone who read your comments is more embarassed for you than enlightened.

Gandalf said...

(Nicole, we are saving some extra cash for our upcomming large expense.....remember, the one that makes me an INCREDIBLY "selfish" person, as Springs1 said? Obviously, they have me figured out).

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