Working in the service industry changes you.
After you have ran back and forth from the kitchen 900 times in one night for one table, gritted your teeth and smiled at rude customers, scraped plates full of ketchup from bored kids, and almost taken to heart the note on the receipt as the “tip” saying, “Lose some weight and maybe your job won’t be so hard,” you tend to look at things differently. You view the jobs that require people to perform tasks for you in a whole new light. You become a lot more conscious.
Waitresses often depend on the money left after your meal to pay their bills. Yes, we are a wait staff. No, we are not your personal butler. There are numerous customers assigned to one waitress at any given time and, while you believe it to be true, you are indeed NOT the VIP. You may feel that your water being filled is more important than the table in the corner getting their check cashed but I assure you, if you whistle or snap at me one more time, you will die of thirst. Waitresses have an innate ability to prioritize and efficiently use our time and space.
As the night is coming to a close and you can clearly see that tables are being cleared and the crowd is winding down, now is not the time to mention that you have a group of 22 coming in for a high school reunion and they are all famished from a long day on the golf course and they are going to want to order some food. No. Just no.
Try this instead:
Step 1: Call in advance. This will give the waitstaff, the bartenders, and the kitchen a heads up. This will not make the staff see red and want to scream.
Step 2: Ask about kitchen closing time. Be considerate of kitchen closing time. Don’t plan to show up 10 minutes before kitchen closing time. Kitchen is already closing.
Step 3: Don’t make light of this terrible situation. Don’t roll your eyes and give your server indignant ‘tude. We’ve probably been on our feet for 6 hours already and our shit-taking meter is about tapped out.
Step 4: Tip well. Like, every-time-I- ask-you-to-do-something-I’ll-give-you-a-buck well.
Step 5: Go home.
Even though there are abominable customers, there are really, really great ones that make up for the others. One of my greatest pleasures is taking care of someone who takes care of me. There is nothing that beats kindness. Developing a relationship with regular customers is a lot of fun and totally rewarding! It makes a job seem less task-oriented and more people-directed. Your dining experience can be full of smiles, laughter and great service when you approach your server like a human instead of a peon.
Empathy is a difficult skill to adhere and it’s nearly impossible to teach. We don’t expect you to understand what it’s like to have this job or to feel bad for us. We like our job. Next time you’re tempted to wave your arms and bellow, “Excuuuuse me!” as your waitress passes by with 4 steaming plates in her arms, try to imagine that she is your daughter, or your sister, or your mom if you are just a budding barbarian. Remembering that your server is a human is always a good place to start.