I’ve been thinking about this for some time now. Years really. I’ve worked in restaurants, bars and clubs all over this country, from Massachusetts to Washington, to Montana, Missouri…The list goes on. The one common denominator in all of these places has been that people are selfish and stupid. People come into a place with the delusion that they are the most important person in the joint. The shame of it is, that somewhere, sometime ago some asshole coined the the phrase “the customer is always right” therefore, reaffirming the customer’s delusion about them being the most important person in the restaurant, which only perpetuates assholish behavior.
Dining out is supposed to be fun. Whether you are in a 5 diamond restaurant, Hooters or Denny’s, eating out is supposed to be stress-free and fun. Some of you people don’t seem to understand that, and you make the experience a total nightmare on Elm Street for yourself, your family, and your server. So I have taken it upon myself to come up with a list of rules to follow while you are out and about. Most of them are common sense really, But if you follow these rules, you can avoid moments of embarrassment, rage, shit in your food, and generally looking like an asshat in public. Are you ready kids?! here we go!
- Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE who works in a restaurant is a HUMAN BEING, just like you. They have feelings and they don’t like to be treated like shit. Really if you follow this one rule, you should be fine.
2. The hosts hold the key to your table. I’m serious, Be nice, Be patient…If you act like an entitled asshole, im 98% sure they will make you wait longer. They do their best to keep reservations on time, but sometimes shit happens…usually because someone else is being an asshole.
3. Sit Down! For the love of god sit down, Sit your self down, sit your kids down, sit your grandma down…Just sit the fuck down and stay seated. The sooner you sit down, the sooner we can begin this whole dining experience.
4. Let us greet you. It’s our job. Some places require servers to use a special greeting…it’s annoying, it’s long, and more than likely they are trying to sell you something. But here is the thing. They HAVE to do it, because sometimes, their very job depends on it. So please, Just let them say what they have to say, and get it over with. Don’t shout “SWEET TEA” when they walk up to a table for the greet, it’s just plain rude. Would you like it if i walked into your office and shouted “500 copies!!!” at you and dropped a stack of papers on your desk without even saying hello? I doubt it. Don’t be a jerk.
5. Read the menu, make a choice. Don’t sit there on your phone, don’t spend the whole time talking to your friends, Look at the damn menu and make a choice. It’s not rocket science, it’s just a meal, there will be another meal tomorrow the next day and the next day. Just make a damn choice.
6. Allergies are serious business. If you have a serious Allergy, please let us know. We have hundreds of ingredients in a restaurant, some of them can kill people, despite how bitter we can sometimes be, we really don’t want you to actually die in our section. We want you to have a good experience, we want you to come back and eat again. So please, let us know if you are TRULY allergic to anything.
7. Don’t pretend to be allergic to shit. If you don’t like onions, it’s ok…you don’t have to make a federal case of it. If you don’t want them in your food, just say so, i’m pretty sure our crack team in the kitchen can figure out how to leave the onions off of your nachos. Don’t say you are allergic to them if you aren’t. Allergies are serious, and in the industry we take them seriously, we have to get a Chef, who has to go through his list of ingredients and sometimes go out of his way to make you something special. Don’t waste people’s time if it isn’t a true allergy.
8. Don’t touch me. Don’t yank on my belt, don’t pull on my pant leg, or my serving towels. This is one of those common sense, mutual respect/ personal space kind of things. Don’t touch me and I wont fucking touch you. Agreed?
9. Don’t snap your fingers at me. I am a human being, if you need something, just ask me. Use your words like a big kid. Don’t tap your glass if you are ready for your 5th coke refill, don’t shake things in my face. I am your server, I am not your servant. Don’t be rude.
10. If there is a problem with your food, or your service…SAY SOMETHING! now, that being said. Don’t get crazy with it, you don’t have to exaggerate or get Al Sharpton involved, just let us know what the problem is, and I cannot stress this enough…LET US TRY TO FIX IT! nothing kills restaurants faster than word of mouth. So if it sucks, let us fix it, if we can’t fix it, then I guess we suck…but at least let us try before you go blabbing to all of your friends that we suck.
11. Take control of your children. It does not matter what kind of restaurant you are in. It can be fancy or in a theme park, but keep this in mind. The plates are still hot, the trays still have drinks on them, there are people walking everywhere. We don’t want to burn your children with our hot ass plates, but if you don’t teach them to sit down and act right, they will get burned. My own son was acting like a jackass in a restaurant the other day and I had to make him stand in a corner. He hated every second of it, but you bet your ass he sat still for the rest of the meal. Children learn by example, so if you act like a jerk, chances are , they will act like jerks…
12. If your meal was good, your service was awesome, and you had a good time. Tip Accordingly…. and by accordingly I mean 18-20% of the Bill Total…BEFORE any kind of discount. Whether you like it or not, The gratuity system in this country is what it is. Servers make their money on tips. Most of us never even see a paycheck. So be realistic, and tip honestly. If something sucked..please refer to rule # 10.
13. Don’t leave your trash on the table. Napkins and empty sugar packets and straw wrappers are one thing. But baby wipes and diapers are a completely different issue. Do you have lunch at a friend’s house and leave dirty diapers on her table for her to clean up? I doubt it…don’t do that shit to your server. It is rude, and beyond nasty… And while we are on the subject…if your child makes a huge mess..please, pick up after them some mess is expected, but when the whole table looks like a bomb made of Wet Ones, Oyster crackers, Cheerios , and Crayons went off… pick that shit up.
14. Whether you are on your way out of or into the place…watch where the hell you are going! Pay attention..people are walking, plates are hot, glasses are full and we are working here. If you see someone carrying a huge stack of plates,maybe you should step out of the way and let them go by. If you want to stop and check out the atmosphere of the restaurant…that’s fine, Just move the hell out of the way so we can work around you.
15. Don’t touch The plates until we set them down!!!
In the words of my mother ” I Like The Food So Hot, It Shall Burn The Roof Of MY Mouth ” What I have learned in the past 15 years in this industry is that ..if the seating process took too long (strike 1) and the server was not as friendly as we had hoped (strike 2) ..that if the food is not as HOT AS FLAMING LAVA (strike 3), you will get a guest who wants to see your manager, and if you work in the Jungle, that can mean you are fired!!.
Your restaurant can accomplish the first two steps with ease… and even if the first two steps are slightly overlooked..once the food comes out cold…you might as well design your own Tombstone.
The Hot Food movement, is not something new… especially down here in touristville. As Servers, sometimes this is our last line of Defense… but it can also work to our detriment. After a long day in the park, after a long flight, after you didn’t get enough sugar in your sweet tea, If your server sucks ass, you might still excuse it, but, once the food is cold….honey, all bets are off! THAT is understandable… and please refer to rule #10.
I cannot speak for other places, but we will replace whatever is making you uncomfortable,
For the most part we will comp most things and bring things. but please know, that because of your complaints, Things will be hot as lava. Don’t try to grab the plates…you will get burned!!….because so many people including my own mother want food hot as balls, the plates are hot, you will burn the fuck out of yourself, so don’t grab the damn plates when we come to your table, capisce? Let us set them down in front of you so your don’t burn the fuck out of yourself!
Some of these rules seem really stupid. It’s because they are. But like I said before, People are stupid and self centered. As servers and bartenders Our jobs generally tend to suck, and many of us have become bitter. A lot of the bitterness is due to the fact that people treat us like idiots. Just because we serve does not mean that we are stupid. Some of us are in school, Some of us have degrees, Believe it or not, some of us actually like serving. Whatever the reason is that we are in this restaurant serving you..for the most part, we want you to have a good experience so you come back..repeat guests = more income. Let’s be real here…isn’t money the reason we work? to provide for ourselves and our families. So if you think about it that way…maybe thats easier to understand. When you mess with a server at their job…you are messing with their livelihood. If the steak was tough, but you don’t say anything and you tip less…you are taking food out of their mouths, and the mouths of their families. Whether you tip or not, that server or bartender has to pay taxes on the sales… And if you still don’t give a fuck. Maybe you are just an asshole and should stay home.