Nowadays, there are such amazing varieties of restaurants you can eat at. Whether it’s for a business meeting, family get together, or a hot date the choices are endless. Anywhere from French cuisine to Fast Food! There are a lot of factors that make your experience at a certain locale either good…or bad. Music, ambiance, cleanliness, decor, seating, food quality, food portions, etc. The list goes on and on. But all of that means nothing if the service is terrible, right?
I think we can all agree that the most important factor, besides good food, is having a good waiter or waitress, right? No matter how much you love that cozy little breakfast place, you wouldn’t go back if the waiters didn’t even bother to refill you coffee. What a pain! As customers, we do deserve to be treated with respect and served politely.
It’s a problem, however, when people start to treat their waiters like their own personal servant. I’ve seen it many times, a gentleman snapping their fingers angrily at a waitress instead of politely saying “Excuse me, Miss?”, a woman calling out to a waiter while he’s in the middle of taking another guest’s food order, customers ignoring waiters when they ask questions like “Would anyone like some more coffee?”.
A little friendliness from yourself (as a guest in the restaurant) can go a long way.
Here are a few tips on how to treat your waiter with kindness and respect.
TIP # 1
Learn your waiter’s name. It’s encouraging for waiters to hear their name from their guests. It lets them know that you respect them (ex: Thank you, Jessica) and it also makes your dining experience all the better. You’ll know who your waitress is and be able to get his or her attention better when they are walking by your table. If you say “Excuse me, Michael” as they pass, hearing their name will definitely grab their attention!
TIP # 2
Smile. Many experienced servers can tell in the first greeting whether their guests are happy, nervous, angry, frustrated, etc. If you don’t smile at them, they may pick up on some bad vibes coming from the table and limit themselves to basic monotone service, anxious about upsetting you more. Smiling will let them know that you are open to hearing what they have to say (whether it’s about the evening specials or the daily desserts) and in the end your server will feel relaxed and give you an even better service.
TIP # 3
Be understanding. Waiters are first and foremost people and what do people do? They make mistakes. It happens. They order your steak Medium-Well instead of Medium-Rare (they sound pretty close in a crowded, loud dining hall on a Saturday night). They forget your refill of Pepsi. They order a small beer instead of a large. I’m sure it’s happened to you and trust me, it will happen again. The thing to remember is that people make mistakes. Now, I’m not saying that if your server makes 10 mistakes in a night that you should be 100% okay with it, but maybe that waiter just went through a divorce and has other things on their mind, maybe it’s just “one of those days” for them, or maybe their car broke down on their way to work. You never know what could be going on in their lives that could be affecting their work. It’s good to try to give them the benefit of the doubt. The only problem with that is that there actually are waiters out there who really just don’t care. You do have to watch out for that. But if you have a waitress who’s smiling and you can tell is doing her best to satisfy her guests, if she forgets to bring you bread …try to be understanding.
TIP # 4
Be polite. Say “Thank You” and “Please” when addressing your server. They are there to help you, and if you are getting good service then it’s important to let them know you appreciate it.
TIP # 5
Compliment them! If you just dined at a restaurant and had the BEST service you’ve ever had at that restaurant, or even any other restaurant you’ve been to, let them know! Don’t be afraid to tell them. You may notice they suddenly feel shy or even surprised. Many people don’t open up enough to let people know they are doing a good job. Hearing that from guests will give good servers a reason to stay that way.
TIP # 6
Leave a good tip. If you go to the same restaurant every other day, every other week, or every other month and the staff recognizes you, it means that you appreciate the staff, quality, and food the restaurant has to offer. It means that they must be treating you well! Make sure that you let them know that you appreciate their hospitality. When it comes to paying the bill, be sure to calculate your tip correctly. There are many apps for your phone that are designed for calculating tips. You can always ask your server to add on the correct percentage. The average tip should be 15% of the bill and an excellent tip for excellent service should be more if you really want to show your appreciation. Money isn’t everything, but you must remember that your servers are making under minimum wage and rely a lot on their tips as their income.
TIP # 7
Ask for your favorite server. When returning to a restaurant that you love, learn the names of each waiter you’ve had and ask the hostess/host in the front to be seated with your favorite server. If there’s one in particular that you trust to make your dinning experience a pleasant one, ask for them. They will feel ecstatic to know that they remember you. A bonus in asking for the same waiter/waitress every time is that they get to know your likes and dislikes and should know them by heart. If you order a beer to start every time you sit down and you ask for the same server every time, they may already order one for you so that it arrives as you sit at your table. They may give you something on the house. If there’s a problem with your meal, they will try their hardest to right it because you are now a regular customer. There are major advantages to asking for your favorite server.
All these tips can really help you with your dining experiences. Remember to recognize the difference between those servers who just think of serving as another job and those who do it because they love it! You’ll notice a huge difference. Be kind, understanding, and treat them with respect and they should do the same!