What’s Your Order? : Shake, Shake, Shake…


What’s You Order is where The Waitress Confessions leaves telling the tales of the service industry up to you!

If you’d like to be part of this segment and share your story,  just write to us!


Dear Waitress…

Okay, so I’ve been hostessing for three years now to make money for college. I’ll have a few more expenses coming this fall, so when offered a second job at a different restaurant as a server, I took it.

Now I’m not new to serving. My mother owned and operated a restaurant for 40 years before she retired. So obviously being around the industry my whole life, I know the difference between good service and bad service. I just needed to learn the menu and any required phrases when I took this job.

So I’m serving one night, and this couple comes in. First off, the floor changed and I was not told this. More so, the floor chart was shoved to the side and not displayed where I could actually see it. So they sat there for a bit before I got to them. I apologized and got their shakes and burgers out asap. I came back multiple times to make sure everything was okay. “Oh yes, everything is good, thank you.” was what I was told. It was when they ordered a shake to-go that things went bad. They waited for-ever for that shake because the shake person was behind. I did everything I could besides going back there and and forcing him to make it. That’s when they asked the manager to come over, and they told him that both the food and the service was horrible. He comped their check, and then after they got their shake, they left – without leaving any tip.

Now okay, I’m not saying I didn’t make any mistakes here. I could have been more attentive to the stations, and I could have asked the manager to make the shake. BUT at the same time, and I’ve seen this countless countless times at my other job too, the couple could have TOLD me their was something wrong with their food BEFORE they ate it all. We are servers, not mind readers. If customers do not tell us there is a problem, then we can not help them. Fortunately my manager was understanding, especially since I’ve been giving great service to all my other customers. However some are not so lucky. Obviously if there’s a complaint on the service then it’s on us.

It just tears me up that full grown adults cannot speak for themselves when they have a problem, and then get upset when said problem isn’t magically fixed. Even if it’s just a small thing, TELL US! Not only will you get a great dining experience, but we will know that you are 100% happy with your meal.

Sincerely,
Angela

 

Advertisements

Waiters’ top 20 ways to not be a horrible restaurant customer

Ralph DailyA coworker of mine showed me this article in our local newspaper and just had to share it with me and the rest of the staff.  Most of us can relate to it, so I seriously encourage you, as a server, to take a look and realize that you are not alone with these feelings! Most of them are completely normal. Some we agree with, some we don’t, but it’s important for us to feel like there are other people out there going through the exact same thing day after day.

There are so many things that customers do, whether intentionally or not, that really irks us as servers.

If you are going out to a restaurant, please check out these Waiters’ top 20 ways to not be a horrible restaurant customer.

The Waitress Confessions signature JPEG

This Week’s Customer Complaint

In your opinion, what is the worst thing a waiter or waitress can do while serving you?

Busy Waiter

“Not be present and attentive.  If the only time I see them is when they take my order, bring my food and take my payment, then they might as well be behind a counter asking if I want small, medium or large. Otherwise, check in – often.”   -Richard (Businessman)

Our Thoughts…

Great service is what should set restaurants apart from fast food chains and take-out restaurants. Checking in is one of the most important steps in service and one that should never be forgotten.  All guests want to feel like they’re special and that you’re genuinely concerned about their dining experience.  A quick “Is everything alright here? Can I get you anything else?” can make a whole difference in the eyes of your customers.

Photo credit: Ralph Daily 2011

This Week’s Customer Confession

In your opinion, what is the worst thing a waiter or waitress can do while serving you?

Busy Waiter“Question what I order.  It’s happened before that I ask for something a little unusual (add this, take this off) and the server will say ‘Are you sure that’s what you want?’ It really annoys me because the answer is ‘Yes. This is what I want, otherwise I wouldn’t order it.’  Please don’t judge my choices.”  – Emily (Store Supervisor)

Our Thoughts…

Judging customers choices of food can be extremely insulting.  Making comments such as “That’s a lot of food, are you sure you want that?” or “Not the best choice of wine, but if that’s what you want…” can be taken very badly, leaving the customer feeling self-conscious and anxious. Instead of asking the customer if they are sure of their order, repeat it back to them and wait for confirmation that the order is correct, especially when it comes to “strange” or “weird” food orders.   Never make your guests doubt their orders based on your personal tastes.

The Waitress Confessions signature JPEG

 

Photo credit: Ralph Daily 2011

 

Reserve Responsibly: The Do’s and Don’ts of Reserving a Table at a Restaurant

resto mtl long
“Etiquette means behaving yourself a little better than is absolutely essential.”
Will Cuppy

You may not realize it, but there are a number of things you should consider while booking a table at a restaurant.  Whether you’re a large party of 30 or more people or a table for two, there certain things to keep in mind that will make reserving at a restaurant easier for you…and for the restaurant as well.

When Making a Reservation Do…

Have all your information ready.
You will be asked the date (which is a given since you should know this ahead of time) and time you’d like to reserve.  They will ask what name the reservation will be under.  Full names are greatly appreciate to avoid any confusion or mix-ups, but Mr. Smith will usually do just fine.  Know the exact number of people in your party so that the restaurant will know whether or not they will be able to accommodate you.  Please be ready to provide your contact information (home phone number or cell phone number) so that the restaurant will be able to call you back to confirm your reservation.  Specify any preferences (i.e. : a table by the window, a booth, near the bar) and mention any specifications (i.e. : serious food allergies, wheelchairs, surprise birthday party) so that the restaurant is aware of your likes and needs.

Call if there are any changes or modifications.
As soon as the restaurant has your reservation, they will keep it exactly as is, never assuming that anything will change.  If you’d like to change the date, time, the number of people, or would like to cancel it all together the best thing to do is to call the restaurant to inform them of the changes.  The same goes for if you’re going to be late and believe you won’t make it there at the exact time of your reservation.  The sooner you call, the easier time the restaurant will have of accommodating you, even if you’re running late.

Keep your reservation time, especially for large parties.
If you’re a large group (let’s say 20 people or more – depending on the size of the restaurant), make sure that you keep your reservation time.  Restaurants have a certain number of staff members at certain times and if you make a reservation during a period where there aren’t normally a lot of customers coming in, they may have fewer staff members than on, let’s say, a Saturday night.  If you reserve at one of those quiet times, the restaurant will either add on more employees or keep them longer so that you will get the service you deserve.  The later you are, or if you don’t show up all together, you’re keeping employees at work longer (whether it be bar staff, waitstaff, or kitchen staff).  If you are going to arrive late, then call the restaurant.  They will really appreciate the heads-up.

When Making a Reservation Don’t…


Make reservations for more people than you really are.
On busy nights, restaurants try to maximize their seating capacity in order to accommodate anyone and everyone.  If you make a reservation for a party of 50 people when you know on some certain level that you’ll only be 30 people, it can create a lot of problems within the restaurant when your group of 30 arrives.  Not only are you taking away other guests chances at reserving a table that night, but the restaurant will be losing out on customers therefore having less sales for that day.  A restaurant is a business after all and although they are happy to have large parties, it’s a shame to lose out on other potential reservations because they don’t have the exact number of people for your reservation.  A difference of 2 or 3 people won’t make a big difference, but when it starts to get to 5 to 10 to 20 people, it makes a huge difference to the restaurant.  Also, for your benefit, having the exact number of people will be easier for the restaurant to organize your table/tables.  You’ll be more comfortable if you do.  If you are unsure of the number of people because you are reserving in advance, call the restaurant to give them daily/weekly updates on the number of people and inform them the day before of your exact head count.

Be wishy-washy about the time.
Be direct when choosing a time for your reservation.  Giving a time like “Around 7:00-7:30” or “At 6:05” is too vague for the restaurant.  Most places only take reservations on the hour or half hour (i.e. : five o’clock, six-thirty, etc) and some will take on the quarter hour.  Be prepared to pick an exact time.

Blame the Hostess for the restaurant’s reservation policies.
Some restaurants have restrictions and limitations for reservations.  They may warn you that you only have the table for an hour and a half or two hours because of other reservations or that there is no place at the time or day you are requesting.  As a customer, I understand that this isn’t always ideal, but it’s not the Hostess’ fault.  Getting angry at them will not help your situation.  Politely ask if there are any possible solutions and if there are none, you need to be calm and accept the situation as is.  Reserving in advance will certainly give you the upper hand, but reserving an hour before you’d like to dine out on a Saturday night will never guarantee you a table at a busy restaurant. It’s never the Hostess’ fault, but if you feel like they are not treating you fairly, calmly ask to speak with a manager to be 100% sure that what the Hostess is telling you is accurate.

Threaten the restaurant.
I’ve seen it happen many times where a guest will threaten to never return if we can’t accommodate them.  Words like “I’m coming to spend $200! What do you mean you don’t have place for me at 6 o’clock on Saturday night?” and “That table is already reserved? If you don’t move that reservation to another table, we’re never coming back!” are not appropriate when trying to make a reservation.  This tends to happen when people reserve last minute and are surprised that the restaurant is completely booked for the night.  There is no way a restaurant will ever call another reservation to tell them we can no longer keep their reservation so that the restaurant can take your reservation instead. Threatening the restaurant is in bad form and expecting them to bend over backwards for you when it’s impossible to do so is unrealistic.  Remember, you’re not the only guests hoping to dine there.

Hang up before giving all your information and expect to have a reservation.
Plenty of times, people are in a rush to make reservations.  It may be on their way home from work, or on their short lunch breaks, but it’s important to have enough time to complete the reservation.  Sometimes when guests call, they ask if there is place on a certain day at a certain time, they’ll give their name and then hang up.  This leaves the restaurant stumped.  What do they do? They don’t have the number of people or phone number and can’t possibly make a proper reservation.  If you want to be 100% sure that you’ve made a reservation, wait until the Hostess is finished asking all the necessary questions before hanging up.  If you call and say “I want to make a reservation for 2 people for tonight at 7 o’clock” and the Hostess says “Yes, we have a table available”, don’t just say “Ok, thanks!” and hang up.  They will assume that you are just checking the availabilities and will be calling later to take the actual reservation.  If you show up that night at 7 o’clock that night, the Hostess will not have your reservation, so make sure to give all your information.

Reserve Responsibly…

Making sure that you follow the do’s and don’ts of making reservations at a restaurant will help you to have the experience you deserve and keep you on good terms with the restaurant.  Proper etiquette, especially as a regular customer, can only benefit you at the end.  As much as you expect the restaurant to keep your reservation and follow your restrictions and preferences, the restaurant expects you to hold up your end of the deal and to respect their policies.

So, reserve responsibly and enjoy the experience!

The Waitress Confessions signature JPEG

Tip of the Day: Don’t Judge People’s Food Choices

restaurants

When asked ‘What is the worst thing a waiter or waitress can do while serving you?’, this is the response that was given:

“Question what I order.  It’s happened before that I ask for something a little unusual (add this, take this off) and the server will say ‘Are you sure that’s what you want?’ It really annoys me because the answer is ‘Yes. This is what I want, otherwise I wouldn’t order it.’  Please don’t judge my choices.”  – Emily (Store Supervisor)

Judging customer’s food choices can be extremely insulting.  Making comments such as “That’s a lot of food, are you sure you want that?” or “Not the best choice of wine, but if that’s what you want…” can be taken very badly, leaving the customer feel self-conscious and anxious. Instead of asking the customer if they are sure of their order, repeat it back to them and wait for confirmation that the order is correct, especially when it comes to “strange” or “weird” food orders.   Never make your guests doubt their orders based on your personal tastes.

The Waitress Confessions signature JPEG

This Week’s Server Poll: When a Customer Snaps Their Fingers At You…

Share you stories with us!

We’d love to hear about what has happened to you when customers have snapped their fingers at you.  What did you do? How was the rest of the service?  We’re the customers really mean or we’re they just not used to dining out?  Tell us all about it in a comment below or feel free to share you story and be featured on our blog!

The Waitress Confessions signature JPEG

Today’s Twitter Confession: Dimeond Ring

Want us to feature your Tweet?

Follow us on twitter and send us a tweet @WConfessions! Or, simply use the hashtag  #waitressconfessions #waiterconfessions, or #WConfessions for the chance to be featured on our blog.

WConfession Tag2

See you soon!

Share this post :

Customer Confession

One of my sisters told me that not too long ago they were at a restaurant chain and there was a very drunk woman with a man at a table near them. The woman sprawled herself out on top of the table then vomited. The police were called and they left. What upset my sister was that the staff just wiped the table off and in their eyes it was good to go again. They haven’t been back there since.

– yourothermotherhere

Dear Customers: Taking Pens is Stealing

One thing that you should really know as a customer is that the pens that waiters leave you to sign credit card slips or lend you to write something down belong to the waiter.  They buy them with their own money.  Just because they leave them on the table for you, unfortunately does not mean that they are yours to take if you want.

I need to mention this because a lot of times I leave work with 4 pens missing and end up having to buy a whole new pack at the end of the week.  I have to admit, it’s a bit annoying because those pens belong to me and people feel that they can just keep them for themselves.  The restaurant does not provide the pens for their staff, so the money comes out of our pockets.

So please, on behalf of all wait staff…please do not steal our pens. And if you absolutely need a pen to keep, just ask.

Thank you!

The Waitress Confessions

Dining Etiquette: How to Get Your Waiter’s Attention

There’s nothing more frustrating during your night out to eat than a waiter who is never around when you need them most.  Either you get the walk-by with no eye contact, the waiter who pretends they don’t see you, or a server that tells you “Sorry, I’m not your waiter.”

First of all, those sorts of things should never happen in a professional restaurant.  If you find yourself constantly being neglected, it may be time to find another restaurant to dine at.  But for all other regular circumstances, there’s are some key things you can do to make it easier to grab your server attention when you need something.

1.  Raising your hand

This is one of the simplest and basic ways to grab your server’s attention.  In order for this to work, however, your server must be on top of their game and circulating within their section, readily available for any sign you may be trying to give them.  But, you have to keep in mind that they are not mind readers and sometimes need a clear sign to know that you actually want something.  Be obvious with your hand raising.  Especially while dining out at a busy, rush filled restaurant.  Otherwise, the waiters may think you’re just tapping your hand on the table or talking with your hands.

2.  Learn your waiter’s name.

I’ve mentioned this before in another post called “Remember to Tip Your Waitress”.  As stated before, it’s actually encouraging for servers to be called by their name instead of something as rude as a finger snap.  Imagine your in a busy, loud restaurant and you need another beer.  You call out “Excuse me, Miss” but the waitress doesn’t catch what you said.  If you raise your hand and say “Excuse me, Ashley “, the chances are much better that they’ll notice you.

3.  Speak with a manager.

Of course, servers should be doing their utmost best to make sure your experience at the restaurant is a pleasant one.  If you’re a regular at a restaurant and sense that a server is disrespecting you or purposely ignoring you : ask to speak with the manager.  They may be able to switch your waiter or waitress and may even speak to the server who was ignoring you in the first place. If you find that you enjoy being served by a specific waiter, ask if it’s alright that you be put in their section each time you come.  Management loves to get feedback on the good…and the bad and will most probably do their best to try to give you the service you need as a guest.

4.  Treat your server with respect.

I can guarantee you right now that if you disrespect your server by snapping your fingers, yelling, making fun of them, or calling them names you will not receive the service you were expecting. I’ve seen waiters purposely ignore customers that were rudely snapping their fingers, so the solution is quite simple.  Don’t do it.  Period. If you are constantly getting bad service everywhere you go, take a step back and take a look at you table manners..  Are you making inappropriate jokes?  Do you find yourself swearing at them?  It may be time for a change in your dining etiquette.

There are always exceptions…

Servers are mostly responsible for being available for their guests.  The things, they aren’t machines.  They are responsible sometimes for quite a few tables and sometimes if one thing goes wrong, everything else gets dragged down with it.  If you see you server trying to take care of a problem with another guest, be patient and remember that they are doing their best in sometimes a crummy situation.  If you can help them out some of the time by making it obvious when you need something, it will make their jobs a lot easier and in return you’ll get the service you expect.

The Waitress Confessions

Forgot to Send a Table’s Order? My Bad…

A lot of servers go through this at one point in their career as a server.  It’s dreaded occurrence that will happen at one time or another, whether working as a server for your first time or if you’ve been doing it for years.

You will forget to send an order.

It mostly happens either when the restaurant is booming or when it’s disastrously quiet.  Is it your fault as a server when this happens?  Why yes, yes it is.  But we can come to realize is that we are people,plain and simple.  And what do people do?  Well they make mistakes.  It happens.  The best we can do is try to learn from our mistakes so as not to repeat them (hopefully) in the future.

I’ve seen a few different approaches as to solving this problem when it happens. There are a few that I find to be sneaky and deceiving and another approach I find is the best way to resolve the problem of forgetting to send an order to the kitchen.

So, imagine you’ve just realized that you never sent out a table’s order.  You scramble around to ring it up as fast as you can.  After the order is sent and you know it will be another while before the food comes out, so you need to decide what to do next.

Here are some different possible scenarios with different types of servers and let’s see which one seems like the right way to handle the situation.

1.  Skittish Steve – Avoiding the table until their food is served.

Skittish Steve is a waiter that will notice the customers waiting impatiently, looking around for their food and even stopping other waiters for information about when their meals will be arriving.  Skittish Steve knows that avoiding the table means not having to answer to the “We’ve been waiting half an hour for our food” spiel.  Of course, this type of waiter doesn’t want to confront that uncomfortable conversation, so even though they know it’s understandable that the customers will be furious, they’ll leave the plates on the table giving some half-assed apology of “Sorry, it was longer than usual tonight ” or even worse of pretending like nothing is wrong.  The customers now have their food and can hardly believe how long it took.  They’ll leave, reminding themselves never to return because the service was terrible and the kitchen was too slow at getting the food out.

2. Blamer Barbie – Blaming it on the kitchen.

Blamer Barbie, once realizing that she forgot to send the order, will proceed to approach the table in an apologetic fashion, informing the guests that the kitchen has somehow”lost” their order, so it will be another little while before their meals are served.  The customers will be slightly irritated at the kitchen staff for their lack of professionalism, but but Blamer Barbie knows that they guys in the kitchen will be none the wiser that she’s placed the blame on them and since they have no interaction with the guest and the diners won’t get up to voice their disapproval, no one will know that she forgot to order their food.  This leaves Blamer Barbie off the hook as long as no one finds out.  The customers finally eat, pay the bill with a decent tip (since they figure it wasn’t Blamer Barbie’s fault that the food arrived later than usual) and leave, perhaps only coming back to the restaurant when they know they’ll have a lot of time to kill.

3. Humble Helen – Explaining the situation to the customers

waitressOnce they realize that they forgot to place the order, Humble Helen will approach the table and excuse themselves for interrupting.  She’ll then explain that she accidentally forgot to order their food and promise that they are doing their best to rectify the error.  She’ll go to the Expeditor and tell them that she fucked up (and talk to the kitchen if need be) in order to try and get the order out as soon as possible.  Humble Helen will then offer to bring them some more bread while they wait and ask if they need a refill of their drinks in the meantime.  Sure, the guests will be a little put off, but they’ll appreciate the fact that their waitress is being honest.  Once they receive their food, they’ll realize that Humble Helen did the best she could in a crappy situation and they’ll appreciate the fact that everything was prepared as fast as possible to compensate for the error. Humble Helen will ask the manager what they can do for the guests (whether it be free coffee and/or dessert) and be overly nice to show the customers that it was not for lack of caring that they forgot to order their food.  The customers will leave feeling like they were not forgotten about and will return because of the honesty of the staff of the restaurant.

There are, of course, exceptions…

Waiters and waitresses will of course react differently in certain situations.  Mistakes will happen where the kitchen somehow loses orders, or technology fails and orders are erased.  That happens, in case you didn’t know.  But you can tell a lot by how servers approach you!  If they seem sincere and they really care about what’s happening, chances are that they are telling the truth.  If ever you’re unsure about what’s going on: ask to speak with a manager.  They should be able to tell you what’s what.

As a server…

You should do your best to treat your customers with the respect they deserve.  The best way to approach this situation is to tell your customers the truth. The honest truth.  If you’re a decent human being and an honest server you’ll feel much better to do the right thing.  Try it out and see what happens.

Think about it…

The Waitress Confessions