Thursday, August 9, 2012

What Every Waitress Wants You To Know

As you may or may not know, I have had to find some sort of employment that is part-time, is flexible enough to bend around my school schedule and random moments of childhood puke-fests that force me to stay home and kill bacteria with Lysol, and allows me to make some money. And when I say money, I mean at least more than panhandling the corner of I-94 and 32nd. If I owned a puppy, I might make more on the street corner.
Not me...but could be...

Anywho...there are some things, that as a waitress, I believe you should know before you decide to eat out. (Just because it turns out, that what I thought should be common public knowledge, obviously is not.)

1) We may be considered a "casual" restaurant, but that does NOT mean you show up in your pajama bottoms and flip-flops. For Pete's sake, if you're going to take the time to drive somewhere and actually pay to EAT...take a moment and at least slip some real pants on. Hell, we don't even serve breakfast.

2) If you're 23 years old, you have no right to be offended when I card you when you order an alcoholic drink. And if you're over 30 and I card you? You should be grateful. If I don't card you, serve you alcohol, I get fined...the restaurant gets fined...and they won't let me work for 2 weeks to make money to pay the fine. So naturally, I'm going to err on the side of caution.

3) If you're coming to sit in the bar to catch a buzz...leave the kids at home. We are not your babysitter. Just because we have a game room does not mean you can let your kids run wild, annoy the crap outta everyone else that's there for a quiet dinner, and potentially have your child suffer 2nd degree burns when the 20 lb. tray I'm holding on my shoulder with one hand (and tray jack in the other) comes crashing down because he's running in the aisles between tables. I have my own children, and it's parents like you who are forcing some restaurants to not allow children...and I can't say I blame them.

4) And since we're on the subjects of kids...(and remember...I have two...and this is what happens when WE go hell). There are certain behaviors that need to be corrected NOT continue to let your kid scream. Do your best to calm them. I will help you if I can with crackers, or getting their food out first. (Helpful hint: if I suggest these options to you, I'm not only doing my job, I'm telling you your kid is TOO LOUD.) And if they are inconsolable, take them outside...or home. If you're sitting in a booth, it is inconsiderate for them to drop spaghetti onto the head of the person sitting behind you. Also, I will clean up the table and floors and high chair when you leave, but this doesn't mean that you can let your kid throw his crayons, pizza crusts, napkins and silverware on the floor. If you don't allow it at home, why is it okay in public???

5) It is UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES okay for you to change your baby's diaper on the table. (Seriously?!! I even have to tell you this?) We have changing tables in the bathroom. And after studying parasitology, I now have to bleach that table. Not to mention I will personally avoid ever touching it again, let alone eat off of it.

6) I will do everything within my power to cater to whatever food allergy you may have. But may I suggest that if you're allergic to choose somewhere other than an Italian restaurant? Just a thought.

7) There are 30 in your party? Why in the hell do you think we will be able to seat you immediately? This is especially for those parents who travel with their children to various sporting events and cater to their every whim. First of all, call first and give us a heads up. If you say there are 15 of you in your party, I am NOT going to assume that 40+ will show up. We only have so many servers on that night even IF the banquet room is open. It doesn't help that all the parents sit at one table, you have one son waaayyy over there (jersey #14) and your daughter is somewhere in the middle of that table and your husband is at the end of the table with the guys. If this is you, you now have the following rights automatically taken from you....NO RIGHT to complain if the bill isn't correct, NO RIGHT to complain if we can't fit you all in the same area, and NO RIGHT to complain if your food take more than 20 minutes. (By the takes every ounce of my strength not to slap your child silly when he says, "How much longer for my food?!" while not even bothering to look up from his iPAD). How long would it take you to prepare appetizers and entrees for 40+ people on a moment's notice? Not to mention the other 100 people in the restaurant...and you're allergic to garlic.)

8) When I ask the table, "Is there anything else I can get you?" I am speaking to everyone at the table. Each individual does not need a special trip.

9) If there's something wrong with your food, I will do everything within my power to remedy the's just harder for me to believe you are of pure intention when all that's left is two bites and you ask for a box. Also, it would have been nice for you to have mentioned that when I asked you how everything was tasting 3 minutes after you received your food.

10) The restaurant I work at has 110 beers on tap...forgive me if I haven't tasted them all (but believe me, I'm working on it!)

11) When I was just old enough to drink, we had maybe 2 kinds of shots...whiskey and Everclear..that's it. So if YOU don't know what's in a "Wonder Woman" or a "German Chocolate Cake" don't expect me to.
What the heck are these?!

12) I work for $4.86 and hour. No lie. The kitchen is 90ยบ F, I'm on my feet for anywhere from 5 to 13 hours at a stretch and I'm pretty sure I could compete in the Olympics as a speed walker...carrying an extra 30 lbs on my shoulders. I don't get to sit down and I don't get to eat. I depend on tips to feed my children. If you can't afford to tip me when I give you the best possible can't afford to eat out.

13) If you'd like to linger and talk after your meal...please feel free to do so. But take in to consideration that I only have so many tables in my section and if you and your friends are taking up two of them to drink water for 3 hours...remember that when you tip me.

14) If you're looking for a's going to take about 15 minutes, because he's probably 15 years younger than me and is hanging out in the bar talking to the "cute chicks."

15) Here's something totally truthful, and it's not really common knowledge...if you pay with a card...try to tip in cash. Here's why...the restaurant is charged a fee every time we swipe a card on our machines. That fee comes out of my tip at the end of the night. So if you mean to tip me $5, it's actually less after I run your card.

16) It should be required that before you are actually considered an adult, you have to wait tables for one week. Because that's all it would take.

I actually love being a waitress. I enjoy meeting new people, and I come from a generation who knows what customer service is. I generally make good money (and good tips) but I think it's because I enjoy what I do and it shows. Unfortunately, my body is not young any more and waiting tables is a cardio workout and weight lifting all in one. I can actually feel my heartbeat in my feet by the time I get to sit. And if I sit for more than 5 minutes at a time when I get home, I can barely stand back up. But just remember, this is a taxing job, a draining job, and entirely dependent on you for what kind of money I make. And believe me, I totally get the people who are pissed off when they don't get good service. I work with a lot of "kids" who come to work hung-over, are in a hurry to get you out of there so they can go party, or who may not show up at all. In a nutshell, if you have a good experience, let your waitress/waiter know...and even though the verbal compliment is always welcome, tip them too. You never know what their story is.

*All of these stories are true and witnessed by other waitstaff...just so you know.

Had a good or bad experience? I'd like to know...