Waiters even the score
June 21st, 2010
12:00 PM ET
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Last week, Eatocracy shared a compilation of restaurant pet peeves from friends and colleagues. In turn, we asked “What should we add to the menu of complaints?”

Over 1,500 responses later, and there are clearly two sides to every story. For every customer complaint, there wasn’t a waitstaff counterpoint far behind.

So, we decided to turn the tables: diners, you’re about to get served. Turns out industry folks have just as many grievances as customers do.

And in this corner, the waiters:

May I offer you a seat?

“As a server, I'm tall. If I have to repeat everything a dozen times because you're hard of hearing and my boss refuses to turn down the music, I'm going to sit or bend down so you can hear me better.”

“When I was a server, I squatted [next to] tables, not because I wanted to be friends, but because it made it MUCH easier to hear someone’s order and get it correct. You want your order correct, don’t you?"

“Having worked in a restaurant, I know that we were trained to crouch by your table … we get demerits from our managers if we are caught not doing so. It is so as to appear not to be talking down to customers. Trust me, it is as awkward for us as it is for you!”

Thanks for the tip…or lack there of

““If you go into a bar that’s four deep and I even look up to take your order, you better be kind and generous. I have 25 to 35 things that need to be done RIGHT NOW, and if you cop an attitude, waste my time over stupid questions and stiff me...well, I have better things to do.”

“‘Can we transfer our bar tab to our table?’ Um ... bartenders work for tips too, people! If I transfer your tab to your table, the waiter's check gets padded with my sales and I get nothing. Next time, try saying it with a ten or twenty spot and I'll be glad to transfer your tab!"

“Wait on someone in a bad mood and most likely they are going to recall their dining experience as horrible, unjust and not worth tipping.”

Are you still working on that? The reason we ask is because we can’t tell

“It sucks that we have to ask you if you're finished with your plate. It would make our jobs incredibly easier if more people understood basic dining etiquette. If you're finished with your meal, either of three universally accepted signals will be read by your server: push [your plate] to the side, place your napkin over it, or cross your fork and knife over the center of the plate. You'd be surprised how many people don’t know to do this.”

Closing arguments

“You don't like your server, eh? Let me tell you this: for every annoying trait you all have listed for servers, we can think of ten more for why we hate customers.”

“I'm a server and just when I'm reading all these ignorant, pompous complaints, I was thinking how much I hate people in general. Stay home if you get that offended by your server's behavior.”

“Something one server does might annoy one guest, but please the other. Like any other job, each server is different in the way that they provide service to each guest. … In general, servers don’t intentionally do things to annoy their guests.”

“It works both ways, there are things our guests do that drive us up the wall but we understand that its part of the nature of our jobs and we move forward and so should you.”

Geez! We know there’s more where that came from. Do we sense a diner rebuttal coming on? The comment ring is open.

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Filed under: Bite • Restaurants

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