Open letter from a server to restaurant guest

Emotional labor is hard to give to rude, pushy customers (Flickr).

Emotional labor is hard to give to rude, pushy customers (Flickr).

By Cassidy Fix/Western Sun news editor

An Open Letter: from server to guest

The absolute best feeling I’ve ever felt in my 20 years of existence is getting off of work. When I see the hosts hunt me down to deliver me my white check out slip, every atom in my body does a backflip. I am a server at a busy restaurant in the city of Orange and let me tell you, it is not an easy job.

In my opinion, I believe it is one of the hardest that you don’t have to go to college for. I would say that it has taught me how to be a polite guest, a good tipper, as well as instill a sense of patience and understanding for workers in the restaurant-food industry.

I know that everyone has preferences. I like a lemon with my water—no big deal. Some enjoy their salmon blackened, despise all vegetables, and have gluten free allergies—I can understand.

My managers are constantly reminding me and my fellow coworkers to make the guests feel as if their requests can always be met, and they should be. But sometimes, a guest asks for their salad’s cucumbers to be sliced and not diced, with wedge-sliced tomatoes, and an Arnold Palmer that has to be 75 percent ice tea, 25 percent lemonade, with light ice. I can’t help but wonder if there is a line between having reasonable preferences and being a demanding customer because people know they can get away with it.

And then there are the ones who wait for 10 minutes for their food, yet wave their hands frantically trying to get the server’s attention only to gripe and complain that they have been waiting for 30. Complete exaggeration. And even though I have an actual timer in the kitchen of how long it’s been, I have to swallow my thoughts and say, “I’m so sorry for the wait it should be out in just a moment. Is there anything I can get you in the mean time?”

This is not a classroom so there is no need to wave your hand at me. And you are not the only person in the restaurant. We are trying to feed an entire building.

I circle my tables like a hawk and if I even see your drink has a sip out of it, I’m there to refill it. I keep tabs on all my people! Now, there are times when the kitchen has its slow days, or I forget to ring something into the computer, but it’s only because I have 6 other tables with 5 people at each who all ask for two drinks per person.

Lastly, there are the tippers, the people who think they’re sly as they leave $0 on an $120 tab. Maybe I should move to Costa Rica, where the gratuity is included in the tab. A little tip, pun intended, to people who think it is okay to not tip: I have to claim my tips at the end of the night based upon sales, not my actual tip.

As a result, I’m getting taxed on it all because you couldn’t spare even $5. Don’t go out to eat if you can’t spare a few dollars.

At the end of the day, I love talking to new people and forming connections with them. But all I’m asking for a little sympathy, understanding, and patience while you’re dining… and maybe a fair tip!

1 reply »

  1. WELL STATED!!! I always include my tip in cash on all credit card purchases so you get to keep the few pennies extra for things like GAS, or an emergency call for your child’s broken arm, or replacement of a tire slashed by some idiot who thinks it is funny. Let people walk a mile in your shoes and they will be better customers.

    X waitress

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