Thursday, September 20, 2007

Don't Mess With Your Food Server

It has happened to all of us at least once; you sit down to a nice, expensive dinner at a restaurant, expecting to be catered to by a pleasant waiter or waitress. Instead you are ignored for a while, and when your server finally comes to take you’re order, there are no apologies for lake of attentiveness and the attitude is full of loathing. The food takes forever, your drink is never refilled, and your server seems to have forgotten you exist -right up until the check arrives.

Your service was bad, there is no mistaking that. But don’t take it so personal. No one is out to get you. Your server was not actively attempting to ruin your day (unless you deserved it, and you know who you are). Food servers are real people too. Often times, they have a lot more to deal with than you realize, and sometimes you end up on the receiving end of their bad day. Maybe your server had a headache. Maybe he or she just got dumped, or was in a car accident. Maybe the person bringing your food to you has been studying for a test, or is dealing with a misbehaving child. Maybe you were just a total jerk. The concept that one should “leave their troubles at home” is a joke. Nowhere else in the workforce is that ideology more expected than in food service. If you are fighting with your spouse, are you expected to not only keep it to yourself, but also expected to be smiling and happy while people around you demand things from you every minute of your workday? That happens to food servers everyday of their life. Try giving them a break.

It is also ridiculous to assume that your food server is your own personal servant. That is the person who is handling your food. There is nothing to stop them from messing with it. You should be doing everything you can to please your server, not the other way around, in order to make sure your pasta doesn’t have that “extra” ingredient. Somewhere along the way, the whole customer service rule got way out of hand. Who decided that it was ok to yell at someone or call them horrible names simply because “the customer is always right.” Guess what, right after you told that woman she was stupid and slow, she “accidentally” dropped your steak on the floor drain in the kitchen.

Sure, there are health and safety laws that should keep that from happening, but there’s not. There is no OSHA guy sitting in the back, regulating the cleanliness of your food. There is no magical protective charm cast on your hamburger to keep a disgruntled employee from spitting on it. And if you think the restaurant manager is watching out for that sort of thing, think again, Restaurant managers were once food servers too, and they also have bad days.
Food servers are the controllers of your food. If you are smart, you will take my advice and try not to piss them off.

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