14 Things You Should Understand as a Customer to the Food Service Industry

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I recently started working as a server, and have taken the liberty of compiling this lovely list to serve (hah, pun) as some reminders for anytime you find yourself dining in any fine establishment.

1. As your server, I will never spit in your food.

2. I want your dish to come out fast and to the highest quality, just as much as you do.

3. You are not my only table, nor my only concern.

4. If I forget something, even as simple as extra breadsticks, please don’t throw a fit; you’re only embarrassing yourself.

5. I am just as much a person with a life outside of this building as you are.  Please don’t treat me or any of my coworkers as any less.

6. If your food comes out wrong in any way, know that it was not on purpose and I did not personally cook this meal; but I will do anything in my power to correct it.

7. A server in a fast food restaurant will get just as stressed as a server in a mid-grade or high-class restaurant, and we all get just as stressed as you may get at your job.

8. Yes, we do run out of things that seem essential to keeping our restaurant running.  That is not my fault—I did not personally sit in the back and eat twelve jars of olives, I swear.

9. A server’s hourly wage is only about $2.  On a good week, I’ll receive a paycheck for about $15.  I live off your tips, and if you can’t afford to tip your server, quite simply you can’t afford to eat out.

10. Please teach your children how to behave in a restaurant.  I love kids, but not when they’re screeching while I’m trying to take your order.  It’s disturbing to you, me, and every other person in here.

11. Remember your table manners.  If you wouldn’t throw a lemon across the table in your own home, what makes you think it’s okay to do that here?

12. Don’t discard of your napkins or straws or anything else on the floor.  Again, that “would you do it in your own home?” argument.

13. Some dishes take longer than others to make.  I think it’s fairly understandable that the table next to you, who only ordered spaghetti with marinara will receive their meals before you get your citrus-glazed salmon without peppers and an extra side of broccoli with extra sauce and pasta on the side in a separate dish.  If you wanted a quick meal, you should’ve ordered one.

14. Please be understanding and have even just an ounce of patience.  Your food will not always be piping hot, especially if you let it sit on your table for five minutes before eating.  Coffee will get cold, too.  The ice in your iced tea may melt.  You may have to wait more than thirty seconds for a refill after downing your water, or for another basket of breadsticks.  Sometimes you may get a lemon with your diet coke, even if you didn’t want one.  People make mistakes.  I and my coworkers are humans, and we’re doing our best to ensure you have an enjoyable experience in this restaurant.

As long as we can all follow these simple tips (hah, another pun) of advice, I think we'll all have an enjoyable meal!