I’m A Server, Not A Servant

Dear World,

For anyone that has read my blog before, you know that I am a server at this present moment. It is a job that I have done most of my adult life and while it pays the bills, usually, I would like to someday do something else. In the meantime, I go to work a few nights a week and I deal with the public, the world, you. I wait on good people, great people, lousy people and a every so often I wait on people that suck.

It always surprises me how many people have never worked in any kind of restaurant, so perhaps this once I will give the benefit of the doubt. None the less, I thought I’d come up with some insight for those of you that do venture out into these public places to get your dinner tonight or lunch tomorrow.

I think that the first thing that the public needs to understand about their server, is that we sometimes choose this profession because we are actually good at it. Being a server or bartender is actually a skill that not everyone possesses. Not all people are given the gift of serving food and drinks to needy people with unruly children while keeping a smile on their face. Not all people are able to put up with the verbal abuse and in general being spoken down to, while still maintaining a positive attitude. It is actually more of a gift than a skill if you ask me.

I do wait on many great people, however over the years, I have seen a decline in decency. By that I mean, I wait on more and more people that think that they are better than me and that it is acceptable to treat me as such. I wonder about these people. I wonder what it would be like to be in their homes for Thanksgiving. Does Mom bring out the turkey and fixings, wipe the sweat off her brow and sit for only a second before they wave their napkin in the air in distress. “Miss, Miss…. I need, I need.”

I tell you this, not in my house! To be served is a privilege. To be able to afford the ability to go out to eat is certainly a privilege in today’s economy so I say act like it. It is certainly my job to get the things for you that will make your dinning experience wonderful, however I am not a mind reader, I am not your mom, and I am certainly not your servant.

To make this easy on the few of you that have never been in any kind of service industry I have made a little list of tips that may help your next dinning experience. Use them or don’t but either way, every person that has ever been in my non-slip shoes will feel similar and appreciate your consideration.

Now before I get into this list, many people think that because I am being tipped that it is my duty to put up with garbage. It actually is not. It is my job to provide a great dinning experience. That includes my greeting you in a friendly manor, suggesting some drinks or meals, taking your order, serving your food, checking that everything is great, keeping your table clean and presenting you with an accurate bill in the end and all of this I have to do in a timely manor with a smile on my face. No problem, but a tip isn’t an excuse to treat me poorly. It isn’t 20% if I can put up with your bullshit without crying. It is for me actually doing my job.

To that end here are a few ideas.

1. You don’t “Need” anything. I know its hard to believe when you are starving and thirsty but you don’t actually need anything that I can bring to you. I will happily get you anything as quickly as I can and I will usually have a smile on my face. All I expect is that you ask me kindly. Simply put… “Could I please have some extra ketchup?” Sure!!! No problem. In fact the nicer you are, the faster my feet move. Better yet, ask for it when you order and I won’t forget it, I’m good like that!

2. Waving your napkin in the air and calling for “Miss” is not the way to get great service. First, most places have servers introduce themselves in the beginning. If you weren’t ignoring my very presence when I greeted you with a smile originally, you would know my name. Second, the only reason to wave your napkin around is if you are swatting at a fly or there is a fire and smoke filling the building. Then by all means wave away. I will be going for the exit but to each his own.

3. Don’t ignore my very presence when I come to your table. I am waiting on you, because you chose to go out to eat. You decided to walk into my restaurant and sit down. As part of the deal, I will come to your table a talk to you. Don’t act like looking at me would kill you. When you choose to treat me this way, I spend more time at the tables that actually look up. If I ask a question it is because I am trying to better serve you. It’s my job, don’t make it harder.

4. If I am checking on your table and interrupt your conversation, I am sorry. That is why I usually start by saying “So sorry to interrupt, but how is everything?” That’s me being polite but also checking to see that your dinning experience is going well. If I didn’t check on you and your food was wrong then get mad. Don’t glare at me for caring how your food is tasting. Once again, it’s my job to care so don’t make it harder.

5. Ask for the things that you need all at once. There isn’t anything more irritating than bringing something for one guest and then another at the table sends you off in another direction, only to return and then have yet another guest do the same. I ask if there is anything that anyone needs. That means the whole table. If two of you weren’t on your cell phone while I was talking you would have heard me ask.

6. Don’t try to talk to me with a cell phone on your ear or while texting. I have other tables that are willing to look at me and speak to me like a human being. I am here to create a great experience for you, that is what you pay for. I can not do that when you won’t pay attention to me. I facilitate your meal and without me, you are going to Wendy’s drive through. Just give me a couple of minutes and then hop on the phone. That’s all I ask.

7. Tip me for what I do. I am quick to serve you, I am friendly. Your drinks are filled and your food is great.  I run around to make sure you have everything that you need. I ask questions and I try to create a dinner that is tailored to you. Pay me for it. Ten percent is nothing. It isn’t acceptable for good service. Fifteen is a step up but still missing the mark. I start a tip at twenty percent and then go up according to my server’s expertise. Look, to put it simply, if you can’t afford a tip, you can’t afford to go to a sit down restaurant.

8. Thank me. Yes how you tip is a true way to show your appreciation for my work but it is nice to hear. If you appreciated how well I took care of you then thank me for it. It lets me know that I am doing something right and I can continue.

9. If you skip all of these tips please don’t skip this one. Just treat me like a human being. I like smiles and hellos. I like to be spoken to kindly and treated with respect. You like those things also so lets do each other a favor and be kind to each other.

Eating out is supposed to be fun. Service should really be great but over the years I have noticed how difficult it is becoming to be great when waiting on terrible people. We are all more stressed than ever and the world is a scary place. Everyone of us has issues and problems that are on our minds. Don’t take it out on your server. Use the dinner out as an escape but don’t expect a server to be treated poorly because you’ve had a bad day. Look, I have bad days too and I still go to work and smile at the my table while I introduce myself.

Food for thought… literally.

Love, Cherise



11 thoughts on “I’m A Server, Not A Servant

  1. I’ll agree with everything that you just said. I’ve seen a steady decline in tips and decency of people in general over the past few years. Last month, I may have very well had THE most obnoxious table that I have EVER served in my ENTIRE life. And that’s saying alot.
    Here is to better times and more considerate people. May god bless our society!

  2. Oh wait. I did forget about that guy who put his dirty tissues all over my bar. I kindly asked him to pick them up when I was told that was my f@$king job. Bartender/snot rag remover. Ahhh people!

  3. “5. Ask for the things that you need all at once. There isn’t anything more irritating than bringing something for one guest and then another at the table sends you off in another direction, only to return and then have yet another guest do the same. I ask if there is anything that anyone needs. That means the whole table. If two of you weren’t on your cell phone while I was talking you would have heard me ask.”

    Why MOST servers don’t have their PAD AND PENS READY so they *CAN* take A LONG ORDER OF REQUEST BY WRITING THEM DOWN? I have before not ask for something on purpose, because I saw the server wasn’t writing things down. I do try to ask for everything at once, but a good chunk of the time they *FORGET* something because they were TOO LAZY ASS to *********WRITE THE LIST DOWN*********!

    Why do servers LEAVE BEFORE you can ask for what you want, but then not want to be ran and not even attempt to WRITE ANYTHING DOWN?

    WHY do servers at times ONLY CATER TO ONE PERSON at the table rather than the entire PARTY?

    Why do most servers say they HATE to be ran, but then don’t get their pad and paper out so they CAN get more request?

    There have been times when I wanted to ask for more, but saw that the server was not writing things down, so I decided to wait.

    Also, the server can OFFER things like condiments, refills, etc. You can make it EASIER ON YOURSELF if you go to the table with your pad and pen to write things down. If you have dirty dishes in your hands, you can either put them down on another table or tell them you will be right back that you have to write things down as one SMART waitress did for us. I ordered a white russian with Kahula and Grey Goose vodka and she said she’d have to write down when she came with dirty dishes. THAT WAS A SMART WAITRESS AND NOT LAZY, LET ME TELL YOU!!

    Once it was me, my husband, my mom and my dad at Outback. We sat at a 6-seater table due to drinks, extra condiments, and bread. Our waiter came by, only asked my mom that was sitting towards the opposite end of the window by him if she wanted another pina colada. I was going to order another refill on my soft drink and another margarita, but he **********LEFT********* BEFORE I COULD ORDER THOSE!! We have had this HAPPEN MANY, MANY TIMES BEFORE! WHY CATER TO ONLY ONE PERSON AT THE TABLE? WHY?

    Do you servers realize that if you WRITE EVERY SINGLE THING DOWN, you have that MUCH BETTER CHANCE of REMEMBERING what we said, would have much more time on your hands to have gotten everything or just about everything at once in ONE TRIP rather than several, and you’d get a better tip from getting things faster as well as not making the customer feel like they can’t ask for something?

    Once, my husband and I ordered our entrées and this waiter at Chili’s didn’t write ANY of it down. My husband ordered his for the most part as it came just about and mine I ordered as I usually do with a lot of modifications. I ordered a burger with lettuce and onions only with 2 sides of mayo, 1 side of mustard, and 1 side of ranch. Our waiter comes back AFTER he left to ask AGAIN “Did you say lettuce and tomatoes”, I said “No, lettuce and ONIONS only.” You shouldn’t be coming back to the table because you were TOO LAZY TO WRITE MY ORDER DOWN!

    Another time, our waitress at Macaroni Grill had greeted us after we waited 40 minutes for a table(we read the menu during that time not to waste more time trying to decide) so we ordered WHEN WE WERE GREETED. We ordered the following:

    1. I ordered a soft drink
    2. I ordered a margarita as well
    3. My husband ordered a glass of wine
    4. Side salads(I asked what came in the side salad since there was no description(glad I did because olives came in it which I hate)
    5. 4 sides of ranch for the side salad
    6. We ordered an appetizer
    7. I ordered my entrée
    8. My husband ordered his entrée
    9. So all of that she didn’t write down. Guess what? Our entrées came and she forgot to put the appetizer in. When we told her about it, she put her hand over her mouth. See, she didn’t have a good memory, did she? Not for ALL of that we ordered at once, NO WAY!!

    Another time a waitress didn’t write down our orders(I even asked her twice “Are you sure you don’t want to write my order down, it’s a lot.” I ordered a mai tai when we order our entrées(it’s just the 2 of us). My husband ordered his as it came, mine I had many modifications. I asked for NO pickles, with only lettuce, cheddar cheese, bacon(extra crispy), and onions. I also asked for my fries not overdone and no seasoning or salt. I also asked for a big side of mayo, 1 side of mustard, and 1 side of ranch. She admitted she forgot to put the mai tai order into the computer. When she brought out our food, she brought the plate with pickles ON THE PLATE(where pickle juice gets on the bun and fries(YUK) and also forgot my side of mustard as well.

    I have a lot of times servers forget refills and they just NEVER WRITE THEM DOWN. I cannot COUNT HOW MANY TIMES WE HAVE HAD REFILLS FORGOTTEN! WRITE IT DOWN YOU SERVERS! EARN YOUR TIP!! QUIT BEING LAZY ASSES AND ***********************WORK***********************FOR YOUR MONEY! TRY YOUR BEST!! You also have to GO BACK TO YOUR WRITTEN ORDER! If you just write it down, that’s not the entire job. You HAVE TO REREAD IT AS WELL BEFORE YOU COME BACK TO OUR TABLE!!

    Another time, I asked for a 1. dessert, 2. a box, 3. some tops for the condiment containers, 4. 2 containers for the condiments, 5. a bag, 6. the check, 7. to-go coke. She forgot the check. I even WARNED HER saying “I have a bunch of stuff to ask for” and that should have been her CUE to take her pad and pen out, but it wasn’t. She didn’t write ANY of that down. She could have done everything except for the dessert in one trip even with the containers inside the box which would have been put inside the bag, the check in her apron pocket, one hand would have had the to-go coke, the other the bag that had the box and containers inside it. MUCH MORE EFFICIENT and WOULD HAVE SAVED HER TIME BY WRITING THINGS DOWN. She was already at the computer assuming that she put the dessert order into the computer, NOW she had to go back. THAT WAS DUMB! All because she DIDN’T EVEN TRY TO REMEMBER WHAT WAS ASKED FOR!!

    Another time I asked for 1. a box, 2. a bag, 3. the check, 4. a to-go coke, our waitress forgets the bag.

    Another time I asked for 1. extra napkins, 2. more bread, and 3. a refill on my soft drink, he forgets the extra napkins.

    Another time, I asked for 1. a box, 2. the check, 3. a bag, 4. tops for the containers for the condiments, she forgets the bag.

    Another time, I asked for 1. a box, 2. the check, 3. a bag, 4. containers for condiments, she forgets everything except for the containers.

    Out of all of these times with different servers, NONE of these servers wrote down ANY of these things down.

    Please servers CAN YOU TELL ME WHY ARE YOU ALL SO LAZY AND UNCARING TO THE PUBLIC, but then want that BIG OLE’ TIP? If you want that BIG TIP, you have to ***********WORK************** FOR IT and that includes WRITING THINGS DOWN SO YOU CAN REMEMBER IT JUST AS IF YOU WRITE YOUR GROCERY LIST!

    You servers say when you are in the weeds, but you are MAKING YOURSELVES IN THE WEEDS BY NOT MAKING TONS OF TRIPS UNNECESSARILY! Why make 2 trips or 3 trips when you can make ONE?

    I honestly think if servers would have their pad and pen READY to WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING that was asked for, customers would ask for a lot more and if the servers would OFFER things, the customers would say “YES” to some of them making the entire list around 4-10 or more things that they could get in ONE TRIP possibly.

    I just really want to know WHY servers are SOOO OPPOSED to WRITING THINGS DOWN? I see it A LOT of times when servers greet you they aren’t writing down drinks. Once we had a waiter that forgot our 2 soft drinks just because he had gone to another table. All he had to do was remember 2 soft drinks and he couldn’t because he didn’t *WRITE IT DOWN! You don’t know, I may order an appetizer with some modifications such as extra condiments or no this or that. YOU NEED TO WRITE IT DOWN!!

    I had another time a lazy waiter didn’t write our drinks down(I did order a mixed drink as well as a soft drink), my husband ordered a soft drink, and I ordered an appetizer with an extra condiment. The lazy waiter came back to ask if I had ordered water. STUPID LAZY IDIOTS WANT THE MONEY, BUT DON’T WANT TO ***************************WORK******************* FOR IT!

    I AM SICK OF THE LAZY ASS SERVERS OUT THERE!! You want even 20%-25%-30% or more, you have to ******WORK******* FOR THAT!!

    I know servers who don’t write things down at times and a couple of times here or there, they DID FORGET. NO ONE IS PERFECT, SO QUIT ACTING LIKE IT!! You have a BETTER CHANCE OF REMEMBERING IF YOU WRITE IT DOWN THAN IF YOU DON’T!


    If the servers forget after writing it down, at least they put SOME EFFORT INTO THE JOB!! Which that should count for something in the tip I feel.


    Quit complaining about not wanting to be ran if you aren’t willing to TRY NOT TO BE RAN! I mean obviously, if the customers keep asking for things that you couldn’t have known, that’s different. I am talking about the common things like refills or a box or a bag. YOU SERVERS NEED TO WRITE DOWN THESE THINGS! Do you all LOVE to be RAN? SERIOUSLY? HOW can you EXPECT to get a GOOD* TIP IF YOU FORGET STUFF, HUH?

    So if you want to not be ran, *********************GET YOUR PAD AND PEN OUT PLEASE WHEN ASKING THE ENTIRE TABLE. *****OFFER THINGS****** RATHER THAN NOT OFFER! We forget too, we aren’t perfect either. Not everyone is purposely trying to run you. In fact, most people aren’t because most servers aren’t ***************************WILLING TO WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN! Get that pad and pen out.

    You servers need to STOP LEAVING SO FAST SO WE CAN ASK FOR MORE THAN ONE THING! PLEASE! I think servers do this because they are TOO LAZY TO WRITE THINGS DOWN and truly don’t want to do these request, am I right that it’s all about LAZINESS?

    Also, sometimes servers will only write SOME PARTS of your order and not others such as once a waiter didn’t write down I wanted 2 sides of tartar sauce, then OF COURSE HE FORGOT THEM. WHY not write down the ENTIRE ORDER? WHY BE LAZY? WHY do you feel you should get a good tip if you don’t get the order correct for things you can control?

    Please tell me WHY servers at times don’t write down your orders or even requests down? I mean you expect to remember 5 things after taking several other table’s request as well? That’s pretty hard for most people to do. I know I couldn’t do that without writing things down.

    You don’t know HOW MANY THINGS I WILL ASK FOR. That’s WHY you WRITE THINGS DOWN!! We had a waitress at Bonefish Grill that was attempting to take our food orders WITHOUT WRITING THEM DOWN and eventually she took her pad and pen out, because it was too much I guess for her. WHY DO THIS SHIT? WHY NOT JUST BE PREPARED TO BEGIN WITH BY GETTING YOUR PAD AND PAPER OUT? WHY BE SO LAZY AND UNCARING about the customer, but then expect the customer to care about you at the end with a nice tip? Does that make ANY SENSE? If you want a good tip, you have to CARE about OUR DINING EXPERIENCE IN ORDER FOR US TO CARE ABOUT YOUR TIP!

    WHY do you all LEAVE BEFORE WE HAVE A CHANCE TO ASK FOR EVERYTHING? Isn’t it because you know you can’t remember all of that without writing it ALL DOWN? BE HONEST NOW!!

    Don’t you all want to make LESS TRIPS? Don’t you all want a GOOD TIP? I REALLY DON’T GET IT? You servers complain at times about bad tips, but then aren’t willing to WORK for that tip, WHY IS THAT? Well, I am waiting….. It’s just like not studying for a test and then expecting a good grade. You have to WORK for what you want in life! WHY can’t you servers out there not understand that, huh? By writing everything down, it would create LESS WORK and MORE TIME by combining things in LESS TRIPS, usually ONE TRIP rather than several and getting things faster means A BIGGER TIP IN MOST CASES. Makes EVERYONE HAPPIER, INCLUDING YOU ALL, THE SERVERS!
    Springs1 recently posted…How to Be a Good Server in a RestaurantMy Profile

    • I see your points and I sure have seen servers like you are speaking of. I am one of the few that do write everything down because I don’t want to forget. While there are some servers out there that are not so great, there are also some really great ones. I think my point was that for the ones that do a great job, we are sometimes still treated poorly. With any profession there will be some that work harder than others. Being a server can be frustrating when you do your best and still are treated and tipped poorly. You may treat your servers with respect but not all people do.

    • So let me get this straight, you want your server to “write things down”? I couldn’t tell from all the mindless bitching, moaning, and complaining!!!!!

      P. S. I write everything down!!!!

  4. “Ten percent is nothing. ”

    While it’s not a good tip for good service, I guess you’d rather ZERO then, FINE I would stiff you for that *********ENTITLED********* ATTITUDE!

    My husband and I tip 25%-30% and upwards at times, but that has to be for GOOD service. You can’t forget shit and get shit wrong, then expect that high of a tip. If you have made several mistakes and don’t apologize, should you expect more than 10%? I don’t think you should.

    “Better yet, ask for it when you order and I won’t forget it, I’m good like that!”

    That’s the issue that I DO ALWAYS order my condiments *WITH* my food, but a good 80% of the times servers forget them. They don’t compare their written orders to the food for DUH mistakes like that. You can also bring condiments out ahead of time. You can also *OFFER* condiments when someone orders something that typically is served with condiments like if I were a server taking a burger order, I would offer “Any condiments you need with your burger and fries such as mayo or ketchup.” You want to bet that will make the customers think about ordering everything they need at once more often. You know what I am saying is the truth.

    “8. Thank me.

    I do every single time my server brings something to me, but it also goes *BOTH* ways that if you mess up, “WHERE IS MY SORRY ABOUT THAT” AT? I don’t understand why servers in most cases aren’t saying they are sorry? WHY? You want my money, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. If you want more forgiveness, APOLOGIZE when you mess up. BE NICE and I will be NICER TO YOU in the tip!
    Springs1 recently posted…How to Be a Good Server in a RestaurantMy Profile

    • It seems that you may have had a few run ins with some not so great servers from reading your comments. While some servers do a poor job, not all of us do. I work hard every day and I take care of my guests. I am not entitled to twenty percent, I earn it. Some servers do not… But I wrote this about the ones that do. I hope you have a dinning experience with one of the servers I speak of.

  5. What an entitled rant. You want customers to learn your name, do you take time and ask and learn names of your customers? We have 100 transactions a day with various people that provide some service, and I do not learn their names. And here is someone who moves food from kitchen to me and feels we should learn her name and focus our restaurant experience around her persona. The fast food industry is able to serve the same great food, be it Greek, Thai, Italian, etc, they simply removed the slowest gear and that is the server. You know why servers are desperately low paid? Because they are dime a dozen.

    • Nevermind, I am from Canada and here it is illegal to pay employees less than minimum wage. Many restaurants here take tips from waiters and give back only percentage. Tips are not taxed as there is no way to account them. I just learned the US taxes waiters on “assumed” tips, which is absurd.

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