11 things your waiter doesn't tell you

Photo: iStock

Millions of people work in the catering and hotel industry — either fulltime or to pay for university. As a waiter or bartender, you can learn a whole lot about human behaviour and people.

Waiters get to know society in all its facets. The longer you serve people, the more you notice that no matter where your customers are from, they all share the same behaviour patterns. The way customers treat the waiting staff is something the employees think about on a daily basis.

We made a list of a few things experienced waiters would like to say to you. The reason they so rarely do is mostly out of fear of losing their jobs. Here are eleven things your waiter doesn’t tell you:

1. It’s your fault if you have to wait to pay.

Sure, you don’t want to pay for all your friends’ drinks. And since you don’t know how drunk you’ll be later, you want to pay for each drink as soon as you get it.

But if you’re part of a bigger group, and for every round you each want to pay separately, your waiter will have to wait for credit card authorization several times. Everyone else will have to wait.

Not your problem, the manager should hire more people, you say? That means he’ll have to pay them — and raise the prices you are already complaining about. Why don’t you just pay in rounds, one each?

2. Your waiter isn’t responsible for how much your margarita costs

Every single waiter and bartender knows the eternal discussion about how much the drinks are. And if the prices aren’t the issue, the customer will complain about the quality. Please be aware that the two are connected. If you want quality drinks and food, it’ll cost you. And so will good service.

Most importantly, your waiter isn’t responsible for the prices. He’ll be annoyed at having to discuss them again. And if you are already moaning about how much your margarita costs, he won’t be too confident about getting a decent tip later.

3. If you tell the bartender to hurry, you’ll get a bad cocktail

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Many customers expect their cocktails to be ready five minutes after they’ve been ordered. Do you really want a drink the bartender has had to hurry to make? It’s bound to be bad.

4. This is what happens, if you use your glass as a trashcan

If you put your trash into the glass, someone will have to pick it out with his or her hands. In most cases you could just ask your waiter to dispose of it for you. Same thing with the ashtray.

5. Don’t feel cocky for tipping 10 per cent

If you only drink an espresso for $2,80, make it $3. But if you dine with wine for $55, don’t just tip the odd dollar. It’s not only what the waiter pays rent with, it’s also an appreciation of how he has done his job. Don’t be an asshole about this. You know what they say, “if someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, he/she is not a nice person.” Be a nice person.

6. Money doesn’t give you any rights

Just because customers end up with a four-figure bill doesn’t mean they have the right to act up. What your money pays for ( cost of goods, rent, licencing, building maintainance etc.) waiting staff and the owner still have to earn. What your money doesn’t pay for, no matter how much you spend, is a license for bad manners.

7. Speak up, if you don’t like your food or drink

Photo: iStock

If you don’t like what you have got, there’s one person who can help out: your waiter. If you tell him, that is. Do so before you finish your meal or drink, otherwise your displeasure loses credibility. The chef can improve a meal, or make a new one, the bartender can mix your cocktail again. A kitchen does hundreds of meals every day — sooner or later something will end up not quite perfect. Don’t be mad, just tell your waiter in a friendly manner and he will take care of it.

8. Look at your waiter

Some customers actually whistle, when they want something. Seriously. Most snap with their fingers. The bartender will really hate you for that. “Excuse me” is much better than an unfriendly “hello”, but you should just look at your waiter at first. Most waiters will glance at their customers regularly to check if everything’s alright. If he doesn’t see that, raise your arm.

9. Wait until you’re seated

Most restaurants even have a sign for this. Don’t just walk up to a table and sit down, wait for your waiter to assign your party to a certain table. Even if the restaurant is empty, the waiter would still like to plan where to place which party. Who’s to say the place won’t get crowded in an hour? Some places only have a handful of tables for larger groups which they would like to save for, well, larger groups.

10. Wait until the table is empty and clean

It’s an inexplicable phenomenon that customers choose an uncleared table, no matter how many clean tables are around that one. Whether that’s something subconscious or not — every waiter has puzzled over this. If you insist on a certain table, at least wait until the waiting staff has had the time to clean it. Otherwise it’ll take even longer.

11. The waiter isn’t the DJ

Please refrain from any song requests. Every restaurant and bar has its own concept, which individual requests often don’t fit in with.

Also, music requests in bars and pubs are like chocolate in the kindergarten. Once one request has been granted, everyone else wants one too. And the waiter doesn’t have the time to be your personal DJ.

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