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Daily Archives: November 6, 2009


Another one of those “commandments for being a good waiter” thingys

OK, I’m going to have to address this one point by point, so this is gong to be one long-assed post (why aren’t most of you not surprised? :g:) First I have to say that the overbearing tone of the poster obscures the occasional good advice.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

This was prompted by the musings that I occasionally read over at the
waiterrant ( Unfortunately, I spend far too much
time in restaurants. This has made me a critical SoB because I want good
service and self-righteous about it since I can claim the whole ‘Been
there, done that, paid off my education working tables for many years’

Apparently you’ve forgotten those “many years”, haven’t you?

So, If you think you know the industry, sit down and take notes.

Jawohl, mein Fürher.

Write it down.

I agree with this. As I’ve written, taking an order isn’t a parlor trick.

You aren’t a savant and we will have changes, I don’t care if you think
you can remember three courses for three people, you also have a lot of
other crap on your mind and you are going to forget something. (Did I
mention I have allergies ?). Get a pad, Get lots of pens and write it

I’ll bet you’re allergic to garlic.

Don’t run away when asked a question.  We haven’t got all day, and nothing sucks more than having the server
disappear half way through the ordering to ‘Ask the chef’. It also doesn’t sell your ability to remember our orders if you can’t retain a single question for three minutes. Write down the question, and move on the the next customer.

Wow, aren’t we ticky-tack. I’m wondering why it makes any difference whether the waiter gets an immediate answer or if the waits until he or she has taken the whole order. Seems to me that the answer might actually influence someone who hasn’t ordered yet.

Know who ordered what.

If you even dare come over here and ask “Who has the fish ?” I’m
sending the whole order back. Number the seats, clockwise, from the seat
closest to the kitchen. Write down the order and the seat number. (Did I
mention that you should write things down).

Aren’t we the imperious one? Fine. Cut off your nose to spite your face. Let your food sit another couple of minutes under the heat lamps. And guess what? Different restaurants have different ways of establishing the pivot points, so it’s not always “seat closest to the kitchen”. And I’ll bet you didn’t even know that the “classic” way to number seats is counter-clockwise, even though most places do it clockwise. Know why clockwise sucks? Because you have to put the plates down across the body of the guest when you serve from the left.

Learn the menu.

Good advice.

If I ask for a recommendation, be able to suggest something. Work out
what goes with what. When in doubt lie, If I knew what I wanted, I
wouldn’t have asked you.

That’s fine. Just don’t completely ignore my recommendation. If you’re not interested, at least pretend to consider it. Don’t just shoot my recommendation down on the spot.

Don’t suggest big meals.

This is a weird one. We rarely recommend anything other than a specific dish. I’m going to recommend what I like, not weigh it first.

Look at your customers and think about how much they can eat. If they
have room for dessert, they may actually order it. If you just stuffed
them with pasta, they’ll have a small coffee and leave before they pass

Speak for yourself. You’d be surprised what people can eat. I’m not going to deny you the dessert menu or not suggest a dessert just because I think I’m a mind-reader or a physiognomist.

There is no such thing as a Well-Done Steak.

Tell that to some of my guests.

Get the customer to describe how they want their meat ruined, let them
pick from the words: Rare , Medium-rare , Medium, and Not-pink. You can
always apologise later and get the meat cooked a bit longer.

You really didn’t serve many steaks in your previous life as a super-waiter, did you?

Make eye contact.

Absolutely. Please return the favor. Get off your self-important cell phone call and look me in the eye.

Nothing sucks more than a waiter who walks around with their head up their
arse, There are customers who want your attention. They are easy to find,
they will be looking at you.

Oh yes, there’s something worse and that’s the self-important twit (the kind who would post orders about how to wait tables) that ignores the waiter because he’s too busy doing “important business” or posting something to his blog on his laptop.

Learn to open a bottle of wine


Plunging the sharp end through the foil and battling for 10 minutes to get
the damn thing to give up the goods doesn’t paint a picture of
professionalism. Get a good Waiters Friend, an empty bottle, and a pile
of old corks and practice. Better yet, buy some of the wine that is on the
list, invite some friends over and get loaded actually tasting the stuff.

Also good advice. For my friendly guests, please understand that despite the above advice, I usually can’t taste every bottle on the list, especially since vintages change so often.

The couple in the corner want to have sex

Do not take forever to bring them the bill. They do not want to be left
alone any longer. This is turning out to be a hot date, They have had
good food and wine, and if they can get home and get their clothes off
before they lose momentum they will tip you big time.

I just wish they would wait until they get home before having sex in my booth.

Don’t bring my next course before I’m ready

And don’t expect your course before everyone is finished with the previous course. And if you don’t want your next course within 5 minutes of your previous course, don’t make me read your mind to figure that out.

This one really sucks. A) I’m here to enjoy my meal, not feel like I’m
being rushed through the experience, and B) Where do you think you’re
going to put the meal ? There is already a plate in front of me, and I’m
using it.

And when there’s no plate in front of you, I’m going to bring a nice full one to replace it. don’t grouse that “You’re rushing me”. If you want time between courses, please let me know.

Here’s a Tip : No-one takes more than 15 minutes to eat a course.

Here’s a tip for you – you’re wrong.

Even with breaks it is possible to server a 3 course meal in 45 minutes.

Only if I rush the diner, either by request of the diner or because I want to get the rude diner out of my section. Sure, it’s possible that some people plow through each course in 5 minutes and don’t want a cocktail or coffee. But to generalize like that shows that you either never worked in a decent restaurant or you’ve forgotten what your guests were like. My average diner stays for 2 hours (of course, I work in a more expensive restaurant). But even when I worked in more modest restaurants, the average was still at least an hour. 

(Trust me, I’ve worked pre-show diners where we had to). Just get your
timing right.

Frankly, I don’t trust a lot of what you say at this point. Yes, I can get my guests out in 45 minutes when they ask. I have to do it all the time when there’s a professional sports match across the street. I’m amazed that a 4 top can spend $400 in 45 minutes, but I guess that’s the joy of being able to have an AMEX black card. However, if you don’t tell me that you’re in a hurry, I’m going to plan 5 – 10 minutes between courses, just like you want.

Bring all entrees at the same time.

Yes, I try to do this. But if the kitchen is behind on a dish by a minute (it happens sometimes), I’m going to bring the entrees that are smouldering under the heat lamps.

Bring all starters at the same time.

Same thing goes with this. this is a more common occurance since starters sometimes come off of two different lines (the cold and the hot line). They don’t alway get this coordinated down to the second.

Don’t piss off the chef

Yes, and don’t you piss off the chef by completely rewriting his recipes because “I’m allergic”.

Don’t fuck up the order

Agreed. Of course, i’m human and I screw up sometimes. Don’t lose your shit or think that I hate you because of it. Feel free to penalize me on the tip if i don’t make a decent effort to make it right.

Don’t be late for your shift

Agreed. And don’t be late for your reservation either.

Thank you for your cooperation. I hope you get good service the next time you’re dining out. I’d just say one thing – LOOSEN UP, YOU FREAK! (just kidding about the freak thing).

And I hope you check out my series of 100 things the guest should avoid doing.