A Server’s Dos and Don’ts
While it is noted that restaurants need to take customer service seriously [“To Serve and Protect,” March 20], you strike me as a person who’s never been on the other side of things, the server side. I’ve been a server for a while now (10-plus years) and felt I had to reply to this article. The reason I say this is because someone could not be so blasé about giving the kinds of dos and don’ts that you offered without anything to actually base it on.
Let’s start by running down the list:
Have a professional and friendly attitude: This is the basic tenet of being a server, but no matter how much of a friendly attitude you have, there are some people you will never please simply because they feel that they are entitled to something more than others in the restaurant.
Be prompt: You seem to think that when a restaurant is busy, you will automatically get seated. Generally if it’s busy, you may have to wait a while. Some people gripe and complain, but seriously, would you eat at a restaurant that was never full day or night? I would hazard to guess if it were, I would think something about the restaurant was not appealing. As for bar seating, some people take it and some don’t. It’s more of a 50/50 thing.
Offering a drink right away: If we are busy, the server should at least acknowledge you, and if time permits, they should offer you a drink. Sometimes servers are told they have to go through a spiel offering specials and whatnot as well as getting drink orders. So in essence we spend more time there than just getting drink orders. The cutlery thing, a moot issue: You should have clean utensils. As for the bill, not everyone wants the bill right away, and as such, the server would attempt to sell dessert or an after-dinner beverage.
Help me out: This is also a moot issue. As servers, we should know the menu and help you out with suggestions.
Keep it clean: Sometimes when we are busy, people actually will walk up to the dirty table and stand by it to “claim” it, not thinking or realizing they are not next. I actually heard of a lady waiting for a table who went to another table and asked them to hurry up because she wanted to sit down.
Make it right: The issue I have with this one is the “taking too long” item. Sometimes even though we apologize because something is taking too long, some people seem to blame us because they might assume that we have something to do with cooking food. With that being said, it’s just sometimes out of our hands. No matter what the circumstances are, some people seem to take these things and use them against you to justify a bad tip. Some are bad tippers because of a certain stereotype, which unfortunately is more often true than not. Some are bad tippers because they blame their bad experience on you when you’ve done everything you could within your power to make it good or right.
Saying that these are your dos and don’ts doesn’t necessarily mean that these are everyone’s. As I stated, I’ve been a server for a while and to me, I give other servers a little bit of leeway since I have been in their position and it’s very rare that I complain about service unless it’s really horrible.
Again, these are just my points on the items discussed in the article based on my experience. If you have ever been a server, then you would know what I say is somewhat apropos. And if not, maybe you do need to do it sometime just to see how the other half works.
A Second Voice on Customer Service
“To Serve and Protect”: awesome read! This is what I’ve been screaming!
Francis’ Compassion for Animals
I was delighted to learn that the newly elected pope chose for himself the name of St. Francis of Assisi, generally known as patron saint of the animals. Indeed, Catholic and Anglican churches hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day of Oct. 4.
On one of his nature walks, Francis reportedly preached to the birds and is often portrayed with a bird in his hand. On another occasion, Francis concluded a pact with a ferocious wolf that was terrorizing local townsfolk, whereby the wolf would quit preying on the town’s sheep in exchange for being fed regularly. He even persuaded local dogs to stop harassing the wolf. He freed a rabbit from a trap, returned caught fish to their stream, and fed half-frozen bees in winter.
I hope that Pope Francis will inspire Catholics and all persons of goodwill to show non-human animals the respect and compassion they so richly deserve, particularly when it comes to subsidizing their abuse and slaughter for food at the checkout counter. Joining the Meatless Mondays trend may be a good start.