I normally write for my fellow comrads in the industry, but this one is for the rest of you. Allow me to start this page with a list I have compiled to give a voice to those brave men and women who serve you everyday. It will be blunt, but I feel you need to hear it. The people on this list are not the average patron, but their numbers are high enough that we need to call them out, and expose them. If you know anyone like any of these people, you need to set them straight, or better yet, show them this list. "The customer is always right" is the mantra for the service industry and it has kept us quiet for too long. Agree? Disagree? Got a list of your own? I would love to hear any feedback from you the customers and of course, my fellow mates who toil everyday to make some miserable shit happy. So here it is....
We in the industry call it playing the "waiter game". Let me explain and then decide if this is you. One guest at your table orders a glass of water, you bring it and then two others want one too. Another guest wants a coffee and you ask if anyone else wants a coffee as well, and no one says anything, then, sure enough, you bring the coffee and you want one. Just order at the same time. I understand that sometimes things are more appealing when placed near you, but some of you are chronically doing this.
...I'm out of numbers, but this one needs to be said too, so I'll tack it onto this one...2 for 1: If your server asks if anyone wants more of ANYTHING, don't answer for the table, because it reflects badly when the other diners didn't hear, and they then think that the server is incompetent or neglectful. It is difficult to go over your response, and continue asking other guests. Just shut up and say that YOU don't need anything, and let others make their own decisions (unless you're the one paying for the entire table, in which case, say whatever you want, you're in charge).
Don't use your server as a disciplinary, or educational tool for your kids. Trying to make a painfully shy kid order his own food AND say please AND thank you is like trying to put a cat into a bucket of water...painstakingly unnecessary. Obviously everyone eventually learns how to order their own food, just order for them or better yet, leave them at home. I'm busy and I don't have that kind of time...I no longer want to be forced to participate in the scarring of your children.
This one is for some of our own, within our own troops. When you go out to other places, you need to be courteous, understanding and considerate. Don't act like a demanding asshole, walking around like you own the place, and then say "Its ok, I work in a restaurant", you should know better...
This one is a bit harder, because some people really have debilatating allergies and I'm sorry for all of you. I can't imagine life without dairy, nuts, wheat, or the hundreds of other allergies out there. There are some of you who have come to terms with it, and have accepted that if you are lactose intolerant, you probably shouldn't order the lasagna and you move on with life. As a minority, you adapt to the world, rather than demand the world adapt to you, and change the way we've made lasagna since the beginning of time.
Some of you on the other hand, would rather have an entire kitchen come to a screeching halt and whip you up a cheese-free lasagna (don't scoff, it has happened). OK, listen: your allergies are not my fault. Maybe you should stay home or something...there, I said. I know your type too, completely oblivious to the world around you. You have three times the items in the 10-item or less express line at the grocery store, you drive the speed limit in the fast lane (even when the slow lane is EMPTY!), and you're that slow eater further down the list (you'll have to read on...)
Now, that being said, there are some of you who are much, much worse. Those of you who LIE about the severity of your allergies, or don't have them at all! This really happens! It makes it very difficult to assess who has real or imagined allergies. If you don't like something, you don't have to say you're allergic, just say "I hate onions" or "no cheese please", its that easy! Instead of making it seem like you will catch fire or start speaking in tongues if you have ANY batter on your fish and chips and yet order gravy...I hate stuff too, we all do, its ok. But when you make a busy kitchen stop service to specially prepare something that is relatively harmless to you, this is rude and inconsiderate. Stay home!!
Here's a quick story (of thousands, this one was really recent, that's all), a woman comes in and asks about a few menu items, she says she CANNOT eat eggs and was wondering if the chicken sandwich had egg in it, here is the dialogue that followed:
"I'm quite sure there are no eggs in the chicken sandwich", I say
"You have to be sure, I CANNOT have ANY eggs" she replies
"Of course, no problem" and off I go to the kitchen to ask the cook;
"Nope, no egg, why would there be egg in a fuckin' chicken sandwich?" he says while lazily leaning on the prep table, eating cheese wrapped in proscuitto and looking at me like I'M the crazy one! (fuckin' cooks, always eating, I'm starving)
"Fine" I say, "Just checking", then I go to the walk-in to check the label on the box that the buns come in. Freezing my ass off, I finally assertain that no egg will be anywhere near this woman's meal.
"No eggs, maam" I say upon returning to her table.
"Well, I think I've changed my mind, I'll have the crepes, thank you" and she looks back to her book she was reading, absolutely oblivious.
"You realize that crepes are MADE of eggs don't you??" I am astounded.
"Yes, I think I'll be fine, thank you"
I could go on and on and on....this is what makes servers and cooks roll their eyes when allergy requests are made. Be honest, and we'll just make it the way you want.
When I approach the table, acknowledge me!! I exist!! When you keep right on talking, without even looking at me, its RUDE! I know you see me, you know I'm there. YOU came into my restaurant, I didn't accost you on the street and try to intrude. I have tried to jump in at opportune times, but you won't shut up, and just when I thought it was ok you start up again. Is it really too much to ask that you pause your conversation? Even to say hello? I have been made to stand at a table for a full minute while a table babbled on and on! A full minute is a long time, try it, go up to a group of people and just stand there....for a full minute...you would feel like an absolute jackass! Imagine in the doctor's waiting room, you just let the nurse call out your name without responding, because you were talking? Imagine how RUDE that would be? Just because you are a guest and it is my job to serve you, you have no right to treat me like shit... or blatantly ignore me.
You know what this means, don't you? Just in case: its when you intentionally skip out on your bill. Now, we are not really supposed to talk about this, because it is illegal, but we are made to pay for dine and dashes. When you leave without paying your bill, you are NOT stealing from the company or the "man". The server that you likely treated like crap is the one buying you dinner.
Don't leave your "snot rag" on the table when you leave...sooo gross, and don't stuff it in your glass either (the broken down fibres in the tissue have caused many glass washers to clog up, so I have to dig in there to get it). Just take it with you! I can't tell you how many times I've picked up a tissue assuming it was a napkin. It's bad enough I have to handle all your dishes. Enough said...
This one depends where you are eating. If you find yourself being treated to a better than average meal, you will have noticed that no plate is removed until all have finished eating. Now, knowing this, if you are the person who is the slowest eater on the face of the earth, order SMALL!! You are holding everyone up. Look around and keep up with the group. Especially when its the appetizer or first course, everyone is hungry and would love to move onto the next course or would like to have their now crusty plates taken away.
This is one that really gets to me, as you'll get from my rant. Note that most regulars are not like this, just a few of you, and you know who you are..."I'm a regular"... Yeah? Who gives a shit! Get over yourself! You've managed to get a group of people who all work for TIPS to remember who you are, and how did you do this? By going there over and over and over again! Wow! Big fucking deal. Here is a typical encounter with one of these sense of entitlement assholes. Most times this happens when you're working at a new place, someone comes in (they actually tend to march right in, usually right past you as you try to greet them) they impatiently look around for someone who will automatically know what they want, like I won't be able to remember that you want a lemon, not a lime with your gin and tonic...yeah, I think I can handle it. Just order like a normal person...maybe your parents should have taught you how to order. Oh crap, for your parents: please disregard #9!
Snapping your fingers, hollering or whistling to get my attention. This is the worse thing you can do, and I will instantly hate you, before you even say a word to me. I am not your dog, or your slave. This is something that only a certain type of person with a complete lack of character does. Although these are somewhat rare occurrances, these idiots are everywhere, from fast-food to five star restaurants. Would you do that at the bank? to your lawyer? your mother? your doctor? Stop It!! Very disrespectful and demeaning. Also, a piece of advice for those of you who don't do this, I say: "thank you" but if you know someone who does this, stop hanging out with them. Really, they are awful people and there's probably crap in their food...I'm just saying.