Tales From The Sevice Industry  

By James Mellen 

 

This weekend I went out to a restaurant with my girlfriend, and we ordered a dessert which took about 25 minutes to come out. The waitress apologized about 10 times and took the dessert off of our bill. However, this made me extremely sad, because I know that this poor waitress was concerned that she wasn’t going to get paid because of something that was almost definitely not her fault. I’ve been working in the service industry since I was 15, I’ve spent most of that time either washing dishes or cooking, but I’ve also done every front of the house job except bartend. This is me complaining about things people don’t understand about eating out at a restaurant. 

First of all, it’s incredibly important that you tip AT LEAST 20% every time you go out. Let’s say that you go out tonight to a slow restaurant, in fact you’re the only person in the building. Then you order a salad, and it takes the waitress a full hour to bring out your food. You should probably tip 30% because all you got was something small.  

It doesn’t matter how long it takes the waitress to bring out your food, you need to tip AT LEAST 20% (honestly 25%). The time it takes for a waitress to bring out your food has absolutely nothing to do with your waitress. Wait time has everything to do with the back of the house, and how busy the kitchen is.  

Furthermore, how busy the kitchen is has nothing to do with how busy the dining room is. It’s possible for the dinning room to be full and the kitchen to be a regular amount of busy, maybe everyone got hamburgers, or a special that is easy to cook. On the other hand maybe the cooks have to change the oil in the fryer at 1:30 on Tuesdays, and the empty dining room doesn’t affect the hectic kitchen. 

Besides normal person manners (which includes not being a creep to the waitress) tipping is by far the most important part of being a good customer. However, how good of an experience you have at a restaurant is also completely up to you. Here are some tips on how to have a good restaurant experience.  

First of all know what you like to eat. This might seem silly, but so many people send back food because they don’t know the differences between rare and medium rare or over-easy and over-medium, or what side they wanted. This can all be solved by showing up to a restaurant with a basic culinary understanding.  

Second, if you have a dietary restriction, then understand your restriction and order based around those things. I’m vegan, you will never hear me ask a waitress if there are vegan options or if something on the menu is vegan. The reason for this is because I understand what it means to be vegan and can read a menu. I know that the Cheeseburger isn’t vegan, and I understand that the Summer Salad will be vegan if I order it without blue cheese. This is on me as a consumer with a dietary restriction.  

It is not the job of anyone at any restaurant to make sure you are accommodated based on the way you chose to live. I work in a diner on the side of what used to be a main road, and people ask if we have gluten free options, and it’s like no this is a diner on the side of what used to be a main road we have eggs and cheeseburgers. 

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