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Is there ANY consensus on waitstaff etiquette?


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#1 mskerr

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:33 PM

I just started a new server job. When I was a server before, I was blissfully ignorant and had no idea how many faux pas/ "cardinal sins" (as Ripert calls them) I committed. I put the cork back in wine bottles, until I was corrected by a customer one day. I didn't routinely serve women first. I probably "auctioned off food," and asked the cliched "how is everything?" frequently. I probably didn't refill drinks perfectly, as I've only just become aware that there is apparently a process to it only a few steps short of a Japanese tea ceremony. I occasionally had to ask customers how to make even basic cocktails they ordered (!) because I hadn't been trained at all and there was no one on staff to ask. I couldn't answer a lot of questions about the food or wine menus because I had to pay to try anything, at least when no one was looking.
Luckily, I think a genuinely friendly attitude, a deep desire to do the job as well as possible, and a sincere concern for the quality of the diners' experiences compensated for my lack of training and naivete.

Having started reading eGullet about a year ago, I now try to look to this "restaurant life" section of the forum to find out server etiquette to make up for the lack of training I've received on my three server jobs. (As I think someone commented on another thread here, it seems that since everyone's BEEN served many times in their life, it is often incorrectly assumed that everyone knows what service requires.) However - when I look on here or other restaurant-related pages for a simple answer of the proper way to do something, it seems I can find no consensus! For example: should I approach a diner from the right or left? Should I continually keep people's water glasses full, or would they find this overbearing and prefer to just have refills when their glass is actually getting low? Should I ask how everything is, or should I use some other similar iteration that is somehow not cliched? It seems most people agree that no one's plate should be cleared while other people at the table are still eating, yet my trainer at work clears them because she comes from a very popular chain restaurant where servers are never to let an empty plate sit in front of a customer. Should I refill their wine for them or let them refill it themselves? (I just saw a debate about this on a very old thread.) And it goes on and on...

One simple answer, I'm sure is "do what your boss wants you to do!" BUT again, the bosses I've had don't seem to do much training aside from how to push specials or high-profit items. And in general, there seems to be an "it doesn't matter" vibe a lot of the time... but even if the boss isn't fussy about service, and tips are good because of general American tipping culture, I would hate for someone to go home after being served by me and post a rant on eG about some faux-pas I committed, especially since it would most likely be total unknowingly on my part, and I really do care about doing things properly and customers having a great time and a great meal.

I don't mean for this to be a total rehash of previous eG debates on service. I am just wondering: IS there ANY consensus??

#2 Mjx

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 11:43 PM

Short answer: No.


Longer answer: Every waiter, diner, and group of diners is different, and, apart from being professional and polite (and toeing whatever line[s] management sets), the only effectve strategy I found was to pay close attention to the people I was serving, and adjust my behaviour accordingly (some people practically want their food cut up for them and put into their mouths' others want you to just bring food and drink, and get lost; some know every fne point of etiquette and frown on any break with serving form, others pride themseles on dispensing with 'all that nonsense', or have beliefs/opinions thatlead them to reject form). Don't be hard on yourself for not being psychic.

I'm not exactly an extrovert, so my thing was being unobtrusively on-the-spot-as-needed, keeping an eye on things, but not hovering or intruding; someone with a more outgoing personality would clearly do things differently, I'm not saying this is the only way to go.

If you work closely with people for a while (I didn't wait tables long, but I've done other work that demanded the same level of attentiveness), you soon recognize patterns, internalize things to look out for, and respond more or less intuitively to the situation in front of you.
Also, your peripheral awareness of the room steadily increases (or should), until you practically have eyes in the back of your head (it takes a while: when I began, I was so focused on not dropping things, and remembering who got what, a table could have had a circle of nude aliens around it, and I wouldn't have noticed; it wasn't long, though, before I could almost feel someone being unhappy about their food [given where I worked, this happened pretty often]).

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#3 gfweb

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:20 AM

Hmmm. I'd say that the most important server trait would be caring about the diner's experience.

So number one...be available. Look at each of your tables a lot to see if you are needed.

When somebody asks for a check...get the check, don't do five other t hings first. Tipwise, its the last impression that they get.

Don't be over-familiar. Even in a college bar you wouldn't go wrong keeping a respectful distance until you sense the guest's needs.

When you are serving the table next to me, don't have your butt in my face.

When I ask for the check , do not ask if I want dessert. Either I'm in a hurry to leave or on a diet or have kids I don't want to stuff with sugar. Do not ask. That is not the time to upsell.

Write down the damn order. Nobody can keep it all in their head with out frequent screw ups. Five diff steaks at five temps and five sides? Come on, write it down. Your doc and your pharmacist write it down,so should you.

Look at the plate before you bring it out. Most normal restaurants do not have a Thomas Keller looking at every plate. If the pasta is not drained enough get it drained and resauced etc etc.

#4 mskerr

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:24 AM

When you are serving the table next to me, don't have your butt in my face.


Another example of something on which there's no consensus :wink:
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#5 Jaymes

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:12 AM

Speaking of being friendly, don't overdo it. For example, do not crouch down next to me and put your hand on my arm and try to chat me up as though I'm your dearest buddy that has just stopped in and you want to let me know privately that you're comping my meal. Unless all of that is true.

And, if you interrupt me while I'm talking, your tip just went down 1%. I know you're busy and you have several tables to take care of and think your time is more important than me and my stupid story, but can't you wait 60 seconds unobtrusively instead of talking over me so loudly that you demand the attention of the entire table? Try to use the sort of good manners that you'd use anywhere.

#6 mskerr

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:31 AM

I know you're busy and you have several tables to take care of and think your time is more important than me and my stupid story, but can't you wait 60 seconds unobtrusively instead of talking over me so loudly that you demand the attention of the entire table?


Yes I can, actually.

Question though: what if you're serving a table where the people are ALWAYS talking and there's never a good moment to ask a question, and you don't want to hover around awkwardly?

Actually, when I'm dining out, I have the reverse pet peeve - when the server is standing there obviously ready to take our order and the people at the table - the more, the worse - just keep blabbing on about silly sh*t to each other and don't even acknowledge that she's standing there politely waiting. It's like, this woman has other stuff to do rather than watch our silly antics. Similarly, when people make the server stand there while they peruse the drink or food entire menu when they don't know what they want, instead of just asking for a few minutes. Or any iteration on the "wasting the server's time" theme. Not because I have worked FOH and think I'm all-important, but because I empathize with how busy servers can be and find that some people just have no awareness of the fact that the server does have heaps more to do than simply attend to their own table.

I know the job of a server is -duh - to provide pleasant and efficient service, and to help create a good dining experience for patrons, but it's also nice if patrons realize that by monopolizing their server's time, they are detracting from their fellow patron's dining experiences.
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#7 Jaymes

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:33 AM


I know you're busy and you have several tables to take care of and think your time is more important than me and my stupid story, but can't you wait 60 seconds unobtrusively instead of talking over me so loudly that you demand the attention of the entire table?


Yes I can, actually.

Question though: what if you're serving a table where the people are ALWAYS talking and there's never a good moment to ask a question, and you don't want to hover around awkwardly?

Actually, when I'm dining out, I have the reverse pet peeve - when the server is standing there obviously ready to take our order and the people at the table - the more, the worse - just keep blabbing on about silly sh*t to each other and don't even acknowledge that she's standing there politely waiting. It's like, this woman has other stuff to do rather than watch our silly antics. Similarly, when people make the server stand there while they peruse the drink or food entire menu when they don't know what they want, instead of just asking for a few minutes. Or any iteration on the "wasting the server's time" theme. Not because I have worked FOH and think I'm all-important, but because I empathize with how busy servers can be and find that some people just have no awareness of the fact that the server does have heaps more to do than simply attend to their own table.

I know the job of a server is -duh - to provide pleasant and efficient service, and to help create a good dining experience for patrons, but it's also nice if patrons realize that by monopolizing their server's time, they are detracting from their fellow patron's dining experiences.


Yep, and if you reread my post, I mentioned 60 seconds. 60 seconds. At most. And probably more like 15-30 seconds.

I'm sorry, but I don't think making at least a small effort to behave with good manners on the part of BOTH people in this interaction - customer AND server is asking too damn much.

ETA: I'm going to add a little bit more to this.

All three of my children at various times in their lives earned a living by waiting tables. One son started waiting tables in high school, and then all through college, where he earned a degree in Hotel & Rest Mgt, and he still works in the restaurant/hospitality industry, for a total of 20 years experience. When I was young, I, too, waited tables, which is basically retail sales in the service industry, and then went into other types of sales, eventually owning my own small retail business. I've been dealing with the public for 40 years. Nobody has to tell me how frustrating and annoying and thoughtless and selfish and rude and arrogant customers can be. So I'm basically on the side of the servers.

BUT...

If you come walking up to my table shouting, giving us no respect whatsoever, making it very clear that you consider yourself and your duties and your time and your priorities and your other tables to be far, far more important than us, you've pissed me off. And I'll treat you just like I would treat anyone else that came up to our table shouting and interrupting.

Oh, I won't let you know right away. You've already basically announced to us that you're self-important, arrogant and rude and that pleasing us is way down on your list of priorities. I sure don't want to get into an argument with any person like that anywhere, but certainly not in a restaurant with our server.

So go ahead and interrupt me and holler at me and then you can get back to your other more-important duties.

But you'll feel it in your tip.

And that's a promise.


.

Edited by Jaymes, 11 February 2013 - 11:14 AM.


#8 mskerr

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 11:25 AM

I couldn't agree more. I hate arrogance, period, and especially in servers (since our job is about SERVING, and hence is about the customer, not about ourselves and our overblown egos - BIG pet peeve), as well as diners, whether I'm the server or a fellow diner (just because you're paying for dinner doesn't make you the Queen of England, don't get carried away thinking the entire world revolves around you.) Granted, when I'm the server, it's my job to try to deal with arrogant diners as tactfully and cheerfully as possible and to try to give them a good experience. (When I'm a fellow diner, it boils my blood). While I am pretty impatient and have a quick tongue in my normal life, at work I try to be really patient and seriously do care about providing good service and that the customer has a great experience - if I didn't, I wouldn't be spending my non-working hours asking about server etiquette online. I cannot recall ever being rude to a table, or interrupting them loudly, or showing that they are wasting my time, etc, etc. So, I think we're on the same side.

I ranted a bit about a separate pet peeve, which is that since working as a server, I can tell when I'm dining with people who have no idea that they're wasting the servers' time - and I'm thinking specifically about the lovely, unobtrusive servers that give exactly the great, thoughtful service you want, Jaymes, and who are way too polite to interrupt or do anything other than stand there politely and wait. Of course, some people just don't realize that the server does, actually, have other things to do than politely stand there for minutes. I really don't think they are trying to wasting the server's time or being intentionally rude, I honestly think, having not worked in restaurants, they really have no idea they're doing it. So that was just a sort of unrelated tangent.

My question still stands: What is the tactful way to interact with a table when they seriously never stop talking??

#9 mskerr

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 01:27 PM

Short answer: No.


Longer answer: Every waiter, diner, and group of diners is different, and, apart from being professional and polite (and toeing whatever line[s] management sets), the only effectve strategy I found was to pay close attention to the people I was serving, and adjust my behaviour accordingly (some people practically want their food cut up for them and put into their mouths' others want you to just bring food and drink, and get lost; some know every fne point of etiquette and frown on any break with serving form, others pride themseles on dispensing with 'all that nonsense', or have beliefs/opinions thatlead them to reject form). Don't be hard on yourself for not being psychic.

I'm not exactly an extrovert, so my thing was being unobtrusively on-the-spot-as-needed, keeping an eye on things, but not hovering or intruding; someone with a more outgoing personality would clearly do things differently, I'm not saying this is the only way to go.

If you work closely with people for a while (I didn't wait tables long, but I've done other work that demanded the same level of attentiveness), you soon recognize patterns, internalize things to look out for, and respond more or less intuitively to the situation in front of you.


Great way to succinctly say it all, Mjx, thanks again for your great input.

#10 Jaymes

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 01:59 PM

My question still stands: What is the tactful way to interact with a table when they seriously never stop talking??


I think that the thing to do is to give the customers at the table the benefit of the doubt, at least initially, and assume they are well-mannered enough to pretty quickly pause and look politely in your direction, until they prove themselves to be boorishly otherwise. Even if the majority of them are so wrapped up in themselves that they don't notice you in a timely manner, surely at least one of them will. If nobody does, and you've stood there for several seconds, and you see no hope, then speak up, by greeting them in a pleasant manner. And not by loudly reading off today's specials in an irritated and impatient voice.

Everybody understands that when you're approaching a table engaged in lively conversation, you make a choice. You decide whether to behave in a considerate manner as you would if those people actually were your "guests"; or to aggressively stride right up and start talking as loudly as possible in order to shut them all up, even before your second foot is firmly planted tableside.

#11 mskerr

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 02:26 PM


My question still stands: What is the tactful way to interact with a table when they seriously never stop talking??


Everybody understands that when you're approaching a table engaged in lively conversation, you make a choice. You decide whether to behave in a considerate manner as you would if those people actually were your "guests"; or to aggressively stride right up and start talking as loudly as possible in order to shut them all up, even before your second foot is firmly planted tableside.


Right this is what I'm trying to get more details on... the second "choice" is not a choice for me, as I'm just not that assertive or arrogant (I hope!) and again, want patrons to have a great time. And I'm nowhere near that important that I can't forego time to ensure someone has a good experience.

SO, say that people ARE boorishly talking on and on - say they're twentysomething suburban yuppies trying to prove their foodie credentials to each other and talking non-stop about every little foodie-approved dish they've ever eaten (sweetbreads! cherrywood-smoked duck!) and just showing off obscure knowledge on all sorts of topics throughout the ENTIRE 2+ hours they are at the restaurant. Say, to illustrate their self-absorption, they have to be regretfully informed that the restaurant is closed because apparently such intelligent, perceptive up-and-coming dining experts such as themselves cannot ascertain this simple fact from the many, many clues over the past hour or so, nor the stated hours of operation. Say that these people make no effort whatsoever to acknowledge the server at any time during service, and are probably the fussy types who, even if the server stood there for 60 seconds unobtrusively, politely waiting for a story to finish, would go online and right some yelp review about how the server was overbearing and constantly hanging around the table while we were trying to converse with each other.
What is the considerate way to proceed in a situation like this?

(Granted, most tables seem to be a lot simpler, this was just a particularly self-involved table while I was trailing during my training shift the other night. I figure it's a good cast-study for tact in somewhat tricky situations and need some specific advice from people more experienced than I!)

#12 Porthos

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 04:06 PM

When somebody asks for a check...get the check, don't do five other things first. Tipwise, its the last impression that they get.d enough get it drained and resauced etc etc.

Guaranteed that if I ask for the check and it doesn't show up for another 15 minutes your tip has just gone down. If the place is insane busy I'll take that into consideration, but if it's a normal night you just lost some tip money.

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#13 mskerr

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 04:15 PM


When somebody asks for a check...get the check, don't do five other things first. Tipwise, its the last impression that they get.d enough get it drained and resauced etc etc.

Guaranteed that if I ask for the check and it doesn't show up for another 15 minutes your tip has just gone down. If the place is insane busy I'll take that into consideration, but if it's a normal night you just lost some tip money.


No worries, that is not a problem for me. Probably because I am used to busy restaurants where we need to get the people who are waiting for a table and getting increasingly edgy seated before the next tip starts to drop before service has even begun.
Also, why make people wait? It seems pretty simple to get it done... although there can be delays I suppose if the computer is backed up or if you're working in a restaurant that still does everything on a calculator (!), but I will still try to get everything out as quickly as possible.

#14 Renn

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 05:03 PM

To get to your original question, there is probably about as much consensus on how a server should conduct themselves as there is consensus on how the kitchen should cook its food....

Your interest in proper service and the desire to learn is a great asset. What you need now, is to find a restaurant whose service you personally admire. If you find the people who serve the way you want to serve...you can learn from them. That's my take on things.
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#15 mskerr

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 06:01 PM

To get to your original question, there is probably about as much consensus on how a server should conduct themselves as there is consensus on how the kitchen should cook its food....

Your interest in proper service and the desire to learn is a great asset. What you need now, is to find a restaurant whose service you personally admire. If you find the people who serve the way you want to serve...you can learn from them. That's my take on things.


Great input, cheers! Luckily the woman training me seems like a great server, so I am trying to learn as much as possible from her before she leaves soon.

I myself prefer very friendly, very casual service, as I am not a fussy person and feel uncomfortable/bad having anyone do something for me I can do for myself (like when people at a hotel open the door for me). I don't need to be fussed over at all, just to have things arrive in a reasonably timely matter with sincere friendliness. I can't stand when really grumpy servers/employees in general pretend to be smiley and their smiles just look aggressive and you can tell they're actually really miserable and would way rather not be interacting with you. So easy to see through! And, you know, a good sense of humor goes a long way, and just in general being down-to-earth. So, I think this is the baseline I strive for when serving, and like everyone has been saying, I just gotta read tables individually and see whether to tone down the friendliness a bit and mostly leave them alone, or whether to interact a bit more... Good fun. Luckily, it isn't life-or-death. If I unintentionally peeve someone, well so be it. I just hope to not commit any unintentional serious faux-pas, but you know, it isn't brain surgery, no one's going to die if something little gets a bit fudged. Well, I certainly hope not anyway!

#16 Renn

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 11:36 PM

I think you've hit on an important point about people being easy to see through, and I also think that it's one of the biggest challenges for a server....that's sincerity. The repetitive nature of menus, interactions, steps of service and so on make it difficult, but I think striving for sincerity in your interactions will always build a foundation for excellent service. Regardless of how formal or how casual the restaurant, everyone appreciates honest interactions.

When the guest sees you as a sincere person, the impact of minor mishaps is dulled, whereas in the opposite situation, it just becomes ammo for them to discount the whole experience.

#17 cookforme28

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 09:31 PM


 

It's always sad when nice restaurants treat their employees
poorly while at the same time demanding them to be extremely courteous and pleasant
to the customers.  I currently own a restaurant and we operate with the
philosophy that we need to treat our wait staff with the same amount of
respect that we expect them to treat our customers.  By treating your
wait staff poorly, or in this case forcing them to buy meals in order to
try them, a restaurant is just asking for it.  In my experience
employees are much more helpful to customers if they can sincerely
answer customers' questions as far as how things taste or what would
they recommend.  It's always sad when nice restaurants treat their employees
poorly while at the same time demanding them to be extremely courteous and pleasant
to the customers.  I currently own a restaurant and we operate with the
philosophy that we need to treat our wait staff with the same amount of
respect that we expect them to treat our customers.  By treating your
wait staff poorly, or in this case forcing them to buy meals in order to
try them, a restaurant is just asking for it.  In my experience
employees are much more helpful to customers if they can sincerely
answer customers' questions as far as how things taste or what would
they recommend.  We have had the experience that the happier our wait staff the happier our customers. 

 

 



#18 Jaymes

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 01:01 PM

So I was reminded of one of my most annoying pet peeves last night while eating for the first time at a local restaurant.

 

And that's when the server picks up the dirty plate from the first course (in this case a salad), and holds the dirty plate up toward my face and says, "You probably want to keep your fork."

 

No, I probably don't.  I probably don't want to take my dirty fork and place it down onto this table and pick up whatever germs are there from the previous diner's dirty fork, or set it onto this white tablecloth and leave an ugly smudge for me and everyone else at the table to look at.  And since I don't want to set it down, I probably also don't want to sit here waving my dirty fork in the air until you get back here with my main course. 

 

What I probably want is for you to take away this dirty fork and bring me a clean one.

 

And that will probably result in a much better tip than if you insist I keep this dirty fork.


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#19 HungryC

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 02:08 PM

I'm with Jaymes on the fork thing.  If your resto is fancy enough to have multiple courses, then you can buy some extra damn forks and bring me a new one with my entree.

 

RE: consensus:  do not scrape plates at the table, ever.  Completely and utterly gross.  Was sentenced to eat at an airport Tony Roma's earlier this week, and the very sweet, young, recent immigrant waitress collected our plates at the end of the meal, scraping the detritus from two onto one still sitting in front of me.  AAACCKK.  I wasn't expecting much from an airport resto, but if I hadn't been hustling to a flight, I would have made a discreet comment to the manager.  She was nice, but clearly had no training whatsoever. 



#20 OliverB

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 05:45 PM

depends on the restaurant of course, but let's say upscale or fine dining, my favorite waiters are never there unless I need them. That means, they watch the tables and look for cues (me looking for them, glasses half empty etc. Refill my hardly touched water glass it bothers me, leave me with one sip for 10 min, it bothers me. Half is a good cue. Same for wine and if I have a beer, ask if I'd like an other one. This can be done verbally or non verbally.

Do not ever ask me if everything is ok unless you're worried I find grit and hair on the steak the cook dropped.

Personally I don't care about serving from left or right and sometimes the layout of a place just makes one less intrusive than the other.

Be friendly, but I don't need to know your name, I won't remember it anyway (I'm bad with names) and chances are that I'll try to remember it, which is distracting. In smaller upscale restaurants there's usually no need to buzz around the room all the time, my favorite restaurant has waiters that really are invisible until needed. They are there, but not fuzzing around all the time.
Feel free to come with a big smile and interrupt with a necessary question, a waiter floating around next to my table waiting for that perfect moments is odd and obviously listening to our conversation.

Always bring fresh utensils if I leave mine on the plate. I'm not a fan of having 4 forks and knives crowding the table (old fashioned style but probably out of your control) but just bring new ones.

Excellent people reading skills are a must, I'm easy going but there are self entitled snobs and arrogant people, learn to read them quickly and act accordingly. I don't mind a little joke and friendly conversations, others do.
Make sure everything we need is there, water, drinks, bread (do not ask if I want more, bring more)

If it's not included, ask about desert when all diners are finished and the plates are removed.

Make sure drinks arrive very quickly. I've had my dinner arrive before the drink I ordered, food getting cold while I wait. Very annoying.

 

Do not ever be arrogant or have an attitude. Maybe a diner is in a fine restaurant for the first time, the choices of food and drink can be intimidating. Offer friendly help, joking with the joker, sincere with the old town judge. People reading again. Don't "I would not do that", "maybe I suggest x instead for y reason?" is better.

If you can afford it occasionally, go to a better restaurant and make (mental) notes of what you see. Not what you like, what you see.

It's a tough job, if done well it's very rewarding to the diner and I'd think to the server too.

Don't reach across the table or my face, do NOT balance full or empty plates over me, ever. I don't care how many plates one can juggle on one arm, I just wonder about the possible mess.

 

Hopefully you can work in a place where the staff actually gets to taste the food, at least occasionally. IMO important for them to understand the menu and options/combinations better.

If my table is booked for a 2nd seating (I miss the European custom of this is my table as long as I please....) do not rush me, either inform us right away (I can seat you but we have a reservation for that table at 9) or offer my party to "have a coffee at the bar" or something like that. I've been to restaurants where we were basically thrown out because they booked diners too closely. Needless to say I never came back. and would yelp about it nowadays. Of course, the scheduling is not your job, if that happens often, mention it to the manager quickly. If I spend a lot of money on dinner, i don't care if others want to sit in my chair. It's not a diner. There are better ways. Be up front if you see things going too late. If we're just hanging around after desert, maybe offer an espresso on the house while informing us that an other party has reservations for x time.

 

If you need to disappear for more than a couple minutes for any reason, let your colleague know, so s/he can keep an occasional eye on us and our glasses. Nothing is more annoying than a waiter out of sight when needed, except the waiter that constantly floats around asking if everything is ok. I know, hard to balance ;-)

If I ask for ketchup to put on my foie gras, bring it. (I won't, but you get the idea, unless my wish would set the place on fire or kill me, comply. Something to laugh about later once you're closed)

Anyway, just a couple things that came to mind. It's not easy to be a good waiter, it's very hard to be a great waiter. I doubt I could do it without murdering the occasional guest, so I appreciate it very much. and tip accordingly. Even if tip is included.

 

Good luck, you seem to be honestly interested in becoming a great waiter, good luck!

 


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#21 azmilsyahmi

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 06:55 PM

In terms of wait staff etiquete there's a lot to learn. My advice to my team is always what I learned from my mentors is

 

Service is

 

common sense- using common sense to what your customer needs or doesn't need. So you don't ovewhelm him.

 

attitude - an good attititude to provide good service

 

desire to do a good job- to havea stron dsire to do a good job. To make people happy

 

This is the basic of good service

 

 



#22 Steve DiGioia

Steve DiGioia
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Posted 24 February 2014 - 06:13 AM

mskerr,

 

Your questions are very valid but their answers may not be as needed as you think.  Yes, there are certain industry standard ways to approach a table, serve a beverage, clear a plate, etc. but what is more important for most restaurant customers is the overall dining experience. 

 

You, as a server, can't control the restaurant's furniture, background music, ambiance or even the promptness of food coming out of the kitchen, etc. BUT you can control most everything else once the guests are seated at your table.

 

Treat your guests as if they were a guest in your home, greet them with a warm sincere smile, as you would treat a family member.  Use your observations wisely and dote on them as needed, but never be overbarring. 

 

Your manager/owner will require you to set the table a certain way, to spend time upselling for a higher check average, that is understandable, but do all you can to ensure that YOU are one of the main reasons why the guest will return.  This is what I mean about the guest or dining experience.  It's how the server makes you feel.

 

After many years in this business managing a la carte and banquet staff,  I hire for attitude and customer service mindset.  I can teach all the rest in short order.  Good luck to you.

 

stevedigioia.blogspot.com


A 25+ year hospitality industry veteran, and known as “the ops guy” during his tenure at Hilton Hotels, Steve DiGioia has redefined the operational and service standards for multiple food and beverage departments for some of the best names in the industry.  His book “Earn More Tips On Your Very Next Shift…Even If You’re a Bad Waiter” is an easy to follow training method that can be used across all industries, resulting in better customer retention and repeat business for your company.  Steve also writes a blog focusing on Customer Service Stories and training tactics.


#23 gfweb

gfweb
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Posted 24 February 2014 - 06:25 AM

mskerr,

 

Your questions are very valid but their answers may not be as needed as you think.  Yes, there are certain industry standard ways to approach a table, serve a beverage, clear a plate, etc. but what is more important for most restaurant customers is the overall dining experience. 

 

You, as a server, can't control the restaurant's furniture, background music, ambiance or even the promptness of food coming out of the kitchen, etc. BUT you can control most everything else once the guests are seated at your table.

 

Treat your guests as if they were a guest in your home, greet them with a warm sincere smile, as you would treat a family member.  Use your observations wisely and dote on them as needed, but never be overbarring. 

 

Your manager/owner will require you to set the table a certain way, to spend time upselling for a higher check average, that is understandable, but do all you can to ensure that YOU are one of the main reasons why the guest will return.  This is what I mean about the guest or dining experience.  It's how the server makes you feel.

 

After many years in this business managing a la carte and banquet staff,  I hire for attitude and customer service mindset.  I can teach all the rest in short order.  Good luck to you.

 

stevedigioia.blogspot.com

My suspicion is that many restaurants do not train or hire as well as you do.  In many places there would seem to be no standards at all.



#24 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 08:04 AM

Wow, a lot of folks here seem to want to punish the waiters by docking their tips.  This is why I hate the whole tipping system.   I would hate having to be a waiter and having to deal with rude folks, clueless folks, nutty folks, self-important jerks, the whole panoply of not-so-pleasant humanity and have my wages depend on whether or not I'm able to live up to the bars set by each of these characters. 

 

Of course, waiters should do their best to be courteous and efficient.  And better waiters will learn the "right" way to do things and also develop those eyes in the back of the head.    The best waiters will make you want to come back to the restaurant because they have helped create a successful ambiance that you want to re-experience.

 

But punishing some poor schlub who's probably in a miserable job situation by withholding a few dollars from his pay packet just seems so petty.  If the service is really bad then the management should be consulted.  Otherwise, tip reasonably.