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Irritating Server Habits


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All small things, but irritating nonetheless :-)

-Calling us "you two" or "you guys"

-Asking if I've ever eaten there before in a perfectly standard order-off-the-menu place

-Asking if I'd like dessert as a response to my request for the check

-Commenting on how much or little I've eaten (not because they are concerned it wasn't satisfactory)

-Clearing part of the table while some in the party are still eating

OK, these are mine. What do you hate?

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Great post!

I have a lot of things that servers do that annoy the snot out of me.

Servers that come to the table every three minuets.

Servers that wait till I put food in my mouth before asking if everything is ok.

Servers that let my glass stay empty.

I could go on.

The perfect server keeps an eye on their table without annoying their guests. I am lucky that the couple of places that my Wife and I eat out at, the servers know us.

I understand that making a living as a server is tough, and I always way over tip a good server.

Bad servers make me want to commit homicide.

Chicks dig wheelguns.

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Calling me "dude".

Sitting down at the table when taking my order. (This usually only happens when I am dining alone)

Avoiding eye contact. (If you are that shy, why are you in a person-oriented job?)

Bringing out your salad/starter and then bringing out your entree a minute later. Or worse, waiting forever to get your salad and the waiter/waitress brings them both out together.

The check comes to $14.59. You put a $20 in the check book. The server returns with a $5 bill and $0.41 in change. Ummm ... you'd better hope I have some $1 bills in my wallet or you're getting a $0.41 tip.

Just a few to get started. :hmmm:

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I admit that I'm a bit of a curmudgeon on this topic, but it irks me no end to be asked "Is everything tasting okay?" The topics that I might need to address with a server extend to so much more than just the taste of the food, and this question seems to almost intentionally try to preempt me from broaching them.

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If it starts "Hi guys, my name is Brian, and I'm going to be your server tonight!!!" Sooo many things wrong with that. And yes you can hear the 3 exclamation points.

Stacking dishes on the table while clearing it.

Waiting 'til I'm done with my cocktail before asking me if i need another. The answer is most often "Duh!!!"

Spilling something on the table and not cleaning it up. Like if they don't whip out a towel I won't notice.

Interrupting a story, joke, or laughter.

Checking back all the time/ Not checking back enough.

Not asking if I want dessert/cofffee/cognac cause they want to turn the table.

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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Hmmm, let's see...

1. Servers who say they will be right back with something they have forgotten (half the order, a clean fork, a glass of wine) and who then never return.

2. Servers who are overly familiar, joining in one's conversation, etc.

3. Servers who do not know the menu well and cannot provide information about how a particular dish is prepared.

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Servers with bad breath! It's only happened to me a handful of times but it can ruin one's appetite.

Believe me, I tied my shoes once, and it was an overrated experience - King Jaffe Joffer, ruler of Zamunda

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Interrupting a story, joke, or laughter.

I forgot that one. If I weren't such a nice person, I'd strangle a few of them for that.

A lot of this dopey server behavior probably stems from the fact that they never learned any manners at home and the chadrool who's their supervisor didn't either.

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This didn't annoy me, but I found it very unusual.

I was at some chain like Applebee's or something with 3 others and the server actually squatted down near the table and was below our eye level. (Odd?) Then he took our orders without writing anything down. Everything came out just right when the food was delivered.

Unusual, huh?

*****

"Did you see what Julia Child did to that chicken?" ... Howard Borden on "Bob Newhart"

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I'm going to list my issues from both perspectives... from a customer's point of view and my view from the kitchen.

Customer's Point of View:

1. Not giving my table any attention. (Checking up on my table every 20 minutes)

2. No enthusiasm. (Yeah, what can I get ya.)

3. Forgetting my order after I've mentioned it two or more times.

4. Not having any clean silverware for my table.

From the Kitchen:

1. Taking food off of the plates in the window.

2. Using my expensive knives to cut their lemons. (Without my permission)

3. Using my cutting board for whatever reason.

4. Complaining about a tip when we in the kitchen get nothing!

At the end of the day, it's all about good food!

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This is mostly aimed at the guy I had as a server twice this weekend at a local type watering hole in my hometown. Place has, up till now, had great service at tables and bar, so this was a bit of disappointment.

Plonking down glasses. If you spill my beer, you're getting me another, and I may just go to the bar to get one from someone who knows better.

Sliding anything across the table, i don't care if it's a menu or my entree, it looks foolish and makes me cringe.

If you're going to card me (being only 24 I don't mind this at all) actually look at my ID instead of just glancing down and saying "okay fine"

If I'm here alone, it is not because I want you to sit down and be friendly. This almost goes double for lady waitresses; while I don't mind the scenery, it comes across as an obvious attempt to chat me up for a better tip (which I suppose it is one way or the other.) If we are friends or otherwise acquainted on first name basis, this rule is relaxed for purposes of chatting or catching up.

Don't come back every third fscking minute to ask how my table is doing, especially if we just have an app and drinks so far! We're still waiting on our real food, just like last time damnit.

With the above said, the guy or gal that annoys me with attention will still get a better tip than the one that leaves me crunching ice out of my glass for moisture or staring forlornly at foam rings around an empty pint. This goes quad-freaking-ruple at a *bar*

If you're going to make smalltalk out of some idea of politeness, make it convincing. I *know* you probably don't care, but you don't have to make it obvious; that just makes you seem shallow or fake. Sure, have a good attitude, be enthusiastic, *please* be knowledgeable, but don't lay it on with a trowel.

Edited by Malkavian (log)
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being condescending

not knowing the menu

touching me (ever, anywhere)

forgetting things then acting annoyed when asked again.

If I place an order with a modification ie. burger no lettuce, I'd like the server to acknowledge the modification...

upselling me...

repronouncing words I've mispronounced " I'll hae the kee-no-ah salad" "so you'll have the keen-wah salad" it's embarassing... this habit natch excludes serves I'm familiar with or close with...

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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All of the above are worthy comments, and the incidents that prompt them happen with alarming frequency. Given the state of service, it's a wonder people go out to eat at all.

At risk of sounding fuddy-duddy, my favorite manifestation of the absence of professionalism that I see to be the root of the behaviors described in this thread:

-An unkempt, obviously hung-over server.

One of the fun things about working in the front of the house is letting one's hair down post-shift, cutting up with one's buddies after work. There can be a lot of steam that needs to be blown off after an intense night of service. That's great, and I don't want to discourage camaraderie. I like to drink, too. All I ask when I come in as a guest (or a coworker!) is not to know about it. The "chef's liver" principle: don't suck anything down that you're not prepared to suck up tomorrow. Amateurs.

Coming in looking like crap at 3:30pm is lame, as is being cranky-BS during the night's service. It all has an obvious negative effect on tipping; it can readily compromise the reputation of the kitchen and more. Central question: Why should one tip you if you're going to go piss it away at the local and throw it in my face with your irritability and erratic, undependable service the next day? I know it's hip to have a bedhead or something, but please, please at least rinse off between the bar and work. And get a coffee and a Gatorade. Smoke a cigarette and think about getting your groove back. It's just drinking. You'll be fine.

(End diatribe.)

The thing about complaining about service is that it begets more things to complain about in service. After a while, it starts to look like a Sisyphean task to do a half-decent job and not piss anyone off. Many people work harder than this in the business, and it's pitiful that they're set back by this self-indulgent prima-donna nonsense. It may not be the insidious norm quite yet, but I feel that a little bit sure is going a long way. I sure can complain about it, but really I wish I knew how to reverse the trend.

Edited by Megan Kathleen (log)

"What was good enough yesterday may not be good enough today." - Thomas Keller

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It may not be the insidious norm quite yet, but I feel that a little bit sure is going a long way. I sure can complain about it, but really I wish I knew how to reverse the trend.

I have a plan!

We must infiltrate Ruby Tuesday(the worst servers anywhere in my exp), Red Lobster, Applebees, Friday's & Friendly. All servers pass through these places at one time or another. Get these places to straighten up and the world will follow.

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repronouncing words I've mispronounced " I'll hae the kee-no-ah salad" "so you'll have the keen-wah salad" it's embarassing... this habit natch excludes serves I'm familiar with or close with...

Even worse, incorrectly repronouncing words I've pronounced correctly (generally happens with bruschetta):

"I'd like an order of broos-ketta to start"

"Broo-shetta? Sure."

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It may not be the insidious norm quite yet, but I feel that a little bit sure is going a long way. I sure can complain about it, but really I wish I knew how to reverse the trend.

I have a plan!

We must infiltrate Ruby Tuesday(the worst servers anywhere in my exp), Red Lobster, Applebees, Friday's & Friendly. All servers pass through these places at one time or another. Get these places to straighten up and the world will follow.

How 'bout it! I like a good covert-op. (Full disclosure: I, too, worked at Friday's for three weeks several years ago. "Sometimes you have to experience the really bad in order to avoid it" comes to mind.)

So many restaurants, such bad service. Eat more, settle for less. Was service better when the tipping norm was fifteen percent? Maybe it provided an incentive to do a better job. Seems a lot of servers think at least 18% is coming their way because these days folks feel guilty stiffing even a bad server.

All the manuals, training classes, uniforms, server reviews and tests in the world can't seem to give people pride in their jobs. One would think the microgreens would be micro-greener in local and/or independently-owned restaurants- sometimes it truly is, and one can feel it in the room- but all too often there's abject slacking and/or a "Forget you, because you don't know nothin'" vibe going on. Or the flipside: "How dare you, you snob/pretentious jerk! Making me work. The nerve!" It's well-documented; this thread is a great collection of evidence. The revolution will be served sans 'tude and fakery, at the chef's preferred temperature! :biggrin:

"What was good enough yesterday may not be good enough today." - Thomas Keller

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I was a server for 100 years (ok I am not that old but still) and I was obsessed with giving people food in a very unobtrusive, caring, friendly and sanitary manner (same as being a nurse only now I do it with syringes!)

I know folks don't wash hands as often as they should ..that is a fact ..a gross one but a fact ..so please if you are a server and listening ...

the 3 worst infractions for me are

1. please do not touch the rim of my glass ..there is so much space on most glasses that there is no excuse for touching a spot where my mouth goes! It makes no sense to do this and I have seen even "upscale" servers do this with out a thought

2. fingers in my plate...same concept you touch my eating space and my meal is ruined I have actually had servers take a finger and wipe something of the side of my plate before putting it down in front of me

3. like all of the above ..dont keep bugging me! Unobtrusive and polite is my idea of a perfect server

Thanks for the vent here!

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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1. "Hello, you guys. My name is (something like Nikki or Brittany) and I'll be taking care of you guys this evening."

I've been right more than wrong when predicting that whoever it is will be "taking care" of us.

2. "Is your food delicious?"

If I say "no", it doesn't mean it's bad, but it will probably bring the manager out.

3. "You guys are so lucky! You can call this number and get five dollars off on your next visit."

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Dinner out at a smaller chain that smokes their meat daily to celebrate my 26 y/o daughter's birthday. We had 4 examples of poor server issues:

1) Stated how soon our appetizer would appear. It's crazy to state how fast a busy kitchen is going get out a particular order. When it doesn't happen it becomes an irritation because now you had an expectation that wasn't met. Just take the order and don't speak out of turn for the BOH.

2) 26 y/o daughter's order wan't right, 20 y/o daughter only served one of the two things she ordered. The 20 y/o just wanted a bowl of soup and a side of cheezy grits. That's her choice. Had to flag down the server to get things corrected.

3) He asked if we wanted more drinks: my younger daughter asked for a cherry coke and my wife ordered another drink. The server immeadiately walked away before my older daughter could open her mouth to order the next drink she wanted. Server returns with only my younger daughters drink. My wife repeats her order. Again he's gone before my older daughter can order her drink. She finally gets to order her drink when my wife's drink arrives. Come on guy, look up, look to see if someone is looking at you since YOU asked if we wanted more drinks.

4) I placed the used appetizer plates, stacked, at the edge of the table so that they could easlily cleared. They remained there until he brought the check. This to me is hospitality 101. Don't leave the used stuff there if it's clear the patron is done with it. I HATE when I feel like the table is over-crowded for no good reason.

I left an OK tip but nothing showing that I felt I had been served well. We discussed the service on the way home. I just thought about that - service poor enough to create discussion - that's sad. We came to the conclusion that Ozzie was new to serving. Hope he finds his stride before someone with less patience gets really annoyed.

Edited by Porthos (log)

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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