Of course, you think you're the perfect restaurant patron. You try to be polite. You tip according to set standards. What else is there to ask for?
Well, we've got news for you: There's a good chance you are still getting on your server's last nerve.
We spoke to one server at a local pub to find out what irks her the most. And quite honestly, it could be you.
5. Seat yourself when the sign says to wait.
You walk into the pub. It's busy. You are greeted by a sign, "Please Wait to Be Seated." Rather than obey, you walk past and seat yourself at an unoccupied table. Only problem: It's dirty. You flag down the server, "Hey. Can you clean off this table?" She quickly pulls the empty glasses and napkins that were left by the previous patrons, grabs a rag, and starts wiping. As she does so, she is squeezing between you and your friends to make sure everything is dry. And in the process, she is trying her hardest not to wipe whatever leftover debris -- drawn butter, ketchup, fries, sausage rolls -- onto you. It's just awkward and uncomfortable. What could have been an easy process is now a pain in the ass, thanks to you. You have already annoyed her and you haven't even placed an order. Next time, read the sign.
4. Force her to make twice as many trips as she needs to.
It's Friday night, and the pub is slammed. Customers are stacked out around the bar as servers dart through the crowds with drinks and plates of food. As with all of the servers, yours is also in the weeds. For those of you who have never been part of the industry, that means busy beyond belief. She is struggling to keep up on drinks, appetizers, entrées, or any other request that is being thrown her way. In the middle of juggling all of this for who knows how many tables, your friend asks for a drink. Specifically looking at your nearly empty pint, she asks, "Would anyone else like another?" You shake your head no. She politely walks off, orders the drink, and returns. By the time she gets back, your beer is gone. You need another. Yet again, she takes the time away from her other customers to run to the bar for you. Pull this again and again and you're slipping down the service totem poll.
3. Interrupt her midtask.
You're hungry, thirsty, or just dying to get your drink on. Again, the pub is packed. Servers are running from one end of the place to the other like chickens with their heads cut off. With arms full of heavy plates, a waitress is walking past your table. You stick your arm out to stop her. "Hey. We want to order." Normally, this would not be a problem; she would make mental notations of your order, drop the plates, and put in your order. You, however, want to ask her questions about every item and drink on the menu. Meanwhile, she stands there feeling like her arms are going to fall off. Do us all a favor and give her a minute; we don't need her fatigued arms to give out while she's delivering our lamb stew. If you have a million questions, wait until she doesn't have a pile of plates in her arms.
2. Have her box up your half-chomped burger.
You got your burger. You enjoyed it. Now you're done. "Can I get a box?" you ask your server. "Sure. Would you like me to bring you one or wrap it up for you?" she responds politely. "You can do it for me" is your final response. For real? She's busy. You're sitting there drinking beer. She's in the weeds. Having to carefully bring your plates to the kitchen and watch to make sure they are not contaminated by anything adds another couple of minutes to her already-busy rounds. Second, you've had your grimy hands all over this food all night. Is it really that hard to stick it in a box? She's going to have to awkwardly maneuver the food into the box without it making contact with her hands. Expecting this at a fine-dining establishment is one thing, but you're at a pub. You're a grownup -- you can put your own burger in your own box.
1. Tip on the discounted price, not the actual bill.
You came. You ate. You got that takeout box. Now it's time to pay the bill. There's a discount, and you tip accordingly: 20 percent. That should be fine. Right? No, wrong. Whether it be a gift card, a Groupon, a discount card, or even if it's $5 burger night, your server still did the same amount of work. She gave you the same level of service as she would have if you'd paid full price. She is now being tipped for less. Servers hate these discounts. Who wants to do the same amount of work for less money? No one. Yes, you got a deal on meal. Why not make it up by tipping your server well? She will greatly appreciate it, and she will take even better care of you next time. It might cost you an extra five bucks, but it will help save her from having a poor night. Tip her well. Who knows? Next time she could be doling out the discount cards.
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