There’s a reason why a lot of struggling actors and actresses take jobs as servers at restaurants: Being a waiter or waitress is very much a performance, one where they need to smile and nod and make it appear as if they’re having a good time and that the restaurant is doing everything in its power to accommodate you. But in reality, there are a whole lot of things that servers secretly wish they could tell you without running the risk of getting fired. Here are 10 things that your waiter really wishes you knew.
You Shouldn’t Ask for Lemon in Your Drink
Those garnishes aren’t washed before they’re cut up by someone who isn’t wearing gloves, then they spend hours sitting out in a tray until they’re picked up (again, by someone who isn’t wearing gloves) and put in your drink. If you must have lemon, just squeeze the juice into your drink, don’t plop the whole thing into it.[related]
They Really Don’t Want You to Order Hot Tea
Hot tea takes forever to make. Just stick with coffee.
Don’t Let Your Kid Order
They don’t have all day to wait for little Johnny to decide what he wants to eat, then ask him to repeat himself because he’s whispering and shy. Parents, order for your kids.
Don’t Ever Leave a Bad Tip
Contrary to popular belief, the tip you leave doesn’t go right into your server’s pocket. Most tips are pooled, meaning that if you stiff your server, you’re also stiffing the bartender, kitchen crew, and everyone else at the restaurant.
Don’t Ever Whistle at Them or Touch Them
Your server isn’t your slave. Treat them like human beings and you’ll make their lives a little better.
You May Not Always Get What You Request
If a restaurant doesn’t have skim milk in stock and you ask for it for your coffee, you’ll be getting two percent. If the soup is made with chicken stock and you ask if it’s vegetable stock, they’ll probably tell you it’s vegetable stock.
Make Room for Your Food
When a runner comes to your table holding hot plates of food, make sure that there’s room in front of you for him to put them down. If his hands are full, he’s not going to magically be able to move that water glass.
If you don’t want tomatoes in your salad, don’t say that you’re allergic to them, just say you don’t like them. Many restaurants take allergies very seriously, and will use clean knives, cutting boards, etc. in order to avoid any contact with the allergen. Just be honest, and you’ll save everybody trouble.
If You Don’t Like Something, Send It Back
There’s no reason to suffer through a dish you hate, or to eat three quarters of it before sending it back. If you take a bite and you really don’t like it, tell the server and you’ll be allowed to swap it out. If you’re able, pinpoint what exactly you don’t like about the dish when sending it back, so the server can let the chef know.
When The Meal Is Over, Leave
The more tables turn over, the more money the restaurant (and its staff) makes. Once you’ve paid your bill, take the conversation outside and let another party sit.