|Inside a restaurant.Courtesy Picture|
By Jeff Kizzilah
- Be on the phone while the waiter waits.
The waiter is there to take your food order, and talking on the phone while ordering can accomplish two things at the same time. Otherwise, let them go attend other people or take a break from waiting for you if you wish to be on the phone before you order. Avoid turning the meaning of the word “waiter” into someone who waits for you, instead of someone who waits on you.
- Not know what to order after telling the waiter to come over and take the order.
This is separate than making the waiter wait around while you are on the phone. If you tell the waiter you are ready, and you start deciding what to order after the waiter is ready to take your order, you are actually wasting someone’s time. The waiter is paid to attend to you when you are ready and when you need something. If you are not ready or do not need something, the waiter can attend to other customers and things. Ever wonder why your food came out late? Some other customer made the waiter wait while deciding what to order. Very rude customer, right?
- Sit down, order free water and not order anything on the menu for a long, long time.
This point sends many waiters into a panic mode for a good reason. “Will they order? What are they waiting for? Will they get more people to join them? Will they simply leave in the end? Am I going to lose money because of this? Will my manager ask me why that table isn’t ordering?” are some of the thoughts created in the minds of the waiters by the people who sit down to drink water and look at the menu for a long time. Tell the waiter you are stuck and cannot decide what to order to have the waiter happily and honestly help you get something.
- Treat waiters very poorly in general.
I have dined with many people who treat waiters very badly. From having bad attitude to scolding waiters verbally and openly, many people have the idea that waiters are second class citizens that should be treated badly because of being there to serve customers for tips. “The waiter is serving me, and I leave their kind a tip. Thus I do not have to be nice with them, and simply must order them around.” It is one thing to realize waiters are being extra nice to get tips. It is a completely unrelated thing to make them go through extra stressful tests just to release any unrelated stress yourself or to feel superior.
- Blame the waiter for the bad food.
Many customers do not realize that it is mostly the chefs that make the food, and not the waiters. If the food is bad, it is all right to associate it with the chef and also the waiter. Sure, the waiter works at the same establishment and may represent the food too, but the waiter did not prepare the food directly. Therefore, if your food is bad, it may be all right to express your frustration and disappointment to the waiter. It may not be a good reason to blame the waiter for the bad food entirely, however. The waiter simply wants you to have a good time so that you can like them and leave a good tip. Blaming them for bad food usually only results in them hating both you and the chef.
- Give a very small tip in general.
This is probably the most important point from the perspective of the waiters. Yes, almost all restaurants pay the waiters an hourly salary. The waiters are doing a job and getting paid. However, many people leave waiters very small tips instead of normal tips. I personally am of the belief that waiters should usually not be tipped unless they do a very good job. However, some of the reasoning of many other people, including the reason that many restaurants pay their waiters a very low salary because of the idea of tips, makes me realize that this belief of mine needs more customization. Therefore, I recommend tipping the waiter more than just a small tip, if possible, when the waiter has done a good job.
- Get mad instantly over any sign of a mistake the waiter makes.
Food is a very yummy and risky business. Waiters have to take all the custom orders as fast as possible, by either memorizing the orders or writing them down somewhere. If the waiter forgets to give you water without ice or even gives you your steak well done instead of medium rare, simply point it out.
- Make waiters uncomfortable by flirting with them or making fun of them.
A lot of people do not have social skills, and waiters work in a highly social environment. When a waiter is flirted with or made fun of for any reason, that waiter is actually put on the spot in front of all the surrounding customers also. Such spotlight makes many people uncomfortable and embarrassed, yet many customers keep doing such a thing to waiters because of the idea that the waiter, because of being paid to serve and be a slave, can endure such treatment.
- Take out your anger about non-waiter related issues in the tip.
This is directly related to number 6 above. If the food was bad, some nearby customer was annoying, the seating arrangement was uncomfortable or the music in the background was too loud, the waiter probably could not do anything about such things. If you believe in the idea of tipping a waiter, realize that the waiter is to be tipped based on his or her performance as a waiter, and not on other things, even if they are in the restaurant. Only if something the waiter does is bad or has direct power over and refuses to fix that bad something, specially after you point it out, should you consider taking out your disappointment in the tip as a logical connection to dealing with the waiter.
- Expect the waiter to be different without changing oneself.
This is probably the point of all points. This is where majority of the people treat waiters and food like religion, expecting the waiters to either follow suit or get burnt. Instead, the customers should communicate with the waiter and arrive at a compromise. If the waiter is acting rude, tell them they are rude by being nice yourself and let them know you would like them to be different. If you do not want to be bothered by the waiter while you eat, let them know about it too. Bring up your preferences or observations in front of the waiter, if they bother you or if you think they can help your experience, while also considering the actual preferences or comfortableness of the waiter.
How do you or your customers behave at restaurants?
Are you a customer yourself? Have you noticed any customers with the above trends? Have you done any of the other things yourself, maybe for the reasons listed above, or maybe for some other reasons? What do you think of the customers who do any of the above things? Do you treat your waiter nicely? Do you blame your waiter for any bad food? Have you seen customers make fun of or flirt with waiters, thus making them uncomfortable?