Dining etiquette: Why you should be polite to your waitress

Enjoying a nice, relaxing and delicious dinner is a favorite pastime of many. A couple’s first date often involves a nice dinner at a restaurant. Celebrations, such as birthdays and anniversaries oftentimes take place at a nice restaurant. Allowing a day off for the cook, whether that be Mom, wife, or Dad, is another reason people choose to dine out. Regardless of the occasion, when we dine out, we expect that we will receive good service and a delicious meal. Many restaurant employees are involved in providing us this dining experience. However, the backbone of this dining experience is the person who waits on your table. This is why you should be polite to your waitress. After working as a “Server” (I prefer the title “waitress”), I realized that this occupation must be the most under-appreciated, underpaid job available. Though I try to approach every new guest with a positive attitude and a gleaming smile, it isn’t difficult to determine those certain guests that you know are going to be trouble from the start. You can see it in their eyes. The way they hold their posture. The way they look at you, as if you are merely someone they can bark orders at and run ragged without any gesture of appreciation. It didn’t take long to understand why the title “server” replaced waiters and waitresses. That is what we do. We serve the hungry public. I learned that when people are hungry, they aren’t exactly the most friendly and courteous. This shouldn’t give them a free ticket to treat servers badly though. It seems that servers get the blame for most anything and everything that might happen in the restaurant. It doesn’t matter if they are upset because they had a forty-minute wait, when promised it would only be twenty. The guest may be upset because they were sat at a table next to a crying baby. Or, if the guests idea of a steak cooked “medium” is a little less pink than the restaurant’s idea of “medium.” Whatever the reason, the server is the one who suffers the consequences. And by consequences, I mean “gratuity.” First of all, the server is not a host or hostess. We didn’t have control over how long our guest waited, nor where their table was situated in the restaurant. And, we are not to blame for the steak not being properly cooked, considering we ordered it as the guest requested. My job as a server is to provide my guests with a comfortable, relaxed, and delicious dining experience. I believe I do an excellent job as a server. Unfortunately, at the end of the evening, my tips don’t always add up to what they should. A tip, or gratuity, can be defined as a gift of money given to someone for performing a service or menial task, over and above the payment due for the service. Tips are not required, but they are expected by many people in the service industry. I have to wonder if the public realizes that servers rely on tips as their income; that we only make around $3.00 an hour. When a guest leaves me a $2.00 tip on a fifty dollar check, especially when I have been waiting on them for over an hour, refilling drinks several times, fetching all of the “extras” they have to have immediately, clearing plates, bringing more bread, and fulfilling all of the many other requests they have, I become pretty disappointed. I don’t know how many people can survive on $5.00 an hour, but I know I can’t. I have no intentions of continuing as a server for a long period of time, but for the sake of those who have chosen to make this a career, please be polite and tip your servers.