Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Just a Little Lesson!

Trust me, I'm truly enjoying being out of Corporate America. Truly. However, there are things I would like to let people know about the restaurant/bar industry that maybe they've forgotten (because let's be honest- 90% of us have spent at least SOME time in it)- namely a little etiquette. To be fair- I spend most of my time behind the bar vs. waiting tables but I feel that I give 100% fairness to both. I'm also not gonna lie, I've been guilty myself. So here goes, in no particular order:

* Order Where You Stay: Unless you plan on sitting at the bar don't you DARE order a drink at the bar and then sit at one of my tables. Really? You couldn't wait to the 15 seconds it will take me to walk across the room to get your order? You do this then don't expect service out of me. I make my living on tips. If you order from someone else and give them that tip, what do I owe you? Nothing. Should you be ordering more drinks and dinner this will be forgiven. Oh- but don't play the 'I didn't know you had table service' game. I don't buy it.

* Take The Menu: Please don't let me offer you a menu, you say 'no thanks' just to have you ask me what I have to eat and/or drink. What?!?

* I'm Not an Animal: Don't clap, whistle or wave at me. I see you. I know you need something. I'm getting there. This goes quadruple for if you are doing these actions while I'm AT another table.

* I'M Your Waitress: This means ME. I understand if I'm slammed and you see someone else I work with walk by and you may grab them. Okay. However, if I was JUST at your table and you 'needed' NOTHING, now is not the time to grab the first person you see to get something. Please also don't look confused when you ask me for your check and your waitress is 5'10'' and blonde and I tell you I will let your server know- clearly we are not the same person.

* Push In Your Chairs!: You wouldn't get up from your dining room table and walk away without pushing in your chairs so why do you think it's okay to do so in a restaurant? Your moms would be so disappointed!

* It's Not An Insult: Ah- the autograt. Without it, Tim & I would be destitute. Without it, some days it might not be worth going to work for me (Costa ships, hello?!). With it, I'm a happy camper. It's impossible to 'read' a table. I've tried. I've tried the experiment of 'maybe they'll be super duper tippers' and failed (family of 8 from St. Louis with the Mizzou visor? Even though you aren't reading this, I'm looking at you! Really? $5 on $41 after I spent 20 minutes talking Tigers?!?) So please, please, please don't be offended. If you normally tip 20% and you get gratted at 15%, add it in! This is our livliehood, not a game and it's NOTHING personal. When you ask me if tip is included and I reply, 'Yes- but just 15%' that's a hint! Who really only tips 15% these days anyways? (Dad- should I be looking at you? Please tell me no!)

* Either You're Ready or You're Not: Do people not remember hide-and-seek? Ready or not, here I come? Then the seeker came to find the hiders? If you SWEAR you are ready to order then hem and haw over the menu I may kick you.

* When You Assume: If you mean a virgin pina colada, then say it. You're at a bar- I serve drinks with alcohol. If you mean sauce on the side, then say it. Just because YOU always get your wings with their sauce on the side doesn't mean I know that. It's not on the menu that way! Good thing to remember? If you assume- you make an ASS out of U and ME.

* I'm Not in it for the Exercise: Yes, waiting tables/bartending is a great way to keep moving. It doesn't mean for you to order things one by one by one.

I've always had the stance, since my first industry job, that everyone should have to wait tables for a day. Doing it 15 years after I first did has only reinforced my stance. I'm super lucky to work with an amazing group of people. We watch out for each other, can complain to each other and can laugh about all the things that happen to us. I welcome all the comments I know this will draw out of other industry folk. Well, the few I have that read this blog!!


  1. That pretty much sums up Cubby Bear for me EVERY SINGLE DAY.

  2. I love this! I've been in and out of the bar/restaurant industry going on 30 years (ugh!) and I loved reading these refreshing (and age-old) true-ism's for this industry and what people should remember to do. I have to admit that for about 9 years I was not in the industry anymore and I fell into that trap of hemming and hawing...I'm sorry to all those waitresses and waiters that served impossible me!