Wait staff …


Ok, so I was out eating dinner this weekend and I had some of the best service I have had in a long time. The place in which I ate was a bit confusing.  I guess the waitress was not the one to take the food order just the drink order and she was only there in part to answer questions. A different person the chef/cook I guess came out and took the order.  I only say that because he never really told us who he was other than his name which I do not remember.  When he brought the food out he dropped it off and turned and walked away. Not waiting to see if it was done properly or not. The whole this was a bit confusing to be honest.


But the waitress was great, extremely helpful and polite, very eager to help us with anything we wanted. Checking on different drinks to make sure the bar could make them then making sure it tasted right because until they looked it up no one had ever heard of it before. She even told us a joke and what made the joke so funny was the fact that she was extremely tickled (yeah I have lived in the South too long) by it and she herself could not stop laughing.


  “What did the stop light say to the car?” Wait for it … Wait for it … “Don’t look I am changing!”


Yes I know you just rolled your eyes, but watching someone else tell it that could not stop giggling made it really funny.


Then we got to the desert portion of the dinner which I almost never get with me trying to lose weight … but I had only eaten one other meal that day with me being so busy, so I had a little extra room on a cal count. I guess the servers here make the desert plates up themselves; she got super excited telling us how pretty she would make it and how good they were. When I ordered it she even clapped her hands and said “yay” and zoomed off like a little kid who gets to make something cool for mom and dad. It was actually fun to watch. And honestly she made the place worth coming back to. I mean the food was not bad … but it was not mind blowing, the salad bar that everyone raved about was well, just ok in my mind … the second person taking our order was a bit confusing at first and the menu was very limited. But after all it was a steak house and I was there for steak so what else would I really want lol. But had I taken my kids I would have been hard pressed leaving there without spending too much.


I think what a lot of managers and people who run places in the food industry have lost sight of over the years is that a server or your wait staff is honestly a touch more important than anyone else in the building. I would even have to say more important than your chef or line cook. I mean honestly, could any amount of good food overcome really bad service? If the server is just rude and sloppy and all things bad the food would have to be out of this world to make up for it … but that is only if that bad server gets the order correct. Managers … well they are the easiest person in the building to replace.  A good manager will know who to hire and who to put where, they will know who does what job the best, and will be able to put aside personal feelings and be able to get the job done. But even a good manager comping your food and not making you pay for anything will not always make up for a crappy server.


But a server … a good server can make up for a long wait, and can pick up the slack with bad management. They can make a not so great meal just a little better with honesty and entertainment value. A good server can help with a crying child, help you decide what you want when you hard pressed to figure it out, and a good server will be friends with the cook, the manager and the bartender.  So if you’re having a really bad visit the server can make sure that in some form or fashion it is made up to you. And normally they are the lowest paid people in the building. I am not sure what it is where you guys are but here most servers get paid is about $2.13 an hour plus tips … and well, not everyone tips accordingly. Now don’t get me wrong, unless the place is really crappy or the server just plain stinks then they do not make out too bad. But there is something else to consider that not a lot of people know.


Business being what it is has found ways of cutting corners and rounding off the edges in a way that optimizes profits in a way that keeps overhead low. In most places head count or your on-the-clock-employee is the largest drain on your money.  So why would you have a dishwasher come in early to help set up whom on the hour makes five or six more dollars an hour than your server?  So a lot of places have servers come in to roll silverware, clean and dust, scrape gum from under tables, fix salads ahead of time, stock salad bars, help with prep work and inventory. All of these things being done at $2.13 an hour.


Now there is just a little more to consider here.  Another way that businesses have decided to cut their costs is to dip into the pockets of the servers.  At the end of the night in a lot of places the server will have to tip out their bartender, bus boy, and host. The business does this with the mindset that all of these people did some work for that customer and are entitled to part of the tip. That is what is said, the truth is that by doing this the company can tell us that as an incentive to pay the bartender normally around three to four dollars an hour. And bus boys and hosts just barely minimum wage. Now this tip out is not a percentage of what the server makes but a percentage of their total sales and bar drinks. Now for the bar they normally only make them tip out a percentage of the bar tab not the total bill. But the others are a flat percent. Some places even make servers pool tips so that at the end of the night everyone gets roughly the same.  Slackers can sit back on their smoke breaks and do little while others hustle and make everyone else the money.


So just a thought, next time you’re out and you’re at a place be aware of how hard your server is working, and understand exactly what they have to deal with too. I know the price of meals can be crazy at times, but servers really look out for people that look out for them.


Smile … you should always smile at the person bringing you your food … I mean really, do you want to take a chance?