Having worked at Westchester restaurants as both a waiter and bartender in the past, I have the utmost respect for those in the service industry. It’s a tough juggling act to maintain an extensive knowledge of the menu and wine list, to ensure the food and beverages are presented properly while also making sure your customers are content. That being said, its not freakin’ brain surgery. The best servers are knowledgeable, enthusiastic (without being annoyingly peppy) and are able to recognize the table dynamic in a matter of seconds. But even the worst of servers should be able to follow a few of the most basic guidelines as to not ruin a customer’s dining experience.
1. GET THE DRINKS TO THE TABLE
Anyone who has ever been to a restaurant with me knows this is far and away my biggest pet peeve. Within the first few minutes of sitting down a server should greet the table and take a drink order and I would expect to have the drinks shortly thereafter. No drinks and no server makes WWG an angry customer. Remember servers, drinking customers are happy customers.
2. OPEN THE BOTTLE OF WINE AT THE TABLE
I understand that at a local pizza place they may not go through all the proper wine service steps. I don’t even mind if they don’t offer to have someone at the table try the wine first to make sure that it is drinkable. My expectations are pretty low. However, I do not like when they bring the bottle to the table opened with the cork stuck back in it. Call me skeptical, but I have seen some shady things behind the scenes and I’d like to make sure what I am drinking is what was put in that bottle by the winery, not by someone in the back of the restaurant.
3. CONDIMENTS MATTER
I always try and order all the extra sauces and add-ons when the food order is being placed. Regardless, whenever I order buffalo wings with ranch dressing instead of blue cheese 4 out of 5 times they forget to bring it. Sometimes they rush right back to the kitchen and bring it out which is fantastic. But more often than not they completely forget as it is such a small thing and I am stuck staring at my wings for 5-10 minutes as they get cold and I get frustrated. The same goes for ketchup with a burger and fries and crushed red pepper with pasta. Call me crazy, but I’m not eating the dish without the condiment that enhances that dish! The condiment can be just as important as the dish itself, so having them come out at the same time or shortly thereafter is a crucial aspect of basic service.
4. WATCH THE SWEAT AND BE SURE TO PUT ON THE DEODORANT
As I mentioned earlier, I worked as a server in a very fast paced environment and I understand these guys are busting their ass. However, sweating and stinking is not a good look for a server. Even worse is when drops of that sweat make their way into the drinks on the table… gross.
5. THE FUGAZI KNOW IT ALL WAITER
I admit, I can be a little high maintenance as a diner. I ask a decent amount of questions as I am curious about the dishes and wine list, and am always looking for further insight from someone in the know. However, if it seems like the server is uninterested and is just an order taker that’s fine too and I lay off with the interrogation. But what drives me crazy is the server that gives the wrong information regarding the dishes or the wine pretending they know what the hell they are talking about. If you don’t know, say you don’t know and see if you can find out the answers. I am much happier to wait for the right answer than to find out later the immediate answers given were wrong, especially when a dish comes to the table completely different than described.
Some of you may read this and say “Stop your bitching and just eat the food”…at least that’s what my wife tells me. But when spending your hard earned money to enjoy a meal out of the house, it is disappointing when the simplest of things ends up ruining your dining experience.
Oh, and that’s not me in the picture above…but I feel that dude’s pain ;)