So it is upon us, the 2019 Mothers day, the busiest day of the year for most restaurants, there will be joy and happiness, but there will also be short tempers, overbearing customers, demanding customers and just down right rude ones. People demanding a reservation in a restaurant that has been sold out for weeks, but they called an hour before they want their table, or, those who think they don’t require one and have no understanding why there is a 2 hour wait, so proceed to another restaurant only to find the wait there is 2.5 hours. One would think Mom deserved a little more attention to her day rather than it being a last moment’s consideration.
So if your reading this, please keep in mind some of the following, and encourage others to do the same.
First many of those servers meeting your demands are Mothers as well. They don’t get a special day “off” they are duty bound to be there to serve. If you really care about Mom, care for her too, oh sure, your Mom is the best in the world, but to her child she is the best, and her child knows she is with you today and not with them.
An average server on Mothers Day are fulfilling the needs of customers at a rate of 1 every 2 minutes. Most will be very happy with that server as she/he complies with their every wish. Three, four, five, seven course meals are all perfectly timed, accompanying beverages are poured in perfect order while the smiling server turns to repeat the process at the next table. Your server is a communications expert, marketing personnel, fulfillment expert, comptroller, and a logistics expert, a multi-tasking professional, treat her/him as such. Server’s perform far above for much less than “other professionals” spend one day shadowing a professional server and you will greatly respect their skills.
Shortcoming may happen as the kitchen may be well in the “weeds” and has been for hours on end, yet it is not the chef that must endure the belittling of over ego’d patrons, it is the server, who incidentally had nothing to do with the manufacturing of the meal placed before the grumpy old man. She/he enduring the belittling with a smile, all the while considering what tables 10, 13, and 19 need next. Now, behind, they quickly factor what to do to recover the service on those tables. Oh, by the way two tables in another section think your server should be their’s as well, they don’t care for Suzie. Incidentally, snapping your fingers, or, yelling “hey you” or, flashing your light of your phone at her/him (they are not fly’s attracted to light) these will not gain you any favor with this server, as she/he is completing her seventh hour in a twelve hour day. You may find out what the “wait” in waitress really means. Staring her down has no bearing on the wait as well, the kitchen cannot see, or care about your glare, like the server, they are focused on completing a great meal, no matter how high the weeds.
While she may be a mother at home, she is not the mother of your children, restaurants are not playgrounds, and there is no place for unruly children to be let loose into unholy terrorism. Either they will get hurt, or, will cause injury to someone else, a server with hands full of hot food or boiling liquid is concentrating on the delivering it safely and not performing a juggling, circus act because some free spirited parent thinks little Johnny needs to be one as well, at all times children must be seated and control. A restaurant can be a great experience for a child, as long as parent and child follow the rules of decorum and etiquette.
As stated, many servers are mothers, and some are grandmothers, as they complete their extra long day to satisfy a new customer every 2 minutes, you should know they will go home exhausted, backs will ache, feet will burn, arms will feel like they are about to fall from their sides, and tears will flow, just because they are just as fragile as everyone else. This is when the “worst” day of the year hits them, their own children have been asleep for hours, a good portion of the daily tips has gone to pay the babysitter, and the sitter will get overtime pay as well. Your server will replay the day’s events over and over in her/his head, especially those of the difficult customers, trying (and failing) to think just what she/he could have done better in the circumstance. For many sleep is a long while off yet, some will get none, while others will require something to help them find their way to rest. Kindness helps the server sleep, knowing she/he gave their all, which most literally do.
Insanity is the rule of the day on Mothers Day,
Customer: “Listen Miss, I do not want to see raspberry jam portions in the basket of preserves, I don’t like raspberry jam, I don’t even want to see any”
Server: “do you have an allergy”
Customer: “No, I just don’t want to see it”
Server: “Yes, madam”
Now the server has to take valuable time to sort through a basket of jams and jellies, so an offensive raspberry one does not appear, this is but an example the insanity every server must endure. That little 1 or 2 ounce package cannot possibly harm you unless you open it, but for the customer’s ignorance the server is delayed is serving both her other customers and the over demanding one as well, while she sorts through something that is not important. Know that the customer wasn’t kind in her demand as well, there is little doubt that she spoke to the server as some kind of subhuman fashion. While over demanding people are an endurance test for most servers, the over demanding groups (teachers, real estate brokers, church goers, UEL, bank tellers, tour bus groups) can push the server to a breaking point (and often do, especially those listed above) then the server must find a place to go have a good cry to relief the stress and return for more punishment from the “high and mighty”, all the while putting the server and the kitchen further and further behind. Kindness goes a long way, groups tend to forget this.
Why cause the server to say “Are you kidding me.”
Customer: “I want the Salade Veronique, but instead of the chicken I would like shrimp, can you peel the grapes, and use sweet bell peppers, Hmmm, red ones, instead of the celery, and oh, maybe blue cheese dressing and not sweetened mayonnaise, and use rosemary instead of the tarragon.”
Substitutions happen on all menu items, and servers and the kitchen are happy to comply, but recreating the entire dish leaves one to just say “are you kidding me……of course……..not.” So don’t do it, if you do, rest assured there may be a surprise for you in “your creation” do your cooking at home.
So let’s quickly help you, to help your server, get through the most stressful day of the year.
The greeting: Hey everybody listen up, you’re not only going to get her/his name, but any features, specials, shortages, and other important information you may require to have a wonderful dining experience. Don’t make them repeat it because you’re not listening. The sooner you listen the quicker you can get on with your conversation while she/he performs those special requirements you asked for. Let her/him get through the necessary information before placing your special requirement, the more you interrupt the longer it takes for you to get what you came for, too much, and you may get what you deserve.
Beverages: why not have everybody order at the same time, all too often a table of four can keep a server running to and fro, just for beverages, “nothing for me” then a minute later, “I decided I will have a drink” you know you wanted one order it, it will save both you and the server valuable time. Yes, they are there to serve, but they are not rabbits that just run. While they run, left them finish, asking for something else while the server’s hands are full will only gain you a scowled yes, then don’t be surprised that is quickly forgotten, it is just courtesy to let them finish what they are doing.
Servers, most likely do not know you, if you don’t want something, or, like something, tell them, don’t expect them to know, they can’t read minds. And don’t lie, server detest liars, don’t say you’re allergic to something just because to don’t want it, just say you don’t want that item and order something else. Liars eat nearly the entire meal, then complain about it, when the server “table checks” that is when you voice the problem, while they have time to get you something you’re happy with it, not after you’re fed up, trust me, if you complain then they will be fed up with you, a resolution will be harder to come by.
Know what you want, close your menu and rest it on the table, this indicates to the server you are ready to order. Leaving the menu open, while you move on in conversation places a hesitation in the server as to whether they approach the table or not. The delay may be upsetting to you, but it will throw the servers timing out and cause service to less than what they would prefer to give.
So you have a reservation, great, did you make several others (just in case) don’t arrive late. Busy days, like Mothers Day, there is a wait list, a reserved table will be held for 10 minutes, then a wait list customer will be seated, you then become the wait list customer. It is not the restaurant’s fault you cannot control your time, no excuse, to the back of the wait list you go. Oh, by the way, see all those others waiting to get, you’re leaving will not be noticed, so no complaining about the consequences of your misdoing’s.
Mothers Day is great for families, large groups are most welcome, separate checks are expected, but let the server know when placing the order, she/he will place it in the POS at that time, afterward will mean a jumbled, timely process. Also gratuities are usually added automatically to larger groups, splitting checks is not a way to avoid tipping.
The “terrible two’s” and three’s and fours, keep children under control, we talked about this above, yet it bears repeating, and, because this is Mothers Days, dad it’s up to you to be in control, so do so.
Finally, and again, be kind, please and thank you, are still in vogue, empathy for very hard workers goes a long way, show your gratitude with your gratuity, church goers, forget the tracts, tracts don’t pay bills, they do fill trash cans, however!