Jobs. I began babysitting when I was about 12. Then babies turned into neighbor’s pets, which turned into a book store, which turned into a J. Crew, then ultimately turned into food. Once college started and I realized I didn’t care to sort books, or “fashion fold” 150 dollar cardigans, I got a restaurant job. I’ve worked in “food services” for about 3 years now. Host. Server. Baker. OK, baker’s assistant. Yeesh. Even though there are plenty of other people who have committed more time and energy to this line of work, I have been witness to/involved firsthand in The Bad Customer. TBC (for short) is inevitable. Once you’ve encountered your first TBC, or perhaps, table of TBC’s, it’s like being awarded a Purple Heart. We all feel the pain of being yelled at over spaghetti, or forgetting to type in “no olives” for TBC’s salad order. The reason I mention this is because I have devised a crude list entitled:
HOW TO BE A GOOD CUSTOMER
(a commentary on restaurant dining)
1. Patience. This applies to before and after you’ve been sat. Please, when entering into a crowded restaurant on a Friday night at 8pm, expect a wait. DO NOT grimace at the host when he/she tells you that an approximate wait for your party of five might be close to an hour. Enjoy this time to get liquored up at the bar, check out the menu, and possibly share an appetizer. NOTE: Constant five minute inquiries to “check on how we’re doing” are not welcomed.
2. Remember what you ordered. It can be very frustrating for the server, or food runner, when a customer claims the food that arrived was not what they ordered. If the order is incorrect, the world will not end. Remain calm. Tell your server you believe there was a mistake, and if it’s true they will (should) gladly correct the order. A good customer can become TBC dangerously fast if it was simple forgetfulness on their behalf.
3. Follow restaurant policy. When you and your twelve friends decide to eat out, it is not unusual for 18% gratuity to automatically be added to your bill. Often the menu will indicate this, but if not, expect it. As is the case for splitting checks. When you’re seated, before you order, ask your server if they allow separate checks. Every place is different. A couple friends of mine, one a server, the other a manager, were ruthlessly harassed by a table of fifteen women when, after eating, discovered that the restaurant wouldn’t split their bill. cHaOs!
More rules to come, but I’m getting a little heated. Cheers to a snowy Tuesday afternoon and the cancellation of school!