4 Things Your Server Wants You to Know About Dining Out During Covid

Cruising into our seventh month of living through a pandemic, everyone is still adjusting to the new normal and wondering if we will ever have the old normal back again. Each day brings more adjustments we all have to deal with, but there are few things restaurant workers would like everyone to know before they go out to eat during these COVID days.

1.  We’re over it too. As much as you wish you didn’t have to wear a mask when you enter the restaurant, we wish we it even harder since we’re wearing it for our entire shift. We know how disappointed you are at not being allowed to have 15 of your closest friends celebrate your birthday with you. We too are disappointed that we no longer get to serve big parties in our section to help increase our check averages and make bigger tips. You’re tired of having your temperature checked before you’re allowed to eat indoors? Well, we’re tired of taking your temperature because we’re restaurant employees, not healthcare workers. You don’t need to tell us that you’re “over it” because everyone in the whole entire world feels the exact same way.

2.  We don’t make the rules. Servers are literally at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to creating restaurant policy, so please don’t take out your COVID frustrations on us if you’re unhappy with a new rule or regulation. Yelling at an 18-year-old waitress who is trying to serve you steak au poivre and scalloped potatoes isn’t going to change a mandate that came from a restaurant manager, a district manager, or the governor of your state. Empty tables in a restaurant doesn’t mean you can be seated right away if the restaurant is only at 25% capacity. Believe me, it’s not our rule and 25% capacity means we’re taking a substantial pay cut. It also helps keep us safe, but don’t be mad at us for enforcing rules we didn’t come up with. We are but the messengers, so please don’t shoot us when we ask you to put your mask on as you walk to the restroom. No, really, please don’t shoot us.

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2 thoughts on “4 Things Your Server Wants You to Know About Dining Out During Covid

  1. Chris Bass

    I saw this and wanted to share: When most customers go into a restaurant, it isn’t their intention to be rude to the staff. Surely there are some surly people who embrace their vulgarity and overall lack of manners, but a lot of times people can be inconsiderate without even realizing it. Here are things you’re doing that you don’t even know are rude AF.

    • No Eye Contact. Your server looks at you when they ask what you’d like to eat and by not returning the favor of direct eye contact, you’re making that server feel unimportant. It doesn’t need to be a long, meaningful gaze into the windows of your server’s soul, but a simple glance to let that person know they are being seen is greatly appreciated. If they greet you or ask how you’re doing and you say you want a cup of coffee without even looking up from your phone, that server knows right away how impolite you are and you’ll be playing defense the rest of the meal without even knowing it.

    • Ignoring or Disregarding Suggestions. If you ask what the special is and it’s not to your liking, there’s no need to grimace, roll your eyes, stick out your tongue with disgust, and make noises as if the very thought of ordering liver and Brussels sprouts induces your gag reflex. Just say thank you, and go back to the menu. Your server is trying to help.

    • Overstaying Your Welcome. Restaurants make money by turning the tables, so the more customers that can come and go during a lunch or dinner, the more money will be made. Sitting at a prime table on a Saturday night when there are other customers waiting to be seated is a no-no. It’s not like you need to rush out as soon as you swallow your last bite of food, but lingering for half an hour after the check has been paid is flat out rude. Quadruple that level of rudeness if you’ve paid your check and the restaurant has been closed for longer than thirty minutes. In these COVID times with limited capacity for so many restaurants, table turnover is even more important.

    • Assuming That Servers Don’t Want to be Servers. While it’s certainly true that a lot of people who wait tables are doing it as they pursue other interest, there are plenty of servers who are quite happy with their job. If you ask a server “what else they want to to do” or “what are you in school for,” you’re assuming they can’t possibly be content serving food as a career. Don’t unintentionally try to shame a server for being a server.

    • Not Valuing the Server’s Time. If you’re still trying to decide what you want to order, don’t ask your server to ‘hold on” while you hem and haw between two entrees. As they stand at your table awkwardly for five minutes, pen and order pad in hand, there are about a million other things they could be doing. Just say you’re not ready so that can go do one of those million other things. Also, asking for something every time they come to your table is a huge waste of their time. It’s alright to ask for extra napkins, ketchup, and a water refill all at once.

    • Touching them. You probably mean no harm when you gently tap your waitress on the shoulder to get her attention or when you grab her wrist because you want the check to go to you instead of someone else at the table, but no server wants to be touched by a stranger. Ever. Never. Like, seriously, don’t touch them. If you need their attention, use your words and say “excuse me” or if they’re across the room, use your eyeballs to make contact (Remember eye contact? It’s a good thing.)

    • Honorable mentions: Telling your server to have a nice weekend when you know they are working on the weekend. Snapping your fingers or whistling to get their attention. Sitting at a recently vacated dirty table because you want to claim it as yours. Telling them to smile more. Moving tables on your own. Asking to adjust the thermostat or the type of music playing. Talking on your phone when they are serving you.

    You never want to be rude to the person handling your food and if you avoid these pitfalls, at least you won’t do it unknowingly.
    Accessed on the world wide web 10/29/2020 https://brokeassstuart.com/2020/10/28/13-ways-youre-being-rude-to-your-server-without-even-realizing-it/?goal=0_69268eb282-02b1c5c39e-52929479&mc_cid=02b1c5c39e&mc_eid=839fe6c4f4

  2. anne marie

    been doing take-out/delivery from local restaurants (read: not chains).
    not comfortable going out to a restaurant yet with another COVID spike hitting PA.
    and the local spots are happy to get the business.


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