Wednesday, January 27, 2010


We've all experienced various dining situations in our lives. We've seen terrible service and we've seen the best. It's fair to say that our preferences regarding waitstaff are as varied as the food tastes themselves, but I'd like to offer this honest, albeit personal, list of recommendations for those brave souls who endeavor to serve patrons meal after meal. After meal.


  • Check on my table. Nine times out of ten, I'm going to be fine. I'm not gonna' need anything and I'll just thank you for checking. For me personally, this is a top priority of mine in dining service.
  • Be honest. I like it when you tell me what's good and bad on the menu. I like that you tell me whether or not my complicated order is possible.
  • Be patient with my kids. I know it's frustrating when kids are "ordering." They're still learning this whole manners thing, but I'm trying to give them chances to see how it's done. Your patience here means the world.
  • Drink refills. Vigilant refill maintenance will ensure a better tip, I promise!
  • Don't try to be cool. Don't squat down by my table or call me "boss" or answer every single question with "SURE!" before I'm even done asking it. Don't use a bunch of tired jokes. Just be normal. It looks better on you!
  • Don't give me too much information. This is tricky, because I know waiters and waitresses work hard to connect with each table. But personally, I'm not a fan of the four minute story about "One time me and my husband went down to the SeaWall and we had the BEST fish tacos there. See, his mom was real sick and we were down there for, like, 9 days? Every time I have the fish tacos here I remember that trip. It wasn't really a 'fun' trip, you know? But those tacos were really good...really good." I sincerely do appreciate waitstaff trying to personalize the experience, but just make sure it's not too much, too fast.
  • Don't sing or dance in the aisles or make ridiculous comments on the restaurant intercom. I realize that stuff like this is the gimmick at some places, but it gets a little embarrassing.
  • Don't forget to introduce the waiter you're training. It's always weird when you walk up with some guy or girl that just stares at my family. Take a second to tell us they're learning. It makes a huge difference, and I bet the more you talk through it, the more relaxed you're trainee is going to feel.
  • Don't be dirty. You know...bathe, okay?
That's my waiting do/don't list. I have a few friends that work in restaurants and I know that it is truly one of the trickiest jobs a person can attempt. You're working with tons of different personalities and values every day. If you're a waiter or waitress, let me just say that I applaud you for coming in every day to a job where you know folks will be rude or selfish or unfair to you. Thank you for trying to be awesome at your job anyway!

What about the Todd Blog readers? What's in your Waiter Do/Don't List? Comment below!