Shawn, I really like you quite a lot, but I've got to say that you are expecting "special treatment" by the customer when you're saying you should not be expected to do more than "your job" (i.e. give the customer "special treatment").
If you don't like your job, don't do it.
Originally Posted by ShawnJ
A few things you should know or do:Seating
If you can help it, sit where the hosts seat you. Servers usually have "sections" of assigned tables that are filled in a particular order. If you want to sit elsewhere, most restaurants will accommodate you, but understand you will be screwing up the order. Either another server will have to take your table out of turn, or someone else will take that server's table, leaving him or her with one less table and forcing him or her to either take tables outside their section or temporarily swap tables with the other server. That is not always possible, so at best you are screwing things up and at worst taking away earnings from another server. Instead, first ask if your server has another table in his or her section that you can sit at.
This is a tiny tiny issue, at most. Out of 100 guests, how many ask to change seats? And in the game of averages, you will be the beneficiary of such changes as often as you are the victim. Better to give the guests the best service possible, and make them want to come back to your restaurant, even if that service includes "a seat by the window" if available. It's your job to make them happy, not the other way around.
Also, upon seating, if you tell your server you need to make a movie or some other engagement by a certain time, there is nothing a server can do to expedite your service besides recommending faster-cooking menu items, and be ready to take your order and give you your check as soon as possible. Generally appetizers and sandwiches cook fastest. Steaks, burgers, and things of that sort do not.
Um... I doubt anyone expects more than what you're saying. If we are in a hurry, we don't expect expedited cooking. We expect to be served quickly. And that's your job. If you can accommodate such a request, do it. Be aware that the guests will eat quickly and be prepared to bring the check quickly. Without telling you in advance, you might not expect a guest to finish their meal in 15 minutes, so you might not be as aware of their needs to receive a check quickly.
Kids are a server's and busser's worst nightmare. They take up valuable seating space, their dinners are cheap, and they make a horrible mess. Do not let your kids make a mess. If they do, either clean it up or compensate your server.
Expect to wait longer for seating, service, your food, and your check. Go in the order that your server prefers. Check-splitting is an issue with larger groups. If multiple people will pay, be sure to tell your server before ordering. Also, if you're going to split the check, please sit in some sort of arrangement that your server can follow. "He's with me" and "the one second on the left is mine" are not easy to follow arrangements when 2-3 groups are doing the same thing as you.
This is all common sense, Shawn.
20% should be a standard tip, not something awarded only for exceptional service. It also should not be given on a merit basis because good service in a busy restaurant is more dependent on luck than merit. Many people have at least some ethical tipping standard, but in the end they're all arbitrary no matter how consistent you think you're being. The only time you should deviate from a 20% tip is if a server willfully goes out of his or her way to make your experience bad. Server mistakes happen from time to time.
No. It has always been 15% for "standard" service, and 20% for exceptional service. And the US, as having a customary 15% tip, is the highest in the world. All of the sudden you want that to change to 20%, because "you say so", even if you just "do your job"? It is 15% for standard service. If you want 20%, you need to go out of your way. An if you are one of the jerk servers who doesn't know how to smile or address someone with respect and courtesy (or you've just had a bad day), no matter how well you do your job by bringing food and taking it away correctly, you won't get 15% from me. Smiling is part of your job. If you don't do it, then in my opinion, you are "going out of your way to provide a bad experience". If you forget an order, yes, it happens, but it's still your fault. If you spill something, yes it happens, but it's still your fault. There is no "right" to a 20% tip for poor service.
By the way, if you are being taxed on 20% of receipts, even though 15% is the customary tip, then that's an issue you need to take up with the tax board, not the customer.
Respect them. Do not come 5 minutes before closing and demand to be seated, or argue with the host that your watch is slower than the restaurant's. Restaurant staff have worked a very long day and should not have to stay longer to work around your schedule. If the restaurant is fairly empty, it's not economical for it to remain open past closing either. There are 24 hour restaurants in your area most likely. Go to one of them. However, if you do manage to get seated, then order something quick like an appetizer or a sandwich. Understand that nothing will be all that good at that time of the night. Eat and leave. Do not linger afterwards as people must stay longer to clean up after you.
If you are open "5pm-11pm" then you should damn well seat me at 10:55pm. It is your job. If you need to stay later than you would on a day when no one comes in late then too bad. If you don't like the job, don't do it. If I argue with you, then as a service employee, you should back off. That's part of what customer service is about.
The customer is not always right. If you demand a full refund after eating most of whatever you ordered, you will not get a refund. Restaurants exist to make a profit, not to feed the needy. If you do not want a refund, then by all means tell your manager about any aspect of your experience that you found sub-par. They need to know this.
If you eat most of what you've been served, then on your last bite find a cockroach piece in the food (and show it to the wait staff), I think you can expect a full refund. Have you ever had that experience Shawn? It can ruin your entire day at least, and linger in your memory for months. I had a full cockroach come out of a Ketchup bottle about a year ago (after I ate my steak but before I started my fries), and to this day, I am still sickened by the thought of refillable ketchup bottles. That's the restaurant's fault and I damn well deserved a full refund. Actually it was our neighborhood restaurant and because they always provided excellent service and I intended to continue to eat there regularly, I let it slide and accepted an extra dessert as compensation.
When paying your server, credit cards are faster. For me it never mattered whether customers gave me a cash tip or a credit card tip, but some like cash because then they can underreport their tips at the end of the night. But if you pay for your meal in cash, don't ask for change if possible. If not, then expect to wait longer because servers only have a limited amount of change on them.
That's an issue with the particular restaurant. Whatever you do, Shawn, I hope you don't ask the customer to pay exact change, no matter how inconvenient it is for you.
I'm sorry, but it really sounds like you are not suited for any job in customer service. To do customer service well, you have to enjoy the challenges, and the inconveniences you sometimes have to make to make the customer happy. It sounds like you don't enjoy it. You can be the most efficient wait staff around, but if it's not in your heart to make the customer happy, even when they don't always deserve it, then the job simply doesn't suit you.