To Wait or Not to Wait

I have often struggled with wait staff issues in restaurants. It’s a freaking hard job and one I have done myself. Most people are extremely rude and under tip. It can be a thankless job, the cooks can treat you badly and the busers can take your tips behind your back. However, a properly trained waiter can make a huge difference to the whole dining experience. We live in a small city, Grants Pass, Oregon, that is not known for its culinary delights nor its friendly or efficient wait staff.

My rants and one or two raves to share:

On ordering~

I appreciate when a waiter acknowledges our table right way even though he or she is busy. I hate to see waiters fly by you without making eye contact or actually going out of their way to avoid eye contact.

I really appreciate when a waiter tells me what is NOT available on the menu as they hand you the menu. Not after you have hemmed and hawed and made your final decision. This happens way too often.

I like a waiter that knows the menu. If I want to ask if a dish with chicken is really chicken or pressed chicken nugget chicken, they should know the answer to that. Not just assume it’s real. I’ve gotten mislead several times over that. Same thing with nuts. I hate nuts. A good waiter should know if something has nuts or not.

I hate a waiter that sighs when you ask for something.

On beverages~ (can you tell I like iced tea?)

I like when a waiter asks if you like lemon in your tea before they bring it to you. Not a fan of the lemon in tea.

I hate when a waiter refills your tea glass with warm tea and does not offer to bring you more ice. It’s called ICED tea people.

I hate to see a waiter pour from a pitcher of tea or water with their thumbs/fingers inside the pitcher.

I hate when a waitress can not see that your glass has someone else’s lip stick on the rim and then when you mention it says “it’s been through the dishwasher so it’s been sterilized.”

Asking for decaf coffee and getting caffinated with refill.

Asking for milk, “can I please get that when my breakfast arrives?” and then forgetting to bring it.

On serving~

I like a waiter that is attentive but not over powering. Any waiter that takes your order, brings your food to your table and then your check 20 minutes later, could care less if you’re there or not. No water or beverage refills, no checking to see if you need anything … nothing.

A good waiter should know what dish goes with what person. This just happened at a very nice restaurant. There were only three tables occupied in the entire room and the waitress could not remember what I had and what my friend had. She left it to us to switch places.

I love a waiter that has a good sense of humor. There is one particular waitress in town that pegged my husband’s personality right off the bat. He finally met his match … she got him good! I like that. She got a big tip from me.

I hate when wait staff vacuums around you while you are eating.

I think the wait staff should strive to be consistent. In other words, I’m served my dish and not offered fresh ground pepper. A few minutes later I see them doing the fresh ground pepper thing for someone else.

Extra touches I love that are rare to find … bringing extra napkins without having to ask. Asking if you prefer your dressing on the side. Asking if you want separate checks with out making a huge ordeal out of it. Making a true suggestion of “what’s good on the menu tonight?” instead of saying “everything on the menu is good”.

On saying goodbye~

A good waiter should never take your payment to the register and ask “Do you need change back?” You should always bring change back and never assume what is left over is for you.

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