• averycaton

Serve, and Be Served

A lot can be said about a person just by seeing how they treat the server who is waiting on them in a restaurant. 

Are they friendly, kind, patient, forgiving?

Hopefully, the answer to all of those questions is yes.

A viral story published by Business Insider about Walt Bettinger, the CEO of Charles Schwab, talks about how he likes to invite his job candidates to breakfast to get a better feel for who they really are as a person. 

Bettinger arrives at the restaurant before the potential hire and asks the manager of the establishment to please mess up the order of the person who will be joining him. 

Why does he do this? 

Bettinger says that by seeing how the potential hire responds to the mistake made by the server truly shows him the content of their character.

Will they be upset and frustrated or will they be understanding of the situation. 

Perhaps they will say nothing and pretend it’s the correct order?

Here is the full article if you are interested in reading more

This story is particularly interesting to me because service industry workers can easily turn into human “punching bags” under the customer-is-always-right rule, especially in the restaurant industry.

When receiving my first service job as a waitress, my general manager shook my hand and said: “Welcome to the restaurant industry where you must smile at rude people and your weekends don’t exist.”

I tried to grasp what he meant, but now I realize that one can’t ever truly understand the difficulty of service work until they are thrown into the lion’s den and are made to fend for themselves.

Though my time in the restaurant industry was short-lived, it taught me some very valuable lessons on how to be a better customer when I go out to eat. 

Here are some tips and tricks to make your next server love you.


Patience is more than just the ability to wait. 

Patience is to be calm no matter what happens. 

The restaurant business is one that has your server running around in a million directions while trying to remember what everyone has asked for. 

Put yourself in his or her shoes before letting go of your patience.


To be courteous in a restaurant situation goes hand in hand with patience. 

Being kind to your server and all of those in the establishment is extremely important. 

If the restaurant is obviously understaffed, assure your server that “it’s all good.” 

If you asked for a refill and it’s been long enough that you think they may have forgotten, instead of aggressively shaking your empty cup with wide eyes to hopefully get their attention, instead, nicely ask again for a refill when your server comes around to check on you. 

More likely than not, they will then remember that you asked for one a while ago and will thank you for waiting so patiently.

Establish Relationships

If you’re going to a restaurant where you like to spend a lot of time, make an effort to get to know the staff. 

The simple act of introducing yourself or making a classic joke like, “This is my second home, so I might as well know who works here!” is always light heartening.

When establishing relationships with your servers, they will more than likely help you out at some point or another. 

This could happen by them finding you a table when there is a 30-minute wait, or perhaps ringing in your drink under the happy hour price even though happy hour has been over for an hour. 

Whether you are given special treatment, or just giving your local restaurant a friendly familiar face, it’s always nice to build a connection. 


Tipping is a sore subject for a lot of people. 

In my opinion, you should not be going out to eat if you can not afford a tip. 

Service is a luxury. If you choose to go out to eat and to have someone wait on you and fulfill your requests all while cleaning up your mess and don’t plan to tip them, you shouldn’t be eating out. 

Servers live off of tips. 

To not pay someone for doing their job is ridiculous. 

If service is less than adequate, I understand  that one may not want to tip as well as they normally would, but to be courteous, never leave less than 10-15%

My preference is to always leave at least 20% for your hardworking servers.

Next time you’re out to eat, remember these tips, and don’t forget to let your server know how great of a job they’re doing!

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