Five things to consider when you’re out to eat

Kinley Hamilton, Reporter

Working in the food service industry as a server is exciting, but also challenging. As an extrovert I love working with other people that share my big personality and interacting with pleasant guests who brighten up my long shifts. Occasionally there are guests who can ruin my whole shift in one short, rude interaction. If you are one of these impolite guests, here are five tips to help treat your server like they are a human being.

Have a positive attitude before ordering

If you go into your night out with a positive attitude, it will not only improve your mood, but the mood of your server. It’s simple and easy to at least try to have a positive mindset before going to dinner. If you’re happy then your server will be happy and you’ll both have a pleasant interaction. Negativity can ruin both of your experiences and it creates an awkward atmosphere for the rest of your meal.

Treat them like you’d treat your grandma

When your grandma serves you a home cooked meal at a family gathering or even when you stop by to visit, would you shout at her if she makes a mistake? Most people wouldn’t even give their grandma a cross look. She’s doing something for you to make you happy, so you treat her with kindness and show her gratitude, and you should treat your server the same way. They are working to make sure you have a pleasant evening and enjoy a good meal, so even a simple look of acknowledgement goes a long way. Also, if your server does make a mistake and gives you their apologies, the polite thing to do is accept their apology instead of scoffing and dismissing them like they mean nothing to the world.

If you can’t afford to tip, don’t go out to eat

In the United States the starting pay for most servers is $2.16 to $11.17, and are expected to successfully live off of such a low income. If you’re going out to eat, tip your server at least 15% and if you can’t afford to tip then you probably shouldn’t even be going out to eat. Save your money, and your server’s time, by having a meal at home that night. Then, keep collecting your money so when you do have enough for a night out, you’ll have a little extra to tip your server with. It’s the polite thing to do when they have provided you with a service to improve your night out.

Be patient

In most situations, your server is tasked with multiple things at once and is expected to get these tasks done as quickly as possible. If your server is away from your table longer than your liking, politely get the attention of another server and ask for their service, again, in a polite manner. Try to avoid groaning and whining loudly to get their attention, or yelling at them from across the room. If you stick to patiently waiting, nine times out of ten your server will shortly be back at your table and offer their apologies and continue with their service.

Say thank you more times than you’d think

Most children learn the importance of manners at a young age. They are at least taught to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when asking for and receiving something. Unfortunately, as some people grow up they forget these lessons or think that as an adult, manners simply don’t apply to them. This mindset is disrespectful to anyone, including your server. If you think about it, your server is doing you a favor by taking your order and serving your food and drink, almost literally, directly in your lap. A simple ‘thank you’ really goes a long way in improving your server’s mood. Overall, being a nice person is the best way to go when you’re out to eat.