Top 10 reasons why your server hates you
Elevate Research, a new start-up out of St. Paul, is launching an app that allows patrons to rank their dining experiences using customized customer satisfaction surveys while receiving real-time responses from management. Unfortunately, the app only benefits customers and owners, leaving servers without a say.
If servers could fill out comment cards about customers, they'd reach biblical lengths within a few days. We've edited that down and complied a list of 10 reasons why your server hates you.
10. You expect things on your birthday.
Happy birthday, person your server has never met. No, your server does not want to sing you happy birthday. No, he won't be making an exception and publicly humiliating himself for you. And since you asked, no, he will not waive the price of your slice of cake or margarita just because you were born once.
9. You modify everything.
Substituting fries for a salad is one thing, but when you demand so many alterations that you end up with a Frankensteinian version of the original, you should probably just stay home. Chefs spend long hours tinkering with flavor combinations before settling on specific recipes. Trust them. Plus, preparing your special tomato-, onion-, and olive-free meal slows down the kitchen, which is probably why you and 10 other tables are complaining about how long the food is taking. If you want a custom dish that's not on the menu, there's one place you can always count on: your own kitchen. 8. You demand for the AC to be turned down, the blinds to be closed, the lights to be dimmed, and/or the music volume to be lowered. By the time lowering the AC has any actual effect, you will no longer be in the restaurant. In this situation, your server will most likely lie and say she turned it down to provide the illusion that you are, in fact, the most important diner at the restaurant. If the music is too loud, it's not because your server is secretly stealing away to be the restaurant DJ for the evening. If any of the above is truly bothering you, tell a manager. Your server probably doesn't have much of a say in the matter.
7. You don't order anything.
Accompanying a friend to lunch on a full stomach is sometimes understandable, but when you and six friends take the biggest booth and only one of you buys food, you're effectively robbing your server of some serious dough. Plus, you're probably the type to linger for an hour over a two dollar cup of coffee, for which you tip 50 cents.
6. You show up right before closing time.
Coming into the restaurant 10 minutes before close and lingering over a long meal means your server has to stick around for as long as it takes you to close out your tab. And no, your tip doesn't make up for it. Since you're the only party in the restaurant, your server is probably making a few bucks off of you, which usually isn't enough to justify working overtime on a Friday night. If you're coming in just before close and are clearly the only party left, ask for your tab early so your server can finish closing duties and get the hell out of there.
5. You touch/snap at/wave down/whistle or otherwise harass your server.
This should be a no-brainer. And yet, we feel compelled to remind some people that your server is not a butler and you are not his millionaire boss. Do not snap at your server. Do not stand up and wave your server down with a napkin. This isn't the Running of the Bulls, though it could become one if you're not careful.
Most importantly, never grab your server by the arm, back, or ass. The former two constitute major boundary crossing, while the latter is straight-up sexual harassment. (Again, this should be a no-brainer, but there are a lot of brainless folks out there who still mess this up.) You may not realize this, but the restaurant is probably understaffed, which means your server is dealing with six other equally demanding tables and desperately trying to multitask. He hasn't forgotten about you -- you're just not the only person in the restaurant.
4. Your children are monsters.
Children are adorable when they're your own, but to your server, they're just miniature patrons who scream, throw food on the floor, and sharpen their crayons on the table. The food on the kid's menu is cheap, so your server makes less money on your table, even though your tykes built a creamer fort topped with sugar snow and a ketchup avalanche and didn't clean it up. If you're dining with kids, realize that they're a pain in the ass and increase the tip. Better yet, hire a babysitter.
3. Your "surprises."
Surprise! Remember that reservation we made for 20 people? Well, now there's only four of us. Surprise! I know I said I was ready, but I don't actually know what I want. Surprise! I didn't actually want this, can you take it back and make me something better? Surprise! Now that you've brought the check, we need you to split it 10 ways. Surprise! We forgot to tell you we had a Groupon and definitely didn't read the fine print, which means we'll soon be venting our frustrations at you. Surprise! We're tipping in loose change because we can.
2. You do any of the above and still leave a lousy tip.
Servers in Minnesota make minimum wage, so they won't walk away empty handed if you short them, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't tip. As a general rule, always leave 20 percent unless the server actually failed to do his or her job. Remember: Your server does not cook your food. If the food took a long time, came out cold, or was coated too heavily in barbecue sauce, it's not your server's fault. Generally speaking, they'll do everything in their power to improve your dining experience if you voice a complaint.
Also, many servers split their tips with bartenders, food runners, and bussers, so your server may only receive a quarter of what you leave. 1. You act entitled. All of the items on this list revolve around entitlement. Before ordering each of the 15 members of your party a glass of water they probably won't drink, think about how much work your server could and should be doing in that time. When your server is introducing him or herself, don't interrupt with your drink order. It takes courage to introduce yourself to upward of 70 strangers per day -- the least you can do is listen. Your server is a human being trying to do his or her job like everyone else. So don't flip your wig if something goes awry. As a wise restaurant owner once said, "It's just dinner."
Want to make sure you're on your best behavior while dining out? Don't forget to check out the 10 reasons why your waiter is judging you...
Send your story tips to Hot Dish.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Minneapolis & St. Paul dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.