I'm serving today and it's a typical Tuesday shift, you know, while taking care of tables and making sure that they don't walk out without paying the servers are also supposed to make all endless salads that are ordered, get the bread, the soup, the ice, the glasses....well to stop there about the only thing we don't have to do is wash dishes, cook entrees, and seat guests. I will also cop to not being on my A-game today...not that I was horrible, I wasn't but I was definitely struggling when I don't feel I should have been.
So, like I said, I was serving today and just kept getting the triple stagger...you know, you get one table go get their drinks and as you come out you have another table, so you go get those drinks and maybe this time make it aaaaallllll the way to the kitchen (if your lucky) to get salads/soup/bread/or some combination there of, and when you get back there is another table for you to greet. And of course with this being skeleton crew day you don't ring any of the food or drinks you just got in before you get them to the table...no you do this after because your the one having to make the shit you need to get the tables started. In this whole fuck-me-why-did-I-forget-this-about-Tuesday-morning-shifts day I get a 5 top. I go up to greet them and go through the spiel. Anyways long story short, everything about this table seemed to take way longer than it would any other day of the week...getting the glasses together for their drinks, getting their orders (because "yes we're ready...oh I'll um, can you tell me about this, um...etc) so when I go to the kitchen we're out of 3 of our 4 soups and of course the soup I need is the one that takes the longest of those 3. I called for soup and made the salads I needed for that table and a different table (aren't I efficient, taking care of multiple tables...jeez, it's almost like I've done this a million times or something) and getting the bread (that I get to refill because by golly we're out) so that process has taken me maybe 3-5 minutes and the soups still haven't made an appearance. I go to the back of the kitchen and none of them are made...I
After two trips around my section the 5 flag me down:
Lady in seat 2: "Um, are we going to get our soups??"
Me: "Well, since this gentleman ordered an entree I must have mistakenly assumed that you would all like to eat together....would you like me to go ahead and bring out soups?"
Guy in seat 1: "Yes, if you don't mind that would be great, thanks"
Me: "Sir, would you like another soup as you wait on your entree?"
Guy in seat 4: "Yes that would be great"
and the whole time I'm at the table the lady is just letting out sighs like I'm putting her out by not jumping to her whiny command (bitch, I'm a server not a servant and also already told you that your soup would be ready by the time his entree was done)...really had it not been for her the whole table would have been fantastic...or at least a normal table, but every time I stopped by I had to interrupt her if I had questions for anyone (she was also the one who was "ready" to order). Fast forward to one of the trips to the kitchen where I'm getting refill salads for the 5 and waiting on my manager to get some non-burnt bread for us, and while I'm getting my bread refills the manager has gone out to the floor and made her way to the 5 who is evidently complaining that I'm taking too long and that they need refill of (everything I guess). So I'm at the table passing out their bread and salad when manager comes back by with soups and a second salad. I tell her (the manager) thanks for the soups and that this was the table she was helping me about 20 seconds ago with in the kitchen. I proceed to drop everything off and prebus what I can--before I walk back to the kitchen again I specifically stop at this table and make sure they are ok.
However, what do they tell the manager? That service is taking too long and that they aren't happy...Wait, what? Evidently, in the 5 seconds between me leaving my section and the manager coming through they have chugged all their soups (again) and one lady somehow hadn't gotten a refill on the one she wanted. Um, first when I left everyone still had full bowls of soup. And the one lady who hadn't gotten a refill hadn't gotten one because, yes you guessed it she still had a full bowl....I go out there and everybody is completely hunky-dorie and not a word (or gesture) to signify that they are unhappy in any way.
In the end they are offered desserts (which 3 accept), still tip me 20%, and the manager decides that I had been doing everything right and that I could with what was going on.
And now....How The Little Things Make A Difference:
Having eye contact made when you are speaking with your server
This way we know you can see that we are humans, and have some sort of value in this slice of your life-time
Saying please and thank you
Really, this just proves that you have manners and that again you value us as people
Using our name
No, don't use it as the period of your sentences...that shit is annoying, but I won't object if you use it a couple of times...like at the end of the meal when I'm thanking you for coming and you say "thanks for lunch it was really good, A" or some such sentiment. It gives me this warm feeling inside that I think most people call "humanity" ...or something.
Teaching your offspring manners
It makes me truly want to interact with your kiddos and grandkiddos when they are polite and well behaved...and is a lesson that all too many parents don't want to teach their crotchspring
Combine all of these and I will not only go above and beyond to ensure your meal exceeds you expectations but I will also be sincere when I interact with you at any time this visit but especially when I say "Please, come back and see me any time, it will be a pleasure" (or some such farewell)....also I will go to every server in the area and let them know that when they see you to give you fan-fucking-tastic service and not just robot-ninja-service (not that I have to, because if you were to sit in their section next time the fact of how nice and sincere and how you treat us like people who bleed red will snap them out of robot-ninja-server mode)
And when one table does all of the above and tips 20%?...Well, I don't know which god I gave a quickie but thank you. Please let more tables like this come in and sit in my section.
And lastly, table who did these things for me....I just want to thank you the way I should have when you waved at me in the parking lot (in recognition even) when I was leaving today. If I had feelings they would have been warm and mushy from being treated like a person.