Over the years my family, friends and I have all worked in the restaurant industry. I used to say everyone should have to do a semester of hospitality work to become empathetic with the workers and understand walking a mile in their shoes. Unfortunately, not everyone has taken that semester of working in the restaurant industry, so a lesson in restaurant etiquette is needed. Since I know so many people in the industry, I sent out a few texts to servers from local restaurants and this is what they had to say:
*The one thing all restaurant managers sent me was: If you make a reservation and are not going to attend, CALL. Even if it is only five minutes prior to the reservation, please let the establishment know that you will not make the reservation.
*Continuing with reservations: If you make a reservation for three and show up with a different number of people, you may have to wait for a table. It probably is a different sized table than the one that was originally held for you. Be patient and do not seem annoyed.
*A table of two cannot sit at a large table on a Saturday night!
*While Rockaway is a beach community, you should not be attending restaurants at night and bringing the sand with you. Managers told me that they find sand in booths, bathroom stalls and even sinks where people are bathing. “The sink is not a shower station.”
Unless it is a pizzeria, please do not sit yourselves.
20% is a tip for good service, and 15% is for okay service. Please do not take it out on the servers if there was a problem with the kitchen or the bar, OR if you ordered something that you did not read the ingredients before ordering. Also, do not be annoyed that the server has to charge for “extras.” They are extras and not included in the price of the meal and the server is just following what their bosses have instructed them to do!
If you are a person who scolds a young worker, some are as young as 15 years old, because you do not like a table or have a problem, you really should not be attending a restaurant. Grown adults should not yell at younger workers. Ask to speak to a manager and discuss the issue.
Do not camp out. Most restaurants are coming off of their worst fiscal year and need to flip tables. Unless you are drinking and/or spending money, you really should not stay for 2.5 hours. The establishment needs to sit new people. (I was told by a good friend this past year during limited occupancy: you gotta go. Your time limit is up!)
Please remember that most establishments are understaffed this summer. Have patience, be kind, chances are your server is on their third double for the week.
More to come next week! Too much for one column. Have a great week everyone and remember to tip your servers and bartenders.
By Beth Hanning