Five Things Movies Always Get Wrong about Waiters

If someone ever tells you that the food and hospitality industry is nothing but an easy, know-nothing job, just smile as wide as you can and imagine that you’re slapping them silly at the same time. Being a waiter or server is not easy, nor is it always an enviable job. It is extremely thankless work some days and more to the point it is a position that is looked upon with disdain by far too many people. But it’s not always the loosey-goosey job that you see in the movies. Good servers don’t cavort about the place doing whatever they want while bringing their issues out onto the floor. At the same time polite guests tend to recognize that someone else is handling their food in a room that they can’t see more often than not, and as a rule you should probably at least TRY to be nice to your server.

It’s always important to remember that one cardinal rule. Don’t mess with people that handle your food.

5. Believe it or not, waiters are educated people.

It might seem like a job for teenagers and those that absolutely need work, but the position of a server actually takes a bit of skill and intelligence. Your math skills, memory skills, socialization skills, and a variety of other skills will be put to the test on a daily basis all so you can earn whatever measly tip the customer wants to leave at the end of their meal, perhaps thinking that they’re doing you a favor for your hard work.

4. Serving is not just carrying food to customers and taking food orders.

Too many people minimize this job without knowing what it’s really like. It takes only a small bit of intelligence to jot down a food order and carry a tray, but it takes a monumental amount of patience to deal with some people. The job also requires clean, endless cleaning, and more cleaning in your downtime as well as stocking whatever materials are needed. There is never supposed to be a moment when you’re not working.

3. Servers should never, but they WILL mess with your food.

It’s a health code violation to mess with a person’s food as you see in the movies but it’s oh-so-tempting sometimes. Having been in the business for almost a decade of my life during my younger years I could tell you stories of what horrors go on back in the kitchens of various restaurants, but I get the feeling that you’ll want to continue eating out after this, so I won’t.

2. Many servers actually like their job.

It’s not all drudgery and despair as you might see in some movies or TV shows. Sure it’s hard work depending on how busy the restaurant is, but it can be very rewarding as well. If you’re the kind of server that can work with a smile on your face and resist choking out difficult customers while staying chipper then you’re bound to win a few of them over.

1. Not just anybody can be a server.

This is one of the biggest misconceptions and here’s why. If you can’t handle people barking orders at you, looking down on you, and talking to you as though you’re a child then you don’t need to consider being a server. If you’ve seen military movies in which the drill sergeant is yelling at the recruits then, well, maybe it’s not that bad, but some days it’s close. If you don’t have the patience to deal with any of it then you need to stay away from this job.

Don’t look down on your server, they’re handling your food remember.


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