Top Ten Things a Server Does Not Want to Hear From Their Table

By: Laura Kelton

CHATTANOOGA (UTC/TheLoop) – In the world of fine dining, everyone is quick to judge, and many people give good reason to be judged. Over the past two years, I have seen and heard many interesting things. People never cease to amaze me. I firmly believe everyone needs to work in a restaurant at least once in their life, just to see what people can be like at times.

With the help of a few friends, I gathered some of the most common and outrageous things that we have seen over the years. Here are the top ten things a server does not want to hear from their table.

1. Can I have some more of the red sauce that goes so well with the fries?

  • Yes, this happened, and yes, it was ketchup.

2. What do all the numbers on the menu mean?

  • The only polite way I could think to respond was, “Ma’am, those are the prices of the items.”

3. But I ordered the ____________.

4. So much for no __________, huh?

  • Memphis sophomore Anna Tribo explains that sarcastic guests are not fun to wait on. “The only thing worse than that is tables that won’t talk to you. Nothing is more annoying than asking if everything is alright and being completely ignored.” She says that those guests are usually the ones to get frustrated when they do not immediately get their check, even though you are just trying to give them their space.

5. The price isn’t on the menu, so it’s free, right?

  • Tribo continues, saying, “People are so cheap! They will do anything they can to spend less money.” Of course they get upset once you tell them that they will in fact be charged for that item.

6. How can this be a salad? It doesn’t have any lettuce.

7. The check is how much?

  • This is a terribly awkward position to be put in. As a server, you hope to have a high bill in order to obtain a good tip. But in this situation, you realize that you can kiss your 20% tip good-bye. Jonathan Wilson of Chattanooga says, “Nothing drives me crazy more than when someone has a $48 check, they give you $50 and ask for change.”

8. Are you on the dessert menu?

9. This Caesar salad tastes fishy.

  • Also commonly paired with, “Are there anchovies in the Caesar dressing?”

10. I need to see the manager.

  • This is a server’s worst nightmare, generally speaking. While every now and then it will be to compliment the server, most of the time it means something has gone terribly wrong. On the up side, a manager smoothing over the situation may help the server in the long run. It is amazing what a discount or free appetizer will do!

Ever had a similar restaurant experience? Have an idea for a new top ten? Email Laura Kelton at laura-kelton@utc.edu or by clicking the link at the top of the page.

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