helllloooo service industry… i’m back!

Oh I have missed the service industry. I’m one of those who is very much a believer of “you’re either service industry… or you aren’t.” Well guess what my loves… I am service industry there’s no denying it. The hours suck, and it’s hard work physically and mentally but there’s something so awesome about making others happy for a living that makes it all worth it. Well, if you get off on that sort of thing. Plus, it’s something new every single day.

Like today for example.

One of the endless forms of entertainment we have in the restaurant business is regaling each other with customer antics. And know that we do this out of pure love. We love talking about the good, the bad and the ugly, well mostly the ugly because… it’s funny. And sharing helps us bond, see here’s the thing about the service industry… we are a family. Sometimes even more of a family than our blood family, so how do we bond? Same as any other family… shared culture, history, anecdotes, etc.

So here my dears, are some of the things we share, and some of the lessons that you (if you aren’t service industry) can learn from.

Case 1: Appendage bragging.

The way to our servers hearts is through your tips. And your attitude. We are not going to fall for cheesy pickup lines or corny jokes (even though we might laugh along with you because… as I said, we work for tips). Take it from me, the following example is how not to pick up one of my servers: bragging about the size of one of your… ahem… less public appendages. Now there is nothing wrong with leaving your number for a server. At best you may get a call back, worst comes to worst, she or he will be flattered and toss your number in the trash. However, if you leave a note with your name, phone number and a Hail Mary shout out to your penis size… we are going to laugh… a lot.

Case 2: Girls… you’re just as bad.

Just because you are a girl, this does not preclude you from using tact with your male counterparts (and please, apply these situations to you as you see fit based on your sexual identification/orientation… we don’t discriminate here in the Say it with a Damn Smile world). So ladies, lets talk about how you treat your male servers. Trust me, I employ a fair number of attractive servers, both male and female. And because they are passionate about what they do, they are going to take the time to talk to you, and listen to your jokes, and smile. Buuuuuuuuuuuut here’s the thing ladies… attempting to monopolize my male servers time is not the best way to approach these things. ALL my servers have other things to do (and if they don’t, I can give them something to do) so please, talk to them, laugh with them, but do not, I repeat do NOT halt my server in his tracks and retain him at your table for 15 minutes. If it’s going to happen it will. No worries.

Case 3: If you want something free, make sure that the next table over doesn’t hear you planning it.

So this one for real blew me for a loop. Now I know that there are people out there who aren’t just trying to get something free by complaining to the manager. In fact, I’d say the vast majority of people just want to eat and not have to clean up after themselves. As I say to all my customers, I would rather them let me know if I haven’t lived up to their expectations so that I can fix it and make them happy than them leave my restaurant unhappy. However in this particular instance. I had a table call me over to complain about… well everything. I listened and did what I could to make the table happy, which included taking care of a fair amount of their meal. Less than a minute after they left, the same server came to me saying the next table over wished to speak to a manager as well. Now my first thought was “really… two in a row? oh hell.” Turns out… they wanted to tattle on their friendly neighborhood complainers… turns out that the three sweet (I do say that with a grain of salt) septuagenarians were plotting the entire time just what to say to have their meal “taken care of” for them. Seriously. Those devious little grandmas.

So there’s today’s lil lesson in humanity when it comes to your next visit with those who live to serve and serve to live. Don’t be these people.