How is Everything? The 5 Most Annoying Types of Waiters

Categories: Top Five

Angry Waiter.png
Gabe Martin
We Houstonians love to eat out. Of course the number one thing we all want from our experience is great food, but sometimes other factors can affect our memory of the whole evening -- our company for the evening, the restaurant's ambiance, and especially the service we get. Having never been a server, I can only imagine how difficult it is to deal with customers night after night, some more demanding than others -- that post is coming soon -- but for now, here is my list of the five types of servers I've encountered that have made a for a bad dining experience.

5. The Salesman - I know that up-selling is how restaurants and waiters make more money, but if the bottle of wine I've ordered is out, please don't try to sell me one that is two or three times more expensive -- and yes, I really do just want tap water.

4. The 'Tude - Customer service jobs are not easy, and not everyone can do it with a smile on their face, but at the end of the day, it is your job. I'm sorry if you've had a bad day or that table 10 has sent back their plate twice -- but I shouldn't be the one getting the eye rolls or the aggravated sigh if I only want to order appetizers. The 'Tude is usually just on the verge of being rude but not quite. They make you feel as if you're not a paying customer, but rather being done a favor by having them wait on you.

3. The Speed Demon - This is the server that's working a double, covering more tables than he can handle and hopped up on caffeine and whatever else to help him make it through the service. He comes over in a mad rush, recites the specials like an auctioneer, clears your plate as soon as you've put down your fork and brings the check along with the main course. This is fine if I've got 20 minutes for lunch, but if I'm out for the evening, a whole three-course meal seems like it's gone by in a matter of minutes. And that is less than enjoyable.

2. The Cold Shoulder - More annoying than getting less than stellar service is not getting any at all. Someone never really greets you, you find yourself waiting for 10, then 15, minutes without anyone coming by. Somehow, the tables around you are being served, but no one seems to paying you any attention. Someone finally does come to take your order, the food eventually does come out, and drinks miraculously do get filled, but it's all after stretches of time and not without hunting someone down.

1. The Talker - I love a personable waiter, someone who is friendly-- but not obtrusively so. I can't tell you how many times I've gone somewhere, and by the end of the evening, I've heard the waiter's whole life story. I've even had someone sit down at the table. I don't want silent service, but I really don't want you to butt in on our conversation either.



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33 comments
gnadfly
gnadfly

The waiter who hits on your date

this article gas is one sided
this article gas is one sided

Dear author: you have never waited tables. You gave no right writing this article since you have never experienced the sheer joy of waiting on clueless customers like yourself.

Clay Wisner
Clay Wisner

Numbers 1 and 2... OH MY GOODNESS. 'specially 2. I leave restaurants who don't pay attention. If you can't even acknowledge my presence within 5 minutes, you have completely failed as a service employee. I get it, you're busy. So swing by and say "Hi, I'll be with you in just a minute." Or send someone else to do it. And for God's sake - LOOK AROUND. That goes for bartenders as well.

Christopher
Christopher

My last eating experience was at Bird and Bear last Friday for lunch. Packed house. Waited for my lunch date for about 30 minutes at my table. My waiter was a good one. Tall fellow who spoke well and loud enough to hear over the dining room rush. I liked that he didn't interject during those 30 minutes but just refilled my vodka oj when it needed refilling. When date arrived we ordered and still he was there, but not overbearing. Like one said down in the comments, he kept his eye on me. Funny thing though...he did shush his waiter in training when she started talking to my date. He gave his trainee a stare then a simmer down motion that I guessed was his way of saying step down and keep quiet. Food was delicious BTW. Seafood Paella and Shrimp Coconut Salad.

Michael Enak
Michael Enak

Please do not ask me how "we" are doing. Even worse: "How do we like our entrees?" You are you and we are us; the Queen is not present at the moment.

Thebakedpotato
Thebakedpotato

Yes, because wait staff can't have bad days, blurt out things that are on their mind, or try to make more money. They're to be held at a higher standard than the rest of us, which is why we pay them crap.

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon

Ah … the "tap water" scam! I drink tap water by the gallon, every day at the house. Also, I like to ask them, "Well, what do you cook with in the kitchen, and what do you make ice cubes from? Tap water—or do you use bottled water?" Of course, they cook with, and make ice cubes from, tap water. "So, isn't my food cooked with tap water, and once the ice cubes dissolve, won't my botttled water be 'contaminated' with tap water? Or are you saying the water you serve is not fit for drinking?"

Jesse Durst
Jesse Durst

Seriously? ... I'm not a server, nor have I ever been, but this is way too nitpicky. You are asking them to be nice, but not too nice, fast, but not too fast. I'm sorry, restaurants are busy sometimes, people have bad days. Most servers don't make much, so what do you expect from them?

purplepenquin
purplepenquin

It really bothers me when my waitress has only 15 pieces of flair on her uniform. I can get a cheeseburger anywhere, but I go to Chochkies for the atmosphere and attitude. 

WineLush
WineLush

I'm relatively unforgiving if I've had very poor service I don't return. Many restaurants dont invest in their staff. My last bizarre incident was a very expensive & posh restaurant where the waiter started after about 40 minutes into the dinner started saying "I just love you guys". First time it was kinda cute, 5th time a little creepy, by the 12th time it was full batshit crazy and I regretted using valet cause I started having paranoid visions of this waiter tracking me down & attacking me with a machete in my bed. No I haven't been back. I'm scared. The food was lovely though.

Helen
Helen

Most of the the time the overly friendly, upsell pushing, vigorous pre-bussing, specials spewing style of service is being forced upon the poor waitstaff by restaurant management, unfortunately.

Over the years I cultivated a service style that worked well for me and 99% of the customers who walked in the door. I was polite and pleasant, but not overly friendly. I kept an eye on my tables - their drinks, their plates, where they were in the dining process, etc. - without constantly interrupting them.  I would make eye contact with at least one person at every table at every pass through my section. If someone needed something, they could easily alert me - they knew they had my attention.  It's not necessary to badger your customers if you use your eyes. Some people are just chatty or lonely or like being fawned over or whatever. Those people are really easy to spot and accomodate. Main thing is - READ YOUR CUSTOMERS AND GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT.

Despite not agressively upselling or telling every single table every single special, I typically had the highest per person averages and made the most tips of everyone on my shift by the end of my server career. I made genuine suggestions based on what I personally liked and what the customer was in the mood for. That could be the $35 special, but it could just as easily be a burger. Sure, people generally tip a percentage of the bill, but they'll be even more generous (and come back!) if you gave them the experience they wanted. People can tell if you are giving them a genuine recommendation vs. trying to get the check as high as possible and they get kinda resentful if you talk them into the most expensive thing on the menu and they don't like it. Which is why this whole notion of 'upselling' is just plain dumb.  

99% of good service in a restaurant is menu knowledge and being observant. The other 1% is being pleasant and walking fast.

Erin
Erin

That's just how it is & you seem to be wanting the perfect waiter and that, you will never find. Maybe you had nothing better to write about & need to keep your job before you end up waiting tables? All people can change their own service with just a few words. Try that before you judge the wonderful waiters all over Texas. All you did was complain but very nicely. Next?

KAC
KAC

I've done all 5. Perhaps, it's good that I am no longer waiting tables. Probably wasn't my forte.

ShitThrowingMonkey
ShitThrowingMonkey

"Is everything fantastic?" or "Is everything delicious?" has to be the most annoying words to come out of a waiter's mouth.

And regarding conversations with the waiter, sometimes one can frequent a restaurant so much and be waited on by the same person so much, that casual conversation is just natural.  Melvin at Lucio's comes to mind.

Tyrone
Tyrone

 One customer tried to hit on my mother who is in a wheelchair, and has alzheimers.

Fucking bastard. He fucked her, yes, but it's the principle.

Tyrone.

douche
douche

Whatever you say princess. God forbid a server asks you how everything is in the wrong vocabulary.

JB
JB

Some people want tap water, some people want bottled water, some people want Pelligrino.  I've never interpreted being asked what type of water I want as upselling.  It's just letting me know there are options beyond tap water, if I were so inclined.  No waiter has every been upset when I chose tap water.

Laurie
Laurie

I totally agree. I waited tables for almost 5 years at a fairly well know Houston establishment while going to college. I always had newer waiters ask me how I had acquired so many regulars. I told them 1. It was by paying attention. 2. It was by giving a table good service after they had recently experienced poor service by someone else here or at another restaurant. They will always come back if they are confident you arent going to dick them over. 3.Own your mistakes. Dont blame the kitchen for everything. They know that is BS. If something is not right keep the customer informed and tell them you will fix it. They will appreciate it.

Also out of all of my regulars there were very few that new anything about me personally - the only ones that did knew because they asked.

On a side note - the first date I had with my husband he tipped very well. I could not have been more turned on than if he had slipped me some X. Guys there is nothing more hot for a girl that used to live off tips than you being generous with a server or bartender.

Ali
Ali

Erin, I'm assuming you're part of the "wonderful waiters all over Texas" and you're probably great at what you do. I've had some truly great service in the past but I've also had all of the above that Minh listed and it ruins my dining experience - especially The 'Tude and The Cold Shoulder.

As a diner - especially at a more upscale restaurant - I expect to be treated as though my patronage is appreciated. In a city like Houston that has more restaurant options than you could truly experience in a lifetime, it's even more important to give great service. I work very hard to make the money that I choose to spend in a restaurant just as I'm sure you work hard for your money. I want to spend it at a place where I'm appreciated and the food is fabulous. Great food is only part of the equation.I can name a few places that need to step it up in the service department.

Minh T Truong
Minh T Truong

I meant this to be light hearted...like I said I've never been a waiter but I have been in customer service and I know it's not easy dealing with the public...but when I go out and pay for an evening there are definitely things that I'd like to get with my money and efficient and friendly service is one of those things....didn't mean to offend anyone and I agree we there are really great waiters and service at all the great restaurants we have here in Houston.

Terry Alexander
Terry Alexander

So which of the 5 are you for this to have struck such a nerve?TA

Minh T Truong
Minh T Truong

Totally agree on both fronts...if you're a regular customer - conversation is natural...but I was somewhere the other day and it was just awkward when the waiter kept wanting to talk to us about how his day was going.

fortune teller
fortune teller

I've waited tables for a long time. I can read a person in a glance. Here is my forecast: I bet you that you are the person that wants everything on the side, you're heavily obese, and complain when your server hasn't been over in five minutes ( but you will say it's been twenty). Your self-entitled and annoying beyond words.

ShitThrowingMonkey
ShitThrowingMonkey

"I want to spend it at a place where I'm appreciated and the food is fabulous."

But not in a restaurant where they constantly ask if everything is fabulous...

Fuckyou
Fuckyou

Off with his head! How dare he try to talk to you! (Sarcasm)

Terry Alexander
Terry Alexander

My rule is after the third visit - and I have requested you after that first visit - then you are allowed to tell me you have a cat that went to the vet that day. Before that, all I need to know is when my beer will arrive and what my food options are.

TA

Culinary_Curmudgeon
Culinary_Curmudgeon

It's still better than "Everything OK" you get in most places; at least the more enthusiastic servers have *some* confidence in the kitchen.

Erin
Erin

So true but hardly ever happens & to me its no big deal.

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