Last week we mentioned the top four things a server must do in any restaurant. Now here's a list of what to avoid!
Be pushy, interrupt It's true what your grandma told you— patience is a virtue. Wait for pauses in conversation before checking in on a table or reciting specials. While it's good to be attentive, don't obsessively refill drinks or clear plates when other guests are still eating. It's good to be available, but more important to be discreetly helpful than annoyingly hovering.
Be hard to reach The other side of this coin is to make yourself available to your table at all times, even when you are completely slammed. When you're moving, your eyes should be constantly scanning. You can't be everywhere at once, especially when you're busy, but simply making eye contact with a patron and acknowledging that you will help them soon goes a long way toward alleviating the tension a guest feels when they need you and you're nowhere to be found— or worse still, they can see you and you're ignoring them.
Get defensive Dealing with criticism is part and parcel of being a waiter, and it's important to take complaints with grace, even (and especially) the outrageous ones. A well-run restaurant empowers its staff to take customer problems and make them right. You will never make any situation better by blaming the customer.
Reach way over a table This never goes well, and only increases the chances that you'll spill/pour/slop something on some poor guest, which could be one of the most humiliating experiences you can have as a waiter— so don't do it!
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