Source: Ahmed Ismail
GUEST BLOGGER TIME – My Name is Ahmed, although I have no server experience I most certainly have lots of experience as a customer in restaurants: mostly because I love food!
You received the order, delivered the drinks and served the food, now what? It is now time for the most dreadful moment for any server… collecting the bill.
The 2-3 minutes, when you’re collecting the bill from the customer, is always awkward. It’s a test of your patience and often consists of faking a smile to a table full of people that you may have heard complaining about the food/drinks. It’s a test of how well you can fake-laugh any corny joke that comes your way. Most importantly, it’s a chance to leave a lasting impression as the customer is putting in their tip RIGHT in front of you.
Below are a few tips for servers based on my experiences as a customer in restaurants:
How do you break through the awkwardness? Start a conversation.
There are many conversation starters that are applicable to all customers as they prepare to leave the restaurant. Don’t just ask something related to the weather, ask something that would create conversation and try not to seem impersonal.
“Any plans for this evening?” is a great way to pretend like you care. Whatever their answer is, you can respond with something from your own experiences and open up a brief conversation from there. Even if they reply with “Nothing”, you can say “Oh, there’s nothing I love more than doing nothing (insert fake laugh)”.
“Where are you guys from?” is only applicable to people that you can tell are out of town. If they’re wearing a Guelph hoodie, then this question is applicable. If they are not from London, this is a chance to briefly talk about your London experiences, a solid way to pass the time.
Where conversations can go wrong.
As a server, it’s important to never jump into a conversation that is already going on at your table. It could be personal and private, and you could ruin the vibe of their evening by simply speaking. If you arrive at the table and the customers are already chatting, always be cautious.
Avoid the rowdiness. People are already weird, and their behavior when placed at a table with their closest friends, is even weirder. As a server, you will have inappropriate comments thrown in your direction and you have to remember to try and avoid it. If it’s deeply insulting to you, you can always contact a manager to deal with it. Always remember that the opinions of strangers are not worth your time and that once you collect the bill, you won’t have to deal with them ever again (unless they’re a regular).
If you dislike the customers ensure you breathe, remain calm, and just wait for the bill to process – then you’re free! (until your next table of customers you hate).