10+ Types of Customers That Waiters Try to Stay Away From
It’s thought that the most difficult thing a waiter has to do is to not mix up their orders and to not make a mistake when counting their giant bundle of cash tips at the end of their shift. It’s strange that people still prefer to work office jobs, when there is such a high turnover of servers and it seems like they make a decent living. Of course, as in any service-related field, there are a plethora of pitfalls in the everyday work of waiters. And there are certain types of customers that just add on to the stress.
We at Bright Side believe that any work deserves respect, and it certainly couldn’t hurt to care about a person who is directly responsible for the enjoyment you’ll get from your dinner. So we found out what types of customers make waiters more nervous and why. And as a bonus, we found an answer to the question regarding which guests are most loved in restaurants.
1. Sociable guests
By sociable we mean people who like to communicate with the service personnel, and who probably have the best intentions — like wanting to be friendly, show a sincere interest in the waiter, and let them know that no one considers them a servant. The waiter’s reaction to these types of people will be reservedly polite at best. And it isn’t because of a sudden attack of snobbery — waiters just have to keep a lot of important things in their heads while they are working. For example, the lady at the second table is allergic to peanuts, it’s time to clean the dishes at the fourth table, the couple in the corner has asked for a bill... And in these conditions, it’s pretty difficult to conduct conversations about the weather and their health. Moreover, elderly guests who are in no hurry often like to talk.
- As much as I like talking to you, please, don’t try to draw me into a long conversation. I truly want to be friendly, but I don’t have time to stand there and talk to you about my family and studying. © unknown author / Reddit
All waiters know that one day, they will come across a guest who has decided to come to the restaurant they work at, not to enjoy delicious food, pleasant surroundings, or good company. No, the point of their visit is to make the restaurant staff nervous. This visitor can’t be satisfied with anything — neither with the temperature in the room, nor with the quality of the service, the music, the cuisine, or the prices. Paradoxically, at the same time, they won’t leave the restaurant to find another one they might like, they’ll just spend as much time there as possible, basking in the attention of waiters and managers.
- A man came to my parents’ restaurant, and he made me go back and forth to the kitchen the whole dinner — first, the dish was overcooked, then undercooked, then it turned out that he had a gluten intolerance (he still ate a pie). He also tried to steal a bottle from a nearby table, was rude to one of the waitresses, and in the end, he demanded compensation for the poor service. © xJek0x / Reddit
There is nothing wrong with bringing the whole family (with children) to a restaurant. Typically, parents choose one of 2 types of behavior. Some parents allow their children to have fun in the dining room, bump into waiters, and sob over soup that is too hot, while they themselves calmly enjoy their dishes. Others ask their server to bring them a drawing album and felt-tip pens, pay attention to their child, and generally try to make them behave as calmly as possible. It’s easy to guess which type of parent waiters like more.
- A few days ago, a family came to our restaurant — parents and 2 small kids. When I came to deliver their order, I saw that the kids had gotten all of the sugar cubes out of the pot and were playing with them, throwing them at each other, building walls, and so on. My immediate reaction was horror, but the parents, seeing that, said, “Don’t worry, we’ll put them back afterward.” Wow, thanks a lot, so considerate of you! © AeAjnabi / Reddit
4. Greedy guests
Sooner or later, a waiter becomes a true master in their field — they don’t need to write down an order, they bring dishes on time and in the right cadence, and they don’t distract their guests, but at the same time, they care about their customers’ comfort. But all this doesn’t guarantee good tips if the client is a strong opponent to tipping. Their favorite phrase would be, “Why should I pay extra for their work?” The harsh truth is that waiters live off of tips — this is how the business model of any restaurant is built, and the waiters didn’t come up with it.
- For 4 months, a couple of teenagers visited us every Sunday, and they didn’t leave tips, regardless of the quality of the service. One day, my boss decided that she had had enough, and when they came, she told me to take their table and “do everything to deserve this 0%.” The next 45 minutes were great — I waited 5 minutes before greeting them and bringing them water. When they were ready to order, it turned out that I had no pen. After a couple of minutes, I came back to them, but when they were placing their order, I asked them to wait while I texted my boyfriend. I also messed up their orders, had time to play on my phone and let their food cool down properly, and then went on break. They said they would never come back to see us. © unknown author / Reddit
5. Indecisive guests
Among the many guests that dine at restaurants, there are people who place an order so undecidedly that doubts arise as to whether everything is alright with them. No one expects a customer to thoroughly understand all the intricacies of the cooking process or the complex names of sauces and side dishes, but, as a rule, a waiter expects at least minimal interest from the client. Unfortunately, a waiter may get an empty look with a tinge of growing panic in response to the simplest questions, for example, about the desired degree of steak doneness or about how the customer wants their salad dressing to be served.
- Please don’t say you’re ready to order if you’re not ready to order. Servers have a list of things constantly ticking off in their head that they have to do, but they have to stand there listening to your hesitation. Asking questions is a different story, but if you’re actively not ready, please don’t waste my time! © emcon353 / Reddit
This person is a very uncomfortable guest for any waitress. Usually, he comes alone, orders only drinks, and stares at the girls for the whole evening. If you are unfortunate enough to be his waitress and at the same time, are a pretty girl, then, most likely, you will have to listen to him asking for your phone number.
- I never call guys who gave me their phone number. At the same time, I keep all the receipts with numbers, they are something like trophies to me. The worst thing that can happen is a huge bill that has a phone number on it and no tip. Do I have to call you to get my tips, or something? © danam524 / Reddit
On one hand, guests from abroad may be a source of a headache. On the other hand, if the problems with the language barrier can be somehow solved, as a rule, foreigners turn out to be the most pleasant, undemanding, and grateful clients. However, waiters should take into account national peculiarities and not try, for example, to offer Italians pasta with a meat patty.
- I don’t know how many times tourists have come to me and tried to speak to me in German, Russian, French, or Italian. They get very surprised and even angry that I don’t speak their language. Some of them even continued to speak Russian to me, probably hoping that if they repeated their words enough times, I would finally realize that they were allergic to peanuts. © columbu / Reddit
Of course, restaurants, especially those with a romantic atmosphere, seem to be made for dates, sweet conversations, and flirty touches. It isn’t surprising that couples in love like to visit restaurants, but waiters are sometimes not happy with these guests. They are too focused on each other, don’t order much, and are in no rush to leave the table. If you add this to the need to turn away from time to time if you don’t want to look awkward, you’ll understand why romantic couples can sometimes be annoying.
- This couple sat down at a table, and the guy sat with his back turned to the center of the room so he couldn’t see when I approached the table. When I was about to fill their glasses with water, he, still not seeing me, suddenly asked his girlfriend, “Are you ready to make me a father tonight?” The look on his face when he realized I heard everything was priceless. © billabong2630 / Reddit
People who like to joke around with service personnel probably have never tried to see themselves through the eyes of a waiter. Believe me, at the end of a 12-hour shift, even very good jokes aren’t very funny, and there is nothing to say about the bad ones. Yes, waiters still have to laugh, even if they do it only out of politeness. Think about it, do you really want your sense of humor to be appreciated by people who have no other choice?
- I have been a waiter for 5 years. My top list of jokes is, “Can I get you anything else?” —"Yeah, a million dollars." “Would you prefer soup or salad?” —"Yes, I would like a super salad." There’s a few more, but I’ve tried to forget them. I get that the customer is simply trying to brighten their server’s day. I genuinely do appreciate the effort. It’s just that none of their jokes are original and after 5 years, it gets really old. Such a nice gesture, but it doesn’t change the fact that these jokes are terribly unfunny. © Cubs1081744 / Reddit
10. Rude customers
Another type of guest who can turn an ordinary work shift into torture are people for whom rudeness is the only habitual form of communication. Even before this person places their order, the waiter learns that they’re a “servant at a dump,” people who dine here are probably “poisoned with glutamate,” and that the owners “are absolutely crazy to sell food at such prices.” Finally, this question will surely be asked, “You’ll spit in my food, right?” Of course, no one would spit anywhere, especially since there are a lot of cameras in any restaurant, but this dialogue won’t do anything for the waiter’s mood.
- I worked at a pizza restaurant. Once, some young guys who were around 18-20 years old came to us, and one of them was very rude to the waitress for no reason. She got so pale, it was like she’d seen a ghost. Well, I found a way to teach him a lesson. He ordered a salad and tea. When he took the first sip, we defiantly laughed and looked at each other, and we did the same when he tried the salad (we had done nothing to his order, but he totally thought we did). So he blushed and calmed down. He didn’t eat anything but, in fact, he couldn’t accuse us — because he got a normal salad and ordinary tea. He left the restaurant hungry that day. © Overheard / Ideer
11. People of the highest class
The opposite of sociable guests are customers who go to great lengths to emphasize their superiority over the service staff. Actually, waiters, especially in expensive restaurants, already realize that their customers earn more than they do, otherwise they probably wouldn’t come here. But reminding the service staff about this fact once again isn’t the most practical way to get quality service.
- A wealthy couple I was friends with a few years ago offered to take me to a legendary, 5-star Italian restaurant in the city with my best friend and her husband. They offered to cover the whole bill since there’s no way my friends or I could afford that. I would have never guessed that my best friend would be so affected by the experience. She told the waiter she didn’t understand why she needed a menu when they should just be able to “intuitively design her food experience for her.” He said, “Very well,” took the menu, and came back with a plate of spaghetti and meatballs for her. It was so funny. © powaqua / Reddit
Bonus: Just nice guests
This may sound like a surprise, but tips aren’t the only way to motivate waiters to do their best. A normal human attitude works just as well. Believe me, during the shift, the service staff listens to so many unpleasant things that kindness and politeness turn out to be much more valuable than money.
- Be kinder. I can honestly say, if you’re a genuinely kind person and you are nice to me, I will go out of my way to make sure that your food is made correctly and is out fast. I won’t care if you want it made some super special way, honestly, I’ll do everything possible for you because your genuine niceness is such a rare thing in our job. © jeezlouise21 / Reddit
Being a good waiter is hard work, but it turns out that being a good guest is also not that easy. Tell us, are you trying to make life easier for your servers, or do you think that in a restaurant, you should care about your mood and your needs above all else?