I have been working as a food server off and on since I was fourteen and it never gets any less interesting. This is not about fine dining, its about the flip side of the industry working in the trenches of the massive national restaurant chains. Laugh or cry, people!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Did You Really Think it was Just a Glass of Water?

Did you really think it was just a glass of water?

They check percentages at my restaurant to see how many beverages I’m actually selling.  We don’t have a bar, so I say a lot of things like…Would you like some fresh coffee?  Fresh-brewed iced tea? A cold Coke?  Lemonade?  It doesn’t always work and I really don’t think it’s my fault.  Some people come in with the intention of saving money on beverages, and I can’t control that.  You would not believe how specific water can be…

  1. I’ll have a very small glass of water with no ice.
  2. I’ll have a large glass of water with no ice.
  3. I’ll have an iced tea with no lemon and a large glass of ice water with four slices of lemon.
  4. I’ll have ice water with as many lemons as you’re allowed to bring me.
    1. Can you bring more sugar packets for the lemonade… errr…water?  
  5. I’ll have a small glass of water with only a few ice cubes.
  6. I’ll have a pot of hot water with lemon.
    1. Because I have my own tea bag
    2. Because I have Folgers singles and I don’t want to pay for coffee
  7. I’ll have ice water with lots of ice and an extra glass of ice.
    1. I’ll ad my own Crystal Lite
  8. I’ll have room-temperature water.
  9. I’ll have tap water mixed with hot water 50-50.
  10. I’ll have an ice water with lots of fruit in it.  Do you have any strawberries?

By the way, my restaurant’s policy is to serve water in the smallest glass we have with no lemon and no straw unless requested by the guest.  If management sees us serving up tall icy lemon waters with fancy straws, they sometimes question us like criminals.  I can’t believe they haven’t added some type of up-charge for fruit because of the amount of lemons we go through. 

I think the idea is that you’ll see all the delectable glasses of soda and iced tea at other tables and change your mind about your crappy small glass of water.  What actually usually happens is the server makes another trip to the table with a taller glass of water, lemon, and the expensive straw. Same price, same tip, extra time at a table with guests who are trying to save a little money on beverages.

I guess the moral of the story for me is, if you just want water, drink water.  Why are you being so specific about a free beverage?  Or if you want to be that specific, can you at least tip as if you’ve ordered a dry martini?

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