I’ve noticed that working in the food industry as a server that many people have unrealistic expectations. When these expectations are not met the consumer is quick to jump down the throat of their server, or the nearest server they can find. Sure, it’s our job to make the guests happy with their dining experience – but there are still some things that are simply out of our control and for the most part, most people don’t seem to understand this.

1 – Every restaurant in the world does not carry your fat-free, organic, preservative-free, two calorie blue cheese dressing imported from Thailand. It’s unrealistic to expect a restaurant to carry something so specific as this and throwing a hissy fit and yelling at us in front of the other customers won’t change this. Perhaps you should try to be more realistic. We don’t order the dressings for the restaurant, we aren’t up to date on the latest and greatest in salad technology, most importantly – we have no control over things like that! We aren’t the manager, and we aren’t corporate! If you have an issue with something like this, please feel free to call corporate and tell them that they’re idiots (believe me, we’d love to do just the same.)

As a server, we honestly don’t have any control over what the restaurant brings in and takes out, or what they decide to sell in the store. Sure, four years ago we might have had that sandwich, just because we don’t carry it any longer doesn’t give you the right to chew out your server. Chances are, we’re just like you – just trying to get by, probably paying for college and a little piddly studio apartment with our crappy job, and you’re insulting our intelligence because we don’t carry a special dressing or some ancient sandwich. Get real. Go to a different restaurant.

Let me reiterate this one last time: the server does not control every aspect of the restaurant! We serve the food, the drinks, and clean up the mess you leave behind. End of story.

2 – To the obnoxious customer who thinks they’re the center of the restaurant (and quite possibly the rest of the universe,) you are still a priority to me. However, when I’m speaking to another table, taking their order, etc, it’s incredibly rude of you to repeatedly trying to get my attention. Not only are you being rude to me (your server) but you’re also being rude to the other table, and that’s just disgusting. These people are here getting dinner just the same as you, and while they’re order their normal meal that doesn’t take a fancy special dressing from a far off place, you’re being a jerk and interrupting them and wasting time. Wait until the server leaves their table and then get their attention that you need to add fat free cheese to your salad with the non-existance fancy dressing that you still seem to think you’re getting.

4 – For the customer in a hurry: Don’t order a well-done 16 ounce New York Strip Steak and expect it to be done in 5 minutes. Apparently in restaurant-land all food is cooked instantly, and I’m here to burst your bubble. This isn’t restaurant. If your food comes out instantly than it’s probably been sitting out for quite a while and you probably shouldn’t have been eating at that place to begin with. No worries, you’re at a real restaurant where we actually cook the food to your specifications. However, if you came in a 6:01 p.m. and you’re pestering your server at 6:06 p.m. about how it’s taking too long for your food to come, you probably shouldn’t have ordered the steak. You should have ordered air – because that’s all we can instantly serve you. Please refrain from making comments to the manager about how the server is taking too long, when you just placed your order not even five minutes ago. If you wanted your steak well-done, then be realistic. It isn’t going to be done that quickly and pestering your server won’t make the food cook any faster.

4 – So your food has finally come out and your steak isn’t as well-done as you’d have liked and your salad just doesn’t have that special dressing you required and of course, you immediately start cursing out your server. Honestly, do you even have a clue? Did you see your server cooking your food or did you see your server tending to other tables around you (which, by the way – you kept interrupting.) It is not the server’s fault if your steak is still ‘too rare,’ it is the cook’s fault. The server did nothing wrong. When you’re dining out keep in mind that your server is exactly that – a server. Your server serves the food, the drinks and cleans up the mess you left behind. They are not responsible for your food being incorrectly cooked. If you have an issue with the food itself, ask for a manager. Your server doesn’t have x-ray vision and they can’t see into the steak to make sure it’s cooked perfectly to your specifications. Again, ask for a manager because the only person who should be reprimanded for bad cooking is the actual cook.

Next time you dine out, try to keep these things in mind. Remember, if you piss off your server – chances are it’ll get around to the rest of the restaurant and you could very well be eating a spit-dressing salad.