COVIDEat & DrinkWorkers Rights

4 Things Your Server Wants You To Know About Dining Out During COVID

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Cruising into our seventh month of living through a pandemic, everyone is still adjusting to the new normal and wondering if we will ever have the old normal back again. Each day brings more adjustments we all have to deal with, but there are few things restaurant workers would like everyone to know before they go out to eat during these COVID days.

1.  We’re over it too. As much as you wish you didn’t have to wear a mask when you enter the restaurant, we wish we it even harder since we’re wearing it for our entire shift. We know how disappointed you are at not being allowed to have 15 of your closest friends celebrate your birthday with you. We too are disappointed that we no longer get to serve big parties in our section to help increase our check averages and make bigger tips. You’re tired of having your temperature checked before you’re allowed to eat indoors? Well, we’re tired of taking your temperature because we’re restaurant employees, not healthcare workers. You don’t need to tell us that you’re “over it” because everyone in the whole entire world feels the exact same way.

2.  We don’t make the rules. Servers are literally at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to creating restaurant policy, so please don’t take out your COVID frustrations on us if you’re unhappy with a new rule or regulation. Yelling at an 18-year-old waitress who is trying to serve you steak au poivre and scalloped potatoes isn’t going to change a mandate that came from a restaurant manager, a district manager, or the governor of your state. Empty tables in a restaurant doesn’t mean you can be seated right away if the restaurant is only at 25% capacity. Believe me, it’s not our rule and 25% capacity means we’re taking a substantial pay cut. It also helps keep us safe, but don’t be mad at us for enforcing rules we didn’t come up with. We are but the messengers, so please don’t shoot us when we ask you to put your mask on as you walk to the restroom. No, really, please don’t shoot us.

3.  Be patient. The restaurant might not seem busy to you, but there’s a lot happening that you can’t see. More people than ever are ordering to-go, so even though there might not be very many customers around you doesn’t mean the restaurant isn’t busy. Between delivery apps and call-in orders, the kitchen can be swamped even if the restaurant itself isn’t, so your food might take a bit longer than it did in the good ol’ days of early 2020. We also have new protocols about cleaning literally everything, so that takes a lot of effort. Once upon a time, all we had to do was wipe down a table with a damp cloth that maybe had some soap on it. Now, we have to sanitize, sterilize, disinfect, decontaminate, and fumigate every single thing that customers come in contact with, so if you don’t see your server as soon as you need them, just hold on a minute or two. It’s quite possible they’re in the restroom washing their hands for the 100th time that shift.

4.  We appreciate you. We’re glad you’ve decided to come out to the restaurant. Serving food during a pandemic isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but if we’re going to be at work, we do want to make money, so thank you for being there. In return, we hope that you appreciate us being there as well. Dining out has always been a privilege and doing it during a pandemic makes it even more of one. Respect and appreciation is a two-way street. We’re sincerely glad you’re there, but please let us know that you feel the same way about us.

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Bitchy Waiter

Bitchy Waiter

Darron Cardosa is a writer, actor, singer, and waiter. He lives and and works in New York City and enjoys "The Brady Bunch," "The Facts of Life" and cocktails almost as much as he hates your baby.

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