The flip side of customer service; the server experience

In response to yesterday’s post on the customer service experience, here is my friend Olly Dolly telling the server side of the story.

Imagine that you work in a restaurant. The hours are grueling, the bosses certifiable, the coworkers are diverse (and often crazy), and the customers….oh jeez, the customers. You work a triple shift most weekend days (brunch, lunch, and the dinner crowd) so you can pave your way to get out of the crazy service industry. Aside: I usually worked 18-hour days on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Sunday night rolls around and you get a call. Most self-respecting servers don’t have a cell phone because of this very call: “Can you please, please, please work for me tomorrow?” Ugh. Any excuse from any number of coworkers – nobody ever wants to work Mondays, especially those in the industry – my cat died, my grandma died, I have food poisoning (ie., drinking all of the weekend tips after service on Sunday), my cat died again, I have a call-back audition, etc. Mondays are brutal to those in the service industry. Tips suck. So do the customers. Why the customers? Chances are if they are out to get lunch on a Monday they are working. Chances are they are tired from the weekend and in a miserable state of mood. Not one server wants to be working for the public on a Monday. Those TGIFer customers are the worst on Mondays.

So hypothetical you replies, “Fine [insert big sigh] I’ll work for you, but you owe me”. Chances are you’ll never hear from that coworker again – such is the turnover in the industry. You crawl your weary butt and barking dogs (read, feet) into the restaurant.

It’s a pigsty. The chefs are in the back swearing at one another in the only way chefs know how and the remnants of the weekend are all over to be found. There are 6 messages on the voicemail. The CD player is skipping. Again. There are kegs to be changed. Coffee to be made. Chairs to be unstacked. Mats to unroll. Ice wells to be filled. Rat/mouse traps to dispose of. Tables to be set. Coffeespoons – those things are still a mystery – to be found. Features to be written up – if you can get between the swearing chefs. The supplies are limited because most orders come in on Monday afternoons at the earliest. And omg your feet are still killing you.

And then one of your favourite customers comes waltzing in and asks you for lunch for 15 people.


Not happening.





3 responses to “The flip side of customer service; the server experience”

  1.  Avatar

    Ha! This takes me back!! Only I worked in a Pub, so you’d have the hungover out of workers that were miserable too!!

  2. Caitlyn James Avatar

    Sorry Olly Dolly, the answer is still, “Let me see what I can do.”

    If a place can’t be sufficiently together on a Monday (or any other day) they need to be closed or hire enough people that the chaos can be contained and the job they are there to do can be done. Say, “no,” and it doesn’t matter how great your product you’ve lost 15 customers and probably 15 of their friends. With social media alert to such things, maybe more.

  3. Olly D. Avatar
    Olly D.

    Agreed, Caitlyn. My cheeks still hurt from years of fake smiling…”hold on” and “let me see if we can get that working for you”. But somebody has to be the devil’s advocate! In truth, I’m probably the worst customer now that I’m (thankfully) out of that world.