Behind the Scenes

Introduction:

There is a question that just about everyone has pondered. The question affects people on a very personal level. Yet this question is so disturbing that people rather avoid and suppress with other thoughts. After some time, people forget about it and go about their daily lives without giving it another thought. But then one day the question will spring up again: Did they spit in my food? The question does not restrict itself to just someone spitting in your food but it refers to anything that the people that serve your food could have done negatively to your food in spite of you.

Although it seems like a simple question, I think it is an interesting topic. Someone who is a waiter at a restaurant, dinner, or even in fast food normally is not seen as someone high up in society’s social ladder. However, even the worker at McDonald’s has the power over the richest man in the world as long as the man is within the worker’s realm; for no matter how rich a man is, he still has to eat and the richer the man, the more likely he is to not serve his own food. Therefore, the rich man should respect the worker whether at McDonald’s or a 5 star restaurant. However, countless times I have seen all kinds of people talk to different waiters with all kinds of attitudes. Many times, waiters are treated with less respect than they deserve. But the customers have no control over the waiter once the waiter goes into the kitchen. Does the way a waiter act in the kitchen correlates to how the waiter was treated by the customer?

I wish to explore and dive deep below the surface of one of the most sacred places in the world. I wish to investigate the places we eat and go behind the scenes of a waiter and his customers. For my fourteen day project, I will explore the different environments found in different restaurants and settings. What kind of customers do waiters deal with on a daily basis and the reaction of these waiters. I propose to interview a different waiter or waitress from a variety of restaurants. I hope to come to some sort of conclusion on whether waiters and waitresses mess with other people’s food and uncover the reasons why people would feel so compelled to turn to such actions and whether or not they feel better after doing so.

Methodology and Rules:

Each day I will interview a different waiter or waitress from various restaurants. All subjects will be asked the same questions and in the same order. They will all be kept anonymous to ensure the safety of their employment and protection. Furthermore keeping their identity a secret will encourage them to speak the truth, unafraid of any consequences. I feel that the waiter or waitress should come from a work setting where tipping is usually expected since I think that people who’s salary are based on tips will have the strongest feelings towards their customers and will have the most passionate responses.

Every person will be asked the following questions:

1.     Do you enjoy your job?

2.     What do you enjoy most/least about your job?

3.     Visualize the busiest shift that you have worked, do you get really stressed and how does it affect the way you treat your customers?

4.     Do you recognize customers that come back and are regulars?

5.     Describe the different people that you usually recognize and their tipping habits.

6.     How do you feel about those who tip well compare to those who do not tip well?

7.     How often do you get bad tippers or snobby customers?

8.     What was the worst experience you have had with a customer?

9.     Have you ever acted on you feelings and done anything negative to those customers whether it be a cold service or mess with their food?

Day One

1.      Do you enjoy your job?

No

2.     What do you enjoy most/least about your job?

The tips is what I enjoy the most, interacting with brainless individuals with no respect.

3.     Visualize the busiest shift that you have worked, do you get really stressed and how does it affect the way you treat your customers?

I don’t get stressed by my shift it’s the customers that stress me out and make me lose my composure.

4.     Do you recognize customers that come back and are regulars?

No I don’t care enough.

5.     Describe the different people that you usually recognize and their tipping habits.

The respectful people tip well, the dumb people tip poorly.  It’s like a science.

6.     How do you feel about those who tip well compare to those who do not tip well?

Those who tip well are respectful to the service we provide, those who don’t are often less intelligent.

7.     How often do you get bad tippers or snobby customers?

Randomly but normally during dinner time.

8.     What was the worst experience you have had with a customer?

A guy smacked my ass and I politely confronted him and asked him not to smack my ass again and he responded quite rudely and then gave me a 1 dollar tip and a slip of paper saying “we could have had something special” on a 30 dollar meal.

9.     Have you ever acted on you feelings and done anything negative to those customers whether it be a cold service or mess with their food?

No that is unprofessional and I am not a douche bag.

Day 2

1.     Do you enjoy your job?

There are the good days and there are the bad days.

2.     What do you enjoy most/least about your job?

The most enjoyable part of my job is the way and the least is the dining rushes.

3.     Visualize the busiest shift that you have worked, do you get really stressed and how does it affect the way you treat your customers?

During the busy shifts, I tend to rush orders. Orders go up, satisfactory customer service goes does.

4.     Do you recognize customers that come back and are regulars?

Yes I do. Although when some customers befriend you, they tend to always be asking for extras.

5.     Describe the different people that you usually recognize and their tipping habits.

I’ve noticed that when people are eating with their family, they tend to tip more. When it’s just a group of teenagers, they tend to not tip at all.

6.     How do you feel about those who tip well compare to those who do not tip well?

I am grateful to the customers that tip well. I give them extra attention and give them free food at times.

7.     How often do you get bad tippers or snobby customers?

I get them everyday. But the good tippers make up for them. Even though they might be snobby, if they like the food, they will be coming back.

8.     What was the worst experience you have had with a customer?

This one time I was carrying a ladies order out to her and her daughter. I was super tired that day and my shift was about to tend in half an hour. Apparently the cook messed up the order because the lady requested no greens but I was exhausted so I didn’t even realize. When I came out with the food I gave placed it in front of them and I said Thank You and walked about quickly. The lady slammed her hands on the table and said “Hello?!?! This bowl is not suppose to have no onions and that bowl is not suppose to be plain.” Then she states how this always happens when she eats her and starts bitching at me for fucking up her food. Then I said, “Sorry but if you didn’t realize, I wasn’t the person taking your order so you’re screaming at the wrong person and you’re being very rude.” Dumbfounded, she quickly apologized to me and I retook the order and corrected the mistakes.

9.     Have you ever acted on you feelings and done anything negative to those customers whether it be a cold service or mess with their food?

Yes, to frequent customers who try to befriend me and always try to get free extras and leave little tip. I normally try to avoid servicing them unless I really have to. If your driving a top end Benz AMG and your wife who doesn’t even work drives an Escalade and you keep bothering me and only leave two bucks tip every time, then your wasting my time. During my time working the restaurant business, I’ve only spit in a person’s food once. This one white man who went with his grandson kept complaining about the food, first about how there wasn’t enough noodles, then not enough chicken, and then how it wasn’t hot enough. I got so fed up with his fool, I dumped all his food in a bigger bowl and added hella more stuff and then spit in and stuck it in the microwave. Funny thing is, if he asked nicely if he wanted extra chicken on the side of something, I would have probably given it to him for no charge. But his attitude set me off so I spit in his food.

Day 3

1. Do you enjoy your job?

At times it can be but depends more on the customers who come in.

2. What do you enjoy most/least about your job?

Enjoy the most: the customers

Enjoy the least: the customers

3. Visualize the busiest shift that you have worked, do you get really stressed and how does it affect the way you treat your customers?

Yes those shifts can be very stressful but i just try my best to not let it interfere with my job.

4. Do you recognize customers that come back and are regulars?

Yes.

5. Describe the different people that you usually recognize and their tipping habits

The regular customers are very friendly walking in, knowing the routine already wave to us and greet by first names and wait to be seated. They are understanding, with minimal complaint when the place is jammed with people. In terms of tipping, they usually leave at least 15% and upwards of 20 to 25% depending on the situation.

6.     How do you feel about those who tip well compare to those who do not tip well?

Usually I feel like I did something wrong, especially if they came across friendly and nice people, but those people who complain about everything there is little I can do but try and comply with them, usually ending with a bad tip. For the most part I don’t let it get to me.

7.     How often do you get bad tippers or snobby customers?

There are at least 2 every shift.

8.     What was the worst experience you have had with a customer?

Would call me over every second they could to ask for some miniscule thing. It bugs me when they waste my time because I’m trying to take orders from other people and serve food as quickly as possible. These kinds of things factor into how much tip I get.

9. Have you ever acted on you feelings and done anything negative to those customers whether it be a cold service or mess with their food?

No I don’t let personal emotion and work get mixed up.

Day 4

1.     Do you enjoy your job?

Yes.

2.     What do you enjoy most/least about your job?

Tips.

3.     Visualize the busiest shift that you have worked, do you get really stressed and how does it affect the way you treat your customers?

Yes, sometimes reduces the quality of service.

4.     Do you recognize customers that come back and are regulars?

Yes, if they are good tippers or friendly. Sometimes I’ll meet some real nutty people that have something distinctive about them like their voice or something they said.

5.     Describe the different people that you usually recognize and their tipping habits.

Sometimes you can hear in on people’s conversations and it can get pretty distracting but wouldn’t believe how much shit talking goes on at the dinner table.

6.     How do you feel about those who tip well compare to those who do not tip well?

Appreciate the good ones dislike the bad ones.

7.     How often do you get bad tippers or snobby customers?

Multiple times a day.

8.     What was the worst experience you have had with a customer?

Complained and talked to the manager about my service and the food. Doesn’t matter when they complain to the manager because he’s a laid back guy but it ticks me off when they do, like they are trying to get me in trouble of something.

9.     Have you ever acted on you feelings and done anything negative to those customers whether it be a cold service or mess with their food?

If I have the opportunity, yes.

Day 5

1. Do you enjoy your job?

Actually no, I’m currently searching for better opportunities while I work to pay the bills. I’m thinking of taking out a loan and going to college majoring in accounting. I was pretty good at math when I was still in high school.

2. What do you enjoy most/least about your job?

Well mostly I just remember the more annoying parts of the job. There’s always more rude people than polite, and not many customers are so willing to share interesting stories with the waiter.

3. Visualize the busiest shift that you have worked, do you get really stressed and how does it affect the way you treat your customers?

Well I always try to do the best I can at my job in hopes of a raise or extra tips. It gets pretty stressful, but I try to keep the way I treat the customers the same even if the shift isn’t busy. However, this doesn’t always happen as I’m forced to spend less time per customer in order to keep things more efficient.

4. Do you recognize customers that come back and are regulars?

Sometimes its difficult, some regulars get appointed other waiters so only if they come quite often do I end up recognizing them until I serve them around a third or fourth time.

5. Describe the different people that you usually recognize and their tipping habits.

I’ve seen that more typically older couples tend to tip more, perhaps reminiscing of days in which they were forced to work in a dead-end job working to pay the bills. Younger people tend to be more stingy and less appreciative of good service. Middle aged seem to vary, they either like me or don’t pay much attention to me.

6. How do you feel about those who tip well compare to those who do not tip well?

Well of course, the job is mostly about the money. Large tips are always well appreciated and will always make me happier than low tips.

7. How often do you get bad tippers or snobby customers?

It varies, some days there’s a good amount of good tippers and polite customers. Other days there’s some bad tippers and snobby customers. It’s around 50/50 for the chances of a good day and bad day.

8. What was the worst experience you have had with a customer?

The worst experience I’ve had with a customer was this one middle aged woman that tried to take advantage of service. It was actually pretty hilarious. She tried to fake some hair in the soup she ordered after eating almost half of it. The only problem was that the hair was the wrong color, obviously brought in from somewhere.

9. Have you ever acted on you feelings and done anything negative to those customers whether it be a cold service or mess with their food?

No I’m pretty desperate to keep the job until I can find a new one, so I’ve tried to keep my personal feelings in line, after all, the customer is always right.

Day 6

1.     Do you enjoy your job?

Yes I do, it brings in good money.

2.     What do you enjoy most/least about your job?

I enjoy getting to meet all kinds of new/interesting people. Although some customers can be a real pain to deal with.

3.     Visualize the busiest shift that you have worked, do you get really stressed and how does it affect the way you treat your customers?

It does get pretty stressful when the restaurant gets busy. There’s just so much multitasking to be done and people to attend to. I still stay pleasant to my customers although I may not give them my best service since I get so busy.

4.     Do you recognize customers that come back and are regulars?

I do in fact, there’s a couple that always comes in on Thursday nights and I address them by their names all the time. They’re very kind and tip well.

5.     Describe the different people that you usually recognize and their tipping habits.

The regulars that I serve tend to be pretty generous with their tipping. There are some who are very picky and tip based on their judgment of the food that night.

6.     How do you feel about those who tip well compare to those who do not tip well?

Well of course I feel more appreciative to the big tippers but I understand that money is tight and people can’t be so generous all the time.

7.     How often do you get bad tippers or snobby customers?

It’s very random, some days are good where all goes well and other days can be filled with snobby customers.

8.     What was the worst experience you have had with a customer?

One time this lady kept complaining about the way her fish tasted, which would be the chefs fault… and she demanded to speak with my manager. That never looks good on me.

9.     Have you ever acted on you feelings and done anything negative to those customers whether it be a cold service or mess with their food?

I have never once messed with anyone’s food but on many occasions I have been indirectly snobby to customers. I make most my money off tips so I try to keep my cool as much as possible.

Day 7

1.     Do you enjoy your job?

Most of the time no, because most people tip very little even though I give them great service, I constantly refill their water, and come around every couple of minutes to see if everything is good. Also customers give me a lot of crap saying i messed up their order or if there is a hair in the food, they blame me. They don’t understand it’s the chef’s mistake not mine. But when customers are happy, I do get happy. It is nice to see a smile occasionally.

2.     What do you enjoy most/least about your job?

Making tip, I love making tips, because it helps me pay the bills.

3.     Visualize the busiest shift that you have worked, do you get really stressed and how does it affect the way you treat your customers?

Obviously I get stressed, when it is extremely busy I constantly forget things because I am always running multiple things at a time. It is hard to remember to fill someone’s water up. I don’t do as well, and customers get mad for slow service.

4.     Do you recognize customers that come back and are regulars?

Yes I do.

5.     Describe the different people that you usually recognize and their tipping habits.

Well there is this one young eccentric woman, who always tips me at least 10 dollars, I think she likes me. Then there is this bald man who doesn’t tip me very well, I think he is a white racist man. Cause he always treats me like crap just cause I am Asian.

6.     How do you feel about those who tip well compare to those who do not tip well?

It’s nice to get tipped well, but life is life. If they don’t tip me well, its either my service or they are cheap. Usually they’re cheap.

7.     How often do you get bad tippers or snobby customers?

I would say at least twice a week. You are ALWAYS going to run into bad customer once a week. Bad tippers is very common especially among teens. Damn teens always tipping me a dollar or two for 30+ dollar meals.

8.     What was the worst experience you have had with a customer?

Once a customer CLEARLY asked for the steak and chicken mushroom fajitas, and when I brought it to him he told me he wanted shrimp enchiladas. I told him oh I am so sorry sir, and brought him shrimp enchiladas. When the enchiladas came he said there wasn’t enough hot sauce on them so he wanted a refund. I told him we could just put more hot sauce but he was yelling at me, calling me names, and asked to see my manager. Eventually things got worked out, but my manager gave him a free meal card. Horrible customer.

9.     Have you ever acted on you feelings and done anything negative to those customers whether it be a cold service or mess with their food?

I spit in their food if they really piss me off. This has only happened twice though. You have to really piss me off for this to happen.

Day 8

1.     Do you enjoy your job?

I do not enjoy my job.

2.     What do you enjoy most/least about your job?

The least enjoyable part about my jobs is that I have to carry around plates and serve people to their every demand. It is all worth it when you get the tips, but it sucks when you get little or none after you work so hard for a table.

3.     Visualize the busiest shift that you have worked, do you get really stressed and how does it affect the way you treat your customers?

I get really stressed out trying to satisfy every customer and remember which table ordered what. I also don’t get to make my rounds to every table, so some customers may feel left out.

4.     Do you recognize customers that come back and are regulars?

I do not usually remember customers unless they are very frequent and are good tippers.

5.     Describe the different people that you usually recognize and their tipping habits.

Aside from their skin color and maybe decipher their ethnicity, I do not really bother trying to recognize different people, but the typical stereotypes sometimes fly through my mind when I am serving certain customers about tipping habits.

6.     How do you feel about those who tip well compare to those who do not tip well?

I love customers that tip well compare to those that don’t tip as well.

7.     How often do you get bad tippers or snobby customers?

I get more bad tippers than snobby customers, and bad tippers are very frequent.

8.     What was the worst experience you have had with a customer?

One of the worst experiences with a customer is when I accidentally spilled on my customer, but not too badly, this was during a very busy day. The customer got really mad, so he called my manager and complained and made a lot of demands, and in the end did not tip at all.

9.     Have you ever acted on you feelings and done anything negative to those customers whether it be a cold service or mess with their food?

The thought of messing with people’s food have come to my mind quite often, but I do restraint myself not to do anything stupid to get me fired.

Day 9

1.     Do you enjoy your job?

It’s an okay job, working for some pocket money.

2.     What do you enjoy most/least about your job?

I enjoy communicating with customers. It really helps me learn how to adjust to a variety of personalities, which is especially helpful in my dealing with future customers who seem to embody a similar personality. I really dislike cleaning the floors. Like, getting my hands on a grubby mop and then using the grubby mop to wipe all the food that careless people decide to drop and not pick up is less than stellar. Sometimes I wish I could lecture people to eat properly, maybe chew with their mouths closed, but that would get them angry, hence getting me fired.

3.     Visualize the busiest shift that you have worked, do you get really stressed and how does it affect the way you treat your customers?

The busiest shift I have worked was on a Saturday night, when people are gathered with their entire families ready to increase some filial bond or something. I don’t really get stressed, I actually find it interesting because I’d have something to do during that shift. I also like having people put expectations on me cause it helps me put more care into my work. Boss will be proud, customers will be happy, I might get a raise. Win-win-win.

4.     Do you recognize customers that come back and are regulars?

Of course I recognize customers that come back and are regulars. Regulars make me happy, so I give them bigger portions in their food. It’s kind of like a reward for cherishing the restaurant.

5.     Describe the different people that you usually recognize and their tipping habits.

Tipping usually grows larger with time, especially with regulars, since we develop a friendly affiliation with one another. However, what particularly ticks me off are Asian parents, who tip like nothing. They also lecture their kids all day while eating dinner, so I feel bad for them. Anyway, Asian people don’t tip much, but the rest of the people do tip generously, and they also say “God Bless You.” I think some Asians aren’t Christian.

6.     How do you feel about those who tip well compare to those who do not tip well?

Well, I guess it doesn’t matter, I get money, and it’s technically money given out of generosity (maybe obligation). So any profit works for me.

7.     How often do you get bad tippers or snobby customers?

Daily. I try not to think about it, it will only create a negative attitude towards my job.

8.     What was the worst experience you have had with a customer?

I barged into the bathroom in preparation to…unfortunately…mop the bathroom floors, and to my horrid surprise I saw that one of the customers was not done with her business. She apparently forgot to lock the door, so I ran out immediately. I learned to always, and I mean always, knock on the bathroom doors before going in to do anything.

9.     Have you ever acted on you feelings and done anything negative to those customers whether it be a cold service or mess with their food?

No, I have a very strict boss, and I am personally very apathetic about customer’s hostility, so I generally keep a pleasant mood and answer tolerantly to people who seem very emotionally agitated.

Day 10

1.     Do you enjoy your job?

Fuck no.

2.     What do you enjoy most/least about your job?

I do not like how the managers mistreat their employees by giving really stupid orders/requests and demand that we know the vaguest and most absurd rules.

3.     Visualize the busiest shift that you have worked, do you get really stressed and how does it affect the way you treat your customers?

If I see the manager, then yes, I get really stressed and it affects how I treat the customers.

4.     Do you recognize customers that come back and are regulars?

Yes.

5.     Describe the different people that you usually recognize and their tipping habits.

I only remember the people that leave large tips.

6.     How do you feel about those who tip well compare to those who do not tip well?

I hate people who tip under 10% or in coins.

7.     How often do you get bad tippers or snobby customers?

Everyday.

8.     What was the worst experience you have had with a customer?

When people scream their order because they’re retarded.

9.     Have you ever acted on you feelings and done anything negative to those customers whether it be a cold service or mess with their food?

I tell the cook to char the food.

Day 11

1.     Do you enjoy your job?

Yes.

2.     What do you enjoy most/least about your job?

I enjoy the rush of being busy. I hate lousy tippers.

3.     Visualize the busiest shift that you have worked, do you get really stressed and how does it affect the way you treat your customers?

I get a little stressed, but I still work hard to maintain my professional composure.

4.     Do you recognize customers that come back and are regulars?

Yes.

5.     Describe the different people that you usually recognize and their tipping habits.

I usually recognize the more unusual people, and there isn’t really a consistent tipping habit. They are pretty much average tippers.

6.     How do you feel about those who tip well compare to those who do not tip well?

I typically like the customers who tip will better than those who do not tip well.

7.     How often do you get bad tippers or snobby customers?

I think it’s about a 30% chance that i get a bad tipper.

8.     What was the worst experience you have had with a customer?

I had a customer that was extremely rude and complained nonstop about things that were completely unreasonable for him to complain about. But that happens on a weekly basis.

9.     Have you ever acted on you feelings and done anything negative to those customers whether it be a cold service or mess with their food?

Yes I have, but it was only a couple of times, and I didn’t do anything that was extremely horrible. Just small things.

Day 12

1.     Do you enjoy your job?

Depends on certain days.

2.     What do you enjoy most/least about your job?

I enjoy the friendly working environment with my co-workers. I enjoy least about my job when customers are having a bad day and therefore making my work harder.

3.     Visualize the busiest shift that you have worked, do you get really stressed and how does it affect the way you treat your customers?

During last Christmas, we had a full house and we were short on staff. everybody was really stressed and when you are serving your customers, you tend to rush through everything. When you are stressed, your customer service goes down and your customers can feel that you are either nervous or don’t want to help them.

4.     Do you recognize customers that come back and are regulars?

Yes.

5.     Describe the different people that you usually recognize and their tipping habits.

I usually recognize the customers I’ve helped and they usually tip you more than average customers. I’ve noticed that the more attention and genuine conversations you have with the customers, they will normally tip more.

6.     How do you feel about those who tip well compare to those who do not tip well?

Those that tip well acknowledges my hard work and effort. Those that don’t tip well makes me feel that I need to work harder and that they weren’t happy with something I did.

7.     How often do you get bad tippers or snobby customers?

Usually 1 out of every 4 customers.

8.     What was the worst experience you have had with a customer?

Customer ordered a dish a specific way but claimed later he didn’t. It caused a lot of confusions between the staff and the customer because we had to remake his food while he was on a time crunch.

9.     Have you ever acted on you feelings and done anything negative to those customers whether it be a cold service or mess with their food?

No, you always put your customers first and of course I won’t be happy but that’s part of my job.

Day 13

1.     Do you enjoy your job?

No, not very much.

2.     What do you enjoy most/least about your job?

People not appreciating the help and service I provide them with, especially when they are having a bad day so they take it out on their server.

3.     Visualize the busiest shift that you have worked, do you get really stressed and how does it affect the way you treat your customers?

It does get stressful but I try to give every guest all the attention I can and make sure everything is going good with their meal and experience

4.     Do you recognize customers that come back and are regulars?

Yes.

5.     Describe the different people that you usually recognize and their tipping habits.

There is an elderly couple that has Sunday brunch every week and they are very nice and usually tip well so long as they receive good service. There are some other regulars most of whom tip well depending on their service since they already know what to expect.

6.     How do you feel about those who tip well compare to those who do not tip well?

It frustrates me because if people don’t tip a certain amount I can lose money for serving them since I tip out bar tenders and bus boys a certain % based on sales not tips I receive. Also, when guests tip me well it makes my day feel worth it and happy.

7.     How often do you get bad tippers or snobby customers?

At least once daily usually 7-10 times a week.

8.     What was the worst experience you have had with a customer?

They walk out and didn’t pay. My manager almost gutted me for that.

9.     Have you ever acted on you feelings and done anything negative to those customers whether it be a cold service or mess with their food?

Servers mess with people’s food all the time. Do not disrespect people that handle your food.

Day 14

1.     Do you enjoy your job?

It has its ups and downs. But generally for the most part yes.

2.     What do you enjoy most/least about your job?

Most, would have to be the socializing with the customers. Least would have to be always running around. Feet are always dead by the end of the day and the dress shoes I wear aren’t comfortable at all.

3.     Visualize the busiest shift that you have worked, do you get really stressed and how does it affect the way you treat your customers?

While during a busy shift it can get quite hectic. There is many things going on and its hard to focus on all of the. I try to treat my customers with complete and utter respect but I can’t lie and say that I do all of the time. Sometimes there is just too much going on.

4.     Do you recognize customers that come back and are regulars?

Yes.

5.     Describe the different people that you usually recognize and their tipping habits.

Depending on the customer, some reoccurring customers will tip me larger because they like me and the service I give them

6.     How do you feel about those who tip well compare to those who do not tip well?

Obviously I love getting bigger tips, but I can’t complain and the decision of how much to tip is completely up to them.

7.     How often do you get bad tippers or snobby customers?

I would say about one-third of my customers are either snobby or tip poorly.

8.     What was the worst experience you have had with a customer?

Got in an argument about which team is better, the 49ers or the Raiders. Fuck Raiders.

9.     Have you ever acted on you feelings and done anything negative to those customers whether it be a cold service or mess with their food?

I would never mess with anyone’s food, but sometimes if the customer is rude and impolite I give them less attention.

Conclusion:

The customer is always right. This is a common saying in most households. It means that since the customer is the one paying for service, then the person who is the one receiving money needs to accommodate the customer’s needs in order to earn money from the customer. In many cases this is true. When a salesman is trying to sell you a car, he is going to tell you everything you want to hear and make you comfortable in his office. You want a cup of coffee; demand one and he’ll get you one. If his office is too hot, he won’t ask you to take off your jacket, he’ll turn on the AC. This all happens because of one thing, you are the customer and he wants your money. In this relationship, the salesman has to kiss your ass for you to buy a car. Although this stands true in most situations, it is surely not the same in a restaurant setting.

Through this experiment I have learned that there are many similarities and differences from a restaurant and any other services/providers such as a dealership. For starters, a smart waiter will still kiss ass to customers because a happy customer generally leads to a generous tipper. Many of the people I interviewed stated that they pay special attention to those who tip well. One even stated that he/she would sometimes even give generous tippers free food. In my book, free food to the person who dictates your wages equals kissing ass. However there’s nothing harmful about this and frankly I too would be a lot nicer to customers if I was a waiter, not out of the goodness of my heart but for hopes of extra tips. I also understand that waiters need to keep an upbeat attitude in order to properly represent the restaurant they work out. I would never go to a restaurant if the waiters there were rude and disrespectful to customers. This means that waiters try to please customers for two reasons now; one for the tips and another for the sake of their jobs.

From this perspective, it is the customer who has the most power in a restaurant setting. So how are restaurants different from other services/providers such as a dealership; the key lies in fear. The power that waiters have over customers lie in the fact that waiters handle their food. Nobody wants to have his or her food tampered with but we have no control over people that can. According to my survey 5/14 people said that they have at one point or another tampered with their customers’ food. This means that there is a 35% chance that you will encounter a waiter that is willing to mess with your food. Fortunately, there is a way to prevent this. One waiter surveyed stated, “I spit in their food if they really piss me off. This has only happened twice though. You have to really piss me off for this to happen.” Basically, as long as customers treat waiters with respect, waiters will also respond with the same manners. You could treat most salesmen like dirt and get away with it but there’s a different code of ethics when it comes to waiters. As stated by another server interviewed, “Servers mess with people’s food all the time. Do not disrespect people that handle your food.”

Luckily, not all servers deal with problem customers by messing with their food. In my survey, most people said that they acknowledge that running into extreme customers is a part of their job and that they just attend to their needs and try to stay professional.

Talking to all theses servers has made me come to the conclusion on how hard it is to be a waiter.  Beyond standing in uncomfortable work shoes and rushing between tables, waiters go through a lot of stress through their customers. To keep customers happy, orders have to be taken down precisely and food has to be served quickly. Customers even blame the waiters for the quality of their food when the waiters have no power over it; it’s the cooks in the backs that prepare the food. Waiters also have to keep up with the constant demands from customers and those who are also disrespectful.

This project has been a worthwhile experience because I got a peek inside what it’s like to be a server. However, I feel that a big weakness is that I interviewed some people that I didn’t know so that they would be compelled not to complain too much about their jobs or report their real behavior when dealing with customers. At the same time, there is no way to really know what it’s like to be a waiter unless you become one yourself and feel the pressures of the job by first hand.

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One Response to Behind the Scenes

  1. Apryl Berney says:

    34/40

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