Being a server is the best job in the world.
Normal people go to bars on the weekend, for fun. I get to go to the bar on the weekend for fun, too, but I’m getting paid for it! The most satisfying part of the job is the interaction with customers. They’re just there to have a good time, so they’re always in a good mood. So much so, that many times when I approach a table and say hello, they don’t even hear me because they’re so excited to be in each other’s company and talking to each other. They’re laughing and having such a great time that they forget that when seated at a table in a restaurant, a server will shortly approach to say hello and maybe even take their order. I always quietly slide away in the most natural, comfortable way, until they’re ready for me.
Sometimes, I have such a great time with my customers, that they will profusely thank me for all my help and patience. They’ll even ask for my name, so they can write a Yelp review about how great the service was. This is a server’s dream. All I ever want, is to be thanked for doing a good job. It’s so validating to know that yes, this is what I’m meant to do. And the customer knows how much it means to me, that he has just made my day, so it’s really not important to leave a good tip. I’ll take the verbal tip over the cash tip any day, just because it makes me feel so good as a person.
And while I really do feel a strong connection with my customers, they will sometimes mistake other servers (my co-workers) for me. They’ll stop my coworker, who has black hair and thick-rimmed glasses and her hair in a ponytail (while I am not wearing glasses, my hair is in braids, and I am now a blonde) and insist that yes, this is my server. How lucky is that? So now my co-worker can help my customers, and the customers are none the wiser, thinking the whole time that they are getting great service from one person.
My favorite thing ever is when customers seat themselves. I mean really, it makes my job so much easier to just cut out the middle man (the hostess) and let them sit wherever they want. Especially when an entire section will be open, with clean tables, and they decide to sit at the one table that has not been cleaned yet from the previous guest. It’s the best because now I can clean the table AND greet them as they’re sitting there. It’s like killing two birds with one stone (or killing one bird with one stone, and then throwing the other stone at him, just for good measure).
No one ever says that in the hierarchy of restaurant positions that bartenders are higher than servers. It’s just one of those understood rules. And it’s great, because it takes some pressure off of me to make any stupid decisions. For example, if I ring in an order for an old fashioned and it comes up bright orange and cloudy, I might think to myself, “Hmm, I don’t think it should look like that.” But it doesn’t matter, because the bartender made it that way, so that’s the way it’s supposed to be made. Wonderful! Just ring in the drinks and bring them to the table. No thinking involved.
In one very foolish instance on my part, I decided to tell the bartender that a drink looked a little off. Just to be sure, I tasted it. It was disgusting, at best. He immediately became defensive, as he should, and asked, “Did you even bring it to the customer? Did they return it?”
Boy, did I feel dumb. No, I hadn’t even brought it to the customer, and therefore no, the customer had not returned it. I had taken it upon myself to question his expertise when I should have let the customer decide for herself. Never again will I make the mistake of questioning a bartender. They take their craft very seriously.
I could go on and on about the fun of being a server and how fulfilled I feel after each shift. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy. Being a server can be really, really hard. But it’s so worth it.