Through the Eyes of a Server

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Observing through the eyes of a worker in food service field, we find that there are many different kinds of customers spanning throughout some very specific categories.

To put these unique customers’ into their classifications we must first find similarities and assign a base stereotype.  In this instance we can find six distinct categories from these similarities: 1 Dollar tippers, Chatter boxes, Kids/Pigs, Flirts, Complainers, and Great Ones. Creating stereotypes of the same names.  Having identified these six categories we can now move on to finding which of our regular customers fit where.

The basic stereo type for the 1 Dollar Tippers is one of the easiest to spot. They come in alone, keep to themselves and order the cheapest thing on the menu, while having only water to drink. The 1 Dollar Tippers usually become regulars, appearing like clockwork. They always come in around the same time, have the same un enthusiast greeting coming though the door and expect their food in front of them within minutes of the hostess seating them. They are ones to complain to the server, but never to the floor manager and they get even more disgruntled when the floor manager speaks with them anyway. The general consensus among workers in the field about 1 Dollar Tippers are they should be forced to sit at the counter instead of in a booth, and they should have gratuity included their check, just for putting up with them.

Chatter Boxes can catch a server off guard, especially when he or she is busy. These are the guests that want to tell you about their third-cousin’s-twice-removed-ex-husbands’ gastronomy surgery. Once these guests open their mouths, they never close them, except to chew occasionally. Most Chatter-Boxes leave fifteen percent or more in tips, but only if their unspoken stipulations are met. Those stipulations usually are for their server stand there and listen to them, while keeping their drink completely full. It also helps the amount of the tip if the server can pretend to have the same interests as the Chatter Box, without looking fake or bored. 

Kids and Pigs are also very easy to spot because they are the family that comes in with a truck load of kids that just run around. Really these are the things nightmares are made of for servers. Most leave at least a ten percent tip, some a little more and others a little less. There is not much that can be said about this category, it is pretty self explanatory. It is the destruction they leave behind that a small tip just does not cover. Some families of all adults fit into this category also because of the half eaten food that litters the floor, table and windowsill after they leave. 

The category of Flirts is another one that does not require too much explanation. The basic stereo type is dirty old men that oggle over any female server that walks by their table and openly hits on the poor server stuck waiting on them. If a male working that shift, they are usually the one stuck with this guest. When this happens the Flirt usually becomes a 1 Dollar Tipper.

Complainers are the worst out of any of the other categories. Complainers will do anything to get free food or drinks, while finding excuses not to tip at all. No matter what the guest says when the order is first taken, it is wrong and the food is cold, even when it is steaming hot. Complainers will order half of the menu at a time, send half of that back and expect the half they do eat to be free because they had to send the other back. As a general rule, Complainers should be watched closely as they are known to walk out without even complaining to the manager or paying their bill. The main part of a servers headache with Complainers, besides constantly being flagged down to be told that something else is wrong with something, is that they always blame the server for getting everything wrong, and for not being courteous or speedy about fixing the problem. This gets the server chewed, until the cooks step in to tell the manager what is really going on. As was stated before, Complainers never tip, or if they do they leave change and pocket lint.

Great Ones are a servers dream. These are the perfect guests, they don’t disturb anyone else, they do not make a mess, and they never complain unless something is truly wrong. As for tipping, they are honest and know that servers make less than minimum wage plus their tips. Armed with this knowledge they tip a little more, and have make the server make unnecessary trips. However these group is found far and few between.  Servers have been known to fight over guests that fit into this category.

Looking around any establishment that serves food, the categories are obvious, even to the most casual observer. Once a server can recognize their guests at a glance it makes their job much easier and their pockets a bit fuller because they can prepare for the individual needs of each category.

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