We Houstonians love to eat out. Of course the number one thing we all want from our experience is great food, but sometimes other factors can affect our memory of the whole evening -- our company for the evening, the restaurant's ambiance, and especially the service we get. Having never been a server, I can only imagine how difficult it is to deal with customers night after night, some more demanding than others -- that post is coming soon -- but for now, here is my list of the five types of servers I've encountered that have made a for a bad dining experience.
5. The Salesman - I know that up-selling is how restaurants and waiters make more money, but if the bottle of wine I've ordered is out, please don't try to sell me one that is two or three times more expensive -- and yes, I really do just want tap water.
4. The 'Tude - Customer service jobs are not easy, and not everyone can do it with a smile on their face, but at the end of the day, it is your job. I'm sorry if you've had a bad day or that table 10 has sent back their plate twice -- but I shouldn't be the one getting the eye rolls or the aggravated sigh if I only want to order appetizers. The 'Tude is usually just on the verge of being rude but not quite. They make you feel as if you're not a paying customer, but rather being done a favor by having them wait on you.
3. The Speed Demon - This is the server that's working a double, covering more tables than he can handle and hopped up on caffeine and whatever else to help him make it through the service. He comes over in a mad rush, recites the specials like an auctioneer, clears your plate as soon as you've put down your fork and brings the check along with the main course. This is fine if I've got 20 minutes for lunch, but if I'm out for the evening, a whole three-course meal seems like it's gone by in a matter of minutes. And that is less than enjoyable.
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2. The Cold Shoulder - More annoying than getting less than stellar service is not getting any at all. Someone never really greets you, you find yourself waiting for 10, then 15, minutes without anyone coming by. Somehow, the tables around you are being served, but no one seems to paying you any attention. Someone finally does come to take your order, the food eventually does come out, and drinks miraculously do get filled, but it's all after stretches of time and not without hunting someone down.
1. The Talker - I love a personable waiter, someone who is friendly-- but not obtrusively so. I can't tell you how many times I've gone somewhere, and by the end of the evening, I've heard the waiter's whole life story. I've even had someone sit down at the table. I don't want silent service, but I really don't want you to butt in on our conversation either.