Friday, July 17, 2009

How Not To Act in a Restraunt - Being Seated

Customers at the restaurant where I work are spoiled.
I mean, we pride our business on good customer service, and we try to give our customers what they want to keep them happy. It's a local, family-run business and we have lots of "regulars" who come in on a frequent basis. But still, I am often surprised at what these customers have come to expect and how they treat some of the employees.

When you go out to eat, you probably don't give a second thought to the hostess and where you are seated. If you go somewhere often you probably have a certain section you like to sit in, but are you really going to go out of your way to sit there? And do you really expect he host/hostess to know where you want to sit? Or - would you go as far as to be rude to the hostess in order to get what you want?

Here's an example;
Me; " Hi! Welcome to _____________. How many tonite?
them; "Two"
Me; "Would you prefer a booth or a table?"
them; "Booth"
me; "Okay, right this way please."
them, following me, then stopping and hollering after me; "NO! I'm not going to sit there."
me; "err.... okay. Would you prefer a table?"
them; "NO. I just don't want to sit there.... How about over there?"... (pointing to the opposite side of the restaurant.)
me, trying to restrain myself and keep smiling; "Okay, sure. Lead the way."

I mean, what's the point of having a hostess if you're going to pick your own seat? Do you not realize why we are even here?
If you have children I ask if you need a highchair and will take you to an accommodating section.
If you are handicapped I will seat you somewhere accessible and close to the door.
If you request a certain waitress or section upon entering, I will be more than happy to accommodate you.
But other than that, I am going to follow the seating chart. The Host/Hostess job is to make sure that all the servers are being seated equally. If one server gets 3 tables at once while the others each have 1, it is not fair to any of them. So, aside from taking the customers to their seats and providing them with menus and telling them the specials, it is also my job to keep the servers happy. Did you think I was seating you near the corner because I was picking on you? Or, I'm sorry, was I supposed to KNOW that you would prefer a window seat. You didn't say that when I was asking you if you wanted a table or a booth. Believe it or not, I can't tell if you have poor eyesight, claustrophobia, or a bad back unless you tell me.
So, now that you have asked to sit somewhere other than where I was going to take you, the other customers up front are waiting patiently for a hostess to seat them while you choose your seat. The waitress in whose section you are seating yourself just got a table 5 minutes ago and is still serving them, have fun waiting for service. Meanwhile, I have to go back to the front, make adjustments to the seating chart to show what has happened, seat the next customer, and hope the waitresses don't come up to me snarling and asking why I am not seating people in the proper order. And you wondered why I seemed to have to pull that smile out of my ass. If you had just requested a certain area in the first place we could have avoided the detour, and I wouldn't have had to hold back any snark in the first place.

I am sorry. I just really had to get that off my chest. Because it happens on a regular basis. Sometimes people are downright mean, or really rude. Other times I think they are not so rude, but still it can be annoying because they just want to seat wherever. I mean, if you could just sit wherever, we wouldn't have a hostess, now would we?

Please, remember to be respectful of all your service providers in life. We're mostly over-worked and under-paid; there's high chance that we might just go postal on you one of these days. * wink-wink*


  1. How true it is! I often think that everyone should have to work in the service industry for a time to learn how to treat service workers and how to tip. I was always disgusted when someone would make me run the entire time they were being waited on & then leave me a 5% tip...if that and leaving me a huge mess to clean up at that. You are oh so right Wendy! I hate it when people treat those in the service industry like if it's ever ok to treat people that way period! Ugh! I give this post a big AMEN SISTER!

  2. Oh this brings back memories! I was a server/hostess for 4 years and I don't miss it! Some day I plan top write the book "What Servers/Hostess wish people knew BEFORE they enter the restaurant."