UnderCover Waitress: More Water?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

More Water?

Water is a bigger deal in restaurants than it is in the Sahara Desert. Managers yell at servers and bussers when patron's water glass looks empty, never mind the fact that the poor patron has already told her server and two bussers "no, thank you" to the water.

Some customers come in ready to find fault and water is an easy fault to find. "If she doesn't refill my water glass, I won't tip her!" Deep down, they don't want the waitress to refill their glass; they just want an excuse to be cheap.

And how do the wait staff feel? A colleague once grumbled to me "I'm not paid to fill water glasses." He had a point. We made our money based in part on how much we sold, and water is free. Not that the water drinker isn't thirsty, but the wine drinker wants another glass, too. The person who wants something that costs money will come first.

Hot, busy nights are the worst, but good servers will still come by to ask how you are doing and if you need anything. We were unexpectedly busy one night and had no back-up to run around filling water glasses and helping us turn tables. And I had a rather uncommunicative beast at a table with his wife and two older children.

He must have been thirsty, because I noticed more than once that his water glass was empty and returned with a pitcher of ice water each time. Ran myself ragged that night. At some point toward the end of the evening he took to grunting at me in response to 'yes or no' questions, for example, "Would you like more water?" and "May I take that for you?"

Toward the very end of the meal I returned again with a water pitcher and asked if anyone would like more. (By the end of the meal, many people would prefer not to have more water.) He grunted. I couldn't tell if he was not articulating "no" or "yes." I stood there, not sure what to do. His wife looked scared. (I always feel for women who are with men that scare them. What did she think he was going to do?) So, I asked for clarification... he grunted again. I can't remember whether I filled the glass or not.

He filled out a comment card before leaving. He complained that I didn't keep his water glass full.

Word to the wise: Communicate clearly with your restaurant waitress. When I approach your table with a full pitcher of ice water, if you grunt at me I am hard pressed to know whether to pour the water into your glass or over your head. 

4 comments :

  1. This is what i need. Water is not a small deal. Everyone should care about other people. Water is essential for we as other.

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  2. @eye lift: thank you for reading and weighing in on this topic. :)

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  3. 60% of your body weight is water, water actually helps weight loss, if you drink two cups before each meal. And helps transport nutrients and oxygen to the cells.

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  4. "A colleague once grumbled to me "I'm not paid to fill water glasses." He had a point. We made our money based in part on how much we sold, and water is free. Not that the water drinker isn't thirsty, but the wine drinker wants another glass, too. The person who wants something that costs money will come first."

    The thing is that it COUNTS IN THE SERVICE to be lowered so even if it's "FREE" the tip is lower. For example, a waiter once took forever it seemed with each set of refills just about and just plain sucked. His tip could have been 25%-30%, but was 11%. People think because it's free it doesn't count, but it sure the hell does count in the service. That's what we ARE paying for is the free item to be served to us. Also, if I have really good service, I will take into account if I order water it's exactly like another $2.50(there about) on the bill and tip according to an extra soft drink or tea on the bill. That's ONLY though if I have good service. If the service sucks, it won't be counted as extra money on the check amount.

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