UnderCover Waitress: You Don't Need To Know My Name

Friday, July 22, 2011

You Don't Need To Know My Name

Under Cover Waitress FB Fan Page: 

I couldn't agree more with the following:

The perceptive and competent service in the small town and New York City is the exception in this crazy world. Most restaurants in this country are suburban chains, companies that have decided their key to success is training their waitrons to grovel, pester, interrupt, introduce, be clever, sell desserts, and generally make a nuisance of themselves... Corporate headquarters has mandated that they use catch phrases like, "how are we all doing here?" at least once every five minutes. Corporate headquarters never tells the servers that it is rude to interrupt a conversation... 

Which is only one of the reasons why I detest eating at chains. (Well, okay, that and the food.) Have had interesting conversations with those who believe that it is good manners for waiters and waitresses to introduce themselves by name; I think it is a waste of time and completely irrelevant. Knowing my first name doesn't get you good service; letting me do my job does.

Some people are so used to the happy, bouncy servers described in the article that they feel something is missing if I behave in a professional manner. Have had people at tables say, "I didn't catch your name...?" I don't play games. I respond directly:

"That's because I didn't tell you." Wait a beat. Then, in order to still get tipped, I add "My name is Under." Now that they have the unnecessary information, I wonder what they plan to do with it -- call out my name across the restaurant instead of catch my eye?

The best, however, was the table that not only required knowing my name, but then felt it was necessary to introduce themselves. They wasted my time giving me four pieces of useless information that I promptly forgot, while keeping me chained to their one table during a busy shift. Gee, thanks for introducing yourselves.

Big City and Small Town Restaurant Service



  1. The most irritating thing that most of these chain restaurants are now doing is the manager does one of those walk-arounds, asking everyone how things are. "WHO THE HELL ARE YOU??" I think every time this happens. I don't have a relationship with you, I have a relationship with my server, however brief and veneer that is (I forgot her name, but that is her right over there.)

    Chain restaurants, please stop sending your manager around. It disrupts the experience.

  2. Agreed, Rufus. It also creates additional disturbance. The waitress has a sense of how often to come by. Good waitresses have empathy and get a sense for their tables.

  3. Servers complain of being treated as objects yet when clients try to treat you as a human being and identify this is the type of response they can get?

    Chain or not, your disdain for people will shine through.

  4. Saying "please" and "thank you" are appropriate ways to treat a server like
    a human being instead of an object. Introductions are a misguided attempt to be nice.

    Of course, if some places didn't train their servers to bounce over to the table and say, "Hi! I'm Missy, and I'll be your server" the problem would be less prevalent.

  5. I don't mind introducing myself by my name so much--I also don't mind when people use my first name. I suppose its just a personality thing.

    I do hate corporate restaurants and their mechanical, stupid rules that were possibly written by someone who has not talked to an actual human being in years. And I hate being forced to robotically try to work the stupid 'service rules' into my interactions with customers thanks to the fact that the chain I work for employs a KGB full of secret shoppers.

  6. I have waited on people I know that introduced me to their dining companion. That is not contrived.

    Love your reference to "KGB of secret shoppers." That's hysterical -- would like to use that.

  7. i always introduce myself bc I don't want to be called "hey ypu", "sweetie" "honey" etc. etc. But I throw it in casually after taking the order..."Ok, let me get this going, my name is Serenity, so let me know if you need anything while you're here". I despise when I go up to a table and haven't even spoken yet, and some yahoo says" And what is YOUR name?". it's always that person that "overuses" the name.."Serenity, could I get Tabasco?" "Serenity,this is awesome!" ad nauseum. And I agree, I don't care what your name is, and telling me just makes it awkward (unless you're a regular, totally different ballgame). -Serenity


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