By Greg Bennett, utahvalley360.com
I first realized that I was in love with my (future) wife while gazing across a dimly-lit restaurant table in Provo. The difference between my romantic story and the stories of thousands of others, however, is that I was gazing at her across the table as we were both cleaning it. I met my wife while we were both servers at The Brick Oven in Provo.
That was almost five years ago. We were students, both studying for careers other than the ones we were in at the time. Although my time as a server was short lived, I learned some dining tips that I hold dear. Perhaps it’s the whole “walk a mile in someone’s shoes” idea.
From a former server (and husband of a former server), here are some thoughts on dining out that I try to live by.
Servers, like mail carriers, bank tellers and garbage collectors, receive little positive reinforcement through the satisfactory completion of their job. Serving is an unforgiving job where the slightest mess-up can mean not only a scolding but also a dock in wages.
Eating out is meant to be a positive experience. Your every need is met by a servant. Your food is cooked for you and delivered to you and cleaned up for you. The worst experience dining out is often still one of the best in your week. Enjoy it.
This is not only for the benefit of the server, but also for the other customers at the restaurant. Dining out, especially during busy holidays and weekends, is best done quickly. This isn’t to say that you should scarf down a meal and fail to have any conversation with fellow diners. Simply understand that there are people waiting to be served. People waiting will appreciate the consideration and the server will appreciate the opportunity to increase his or her wage.
Because there is rarely a specific gratuity requirement listed on the menu or receipt, tipping is more a philosophy than a mathematical story problem.
Areas of the country consider tipping differently. People view tipping differently depending on the type of restaurant they are eating at. Understand that the money you leave on the table will make up the vast majority of your server’s wage. The minimum wage for a tipped server at a restaurant in Utah is $2.13 per hour. Know what is expected for the type of restaurant and tip accordingly.
One last thought.
Our editor, Jeanette, suggests that to truly experience life, everyone must do three things at some point: have children, build their own house and start their own business. I would add a fourth. Everyone should be a server at some point. It will change your perspective on personality types, respect, money and service. And it may even help you find a spouse.