Food & Nutrition

57 Secrets Your Restaurant Server Isn’t Telling You

It can help you get a job in the future

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“When I’m hiring, I always look for someone who’s spent some time as a waiter. What I learned waiting tables was far more valuable than anything I learned in college as far as how to interact with the human race.”—Jim Sheehan, former stockbroker and waiter who now owns a successful IT consulting firm

We like doing nice things for our customers

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“Once on Mother’s Day, this older lady came in alone and told me that her kids weren’t able to be with her that year, but they had mailed her a gift card. So I told my manager that we had to make this an exceptional experience for her. I told her to come back with a friend some time and use her gift card because tonight, her meal was on us. We comped her dinner, and I sat with her through dessert while she told me about her kids. My coworkers were happy to cover my other tables for 15 minutes. The woman told me she would remember that dinner forever.”—Melissa McCracken, longtime waitress in Hawaii

Watch out for this server lingo

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Drive-by: Finding an excuse, such as refilling the water glasses or clearing plates, to stop by a particular table. “You’ve got to do a drive-by on the woman at table 22. She’s hot.”

Upsell: Swaying diners to order more than they normally would or to order a higher-priced item, driving up the bill and hence the tip. Customer: “I’d like a gin and tonic, please.” Waiter: “Bombay Sapphire?”

Camper: A diner who hangs around too long after he’s eaten. Restaurants typically allot about 50 minutes for lunch and up to 90 minutes for dinner, depending on the type of restaurant. You can make up for camping by leaving a bigger tip. Here are some other little dining etiquette rules for eating in a restaurant.

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