10 Things Your Server Needs You to Know About Dining in Restaurants Again

Aservice industry veteran has reached out to us with a timely list of reminders for restaurant guests who are keen to get back inside their favourite spots…

In the restaurant industry, we have been forced to adjust to changing Public Health Orders in order to keep ourselves and our guests safe. As you may have heard, since last week we have been allowed to invite diners back inside with the same restrictions that existed before the ‘circuit breaker’ shutdown. We know everyone is keen to visit and support their favourite restaurants, but this is by no means a return to normal. So let us share some ways that you, our guests, can make it easier for all involved…

1. A restaurant is a privately owned space that opens itself up to the public during business hours. It is not a public space like a government building. Appreciate you though we do, you are not entitled to be here.

2. For the time being, please consider masks to be part of a restaurant’s dress code, like a top hat. When we tell you it’s necessary to where one, we really mean it. If you want to argue this point, instead of doing so inside the restaurant, just remember point #1.

3. Please don’t touch things unnecessarily. Keep your hands off counters, other tables, other guests outside your party, and especially staff! Even before the pandemic, touching your server was never okay. You’d think that would go without saying, but…

4. Similarly, never ask your server for personal information. We don’t know if it’s creepy until it’s too late. Never be this person.

5. Please don’t table hop or ask to move tables needlessly. Everything and everyone must be sanitized constantly. This takes time and energy away from serving our guests, which is what we’d much prefer to be doing.

6. Please understand that the Provincial Heath Authority has asked us that we only engage with guests as needed. This totally goes against all of our training and experience of being hospitable. If it doesn’t ‘feel’ like you’re being looked after like you used to, chances are it’s because we’re functioning during a pandemic.

7. Right now it remains for everyone’s safety that we still avoid doing three things: refilling water glasses (thereby touching a glass you’ve been touching), reaching between guests to set and clear tables, and chatting for longer than is necessary. These are just some of the rules we must follow right now. They are not discretionary.

8. When you have spare moment, confront your unconscious biases around being served and consider what your expectations are with restaurant service. Not feeling heard or adequately cared for in your personal life does not permit you to project the emotions of that unfulfilling situation onto your server, who should always be treated with patience and respect — pandemic or no pandemic.

9. Tipping remains the best, easiest and most appreciated way to show your gratitude! The current norms are: 20% if you enjoyed everything and feel like everyone cared about you and your experience. 15% tells us that things weren’t perfect, but the effort and intention was there. 10% is a tip from the last millennium, so unless you were born in the 1800s, this is not a tip. And tips over 20%? Well, we will probably remember you forever. Not because of the money, but for the gratitude.

10. Finally, please believe us when we say we are doing our best. The pandemic has been not only difficult for us professionally, but also personally. We navigated and survived it while striving to maintain – for you – an enjoyable environment of responsibility, conviviality and deliciousness.

Thank you for continuing to support the hospitality community in your region. Safe, neutral spaces for people to gather are our specialty, and we hope to continue to host your special occasions!

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