Server Positions

This is the proper position for a waitress.

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely HATE it when a waitress plops down beside me to take my order.  First of all, I don’t like people in general, and I certainly don’t want someone I don’t know sitting beside me getting their scurvy germs on me.  Second, I don’t want to be friends.  I want to eat and tip a ridiculous amount, but if I’m having a panic attack because the waitress is touching me, her tip is diminishing.  If I go out to eat and the waitress sits at my table, I don’t go back to that restaurant ever again. 

I’m sure some corporate dumbass read the cliff notes on Psychology 101 and decided that servers shouldn’t stand at the end of the table looking intimidating, but should be more personable and either sit with the guests or kneel down beside the table.  They sell this to servers by telling them people will tip better because they will seem more friendly and open. 

I call bullshit.  A complete stranger sitting at my table is rude and intrusive.

Equally annoying is the server who kneels down.  It’s bad enough that many people treat servers like shit, so some corporate asshole deciding to make them take a subservient position and kneel down is almost criminal.  I always ask a server to stand if s/he is kneeling since I’m not royalty and I am uncomfortable looking down on people.  Also, the server usually has her face on or very near the table…the table where I am going to put my food.  More scurvy germs from a stranger.

When I started working at the restaurant, The Manager’s wife suggested I kneel when taking orders.  She had worked for some major corporate chain and was thrilled with the concept.  I respectfully declined since there are only two occasions when I kneel.

One

Two

While one is appropriate for the restaurant, the other isn’t.

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15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. DarcsFalcon
    Nov 17, 2010 @ 01:08:07

    Not to mention it’s a killer on the knees and back. Sheesh, I don’t kneel at home, and go to the trouble to pick up things with my toes so I won’t have to bend down! What a lame idea!

    I had a server do that sit-down-with-you-thing once. My first thought was, “Um, excuse me? I’m not paying for you!” I thought she intended on joining us for dinner. Thank goodness I didn’t open my mouth!

    The first time it happened to me, I nearly shoved her out of the booth.

    Reply

  2. Fuck My Table
    Nov 17, 2010 @ 04:05:11

    At my old store, they bitched and bitched if you didn’t kneel at the tables. Nevermind that I’m just over 5 feet tall and the tables are on a raised 4″ platform! My face would have been BELOW the table, and they didn’t care. Bitch bitch bitch.
    Sitting at the table was also acceptable, but I never do that unless I personally know the people sitting there…and even then, not so much.

    Kneeling at tables was responsible for blowing out my left knee, and I had to wear a knee brace for almost a year before it was healed up enough to stop wearing it. I HATE IT. If corporate assholes had to put the wear and tear on THEIR bodies every shift, they’d nix that kneeling crap immediately.

    The only occasions that warrant my kneeling are the following:
    -I’m trying to be friendly to children in high chairs, or make myself less imposing if they’re being shy.
    -I can’t hear the old lady trying to order, or I want to explain something to her without sounding bitchy. Yes, apparently standing over them to explain something pisses most of them off. I don’t know why. Older men don’t care, so I don’t kneel down for them.
    -They’re sitting at one of our stupid two-top booths that make me feel like I’m towering over them. They’re crammed into that tiny booth and I feel like there’s not enough space between us, but I can’t back up much before I hit the table behind me. I choose to kneel for MY benefit in this case.

    I also don’t care for servers who sit at my table, but realize that they’ve probably been told to do it so I don’t say anything about it. Hooters is the worst offender, and they always want to sit next to ME, I guess so they aren’t threatening me by sitting next to my husband. I honestly wouldn’t care, because we’re secure enough in our relationship to know that nothing’s going to happen because of it…but the Hooters girls are playing it safe, just in case I tip. Little do they know…they’d do better off sitting next to my husband and not me!

    We have one server who sits with the people and you would not believe the number of complaints she gets because of it. Yeah, it sounds good on paper, but most people are uncomfortable with it.

    Reply

  3. wigsf
    Nov 17, 2010 @ 05:39:35

    I can think of a third reason to kneel.

    I figured you would. 🙂

    NO! Not that. Get your mind out of the gutter. Sheesh!

    Now, down on your knees and shine my shoes woman.

    Okay, seriously.
    This one time my mother and brother and I went to a restaurant. After the meal, my mother was filling out the comment card. She doesn’t usually do that, but she was feeling playful. (Her only comment was “Larger dessert menu please.”) As she was filling out the card, the manager came by and sat down next to her in the booth and deliberately looked over her shoulder.
    My mother went from having nothing to complain about to having something to complain about. Good one manager guy!

    HAHAHAHA! If someone sits next to me when I’m eating with my kids, they let the unfortunate soul know they better get up NOW.

    Reply

  4. Zombieman
    Nov 17, 2010 @ 09:35:56

    The first kneeling instance made me crack up. Too funny!

    It made me laugh too.

    Reply

  5. beckyb26
    Nov 17, 2010 @ 10:04:15

    I’ve never had a server take my order kneeling or sitting next to me. That would be so odd. Seriously, who would think that was good idea?

    Corporate assholes. That’s why I never eat at corporate restaurants.

    Reply

  6. Me On Life
    Nov 17, 2010 @ 12:56:04

    I am a server in a huge corporate chain restaurant, working myself through college. I was told in training that the only reason I had to not knell was only if I had knee or back problems. Being as I refuse to have be a close talker or feign camaraderie with a complete stranger, I simply refuse. But being as you once worked in a restaurant yourself, you might know the asinine things that the boss will get onto you about. As I am sure you would also know that if you don’t treat some guests like old friends, that too will cause them to deduct money from the tip for each offense. Cut your friendly neighborhood server some slack once in a while. It’s a tough job out there.

    I am currently a server, have been in food service most of my life.

    I know who is responsible for making servers kneel down or sit at the table and I address those concerns to the manager. I do not punish a server for decision which are out of her control.

    Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

    Reply

  7. LS
    Nov 17, 2010 @ 13:11:46

    Whenever a server sits down I say, “Oh, are you joining us? I’ll give you the bill then.”

    HAHAHA! Good one!

    Kneelers used to not bother me. Then I turned 9.

    Yeah, it’s really uncomfortable.

    Reply

  8. Molly Malone
    Nov 17, 2010 @ 14:09:45

    This has never happened to me, but I know I would freak the hell out if my server sat down next to me… personal space people!

    I like my space and I don’t want to be the one sitting down next to people I don’t know either.

    Reply

  9. Ahmnodt Heare
    Nov 17, 2010 @ 17:32:01

    Whatever happened to professionalism. I never had a waitress sit next to me, but I always sat at the very end of the booth, leaving no room for anyone to sit.

    Professionalism is a lost art in a lot of professions. Respect is also lost, I blame those missing qualities for the bad economy.

    I think you might be right.

    Reply

  10. Sparty Girl
    Nov 18, 2010 @ 07:08:51

    Sitting with the guest is just rude and intrusive. I understand that they think they’re trying to be friendly, but I’m not their friend I’m their customer. Kneeling is just stupid most of the time, it’s hard on the body. Obviously, like sick pay, most restaurants don’t pay workers compensation claims.

    I never thought of pressure kneeling puts on the body. I just know I’m not interested in hauling my ass to an upright position several times a night.

    I do understand where FMT is coming from with the specific times where kneeling or bending down might be a good idea. I applaud parents who are trying to help their kids (especially shy kids) learn to interact in these types of situations, and if the server can make it a little easier, that’s great.

    Reply

    • Barbie
      Apr 19, 2011 @ 18:42:21

      I served for almost 2 years and bar-tended over half that time at a major chain family dining restaurant. It was required that we kneel to get at “eye level” with the customers. Most people commented on how dumb we looked doing it, but if we didn’t do it and the manager saw us, we would get in trouble and even written up. 3 write ups and you’re fired. Now a year and a half after I had to quit working due to knee pain, I’m still in a wheelchair and they are trying to deny my workman’s comp claim. I didn’t have any pre-existing knee conditions and I was completely physically fit. Any servers reading this thread who may think it’s cool or clever to kneel or squat at your tables, think again. the extra tip you may get from one out of 10 people could cost you much more.

      Sorry about your condition. Kneeling to take orders is a stupid corporate philosophy.

      Reply

  11. workingtechmom
    Nov 18, 2010 @ 19:41:07

    Hate when they kneel, want to leave if they sit next to me. Glad to hear you aren’t doing either! i agree kneeling down or bending down is a nice gesture for older ladies who can’t hear well. Other than that, people actually expect the server to tower over them … so they can go get the ordering done.

    I’ve had a couple of old folks who I practically had to scream at for them to hear me. One time a table overheard me yelling and complained about it. I should have either sat down or knelt beside the table. I didn’t think of it and I wasn’t being mean, they just couldn’t hear me.

    Reply

  12. TheIdiotSpeaketh
    Nov 18, 2010 @ 22:36:55

    At our local Chili’s the servers always kneel. I think the next time we go in, I’ll just climb down on my knees and order from the floor…. 🙂

    I would expect nothing less from you. 😉

    Reply

    • Fuck My Table
      Nov 19, 2010 @ 13:23:49

      Hey, now…corporate bitches at us when we DON’T kneel, so be nice. 😉

      Seriously, though, at my old store they threatened that we would be fired. My new store isn’t as bad, and I’ve only been chastised about it from one manager instead of all four.

      Reply

  13. Onyx
    Nov 20, 2010 @ 07:14:20

    It makes me very uncomfortable when the server sits down across from me, or beside me. It seems… odd. I don’t feel it’s inviting, or pleasant. The first time it happened, I took the booth, and my fiance was helping someone in the parking lot who had blown a flat, so he asked me to order ahead for him. The server plopped down across from me, my first reaction was “wtf?” and when my fiance returned, she was just getting up, and he had this look of shock on his face, followed by “what the hell was that about?”

    I like when servers do friendly things, like I’ve read articles about servers who write “thanks” (or something to that effect), and their name on the back of the slip, typically receive better tips. I don’t know how true it is, but I like it. It makes me smile, and I like knowing my servers name (a lot of places we go, they don’t have to wear name tags), especially when they’re really nice.

    But sitting with me, is 100% weird and uncomfortable.

    I think someone should take a poll and submit it to the corporate chains. I really believe no one likes it and they only tolerate it because they have to.

    Reply

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