Visual Clues

Servers are masters at body language.  A good server can size up a table before they are finished taking the drink order.  They can tell who is tired, who needs to eat NOW, who’s paying, and in most cases who is going to be the problem at the table all in less than 2 minutes.  Sometimes things change during the course of a meal.  The happy couple can suddenly flip out and start a war, which leaves the server covered in shrapnel and wondering what just happened.  The bitchy man can turn into a teddy bear and a generous tipper by the end of the meal.  A good server continues to read the visual clues throughout the meal so there are no surprises.

One of the visual clues servers watch for are customers looking around.  The normal thing to do when eating out is look at other members of your party or stare at your plate if you don’t like who you’re eating with.  When a diner starts looking around, it usually means they want something.  This is a visual clue that you want your server at your table.

I HATE it when I get a gawker, someone who is more interested in what is going on in the kitchen and with the waitstaff than he (it’s always a man) is with his own table.  No lie, I will be at a gawker’s table 10 times in 30 minutes because the visual clue is that he wants something.  Except he never does.  I can tell he’s getting annoyed with each trip I make to the table, but damned if I can stop myself.  I’m programmed to respond to a customer looking around.  I want to say, “If you’d stop staring, I’d stop coming over here,” but then he would get offended and his wife would get pissed and I’d be in trouble.  It might just be easier to stab him with a fork.

The next time you go out to eat, start looking around and/or staring at your server.  You’ll have her twitching and chain smoking before the food arrives.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Fuck My Table
    Nov 28, 2010 @ 00:10:59


    I stop visiting the table when this happens. If it’s not obvious that they need something (refills, prebussing plates, check) then I’m not going over there.

    Because I’m like you – I can’t help myself, and I’ll end up pissing them off by going to the table too often. It’s a lot of work to keep from going over there, but it’s better than pissing them off.

    I’m like…keep your eyeballs where they’re supposed to be, and quit making eye contact with me. If you don’t, I’m going to be attracted like a magnet.

    HAHAHA! After the first half dozen times I quit going over too. They could catch on fire and I’m still not going over.


  2. Catherine
    Nov 28, 2010 @ 01:59:55

    We have a different training school for waiting staff in the UK. The rule here is that if the customer tries to catch your eye in any way then you should stare straight through him. Thirty minutes after the end of his meal when becomes particularly agitated and starts bobbing around in his seat wanting the bill,then you just carry on chatting to your colleague but shift fractionally so you havent got an annoying movement in you direct sightline. 🙂

    HAHAHA! No wonder people from the UK rave about the service. We love them because they are such a jolly lot, but they don’t tip.


  3. DarcsFalcon
    Nov 28, 2010 @ 16:10:27

    Why don’t people know the rules? You look around, you draw the server.

    Although, I do think I’ve encountered some of those UK trained servers Catherine mentions. 😀

    I’ve encountered a few of those myself. 🙂


  4. DarcKnyt
    Nov 29, 2010 @ 01:12:44

    I think ALL my servers are from the UK based on Catherine’s comment. ALL of ’em.

    Awww…you should come to my restaurant. I can guarantee if you start looking around, I’ll be beside your table annoying the shit out of you.


  5. TheIdiotSpeaketh
    Nov 29, 2010 @ 13:18:31

    Making mental note…”do NOT make eye contact with server…do not make eye contact with server….

    Only if you want your server should you make eye contact across the room.


  6. Armond
    Jan 27, 2011 @ 09:09:15

    GRRRR! Okay so here’s a story about that.
    After a VERY bush rush I go over to a 3 top and it was a husbend and wife and their son who looks like he’s in his early 20’s I STILL HAVE TO FUCKING ASK YOU for your I.D so he shows me an I,D and says “can’t you people read?! it’s right there!.” 1985 gotcha (douche) his father says something rude as well and I just march off pissed get them their beer, after runing their food I asked “how is everything?” the man looks up and screams with a mouth full of food “HARD!!!” … My eyes bulged and I just walk away not knowing what the fuck that meant or what to say. he just keeps STARING at me!! so I kept going over cause I was like…really? wtf? STOP LOOKING AT ME AND I’LL STOP COMING OVER!!
    So I tell my manger and he goes over and that seems to really piss the guy off for some reason

    needless to say I drop the check, go back to clean the table and BAM 10 dollar tip… I was like…what just happend??

    “HARD!!!” WTF?! I wouldn’t even know how to respond to something like that.

    I did, one time, see a woman and a man making out so much I’m sure if I asked how everything was he would have replied, “HARD!!!” Take that shit home.


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