So I recently saw a list of words on some website that have an entirely different meaning to servers and restaurant staff than they do regular civilians. Yes, we are our own separate breed. For those of you who have never worked in a restaurant or food and beverage industry…these terms may seem foreign to you, but to us…they are all just part of the job. Below are some common terms and phrases servers hear and know that can mean a hellish 6 hours awaits them.
Camping: An act that is typically a relaxing excursion to some remote place with a pool/lake and bike paths. You have campfires, drink plenty of beer and get away from reality.
What camping means for servers: When people sit with full water glasses at a table for an additional two hours after everything has been cleared off the table. These people often do not even have the courtesy to give the server their card. They just sit there chatting away (yes, 9 times out of ten they are indeed women) and they seem to have no idea of the amount of other people waiting for their seat. Also, if you are a reservation, that’s okay…but please understand that we need your table within a reasonable (2 hour) time limit.
The phrase “What’s good here?”
The appropriate response: “Well, I like some dishes better than others but there are some particular ones that have gotten great reviews…here, let me show you!”
What we want to say: “GEE. I DON’T KNOW YOU FUCK. EVERYTHING? I’M HUNGRY ALL THE GOD DAMN TIME. THAT’S LIKE WALKING INTO A CANDY STORE AND SAYING ‘WHAT’S GOOD HERE?’. NOPE SORRY. IT’S ALL SHIT AND EVERYTHING SUCKS. READ THE MENU. YOU FUCK.
Behind: Either referring to a person’s rear end or something that is posterior to something else
What Behind means for servers: We are literally right behind you and have a full tray of wine glasses and if you happen to be shuffling through and throwing dishes in the dirty bin and whirling around like a durbish without care, I will kill you. Stay two feet away.
The phrase “It’s his/her birthday!”
The appropriate response: “Oh, happy birthday! How old are you turning? I remember that age, awww so cute! We’ll have a special surprise for you if you eat all your vegetables!”
What we want to say: COOL. GREAT. YOU KNOW HOW MANY BIRTHDAYS THERE ARE TODAY? MILLIONS. SO YOU EXPECT THIS TO BE A SPECIAL DAY FOR YOUR KID? AND THEN YOU’RE GOING TO LEAVE ME 12% CAUSE I DIDN’T BRING THE CAKE OUT FAST ENOUGH AND SOME OF IT MELTED, RIGHT? WE HAVE TO STOP EVERYTHING WE’RE DOING FOR YOUR KID’S BIRTHDAY. WELL, IT’S MY BIRTHDAY AND TELL YOUR KID THAT SOMEDAY THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE TO WORK ON THEIR BIRTHDAY AND SEE HOW THEY ACT THEN.
Tips: A generous donation out of your own pocket for our tremendous service.
What tips mean to servers : Our lifeline. give us more than two dollars. We cleaned up your kid’s mess, brought you extra sauce, offered you free dessert and remembered your order by memory without fail.
The phrase “Do you think that’s enough food for me?”
The appropriate response: “Well, I’m not sure, I mean to me it may not be enough because I’m always hungry (so true) but perhaps you might want to consider getting a side salad or soup before to fill you up!”
What we want to say: “NOPE. ORDER MORE. COME ON, HIKE UP THAT BILL WE WANT MORE MONEY BUT YOU HAVE NO IDEA THAT WE’RE ACTUALLY JUST UPSELLING TO GET MORE OF A TIP.”
What we want to say part two: “I’M NOT YOUR STOMACH. I’M ALWAYS HUNGRY. I DON’T KNOW YOUR CALORIC NEEDS.”
Chef: A professional cook who knows the ins and outs of every single detail regarding food. An admired and respected individual who loves culinary
What a chef means to servers: Our best friend or our worst enemy. The fate of our tips.
The phrase “But can you tell the chef to substitute this for that? And I’m also allergic to this so none of that please”
The Appropriate response: “Sure! We can absolutely do that for you, no problem!”
What servers want to say: “Actually, our chefs speak little to no English (where I work) and will have an incredibly hard time deciphering your incredibly complex order and personal needs, so no, sorry, we cannot accomodate your meal.
What servers want to say part two: “GO MAKE THE MEAL YOURSELF. THIS ISN’T FROYOWORLD WHERE YOU CHOOSE THE TOPPINGS.”
So yes, these are only some of thes pesky irritants servers have to deal with on a regular basis. Of course, at some points I am overexaggerating, but really..at times…it gets to be enough and you begin to question your sanity and life decision on keeping the job.