Service with a smile

Sarah Jones, Staff Writer

“Hello. My name is Sarah, and I’ll be taking care of you this evening.” These are usually some of my first words to my customers when I greet them. What most of these people do not know is the hard work that goes into this greeting.

When you think of a server or bartender in a restaurant, what is the first thing you think of? Someone who makes minimum wage plus tips? Someone who makes a living solely based on tips? Or someone who just decided that this was the easiest way to make a living without completing school?

The answer is different for everyone. For me, I think of these people as being very hardworking, extremely outgoing and excited about what they do.

I believe that everyone should work in the service industry at least once in his or her life to get an appreciation for what servers and bartenders do.

A percentage of these people are students working to pay their way through school, while others might have it as a second or third job to help make ends meet for their families. These people work long hours on their feet for a fraction of minimum wage, hoping people walk through their doors and think their personality and work skills shine enough to at least make a 10 or 20 percent tip.

There are some days when servers or bartenders will walk out of work with a pocket full of money. Other days, they will walk out feeling defeated because they had a bad night.

Servers must keep a smile on their face regardless of what is happening behind the scenes at work, even if customers are rude.

There are many moments when frustration takes over because of these instances, but remaining calm and collected always wins that battle.

On top of having a clear knowledge of your menu, table numbers, bar seats and computer skills, you must be ready to remember daily specials, new drinks and items that may run out during a shift.

Things are ever-changing in a restaurant, which makes such a “simple job” a little more difficult. Servers must also be ready to handle large groups of people, sometimes as many as 30 people.

In service industry terms, when a server is “cut,” you have different tasks to be completed throughout the night or during slow times. Side work is every server’s favorite and least favorite work simultaneously.

The tasks range from silverware polishing, napkin folding and silverware rolling to mopping and taking out trash.

Overall, the service industry is great because it provides us with people who want to make sure that we have a great Friday or Saturday night out with our friends or significant others.

We should make sure that those people who are working tirelessly for us are taken care of and have the chance to enjoy their night once we leave.

Working in the service industry has given me such patience and understanding with my servers and bartenders, and I always make sure to treat them well when speaking to them and always leave a generous tip.