It’s likely not on your calendar and I don’t know if Hallmark makes a card for the occasion but today is National Waitstaff Day which is promoted as our chance to say thanks to the many great servers who do their jobs with genuine pleasure and professionalism. 

Crabs Claw waitresses (L-R) Sarah, Kristen, Rachel & Cindy (Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)

My guess is most servers don’t even know there’s a day named after them so they shouldn’t expect too much from owners and managers.

There’s a pretty good chance that you or someone in your family has worked as a waiter or waitress.  It is a common job for many when they first enter the workplace and my daughter was among those who spent college summers carrying trays and serving customers. Of course there are those who make it into a career whether by choice or necessity. I’m sure one thing just about all of us can agree on is that outstanding service can make a meal and of course the opposite is true as well.

For me it all starts when you first sit down as one of my pet peeves is watching servers pass by with nobody coming over.  They then make it worse by after a long delay showing up at my table and asking me if I know what I want.  No greeting, no smile, no good.

A good server is one who knows the menu, can offer recommendations, makes sure the water glass is full and doesn’t avoid you after the entrée is placed on the table. Of course the one thing they can’t do anything about is the quality of the food and if your meal is not up to par then don’t hold it against them.  However if you complain they should at least show concern and do what they can and not just shrug their shoulders like it’s no big deal.

Klee's Waitresses (L-R) Ashley, Colleen, Kellee, Susie, Dana (Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)

The good ones make dining out an absolute pleasure, even if the food is just average.  Those who are professional with a positive attitude and nice personality are good for the customer, restaurant owner and themselves because it should be reflected in the gratuity they receive.  Speaking of tipping, I believe if you don’t want to leave a fair tip then don’t go out to eat.  15% should be the minimum for good service and 20% is where we start unless the service was poor.

I do have one suggestion for servers and that is when you bring the check DON’T say “do you need change” because it’s just not right.  If the customer wants you to keep it let them say “we are good” and if not, bring them the change.

Most servers work very hard for their money and often put in long hours on their feet.  They are often the middle person between demanding customers and a kitchen staff that can be difficult to work with.  So today on National Waitstaff Day show your appreciation and leave a nice tip.