Rude Waiters

Restaurants are now a flourishing, profitable and popular business in the country. Even celebrities have opened their restaurants. But I feel little attention is being paid to the recruitment of qualified,experienced and good waiters. By a good waiter I mean one who is smart, has a pleasing personality & good manners. Instead rude, argumentative and greedy waiters are being inflicted upon unsuspecting customers. I would like to share some of my experiences.

Experience 1

Our 1st year batch in hostel consisted of 17 girls and it was our first outing on our own after getting Freshers Welcome party. Just as we were entering a restaurant in Bhopal (thats where I did my B.E. from), a waiter came and started counting us like 1..2..3 !!!!!! As if we were some beggars lining up to eat at some temple to eat free food!!! We should have walked out but we didn’t…God knows why! The service was horribly late and the food wasn’t worth the price. (Shall I reveal the name of the restaurant to save any future customers?)

Experience 2

At a party with colleagues in a popular restaurant, one of my colleagues felt her glass has got mixed up with other glasses kept on table. So she asked the waiter to give a new one. But the waiter said pointing at a glass in front of her “This is a new one. I just filled it with water”. Still this girl wanted a new one. He started shouting at her saying “I’m saying this is a new one. Why don’t you drink from that one?” Till then we were quiet but after this I gave the waiter a piece of my mind (somehow the guys in our group are insipid and spineless lot) and said “How can you talk to a customer like that? Will a glass of water cost too much to the restaurant? Are we not paying?”. Then I told him to stop looking after our table and we want to change our waiter. He went off grumbling in a huff. We complained to the owner but he didn’t seem to care as if few less customers didn’t make a difference to his booming business.

Experience 3

Yesterday again at a party with colleagues in another new and popular restaurant, we were sitting in the open air section when it started raining. Luckily our order hadn’t arrived and we moved inside to another table. We were a group of 12 people. While I was placing the order (I m the official order-placer tip-decider waiter-handler in our group at every party..Sigh!) I’d just said the name of one dish when the waiter interrupted me saying “This wont be enough”!!!!!!!! As if I have never eaten at a restaurant before or we looked like bunch of 12 people who would eat only one dish !!! Come on nobody does that..not even the most miserly people. After I had completed he repeated same sentence again. I said “Don’t worry, we will order again if there is a shortage.” While waiting for dessert, lights went out and candles were lit & placed on upturned glasses!!!! Okay I understand they may not be familiar with the concept of candle sticks. At the end I left an adequate tip but the waiter said “Your group made us change tables. Atleast give some more tip.” OMG!!!!! As if we had asked the rain to fall!! I mean since when did waiters start harassing customers for tip??? I gave him a stare and joined my group who had already gone outside.

There are still many incidents that I don’t remember…consisting of ogling at the girls of any group, improperly dressed waiters with Salman Khan’s Tere Naam hairstyle, overhearing talk and even commenting on it etc. etc.

The reasons for hiring such incompetent and ill mannered waiters may be any of these;

# Saving costs by keeping such amateur staff at low salaries.

# Unavailability of trained and experienced waiters.

# Ignorance of the employers regarding marketing strategies and thumb rules of a good service.

# The employer being of the same nature as that of the staff.

# The employer being indifferent towards the golden rule “Customer is the King” and being arrogant of huge profits.

Whatever maybe the reason, I feel the employers should learn a few things about the restaurant business and not run it like a grocery shop.

P.S. Do I only tend to attract such rude waiters or have you also experienced such incidents?

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36 thoughts on “Rude Waiters

  1. Reema:

    “By a good waiter I mean one who is smart, has a pleasing personality & good manners.”

    It is worth pondering over whether these qualities are innate or are developed through socialisation and upbringing. :-) The ones who have an innate sense of ‘service’ move on quickly and get paid better. This may be a reason why some of the best restaurants have superb service and why some of the more popular (also pricing wise) restaurants appear to care less about service.

    It is also worth wondering about the workplace. Smart businesses understand that treating their staff as no. 1 – even before customers can get a look-in – is a good idea because then customers get treated well. Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential is a good read on this matter although it may put you off eating out for quite a while.

    Whenever I have encountered rudeness, I choose to leave or to disarm. On my patient days, I have actually asked waiters if they were having a bad day or was it just my good fortune to be shown to their table. With a smile. Most waiters apologise right away; some say that they were tired; but good service flows from that point on. You will be amazed what such disarming questions can do to humanise a person seen by others as a ‘waiter’ and no more! Some are of course shameless in which case I walk out and complain to the manager on the way out.

  2. well,true many waiters are indifferent towards the no of new visitors they get so they usually aren’t as nice as they should be..
    but quite opposite to that i have even seen costumers who mentally torture the waiters..
    they act as if the waiters are slave ..even waiters are doing a respectable job what if they are serving..

    these incidences can create a kinda hatred towards customers and they in turn act arrogant.

  3. I have also experienced such type of things… I don’t know why they act so mannerless? They should be thought some basic things.
    As you mentioned, they mostly take such types to save their money. I hate to go to such kind of restaurants…

    Also, which is that restaurant you wanted to mention? Its ok if you reveal it…!

  4. I don’t know, but I’ve never encountered anything like this…… but I bet it must be pretty embarrassing, i mean he actually started counting u guys….
    Maybe they don’t choose waiters carefully, most owners don’t even care, I think, they just give less pays, the profit in restaurant business is not much until it really picks up

  5. @Shefaly //The ones who have an innate sense of ’service’ move on quickly and get paid better// This sense of service is v essential for jobs like those at ticket counters or bank counters, waiters etc…this is what makes one dedicated towards one’s job and do it with a smile. Yes sometimes the staff amy be angry due to their boss n take it out on their customer. I liked the idea of disarming. I will try that next time. Sometimes there is no option of walking out like after placing the order.

    @Arvind yes many people dont treat these service providers (mentioned above) nicely and thats why they also pay the same forward. I always say thank you and address as sir or ma’m except waiters whom i call by saying excuse me and leave a tip always. But still sadly I have such experiences.

    @Joel Yes cost cutting is the topmost reason behind such poor service. Naah leave it. Have to be careful nowadays on blogging :D

    @Robert Ohh I expected a longer comment! looks like u r tired with all the fighting on ur blog :P :D and u r quite courteous ..atleast to me :)

    @Perx Welcome to my blog!! Its good u havent had a bad waiter experience yet. It spoils the whole evening. Yes it was pretty embarrassing and annoying. See u around!

  6. Recently we went to a restaurant (i know we are talking about that only, :) ) and the service was very bad but to top that the owner gave us the bill which was 1000/- RS more than the actual bill… and when we tried to bring this to his notice he said very nonchalantly “maine kahaan le liye hai! aisa hota rehta hai” not only that he started shouting …

    for a change i shouted back and gave a piece of my mind! (which sometimes is full of crap! ;) )

  7. So far, I haven’t had such experience (may be because I don’t eat out often)
    But if the employer is concerned about his customers, he’ll surely keep his staff under control.
    Shefaly’s way (above) of handling such situations seems to be very effective.

  8. “Whatever maybe the reason, I feel the employers should learn a few things about the restaurant business and not run it like a grocery shop”…I guess a customer shudnt have such an experience even with a grocery shop!!

  9. Waiter are rude no doubt. I think mostly they have a shortage of good experienced pleasant staff as the employment scenario has changed today with thousands of jobs being created. Also hundreds of hotels and restaurants are springing up. I have a friend in the restaurant business and she told me it’s very tough to retain good people. Actually this is the scenario in many places. I find security guards also very rude! The basic thing is that these people are often uneducated and come from a different kind of background and have not been taught to speak. At times they might not even realise they are being rude because of the lack of training.
    I agree with you that they need to be trained and certainly restaurants are cutting costs here. That’s one thing about Mcdonalds, they always train their people. But then they pay more than the others so they retain their staff. The professional attitude is missing in many restaurants I think because they want to cut costs by paying low salaries and not training people.

  10. @Sakhi OMG!! These people try to trick people..its like if the customer checks then its ok and if not then its huge profit. I say u did a good thing by giving him a piece of ur mind.

    @Adarsh Ohh nice to know even after staying in US u have the habit of eating at home. Yes if the employers believe customer is king so would his staff.

    @Vimal Welcome to my blog! yes u r right but then given the manners we Indians are expert of; I dont expect much from a grocery shop..thats why the analogy. Keep visiting!

    @Nita Ohh yes..security guards are also v rude. Had one experience with one of them too. This food service boom in the country is the foremost reason of hiring people without proper interview and training. Another example of this is the BPO industry. In that too nowadays we encounter such rude customer care executives!! They are compromising on quality to make profits.

  11. Where on Earth do you live?? I have not encountered any such incidences yet and that’s why they are all so surprising to me. I have studied in a small town like Kurkushetra and believe me, the waiters there too were very well mannered. Hmmm…interesting post. I wish I could meet such waiters. Would love to give them a piece of my mind. :D

  12. my cousin in the emirates always boasts about how the Pepsi he drinks is so better than the ones we get here….

    its all the same with every product or service….i don’t expect anything good to come out of this country for its common people.

  13. Like Amit, haven’t met with such behaviour anywhere but I don’t eat outside much often. But then again, maybe my reputation of [future] Emperor of the World precedes me! :P

    Although, I’d say Shefaly’s solution is a much better one than shouting. :)

  14. @Amit My town?? Sshhh cant reveal ..all with anti BT posts :D :D Sigh! Then I only seem to attract such rude people :)But I think Sakhi has experienced the same and she lives in Ahmedabad!!

    @E.H. :D Its not like that “iss desh ka kuch nahi ho sakta”…its like pay it forward…if we start being polite n courteous other people would too and slowly there will be a overall change.

    @Ashish :D :D yes people dont want to mess with the Future Emperor.

    @E.H.,Ashish Shefaly’s solution is good but sometimes anger is the 1st thing that comes to most people. :)

  15. i find the eat-outs which are conscious about their customers are the ones who have a history of a silver jubilee or those who are picking up business. i don’t know if i look intimidating, but waiters, however huge they are, don’t tend to raise their voice before me. now, that avoids much trouble.

    as for the tip,i remember an incident. my wallet was heavy with change. I don’t know how it got accumulated (or if my younger bro put it in there to tease me), i gave a tip of 4 rupees consisting only 25 paise denominations. And guess what, thats my Hugest tip! :P

  16. Reema, can u read my drafts folder? I was about to start a series on rude waiters. :) I have plenty of bad experiences with waiters.

    I wont leave a tip until unless the waiter is good and is NOT RUDE. I dont see any reason I should tip someone if they are rude to me and ignore me.

  17. @Harshasrisri 4 rs??? in 25 p?? Hugest?? U must be really intimidating looking to get away with that :P :D

    @Taju yes I hacked ur blog :P a whole series on rude waiters?? Dont mind my post. Post your experience too. Atleast I’ll feel happy knowing I’m not alone :)

  18. @Dan Welcome! U r comment had gone to spam. Recovered it now. I got this theme from wordpress themes only. Its the Connections by Patricia Müller. I’ve changed the header image and some widgets in sidebar. thats all. Keep visiting!

  19. @Reems – I second Shefaly’s thoughts! Having said that, I havent faced much situations like the ones you have mentioned here!

    Btw “We should have walked out but we didn’t…God knows why!” – theres a term called “Khaathud log” :D :P ever heard abt it? :)

  20. i pay the restaurant for the service and it pays the waiter for his service. so, all’s fair and square, and i am not earning yet, to give away money generously.
    but this one time, it was a huge relief to come out with a slimmer and lighter wallet :D

  21. Reema, it is alright to name places where you receive bad service. I tip only when service is good. Other times I refuse, even if they show up expectant eye balls. Initially I felt embarrassed about this, not anymore. How much to top or to tip and not tip is my right.

    I have realised they think by creating a scene they can force customer to tip. Not me. I have no had as rude waiter experiences, but tipping issues do come up sometimes.

  22. @Poonam yes they think by embarrassing us they will get money out of us. But I second the thought that its customer’s decision to make whether to tip or not and how much to tip.

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  25. yup I have had a few such experiences… but I guess the rudeness of most waiters has a lot to do with the tips…
    btw u seem to be damn popular super blog!

    Reema: Welcome here! Thanks! Keep visiting!

  26. Will i don’t about waiters there but here in malta you can not be a waiter unless you have a stamp from its which is a catering institute i am a manager at the age of 17 one of the youngest qualified in europe.

    Reema: Good for u!

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  28. Perhaps you should take a turn in the service industry. There are absolutley some poor waiters out there, but there are just as many overly needy customers. Being a waiter does not make you a servant. As for a suggestion on food, that is part of their job. No waiter should ask for a greater tip, it would be nice though, if customers realized that the tip is essentially the only money they make. It’s too bad…but it’s the truth.

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