Working in the food service industry is one of the toughest places you can be. Not only can the pay be errr ‘challenging,’ but you also have to constantly deal with poor management and flak from your customers. Now, that’s not to say that every client is going to be a jerk. Far from it! But there are enough rude people to make servers reconsider their faith in humanity.
The popular r/Serverlife subreddit is an online community that invites servers, waiters, and waitresses from all around the net to get together and talk about work. We’ve collected some of the group’s top photos that show just how entitled some customers get. Scroll down and get ready to wonder how anyone could act so entitled. And remember—tip your servers!
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Bored Panda reached out to workplace expert Lynn Taylor, the author of the book ‘Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant’ and a popular blog on Psychology Today, with some questions about what managers can do to support and empower their staff, and how employees can stay resilient when dealing with extremely critical customers. She told us about the importance of good training and empathy, and having everyone be on the same page about the rules. Read on for our interview with the expert.
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“When employees must deal with rude customers, they need management’s support and training. Employees must feel assured that their company doesn’t tolerate abusive clientele, for example. In this situation, the more training the better. There are many varieties of challenging customers, and each one often requires a different response,” workplace expert Taylor told Bored Panda via email.
“In today’s market, where there are labor shortages, it can be beneficial for a company to make sure their employees are the priority, not antagonistic patrons. Uber mastered this concept by providing a customer rating service to maintain a level playing field. That said, management must also be sure that the solution matches the misdeed, as supporting the employee can also be a fine line,” she added. Clarity and communication are key.
“With many customer conflicts going viral today, companies must do their utmost to define what is and isn’t acceptable… how to take the highroad, unless it’s abuse. One internal litmus test to live by is to consider how the scenario would be perceived by an objective person—or the outside world,” the author of ‘Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant’ said.
#2 Was Told I Did An Excellent Job And Earned An “Early Christmas Gift” Came Back To A Fake $15 Tip
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“The key in many training programs is for employees to understand where to draw the line. What are the boundaries? How do you provide a service in a friendly manner, but let the customers know there are limits? This is where role-playing is invaluable. Being in a customer-facing business, does not mean being a punching bag; in this case, the customer is ‘not always right.'”
According to workplace expert Taylor, one of the easiest ways to stay resilient at work is to put yourself in the overly critical customer’s shoes. Of course, this is far from easy. “Oftentimes, clients want to be heard. They’re unhappy and are likely critical customers as a rule. Understanding that their complaints are not personal (and may be their issue) can help. At the same time, you can feel empowered knowing that there are limits—and management supports you when pushing back to untenable behavior,” she told Bored Panda.
#4 My Girlfriend Received This As A Tip On A $50 Bill. The Woman Stuffed It Behind The Plastic, So She Had To Pick Each One Out
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#5 It’s Always The Extra Nice Customer Who Asks For Extra Sides When You Check On Them
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#6 Left By A Lady Who Didn’t Look At Me And Didn’t Speak To Me When I Asked Her How Everything Was
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“Dealing with difficult people, whether customers, coworkers, or even tough managers, can often be like dealing with a terrible two toddler—who doesn’t know how to moderate their behavior when stressed or frustrated. So likewise, the antidote is to use some parental training techniques you’ve used or seen before,” Taylor said, adding that she elaborates on this in her book, ‘Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant.’
“For example, after witnessing a meltdown, let the perpetrator know they’ve been heard, but set boundaries to bad behavior. Also:
- Reiterate what their beef is, to offer some validation.
- Be the voice of reason in a way that they know benefits them.
- You just can’t fight fire with fire whether it’s an irate customer or an out of control toddler who is running amok.
- Show patience and understanding, but also some solid boundary setting is in order.
- Diplomacy is critical… as in many contentious situations, it’s how you package your information. Your delivery matters.
- You may need to repeat yourself in a polite way, using varying phrases to get your message across.
- Use a little levity to defuse tension when you feel you are turning the situation around.”
#7 I Made The Total 129.99 And Really Hope It Bothered Them A Little
Image credits: MasturbatingMiles
#8 If You’re That Broke, Don’t Order Tequila Shots For You And Your Friends At An Upscale Bar In The Middle Of Uptown
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#9 I’d Rather Be Tipped With A Bag Of Dog Sh*t
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The expert noted that employees can be effective in using tough love when dealing with critical customers, meaning that they remain assertive, consistent, and polite. “When times get testy, it can also mitigate tensions to be empathetic to their issue—but let them know how your company operates and its policies,” she said.
“As the provider of any service, you retain the right to deny customers the right to be in your establishment. Still, there are plenty of headlines today where situations get out of hand. Worker safety is therefore a key concern for both management and team members. And this is where company training is paramount.”
#10 Me And Other Server Agreed To Split The Tip On A Party Of 15. They Tipped A Dollar…
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#11 This Was Given To Me As A Tip Yesterday
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#12 Sorry I Politely Asked Your Crotch Goblin To Not Throw Sugar At Other Guests. Lmao
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The r/Serverlife subreddit is an old one, with roots all the way back in late May of 2014. Over the years, the online subreddit has grown by leaps and bounds and now boasts nearly 112k active members who are invited to take off their aprons, have a glass, and chat about work.
Among these numerous members are both servers who enjoy venting and discussing issues at their jobs, as well as random people from different industries who like taking a peek into the reality of waiting tables. This subreddit is a perfect place to remind you that, yes, servers are living, breathing human beings who deserve respect.
According to the data collected by Indeed, the average salary for a food service worker in the United States is $14.88 per hour. Of course, this fluctuates quite a bit depending on what company you work for. For instance, Indeed notes that Chili’s pays its employees an average of $21.32 per hour. Meanwhile, Applebee’s compensates its staff around $21.19 per hour, and IHOP pays $20.27 per hour.
#13 People Don’t Understand The Restaurant Industry
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#14 “You Ruined My Mother’s Birthday”
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#15 Some People Should Just Stay Home…
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Red Lobster’s average food service worker’s wage is slightly lower, sitting at $17.82, just below the US Department of Veteran Affairs which offers $18.45 per hour, but slightly above IKEA’s average salary of $17.73. It’s important to keep these numbers in mind when doing background research for a raise or if you’re looking to jump ship and head toward greener pastures.
The city you live in will also have a massive impact on your salary. For example, if you’re living in Los Angeles, California, the average food service worker’s salary is going to be $17.42 per hour. Washington, DC offers something similar, with $17.30 per hour. If you happen to live in a nearby town, consider comparing your wage there with the salaries in LA and DC. A slightly longer commute to a different job might just work out.
#16 Ridiculous How People Think This Is Even Remotely Acceptable. Service Was Great Too And Ran Me Around For Over An Hour. Help Me Feel Better, What’s Your Worst Tip?
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#17 “Serving Teenagers Isn’t That Bad”
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Some other high-paying US cities also include Sacramento, California ($16.05 per hour), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ($15.67 per hour), Las Vegas, Nevada ($14.76 per hour), and Atlanta, Georgia ($14.66). Among the runners up are Tampa, Florida ($14.45 per hour), Dallas, Texas ($14.41 per hour), and Jacksonville, Florida ($13.70).
A fancy restaurant server Bored Panda interviewed earlier shared a lot of great tips about her job. “The essence of being a good server is making sure everyone leaves the meal having had a nice time. The essence of being a great server is making sure everyone leaves the meal having had a memorable time,” she shared her perspective on being a professional server.
“I’m always on the lookout for anything extra I can do to make the night special for our guests. If I overhear a birthday mentioned, we bring out a piece of cake. If someone comes in wearing a Dolphins jersey, we’ll turn on that game if they’re playing. We take pride in our work,” the server said.
#19 East Tn 🙁
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#20 Last Table Of The Night
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#21 “I Even Named My Son Logan” Yes I Work Here God Help Me
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Something that customers can do to help out the staff, especially trainees, is to step in if they see another client being rude to them. “The server may look unbothered, but that’s because it’s their job. ‘The customer is always right,’ is one of the only pieces of training many of us get. It is literally our job to be sure tables leave happy. We cannot argue with you. So, just because they’re smiling on the outside doesn’t mean they’re not offended, or even feeling unsafe, on the inside,” the professional revealed what the reality is like.
#22 Guess I’ll Just Go Sell My Left Kidney ?
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#23 This Has Been Happening All The Time Lately, This Shift I Didn’t Get A Single Tip 20% Or More. Thinking Of Applying For Minimum Wage Job
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#24 When They Give You The Ol’ “We’ll Take Care Of You” Razzle Dazzle
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“If you’re not comfortable saying something to the abusive customer directly, just find a manager and quietly inform them of what’s going on, they’ll take it from there. A lot of servers are students who are too nervous about losing the job or looking unprofessional to ask for help. And, as someone eating in the restaurant rather than working there, your words will carry far more weight with the harasser than ours would anyways,” she told us.
#25 Normalize Staying Home
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#26 Regular Who Has A Different Date Every Week
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#27 Got This Today As A Tip, Would This Be Valid Anywhere? And Yes It’s Sticky
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Other things that customers can do to make a server’s day are to be kind, be polite, tip well (depending on the country), and avoid venting their frustrations on the staff. All in all, how you treat food service industry workers says a lot about you as a person. If you’re rude to someone who you think has no power, it might be time to rethink how you treat people as a whole.
#28 Manager Got This Back From A Table (Adults) He Told Couldnt Order The Kids Meal
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#29 Fun Little Love Note! Also According To Her Restaurants Website They Actually Do 20% For Parties Of 8 Or More…
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#30 I Hate People
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For some more hellish posts from r/Serverlife, check out Bored Panda’s previous feature right here. Meanwhile, if you’ve ever worked as a server, feel free to share your experiences with the best and worst customers ever in the comments. And if you have any tips to give servers who are completely fresh to the industry, we’re sure they’d appreciate it, too, dear Pandas.
#31 I Made The Total 129.99 And Really Hope It Bothered Them A Little
Image credits: MasturbatingMiles
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