1) Yes, we DO do a good job most of the time.
You don't actually know how hard it is to serve someone until you've done it. I didn't think it would be hard at first, but there is a lot more to it than just bringing someone food. You have to find them a place to sit, give them the menu, know that menu forwards, backwards, and sideways (in my restaurant, we have 21 different kinds of burgers AND 14 different wing sauces. FOURTEEN!!!!!!!), treat extremely stupid questions like they are great ones (ex-"Is there any wild game in the 'Ostrich Burger'?", "Does the soup come with a spoon?", "Oh, I didn't know there was meat in the beef vegetable soup..."...These are all questions I have actually gotten!), know all of the short forms for the food to help communicate, and bring the order to the cooks. That's not even the half of it! If your place serves alcohol, you have to know how to mix certain drinks, what beers and wines you have, how to pour and open everything, you also have to bring drinks over without spilling them. Next, you have to keep watching all of your tables (I have had 11 at once before and I was by myself!) and keep their drinks filled, check on them, see if they need anything, bring them their bills, and bring them their food. Which brings me to my next point:
2) The Food
The food is obviously one of the most important aspects of the restaurant. You are juggling big, heavy, HOT plates all over the place, remembering who is eating what, keep track of what has to come out first, what sides come with the foods, the holds (ex-no tomatoes), and do all of this without dropping anything.
3) The Bills
The bills suck at my restaurant. We have to do EVERYTHING by hand. So we have to know how much everything costs, extra charges for whatever, charges for substitutions, we also have to figure out the taxes and apply them to the bills, bring the bills to the correct tables at the right time, and ring everybody out WHILE watching all of your other tables, filling drinks, and bringing food out.
5) The customers!!!!!
You do NOT know how horrible some customers are until you serve them. Keep in mind, you are helping these people for over an hour most times. Here is an example:
Me: Alright ma'am. Here are your menus. Just to let you know our special today is--
Her:I don't care about that! Just get me this, this, this and this to drink. only 3 ice cubes in each glass!
Me: Not a problem. *brings drinks over* Here you go.
Her: *orders food* Now, with the burger, I don't want a bun. Also, no fries, tomatoes, or lettuce. And also give me some soup. What was your special!?!?? You never told me!!!
Me: *getting irritated* It was this. I'm sorry I didnt tell you earlier.
Her: Well you should be! I dont want that anyways!
Me: Alright. *brings order back, food is ready, brings food out* There you all are. Can I get you anything else for the moment?
5 mins later:
Her: MISS! MISS!! *flagging me down while I'm taking someone else's order.
Me: Sorry I'll be there in just a second. I just have to finish taking someone's order. *I finish, bring the order to the cooks, and go over to see her* Sorry about that, how can I help you?
Her: My daughter doesn't like this. Bring it back. Bring me this instead!
Me: *growling in my head* Sure. not a problem. It will just be a few minutes. (keep in mind that the restaurant as packed and there are a few orders ahead of this one.
20 mins later
Her: *walks up to me* Where is my daughters food!?!? She is hungry!!!
Me: Sorry about that. I'll go check on it.
Her: Hurry up!!
Me: *i go check on it and it gets finished. i bring the food out and give it to the daughter* There you go hun. sorry about the wait on that.
The lady: It DID take a long time!
While dealing with customers, you HAVE to smile and treat them with loads of respect! She didn't even end up tipping on a $70 bill!!!!! AND we gave her the meal her daughter didn't like for FREE! You have to deal with customers like this ALL of the time and not strangle them or spit in their food. Do you know how hard that is? DO YOU!?!?!?! I get it that everyone has bad days, but don't take it out on your servers. We are your serVERS, not your serVANTS!
As servers, we LITERALLY live off of our tips. We don't get paid minimum wage BECAUSE we get tips! Where I live (Canada), minimum wage is $10.25 and I get paid $8.90. Plus, we don't even get to keep all of our tips! There is something called a "Tip-out" where we give a certain percentage to the cooks. For me it's 15%.
7) "Thank You"
After saying it all day and night, 24/7, the words "Thank you" loose their effect. Sure it's nice to hear, but tipping says "thank you" in a much bigger way. If you have a horrible customer, and they tip you like, 25% of what the bill was, you KNOW that they enjoyed their stay.
Sure we take pride in our work, but the "little extra something" brings MORE value to it. It most definitely does NOT devalue it. Ask any server and they will tell you the exact same thing. Trust me. Now, would you like that steak medium, rare, or well done?