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Servers' familiar behaviour

What do you do when a server proceeds to be too familiar? I am very offended when a server treats me as a long lost friend. The worst offense is when he/she sits at the table or booth with my partner and me. Once I gently complained that it was not appropriate to the server. His response prompted me to call for the manager. His response was, "That's how we train our servers." I responded that I would not be staying nor returning. He responded, "That's your choice."

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  1. Sounds to me like you are looking more for a servant than a server. I think the manager handled the situation perfectly.

    17 Replies
    1. re: Rick

      You actually think its alright for a server to sit with you in your "temporary" space? You are entitled to your opinion as am I, but you are not entitled to be critical of a person you have never met.

      1. re: Rick

        I disagree, The manager should have explained that although this is the way we train our servers, I'll make sure your server does not sit down at your table again during your visit.

        This would have most likely pacified the patron and excused the server's behavior and avoided a walkout.

        If I was the patron and received the curt response above, I would have also walked and not returned. If I received a response such as I suggest, I would have completed the meal and probably not returned.

        1. re: Rick

          As I said on another thread, eating in a restaurant is a business transaction, not a budding friendship. I used to wait tables, so I don't fancy myself to be above servers or expect them to be my servants, but I am a customer and they are a service provider.

          i don't expect to get hugs or kisses on the cheek from the plumber or the electrician -- and I don't expect servers to sit down at the table with me. (squatting down next to the table is only somewhat less offputting)

          And that whole thing of writing your name upside-down on the paper tablecloth with a crayon? Puhleeze. Really? I don't even need to know your name....and I deduct points for dotting your i's with smiley faces or hearts.

          A server is a professional....I treat them as such, and I expect the same in return.

          1. re: sunshine842

            FYI, in restaurants with butcher paper and crayons, if it's a chain, I can bet you the server is REQUIRED to write their name on the table. They're not doing it to be cute. Dotting your i with a heart, that's over the top, but one tries to be creative after awhile.

            1. re: rockandroller1

              Do restaurants that have butcher paper and crayons have decent foo?. I have never been to one.

              1. re: randyjl

                Macaroni Grill does this still, right? With regard to if it is "decent", your mileage may vary.

                1. re: GraydonCarter

                  Mac Grill is the one that comes to mind for me. Actually, several of their dishes are pretty good IMO. I like their food. I used to work at one, and though their food has changed tremendously from when i worked there, I think some of the changes are good. We live in an area with dozens of chains and only a few indies, and most of the indies are really, really bad (and the others we get tired of visiting over and over), so I admit we get takeout from here every so often.

            2. re: sunshine842

              I have to agree that restaurants that require their servers to do this also have crap food. So why even go to these nasty chains?

            3. re: Rick

              I've only experienced it once - a server sitting down at the table to take the order, that is. Once is enough. It is one of the most unprofessional things I have ever seen in restaurant.

              Friends had chose the place to eat, so it was not appropriate to raise this with nthe management. Suffcie to say, we've not been back and won't be going back.

              1. re: Rick

                WAY disagree. I don't want anyone I don't know or who is not part of my dining party to sit down at a table with me.

                The server is there to take my order and deliver my food. I'm not saying they're a servant and absolutely won't treat them as such.

                But they are also not my friend (unless they ARE my friend and that's a completely different situation) and as such, there is absolutely no reason for them to be sitting down at my table trying to shoot the breeze with me.

                  1. re: randyjl

                    randy, I think we're in the majority with our thinking.

                    It's happened to me twice, IIRC. I was actually nudged over by the waitress as she sat. I said "Excuse me?" as she did so and she said "Oh, we sit when we take orders here!" in a bright cheery voice. I replied rather tersely "There isn't enough room for 3 people in this booth." (There were already 2 of us sitting there) She got the point and stood. Although we got a bit of attitude for the rest of the night.

                  2. re: LindaWhit

                    COMPLETELY agree with you.

                    The exception-of-sorts that comes to mind is a Chinese (Taiwanese) restaurant in South Bend IN where the proprietess comes over to you and sits at the NEXT table to you and talks with you about what you would like to eat and suggesting dishes if you wish to explore. That's fine and quite agreeable to me.

                    1. re: huiray

                      THAT would be incredibly cool, and enthusiastically welcomed.

                      1. re: huiray

                        Totally fine with that, huiray. When they take interest in what you might want to eat and make suggestions? All for that. Sitting down at my table? No thank you.

                        1. re: huiray

                          Ah, that's a bit different.

                          I know a tapas restaurant in Spain that doesnt have a menu (and doesnt have the food out on view). The boss comes and sits and tells you what he has. You desperately try to remember everything, cos he doesnt take your order until he's finished talking.

                          1. re: huiray

                            huiray, there's a very good Shanghainese restaurant in Arcadia, CA whose hostess sometimes sits and discusses the choices like that, if there's an empty table available. Quite delightful, much easier to carry on a conversation. It's also a welcome change from the rather brusque, impersonal attitude of many Chinese restaurant personnel.

                      2. I have never in my whole life had a server sit down at the table, never. And I have places I've gone to for years and have been pretty friendly with owners/staff. But to see down at the table, I don't even understand why that would happen.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: escondido123

                          Unfortunately, it does happen. About 10 years ago my wife and I were taken as part of a group of 8 to a local steakhouse, The restaurant was very busy. After 20 minutes the server arrived to take our order (we had gotten drinks at the bar while waiting for the table and carried the drinks with us while being seated. The server approached the table, pulled out a chair, sat down opened her book and asked for our order. Our host looked at the server and said: I didn't invite you as one of our party." The server looked annoyed, got up and walked away. After 10 additional minutes and no one taking our order the host apprached the manager, The manager said that if his employees were tired, he had no objection if they sat to take orders. Our host said "they can sit, just not at our table." The manager then proceeded to take the order and another server completed working our table for the evening.
                          We never returned, but found that the restauarnt went out of business about 8 months later.

                        2. It depends on the kind of place, but a waiter sitting down w. us wouldn't necessarily offend me. I might think it odd, but not offensive.

                          1. It's more discreet if she simply writes her phone number on the check.

                            1. It depends upon the formality of the establishment. Are patrons wearing shorts, drinking shots? I once ate at a fish camp where there were only benches and all the servers sat to take orders, so I welcomed it as a quirky aspect of the place. However, if it wasn't the custom of the restaurant, just a waiter being too familiar, I would find it odd but not necessarily object nor complain.

                              If it is a pricy place, then make a stink.