Served: How to be a Stellar Server


Hannah Howard has worked in several restaurants, but she's made the switch to the grocery side of the industry. She's now a cheesemonger for a small market chain, and will share her experience here.

20080616-servedbug.jpg I've put in time as a server, and time working with servers, training servers, and managing servers. Whenever I get the chance, I love to dine out and get served a little myself.

Being a great server is no walk in the park. Anyone who's spent time taking orders and whisking trays to the hungry masses knows waiting tables well is a challenging, sometimes formidable, feat. I've been dining out frequently recently, and as always, paying a lot of attention to the service, or lack thereof. Here are my conclusions as to what stellar service entails, and how to achieve it.

In a Nutshell

A server's job is to do what it takes so that every customer has a wonderful experience. They do that within the confines of their place of employ. At my cheese and wine bar, where the menu was entirely cheese-focused, we had difficulty giving that great experience to vegans. We did our best, though! Wine is vegan! And we'd make roquefort-less salads and cheese-less grilled cheeses if that made them happy.

Great experiences come in all colors of the rainbow. Fast food, slow food, expansive and ample interaction, barebones interaction. The rockstar servers can read tables and respond accordingly.

Do's and Don't's

Do know the menu, the wine list, and everything you can about the restaurant like the back of your hand. Be generous, but discerning, sharing your knowledge. One of your guests is dying to talk about raw milk cheeses; another might