Having worked for more than two months as a server, I feel the need to share some thoughts on what a server feels and thinks (or at least MY thoughts and feelings) in almost every customer interaction.
Dear customer, if you see that the lights are still dim and the stanchions are still by the entry way, please assume that we're still closed. Check the signs by the door re our opening time. Asking the staff if they're already open annoys the hell out of us (ehem, me). Common sense, context clues, please. If we're already open, all lights should have been turned on and there will be nothing by the entrance to keep you from going in.
2. ORDERING 1.1
This is only applicable to restaurants with just a few staff. Please call the attention of the staff if you are really ready to order. Otherwise, stop waving your hands in the air. It's so irritating seeing you do that. It doesn't just hassle me but the rest of the diners too who are really, truly ready to give their order but can't because the lone staff is attending to you and laboriously waiting for you to make up your mind.
3. ORDERING 1.2
Never order what's not on the menu. Id you don't see Kiwi or Watermelon juice under the juice section, then we don't have it. Ordering a caramel banana cake without the caramel or chocolate banana without the banana is plain stupidity. No, we can't remove the caramel for you or take off the banana in your cake. If we were the type to customize based on every customer's wants, then we should have been charging you more, there would have been more staff in the store, and we wouldn't be tucked in a mall basement (we should have been in a 5-star hotel or we could have been a stand alone restaurant). There's a reason why we have fifteen cake varieties for you to choose from so that if you find caramel too sweet or if you don't eat bananas you can choose from the other fourteen cakes. But hey, don't get me wrong. We do customize sometimes, but only on a case-to-case basis. Only if you're a regular (you visit us at least 3x a week or you spend more than a hundred dollars in one bill once a week or if you're the big boss) we can whip up something for you. Otherwise, I can say there are plenty in the menu for you to choose from.
4. CANCELING ORDERS
If you think canceling orders is as easy as a finger snap, then, yes, it is. For the customers and not for the staff! If a customer cancels his or her order, it costs the staff effort, money and a good rating from the supervisor. Effort - the food you ordered could have already been prepared for you before you decide to cancel it. Money - because the food prepared, of course, will go to waste and will just be thrown away. And no, we don't recycle or eat it, if that's what you are thinking. Supervisor's rating - because it will be a void order under the staff's name and it won't good on the staff's performance if there's a void order under his/her name. Not to mention a mouthful of scolding from the manager. So please, take time to order and then don't be a biatch and be fickle-minded all of a sudden.
5. BILL / CHECK / PAYMENT
Be attentive. If you see others paying at the counter, please do the same. There are just some restaurants who have table service but come payment time, you have to stand up and go to the counter. So don't try to get the attention of the staff and signal for the bill anymore. It's a waste of our time attending to you just for that (although to be honest, there should be something written on the menu/table/walls saying "Please Pay at the Counter). If you're done, please stand up, pay at the counter and leave.
I think writing this makes me look like a grouchy server. In reality, I'm not. Really. :) Just want to let it all out. I am still (two claps) happy to serve you. And as what I always say to customers after they have paid their bill, and with a big smile on my face, Thank You and Have a Great Day.