The Waiter Vs. Waitress Game


While I was having a light lunch in a café with one of my friends, we came into discussion about waitressing and if gender plays a role in it especially since it is sexually ambiguous (remember waitressing is different than being a servant or a maid). I have pinpointed how a good waitress or a waiter behaves while serving other people; my observation however is culturally biased as my experiences arise from my time living in the US. Here are my observations so far:

• The Quality of a Good Waitress

Usually, a good waitress uses her charm while servicing a table (remember I said charm not body); she usually acts as the good girl living next door. Usually when you ask her about a specific recommended dish (i.e. grilled chicken dish), she stats her favorite first if she has one, and she doesn’t stop there and probably mentions other dishes in fear her dish might not strike the appeal of the customer. They usually enjoy talking and maybe mentions a couple of personal events and preferences; for example, once I mentioned to a waitress that we would like to have our dishes as soon as they become available because I wanted to catch the premier of LOST, and we wound up “recapping” he whole thing. Finally, 70% of good waitresses usually leavesa short cute comment on your receipt, which surprisingly works on increasing her tip very considerably.

• The Quality of a Good Waiter

A good waiter usually very confident when he talks and recommends dishes, and he usually stops by at least 4-5 times at your table without being obsessively obnoxious. He does enjoy talking but he rarely gets intimate or outside the frame of a subject. However, he may acts different around a table full of women; opposite of a waitress, which she usually resistance around full table of same and opposite sex individuals. However, if a good waiter screwed up, he usually doesn’t over-apologize (unlike a waitress) and to make-up his mistakes, he throws a dish free of charge.

The Verdict

Even though waitressing can be affected by gender; yet both waiters and waitresses demonstrate good qualities that distinguished them from each other; and they both take their job very seriously. Now, before you accuse me of being sexually-biased, please note that my observations come from my own experiences (I mean I didn’t do any field study to support my observations), and I don’t know if this is related but if you know me better, you would realize that I’m a big time feminist. You may critique now.


9 responses to this post.

  1. Very well thought out ideas, but it also depends on the personality of the waitress, if she is out going she could act like one of the guys and do her thing. She knows she is confident and goes about doing what she is good at, and sometimes chats it up! Also its great when they talk football with us, especially if they are fan, then the tip is huge! hehehe

    And if the guy is cool and he is chill about things, he also gets a good tip! The guy is paying attention to your requests and being helpful! Also they will get you as a repeat customer!

    It goes both ways!


  2. @Marzouq

    Yes, I had these kind of talks with Chili waitress and even Hooters’. The personality thing shows up in waiters more but I agree with all your insights. ^_^


  3. Posted by Ruth on April 27, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    what was the point of this thing. was there a point? who really cares? you obviously have a lot of time on your hands.


  4. Posted by Joshua on May 16, 2007 at 8:34 am

    I’m a waiter. When I first started, I noticed that many females act sort of overly-sweet & affectionate, nearly maternal with their tables. These were even waitresses that are younger than myself. I realized that I resent that a small bit when I’m a customer. I don’t need to be called Sir, or Sweetheart, or Honey. If I’m in a diner on a roadtrip in the South or something, sure… but in NYC or Miami? I resolved to treat my customers with respect, professionalism, & efficiency. I got into a debate with a waitress about being overly attentive. When I play the confident, competent, and available waiter I make tips. When I get too involved I feel uncomfortable and it shows.

    Sometimes tips don’t make sense. I’ve had days, even weeks where the tables that I treated with nearly personally dismissive efficiency tipped me way more than those who wanted to be friendly.

    I also notice that women, while their body language and comments indicate that they are very pleased to have me as their waiter do not meet this appreciation with respect to their tip. I speculate that for whatever reason, whether it’s that women typically make less money or that they split their checks personally more frequently are less generous tippers. The sexual appeal thing doesn’t work as well for me as a male waiter. Except gay men, but that’s a whole different kettle of fish with its own issues.

    Women are also more difficult orders with more customization, more questions, and all around more specifics. This is fact. So while it’s more effort to keep a table of women who seem to be competing for who is the biggest princess happy, the tip isn’t reflective of the service provided.

    This topic is about the role of the server though. I just believe that the customer also plays an integral part in my style and approach. One must read their table from a distance and ask a few probing questions, notice body language and behave as diplomatically as possible. A table will always react to me as their server (groups of young men actually display their disappointment when they see I’m their waiter after watching waitress divas zip around) differently than a woman.

    My M.O. is this:

    Treat my tables like intelligent human beings, no matter how they look. Never ever _over_ apologize if something goes wrong. Most of the time, I didn’t personally screw it up. I’m just interested in what I can do to make you happy. If you wanted a beer and it was warm I get you a cold one on the house. Since the house fscked up, the house can pay. Don’t penalize -me- because a bartender was late in getting a barback to stock a cooler. So I don’t apologize other than saying, “sorry about that, this one’s on the house.” I’m on the customer’s side. I am your advocate. I’m the one that wants to make sure you enjoyed your experience. Not only because that’s why you’re paying me, but because it’s just, ethical, and the foundation of the hospitality business.

    When they’ve been served, usually I don’t even speak to a table unless they’re indicating they want my attention or they actually look painfully uncomfortable with each other or their environment. I walk by and try to make eye contact.

    That’s my style. If you don’t like it, there’s surely some condescending waitress that will smile at you and call you “Darlin'”. I’ll get her for you.


  5. that suked


  6. go waiter the waitress sukes just as jackson sayed


  7. Posted by Chelsea on July 4, 2007 at 3:04 am

    Well, generally when I go to a resteraunt, I like the waiter to not be overly friendly, as I would like to get on with my meal, but a few jokes here and there never go amiss.


  8. gud advice…grrr


  9. i enjoy reading this and i think itis very good


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