This I Believe: Student Essay by Sarah Telleen

Sarah Telleen, a freshman, shares life lessons from working at Carriage Crossing in Yoder, Kan.

May I take your order?

I believe good attitude is good service.

I have been a waitress at a restaurant for three years and during this time I have learned three important qualities I believe all servers should have. First, a server must be patient. In every restaurant, there is at least one table who thinks they are the most important people in the restaurant. One particular table I served, I named “Scrooge.” It was a slow, rainy day. My shift ended in ten minutes when he walked in, a stern faced, grumpy old man who ordered the 12oz KC Strip steak cooked medium rare. In between taking his order and giving him his bill he had me running back and forth between the kitchen and his table with his demanding needs. He needed his iced tea refilled, artificial sweetener, more napkins, a new fork, and corn instead of carrots as a side. When his steak was finished, he said that it was not cooked right. I took it back to the kitchen not once, but three times. It turned out he really wanted his steak well done. I walked into the kitchen again and sighed, thinking to myself, “I must be patient. My job, after all, is to serve customers.”

While I was busing a nearby table, Scrooge caught my attention, saying “You did wonderful. Thank you.” He left that night with a smile on his face and a twenty dollar tip on the table. By being patient I represented the restaurant positivity. Also, patience encourages customers like Scrooge to return, keeping the business successful.

Second and third, a server must be efficient and knowledgeable of the food available. For example, people often need to order gluten-free. By knowing what is offered, I can easily direct people to gluten-free dinners. This is knowledge, but also efficiency. In addition, efficiency is being prompt to serve tables and the ability to multitask. When walking out the kitchen door, instead of carrying one item I grab my tray filled with miscellaneous items for many tables. A Pepsi refill, artificial sweetener, creamer for coffee, extra butter for a man’s baked potato, a basket of bread, and a new fork for the kid that dropped hers on the floor. Getting everything to my tables in a timely matter allows the guests to leave faster giving me a better chance of receiving another table and, in turn, I make more money. When I am efficient and knowledgeable, guests feel well taken care of because of my ability to foresee their needs. Plus, I am not running around like a chicken with its head cut off!

Overall, a good server makes the dining experience pleasant and will encourage customers to return. I believe these qualities play an important role in creating a business that benefits all.

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