Outward-Facing Lifehack #3

Quite some time ago, I posted a few blog entries about tiny things I can do that can make someone else’s job much easier. The last one I posted was about how to position your knife on a plate at a restaurant, and I have another server-focused lifehack today.

Have you ever been at a restaurant with 4-5 people and the waiter starts to deliver your food, but people can’t seem to remember what they ordered? The waiter is left standing there with a hot plate in their hand while you decide where they should put it down.

I waited tables for a few summers back in the day, and while I didn’t let it show, this situation was common and quite frustrating. Usually it’s avoidable if the server remembers where the food goes, but sometimes we mess up, and sometimes I was delivering the food for someone else.

Having been in that position, instead of leaving a server stranded, I simply take the plate and assure everyone that we’ll figure it out. This can significantly speed up food delivery. There is nothing the server is doing that we can’t do ourselves, and I’d rather eliminate the dead zone of debating who ordered what.

So, I recommend doing this. Just tell the waiter, “I’ll take it, and we’ll figure it out.” Usually by the time the plate hits the table, the person remembers it’s what they ordered, and you just pass it to them.

Now, there a few situations when this doesn’t work. If the plates are really hot, you don’t want to be passing them around the table. You can detect this if the server is handling the plates with a clothe napkin.

The other rare situation is if the server is delivering a plate to the wrong table. Technically if it is set down on your table, they can’t then deliver it to someone else (though common sense can override this issue).

Have you ever encountered this situation? Do you have a different approach to handling it?

One Response to “Outward-Facing Lifehack #3”

  1. As a fellow former waiter, I appreciate these. The knife hack especially is a bit of thoughtfulness that really goes a long way. 🙂
    More generally, I think the outward-facing lifehacks are great. We’ve got far too much self-help content, far too little others-help content. We really need the latter.

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