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The closest I have come to being a waitress was when I had a job at Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Parlor in high school. Serving people cones and sundaes is certainly easier than serving them a full meal. Cleaning up dirty napkins and wiping ice cream drips off of tables is nowhere near as nasty as bussing a table after a three course dinner. Yet my limited experience does make me sympathetic to how hard servers work, and it does make me prone to leave good tips.
But the tips I’m leaving today are of a different kind. We have had some lovely meals on this vacation. But three times servers have made dining out a disappointment. I’m not going to name the restaurants, but here are three tips for Colorado servers.
We had lunch at a barbeque restaurant, and BBQ chicken salad was on the menu. At first I thought this was going to be a BTD friendly restaurant. They listed several choices of sauce in the menu, and they noted which ones were gluten free. I asked the server what was in the chicken salad, and she said “lettuce tomato, chicken.” That sounded fine. However, When salad arrived it had also had raw onions, carrots, and finely grated cheese. I was glad to have the carrots. The raw onions were in big enough pieces that I could pull them out and give them to HH. There was no way I could get the cheese out of the salad. I went ahead and it. A little cheese is not going to ruin my day, and I didn’t want to waste the food. But it made me think of several friends who have serious food allergies and the difficulties they face when a server gives bad information.
Tip #1. If a customer asks what is in a menu item, give them accurate information.
We were in a location where we had purchased tickets to get into a park. We had finished eating in the concession area. I wanted to refill my water bottle before we resumed our walk, so I asked one of the servers where I could find a water fountain. I was told in a very curt voice that there was no water fountain, that they SOLD water bottles. I left without buying anything else, and stopped at the next convenience store outside the park to buy water. If the server had said, “I am so sorry. We don’t have a water fountain. But our bottled water is only …” I would have pulled out the wallet.
Tip # 2. Politeness will increase sales.
We arrived at a restaurant and were seated by an obviously overworked server. He appeared to be the only server at a moderately busy lunch hour. To his credit, he served his customers in the order in which they arrived. However we watched as he refilled water glasses, took dessert orders, and bussed tables, while we sat for 20 minutes with our menus. All of us had decided what we wanted to order. I was having a chicken salad with artichoke hearts, avocado, mushrooms, feta and craisins. We weren’t in a hurry. If the server had taken a moment to just bring us a glass of water and write down our order, we could have visited quite happily while we waited. As it was, we couldn’t even leave the table to wash our hands for fear we would miss him.
Tip # 3. Give new customers just a little attention before waiting on those who want a third glass of soda.
One more tip for future Colorado travelers. If you are in Estes Park and want elegant service, BTD friendly food, and a fabulous view, go to The Shores. It was a delightful dining experience with attentive (but never pushy) servers.
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