This essay article is part of a Narcity Media series. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Narcity Media.
The restaurant industry in Florida is a bustling business because there are always mouths to feed. When I returned to the Sunshine State, I was out of a job and needed to make some quick money, so I became a waiter at a beach restaurant.
A daily workload that I thought was a temporary memory will now last me a lifetime of laughs. Where I worked was on the waterfront, close to hotels and rental shops, which meant snowbirds flocked there, and it was always busy.
With international customers as well as local regulars, I had no idea I was going to see things I could never ignore. So, I decided not to monitor such stories so you don’t have to be that patron.
Shoes should always stay on your feet.
Sounds like common sense…or so you think. I don’t know if it’s because of the property’s location near the sand, but I constantly saw people taking their shoes off while sitting at a public table…and I’m not talking about flip flops, but full sneakers.
It was super unsanitary and as a server you don’t really know what to do. It’s your tip at the end of the day. My motto: Avoid smelly feet and only go when absolutely necessary.
Hostess booths are there for a reason.
Far too often people walk past the hostess booth and find the busiest person walking around asking for a table. Restaurants have implemented a streamlined process so you can get seated faster. Skipping the line and asking a random employee will only set you back a few steps.
Plus, the friendly hostesses are carefully trained and place customers strategically so that all servers can get a piece of the pie, no pun intended.
Wait until there is a clean table.
According to my short stint in the business, people frequently left their table in the middle of the meal and moved to a table closest to the beach.
It makes sense why they want a nice window or a great view of the turquoise waves, but it always seemed odd that they chose to do it in the middle of dinner. Many times they even moved to an extremely dirty table to secure the place.
This not only messed up the system, but also added stress to the service employee.
Ask for things that are on the menu.
I understand that people have particular tastes, and since I worked in Florida, a lot of people wanted seafood, which comes at a cost. So, restaurants have a fixed menu based on what the cooks can do efficiently in a timely manner, as well as the restaurant’s means.
It blew my mind when customers asked for things that sometimes were even totally different cuisine than what was offered in the restaurant.
I specifically worked in a seafood restaurant and some of the people dining at my tables were telling me they didn’t even like fish or shellfish and asking me what else they could have at the square. Pro tip: Research the restaurant menu before you go.
Order from the menu on the right.
Besides asking for things that are actually on the menu, I’ve personally asked people to order from a completely different restaurant. At a big party, a woman was ordering a “take out” item. Larger groups are always more complicated for orders, so you always have to check what everyone wants.
This woman was ordering things that weren’t on our menu, and when I saw where she was ordering, it wasn’t even the same place.
While all of these things are extremely weird and super unique to Florida, they’re as hilarious as they are warning signs when you go out to eat!
The right cover image of this article was used for illustrative purposes only.