The five things you didn't know about your waiter
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The five things you didn't know about your waiter

"Having been a waiter for about 12 years of my life, and inspired by an article from Wendy Knowler, I decided to put together the top five things you probably did not know about the person serving you your food," says Rory Petzer.

Waiter at restaurant / Pexels
Waiter at restaurant / Pexels

Wendy Knowler published a Consumerwatch article recently titled 'You break it, your waiter pays for it', which chatted about the conditions and treatment that waiters experience in the industry. 

I too was a waiter back in the day, so I was prompted to put together my top five things you may not have known about the person serving you food - in no particular order. 

1. S/he probably does not earn an hourly rate at all and relies solely on 3% (average) commission and tips. When this is questioned, s/he is told there is a long queue of people waiting (no pun) to 'do your job'.

2. S/he is probably charged a breakage fee of R20 - R50 per shift, whether or not she actually breaks anything.

3. Even though s/he is not paid an hourly rate, s/he is probably tasked with keeping the restaurant clean and has to arrive an hour before they open and stay an hour after they close to do things like sweep and mop floors, clean windows etc. I worked at a popular seafood restaurant in the harbour in Port Elizabeth where the waiters each had to pay R20 per shift if we did not want to clean the windows ourselves.

4. S/he has probably been charged in full when a table has secretly upped and left without paying their bill. This is 'because your tables are your responsibility' and even though a large part of your job involves having to be in the kitchen and elsewhere in the restaurant, where you are unable to keep an eye on all your tables, when they leave without paying, it is usually considered theft on your part and you are then 'responsible for that bill'. No questions asked.

5. There have probably been and will probably be many shifts where your waiter has left there after an 8-hour shift with LESS money than what s/he arrived at work with. This is largely due to numbers 1 - 4 above.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not sure how much has changed since I was a waiter and if any restaurants still 'behave' like this, but bear it in mind next time you eat out.

If you're currently a waiter or have been one recently, feel free to share your comments and thoughts with me. 

Main image courtesy of Pexels

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