5 Horrifying Mistakes Servers Have Seen at Reopened Restaurants
Restaurants may have reopened in almost every major city at this point, but the pandemic is far from over. Owners at most restaurants nationwide have been making tireless efforts to abide by the CDC's reopening guidelines so that both customers and staff remain safe, but what happens when customers don't want to comply with the restrictions establishments have implemented?
Restaurant servers, bartenders, hosts, and hostesses all risk their health to take care of customers and maintain the livelihood of the business. Still, many servers have faced pushback from customers after multiple attempts of enforcing safety precautions.
"People feel like they're entitled to normalcy when they can't be given that," says a server at Mac Daddy's restaurant in Cross, South Carolina, who requested to remain anonymous. "Re-opening has created chaos."
Below, you will see just five examples of the mistakes restaurant workers from four different have seen customers do firsthand while dining at reopened restaurants.
Not wearing masks when they come into the restaurant.
Shary Denner, who works behind the carry-out counter and is a hostess at The Pizza House in Columbus, Ohio, couldn't be more excited about having the dining room back open. However, she's noticed a reoccurring theme among customers who have been coming to dine-in since the independent pizza shop's reopening on June 8. "Most of them don't have masks on," she says.
At a place like The Pizza House, where outdoor dining space is absent, it's even more important for customers to take extra precautions, at the very least while entering the establishment. Although, Denner says that most of the tables—including the entire bar area—are blocked off, making it safer for customers.
The server at Mac Daddy's in Cross, South Carolina says that customers don't appear to be taking the public health crisis seriously when at the restaurant. "Absolutely no one wears a mask," she says.
Questioning servers for wearing a mask.
The same server from Mac Daddy's says that customers have also made rude comments to her for wearing a mask while taking their orders.
"I've been asked several times if I even knew anyone who has caught it, [and] I know of at least four people who have, and those customers get visibly upset when you let them know you don't think it's a hoax."
Victoria Duitz, a server at an upscale restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina also has encountered patrons not interested in adhering to the CDC's guidelines. Some people have made harsh remarks after she instructed them to sit at a table that was at least six feet away from the neighboring occupied table.
"I had a man verbally bully me because he wanted to sit somewhere that wasn't 'health code,' aka socially distanced," she says. "He informed me we wouldn't get shut down by the health department if we weren't social distancing."
Coming into the restaurant with a large group.
While hosting a large dinner party at a restaurant is currently impractical, some customers are still trying to hang out in big groups, primarily at restaurants and bars where outdoor seating is available. This is the biggest issue Josh Cutler, who has been a bartender at Yucatan Beach Stand Bar & Grill on Fort Myers Beach, Florida for 12 years, has faced since reopening.
"The majority of the problems were more from the local island people who usually congregate in larger groups and all know each other," he says. "Keeping people at a comfortable distance in this instance was extremely difficult and inconvenient for all parties involved."
Cutler also says that customers have been hugging and kissing while dining inside and hanging around the outdoor bar. Patrons in Ohio have also begun to disregard social distancing practices. Denner—who admits she hasn't been afraid of the novel coronavirus—says, "I have some customers that aren't afraid to hug me."
The same concern applies to those dining out in North Carolina. "The biggest issue of concern is some people's aversion to social distancing," says Duitz.
Not wearing their masks correctly.
There are many people who are trying to responsibly dine in restaurants during the pandemic, however, one server has noticed that some customers are not correctly wearing their mask.
"The biggest error I see is proper mask use," says Duitz. "People aren't covering their noses or will remove their mask and lean in to speak to me. Surgical masks are usually upside down or inside out."
Not tipping enough.
It's no question that dining out looks different right now and will continue to not look the same in the months ahead, which means restrictions aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Unfortunately, the server at Mac Daddy's says that patrons haven't been as generous with tips as of late, likely out of frustration with the limitations in place at the establishment. Just recently, she received a $5 tip on a $100 tab.
"Customers have not been tipping well at all," she says. "I've worked the hardest I ever have as a server and I'm making the least amount of money I could imagine. [I'm] barely able to pay bills just so I can be berated by people who don't take my health seriously."
While there are some similarities in the experiences restaurant and bar staff have had with customers amid the reopening process, it's largely respective to the establishment. For example, Cutler has noticed that customers, in general, have been kinder than they were before the pandemic.
"With quarantine reducing significant human socialization it seems many have reset and are coming together to share the simple things in life," he says.
Not every customer is at fault here, but there are some that need to be more considerate of the staff and the pressure they are under to keep the restaurant open. At the end of the day, restaurant servers just want to ensure your dining experience is as safe as possible.
"We're glad to have the dining room open again and to see our customers," Denner says.