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5 New Things Restaurant Servers Have to Do Now

The dining experience didn't just change for the customers.
diner employee

The pandemic has inevitably changed the way restaurants operate, with staff having to take extra precautions around the clock.

The dining experience didn't just dramatically change for customers, though. Restaurant servers have had to read up on the CDC's guidelines and strictly adhere to them while they're working to ensure everyone remains safe. We thought it was important for the consumer to know exactly what has changed in the servers' day-to-day so you have a better understanding of just some of the things they've had to do to adjust.

Servers are finding that they are…


Communicating with customers differently.

Server at the restaurant writing name and order for curbside service with mask in keeping social distance for coronavirus covid-19

One of the things that makes the dining experience so inviting and special is the personable server that greets you and takes your order. However, now that the staff's smiles are shielded by masks, they have to get a bit more creative with how they make guests feel welcome.

Vilvaraja Mahendraraja, who works on the patio at Uni restaurant in Boston, told The Boston Globe, "I'm trying to make my voice and eyes emote. You get used to projecting your voice, repeating things to guests. Body language and eye contact have never been more of a valuable resource. Being able to read people is a skill that we really try to use post-COVID."


Serving fewer tables per shift.

traditional diner

In the same article from The Boston Globe, another server (and bartender), Deidre Fallon says the number of tables she waits on has dramatically decreased from 50 tables a night to now just 11—all of which are outdoors. With most restaurants across the country only allowed to have between 25 and 50% of their normal capacity, it makes sense as to why servers may not be able to bring home as many tips as they did pre-pandemic. Fewer customers, unfortunately, translates to fewer tips.


Having to slow down to catch their breath.


For restaurants that are only allowing outdoor dining, the patio may be a considerable distance from the kitchen, therefore, servers are having to move quicker in the heat and with a mask on. This is a gentle reminder to be considerate of your server, as they may be trying to catch their breath while keeping up with the pace.


Enforcing social distancing.

taking temperature

Have you heard of a COVID bouncer? In some restaurants, one employee is instructed to monitor the dining room and make sure that people are abiding by social distancing regulations. One employee may even be responsible for checking the temperatures of both staff and customers.


Asking people to pay with card instead of cash.


At some establishments, restaurant servers are going one step further and sanitizing credit cards before swiping them.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more