Of all the lessons that I have learned as a server for the past 20 years, easily the most poignant has always been the necessity of respecting those whom you serve and understanding the role you are supposed to play in their experience. When you evaluate the relationship between a server and his customer it should be clear where the hierarchy lies.What greatly complicates this relationship is when the individual doing the serving, for reasons of white privilege or reasons of class or reasons of just general snobbishness view themselves as being incapable of subordinating themselves to their guests.
As someone who frequently trains servers for service, I always like to make a point of bringing these kinds of issues up to my trainees in order forthemto understand the unique challenges they are they are going to face in dealing with an African-American clientele.
When I first started trying to get peace messages across a was met with a lot of pushback.
“People are people”
“I don’t understand what the difference is”
“I don’t see color”
“why are they so sensitive?”
Customarily when I hear responses like this my initial impulse is to just throw up my hands and let them or succeed to a lesser extent than they could on their own, or just fail outright
I wish it wasn’t this way. As much as I’d even love to say that the situation never happened to me, alas I cannot. At the end of the day, there are certain truisms that cannot be escaped.
- Some people are bound to be offended
- some people have every right to be offended based upon the customer profiling and constant experiences they have
- the ability to treat each and every guest as independent people without prejudging is the most valuable skill you can acquire
- acquiring skill #3 will serve you in value in every facet of your life
Before you comment on this post I want to go back and think about your service experiences in the past. What exactly happened the last time you received a poor dining experience?
How did you respond?
Did you speak to management if so what was their response?
Do you feel like your issues were properly received?
What I would do in next week’s post, I will take a selection of your comments and address them individually giving insight as to how it is things could have been done differently on the part of both parties.
Thank you for your time. See you in two weeks