Some lucky people don’t have kids so some things just don’t occur to them. That is understandable. This little post is to enlighten young waiters and waitresses on how they can help a family with kids who are eating at their restaurant.
1. Seat us where we won’t bother other people without dooming us to the shitty table by the trash cans. Any good restaurant should contemplate where to put families with small children so they can enjoy themselves without being self-conscious.
2. Don’t put spillable things right in front of the kids. We had a waitress set 4 full water glasses directly in front of our (then) 2-year old. They were spilled instantly. Do we even have to mention this one? The same goes for the sharp and/or expensive things. Keep all that shit away from our kids. We’ll do it for you, believe me, but if you are aware of it you can save yourself a lot of trouble and mess.
3. Have enough high-chairs so we don’t have to hold our babies in our laps. Complain to your boss if you do not.
4. Get the kids something to eat right away. Breadsticks, carrots, ANYTHING.
5. Give the kids something to do. Crayons are perfect.
6. Be flexible with the menu. Say Yes when we ask for some plain noodles or a simple chicken breast. We are not the first people to ask this. You shouldn’t have to ask your boss or make it seem like some BFD.
7. Bring the kids’ food out first. Do not bring the kids food at the same time as the expensive entrees of the parents. We want to eat hot food, too.
8. Keep things moving. Families with small children don’t want a 2-hour dinner. We need to order, eat and leave in under an hour, generally speaking.
9. Be fun and friendly to the kids. Try out your extra-cool goth vibe on someone else. We are all here to enjoy ourselves. If you don’t like your job, quit. But if you are waiting on my family, treat us to a good time.
10. We’re messy. We know. We will tip you extra for the trouble.
The childless reading this might be thinking — don’t the parents have some responsibility in all of this? Of course we do. We do all 10 of these things every freaking day. We compensate daily for the wait staff that doesn’t get this stuff. We are not really asking for extra special treatment. It’s just that everyone, the servers included, have a better time if there is at least some cognition about this kind of thing.
Finally a bonus item for the other patrons of the restaurant:
11. We know having young children nearby can be annoying when all you want is a quiet dinner. Welcome to Earth, where you were once a noisy, messy child yourself. Cut us some slack.
6 thoughts on “10 ways you can help parents enjoy dinner out with their kids”
I’ve had a few waitresses who “understood” kids. They got good tips.
I’ve had one – precisely one – who not only “understood” kids but knew what needed to be done, when, how, and why. She knew what questions to ask, what actions to take, and she *got shit done.*
I had the steak. Her tip was over 50%. She chased us down in the parking lot to thank us.
Morale of the story: We know accommodating our specific needs isn’t easy, but we’ll make it well worth your while because it’s not often we get to have a really, truly relaxing dinner. 🙂
and of course there are the “chucky cheese’s” and the “Space alien pizza planet” as compared to fine dining….
I don’t entirely disagree with Jack. Many kids are severely under-disciplined. But he comes from an era of over-discipline, where kids grew up hating their fathers and becoming alcoholics like, well, Jack.
So the notion that the answer is to stay home or beat your kids into not being kids is, I would say, incorrect. He’s just a grumpy old man who should stay home himself if he doesn’t enjoy the company of his fellow human beings, some of whom are children.
But then again
it warms my heart to hear these words from you….
We used to tell the wait staff upon arrival and seating. “look we have about 10-15 minutes of games and tricks before all hell breaks loose…bring something for these guys to push in their faces or you will be sorry” Most of the time that worked great.
We did, however, walk out of many a restaurant that just didn’t understand the situation.
I would start a physical slow clap, but you’re in Mexico. So I’ll start a digital one