Hi again! I know this post may seem like a passive aggressive followup from some kind of bad experience with a customer, but it’s really not. It’s more a response to the discomfort I’ve noticed in customers who don’t know how to carry themselves in the cafe! If you struggle with social anxiety in any way, you understand how it feels to be nervous just to go out to eat. I feel a little weird posting this because I don’t want it to come across the wrong way, but it’s meant to be a way to feel confident that you aren’t a difficult customer.
In order to feel at ease in a cafe you’ve never been to before, there are three major things you should keep in mind.
1: You are not putting anyone out. Customers are our priority. However, you are not always the only customer. So if you notice that there’s a worker behind the counter but they seem to be ignoring you, you’re most likely on their radar, but they’re working on getting things done in the right order.
2: Notice whether or not there is a tray above the trash cans. In the cafe I work at, we just have trash cans set out, but there isn’t anything set out to help you bus your table. If there isn’t a tray for this, you should leave your plate. Bringing your plates up to the bar when you’re finished may feel polite, but it usually sets the system off balance. Cleaning your own table may leave that table unwashed for the next set of customers, and sometimes it’s really difficult to keep up with a messy bar. Rule of thumb: if you can’t bus it yourself, don’t try.
3: Don’t try to comfort workers about the long wait. If a server apologizes about a long wait, a simple “oh, that’s okay,” goes a lot further than a “Oh no it’s totally fine you guys are way understaffed, I waited even longer at the place down the street…” One time, I forgot to make a drink and even though the customer was very polite about it, their friend was saying things like “you paid for it! Don’t feel bad!” and “This same thing happened to me at Taco Bell the other day. They made my order wrong THREE TIMES…” These sort of things do not set you up for good service.
And of course, don’t forget to tip!
PS this list is, of course, very server oriented rather than customer oriented, but this is just me letting you in on what seems like common courtesy to the people behind the counter. Don’t stress about ordering in a picky way, etc. I’ve never really heard anyone complain about custom orders. If we can’t make something a certain way, we’ll tell you, and if that upsets someone it really is an overreaction on their part and not yours!