Restaurants are a part of most people’s lives. Whether you work in one or eat in one, chances are most know a thing or two about restaurant dining, such as being seated, being given a menu, and having someone called a “server” come and take care of your meal and your order. But beyond that, many don’t know what goes on during off hours and behind the kitchen's swinging doors (even if it’s an open kitchen). There’s a lot of work and preparation that goes into each dish you see but it’s a server who makes sure the food gets to the guest the way it should.

No matter how great a management team can be (and I’ve worked with highly talented managers who worked and knew the floor like the back of their hand), the bottom line is it’s the server who is the direct connection between the food and the customer. And because of that, Servers can make or break a meal. Good servers should be rewarded with a tip even if Trump’s DOJ wants to change it (look up #tiptheft for more information). No matter how great a dish can be, if it’s served with incompetence, is it going to be as satisfying as it should be?

1. Servers are the direct connection between the food and the guest

Servers are the connection between the food and the guest. The kitchen can send out what is on the ticket but remember, that ticket comes from the server.

They are the one’s who will be mindful of allergies and food restrictions. If you don’t like onions, and then proceed to get dish after dish full of them, is it the fault of the kitchen or the server? That’s the point. They can make or break a customers' experience.

2. Servers know the ingredients

Menus list the major elements of a dish.

They do not list all the ingredients. If a guest wants to know what is in a dish in addition to the menu, they ask their server.

3. Special occasions can feel special because of your server

Though this depends on the rules of a restaurant, it’s typically the server who will be told of special occasions, such as birthdays or anniversaries.

Even if a free desert is given, the presentation will largely come from the server. They can make your night special by adjusting their service accordingly, such as knowing when to bring a candle, who should get the check, or what timing is needed between courses.

4. Knowledge of a restaurant is the job of the server

There is no better person to ask than a server if you have a question. Sadly, because they are at the top of the Front Of House (FOH) hierarchy, they’re often thought to be spoiled. But, from my vast experience in restaurant serving, I can assure you this is not the case. Servers are the one’s who deal with the customers more than any other single person in the restaurant, so can they really be thought of as spoiled?

They deal with the grind, over and over again, which is why serving cannot be done by everyone. Servers know the hours, the menu, the history, the management, the company, and so much more. A bad server will ruin a night. A bad host will ruin the first five minutes of a night. See the difference?

5. Servers deal with the brunt of guests and management

Good management is on the floor each shift, overseeing it as a whole while the staff do their thing. They earn their salary and do not have to worry about tips. Servers do. They make minimum wage, and they make their income based on their service in the form of tips. Good servers can make an extraordinary amount of money if they make their guests feel good.

That’s their job. And if they don’t, they will likely get tipped accordingly and be out of a job shortly. It would bode well for managers to treat their top earning servers well, because that is a precise indication that the customers are happy, and really, isn’t that the whole point?