restaurant Servers get a bad rep more often than not and can be treated quite poorly -- from the customers, to management, to kitchen staff. They are the nightly performers braving the storm that is a working restaurant and yet, they typically get little respect. As a server for more years than I care to admit, I can attest to the fact that servers tolerate a great deal, and though the Department of Justice wants to take their tips and put them into the hands of employers to do as they wish, many servers are quite skilled and accomplished, particularly in ways most don’t know about.

Calculating percentages

Servers may not be great at splitting bills a million ways but give them a question about percentages and they become Einstein. Sure, restaurant tips are based on percentages, and yes, that is likely where the skill comes from, but regardless, most will be able to figure out what is 10%, 15% and 20% of a bill within seconds.

Knowledge of dietary fads

From low fat to no fat, no gluten to no peanuts, no trans fat to no soy, whatever the dietary fad is of the moment, a server will be well versed in it, whether they want to be or not. Chances are, a server, who needs to know about allergies, will be able to tell you what gluten is, what it can be found in, and how celiac disease is much different than a no-gluten preference.

Eating as quickly as possible

Yes, restaurants are a place where food is plentiful but that doesn’t mean time is. Most shift meals are rushed through a quick break or pre-shift meeting and often times, servers eat standing up or in a contorted position so as not to dirty anything, including themselves.

Getting out of conversations

Without fail, there are always a few tables that want to take up more of a server’s time than one can give. Unless the place is quite empty, chances are a server has more than one table at a time, and though chatting with guests can be an enjoyable part of the job, some guests want to talk a little more than a server is able to.

Most don’t realize that a server is timing multiple tables and multiple actions at every moment. One chatty table can throw off the whole thing, so servers, out of necessity, are often masters at getting out of conversations. We take ample advantage of pauses and can twist what you say into something we have to go do, with a quick “please excuse me” before carrying on.

Bull**** detection

From guests pleading their case for a different table to other servers trying to get shifts covered, servers deal with nonsense constantly and therefore, have become experts at detecting it. They can also be masters at dishing it but that’s a different story…

Wine presentation

It is amazing how few patrons know about wine.

Did you know that when a server presents a bottle to you and gives you a taste, all you are suppose to do is check that your choice of wine is not corked? You are not checking to see if you like it. I will also mention here that a major skill of many servers is knowing how to pour wine back into its bottle with minimal spillage.

Where to find comfortable black tennis shoes

The key word here is black. There are many available white tennis shoes but most restaurants want servers wearing black tennis shoes, that are nonslip by the way, and these are not very easy to find. So if you ever find yourself in need of such a pair, consult a server.

How to keep a white button-down shirt clean

White button-down shirts are likely the leading server uniform out there and yet, their very nature makes it incredibly easy to get dirty.

After all, they are white. Servers can make a white shirt last several shifts by miraculously giving the illusion that the shirt is clean even though, let’s be honest, it most likely is not.

Saying no politely

Some requests servers get can be outrageous and just beg for a joke. For example, take a server at an Italian restaurant being asked if sushi can be made for a guest. No joke. These type of requests are common and take everything inside a server to politely say no rather than laugh and crack a joke.

Restaurants open past 11pm

Seriously, servers are better at this than Yelp. If you need to know where to eat late at night, ask a server. This is typically their dinner time so they will likely know the best places, or, at the very least, the places that are open.