Food & Drink

Dear Servers: Stop Trying to Memorize My Damn Order

restaurant pad
Shutterstock/Jennifer Bui/Thrillist

Dear Servers,

I get that you hear people order the same dishes all day, every day. You must think, "Oh, you want the miso-glazed cod like everyone else in this dimly lit, overpriced Japanese-fusion restaurant? Cool." That makes sense. It’s like you’re living inside Groundhog Day, and we are all Ned Ryerson running into you on the street, day after day. "Is that you, Phil? Phil Connors?" But seriously Phil, can I please have the miso-glazed cod?

But don’t memorize my order. It’s a bad idea on so, so many levels.

not writing down order
Dan Gentile/Thrillist

My dinner is not to be used as a memorization exercise in order to make your night less boring. The dinner I'm ordering now is probably going to be the highlight of my day. Don’t smile at me as I tell you my order -- smile while writing the damn thing down. It’s downright creepy the way you don’t break eye contact with me while I’m telling you that I want a burger with aioli on the side.

Yeah, I get it, you need me to know that you’re listening to me. Another, better option would be to look into your notepad as you’re writing down the words as they come out of my mouth. And then we wouldn't have to have eye contact so intense I wonder if you're going to kiss me.

There’s almost a 99.999% success rate of getting my order correctly into the kitchen’s hands if you write it down. And if you don’t? Who the hell knows? Maybe you check your phone, read something about endangered koala bears, and you forget about telling the kitchen I want my gosh-forsaken aioli on the side. I don’t blame you, that koala bear thing is sad! Ah shit, now I’ve made us both sad. And all this could have been avoided had you just written down my order.

server love
Shutterstock/Jennifer Bui/Thrillist

Do you think not writing down my order makes you look cool? Because you look stupid. Being able to memorize every order from a four-top is not going to win you any memorization competitions, either. I remember when I went to a restaurant in my teens and I saw a server memorize a super-complicated order. I was impressed when my order came out right. Now, it was impressive at the time, but keep in mind that back then I also listened to a lot of Vanilla Ice ("I grabbed my nine, all I heard were shells!"), so you should take my judgement with a grain of salt. I also don’t recall ever being blown away by any server’s memorization skills since then.

Maybe you don’t write orders down because you can’t find a pen anywhere. Customers must steal your pens all the time after tipping a paltry 10% and then "forgetting" to return it. Here’s the bottom line: if my burger comes out with some nasty garlic aioli on it... I’m probably still going to give you a 20% tip. Ugh, I can’t not do it.

Your job is tough. But when I write the tip, I'm going to stare deep into your eyes. Now let's see how you like it. Oh, you do like it. Wait, are we gonna kiss now?!

Sincerely,
A Customer Who Wishes You'd Write His Order Down, and That His Burger Weren't Drenched in Aioli

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Lee Breslouer is a senior writer for Thrillist, and dislikes most forms of eye contact. Follow him to keeping your head down at: @LeeBreslouer.