Ask Ann: What Should You Do When You Have an Obnoxious Restaurant Server?

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Ask Ann
Illustration by Koren Shadmi

Q: What do you do if you and your server don’t click? I recently had a waiter who was an over-sharer, more interested in telling his stories than in doing his job. It made what should have been a pleasant evening a night to forget.

A: I was recently in just such a predicament at a high-end restaurant. The lead server’s sycophantic, over-the-top behavior made me feel like I was being mocked. I cringed every time he approached my table (a few times, he came creeping up to my chair and said, “May I stand this close to you?”).

His peculiar conduct continued until plates, brought by a different – capable, friendly – server, began to fill our table. It appeared that the first server was there only to provide the menu spiel and take our order. Had server No. 1 continued, would it have been worth a trip to the manager to complain? Absolutely. But I think it’s tricky.

You may not “like” things about your server – knowledge level, zeal for the job or even physical appearance. These may not affect the quality of your experience. If they do, detrimentally, look for someone in charge. A good manager will appreciate hearing from you. ◆

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‘Ask Ann’ appears in the May 2017 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

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Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.