Readers: Waiters and diners alike weigh in on what makes good service

On Friday, Cafe Society writers and commenters alike were all at your service, talking about what makes a great server -- and what servers should watch for during Denver Restaurant Week from stingy diners, and every day from potential check-skippers.

In response to Jenn Wohletz's list of the top five ways to spot dine-and-dashers, GFTW offered this:

6. They say they're Westword food critics.

For the record, although Westword has a half-dozen food writers, Laura Shunk is our only critic -- and she does all her eating for reviews anonymously. But online, she's always available to answer questions, including this request from Matt: "What makes a good server?"

Laura wasn't the only one with an answer that question:

BeezyMelt came up with this thoughtful response:

What makes a good server is knowledge and adaptability. Neither of which you can learn overnight. Knowledge comes from training...a lot of it, and some of it outside the walls of a restaurant. You need to eat a lot, drink a lot, and read a lot. Food, wine, spirits, beer, proper serving techniques...etc. it takes time.

And you must adapt your style of service to what the guests at the table need. Some want to be chatted up, to hear about your day job or your future. Some won't even listen when you tell them your name. Both types are fine, but you have to know how to read them and adapt immediately. And although Laura doesn't like to be upsold, some customers want to be. They want the best that you've got. This adaptability also takes time and observation.

Good luck with the job...its tougher than you'd think.

And Kyle Garratt's In the Weeds about stingy tippers during Denver Restaurant Week prompted even more discussion about service, including this from SLL:

I wish my server knew they were an integral part of my great deal! The most common comment of restaurant week talked about amongst my friends was how utterly terrible service is in Denver, especially during restaurant week. Empty water glasses, empty wine glasses, menus still on the tabe while being served the appetizer because the order wasn't taken, handing the server the credit card without seeing the check beacuse we just wanted to leave already. Fill my water/drink, take my order, check on my food (and not when I'm already done eating), don't treat my two top inequally to your 8 top, and bring me the check when i'm finished and you will receive 20-25%. Just so you servers know, if you only got my 10-15% during restaurant week, you stunk that night and should consider yourself lucky and overpaid out of guilt of being a past server.

Although Denver Restaurant Week is over, we're sure this discussion of service is not.

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