Rule Number 1 – Don’t Stop or Move Backwards

One of the things while working at high speed in a busy restaurant that can be very annoying is when you are walking behind another server with some empty plates or are carrying out some entrees to a table when all of a sudden that person you are following decides to halt immediately.

It happens more often than you can imagine. When you are at the dish pit balancing a bunch of dirty plates and the person in front of you decides to back up. Then you have to make a deft maneuver with your upper body and yell out a screech to alert that person.

One thing you can do is to alert anyone ahead of you that you are coming. A blurt of “Behind” can warn others you are on their heels. Also never back up at a table when you are clearing before looking around to check if the coast is clear.

When you are serving drinks always be aware of who is around you. If a co-worker is in front of you with their back turned , a gentle hand against them will let them know not to turn suddenly amd upset the tray of drinks.

I was guilty of this the other night when I actually let someone pass with a couple of drinks on their tray. When she went around behind me , the person to the side went in front of me as I moved forward at the same time , to which I automatically moved back. Yes moved back into the person I just let go first a second earlier. I was sort of sandwiched and my reflex when she went in front of me was to step back into the person with the tray of drinks.

The person who went in front said , never move backwards. Well yeah but when you went in front of me I felt like saying my automatic reflex was to stop and get out of your way. But alas I apologized for the mishap. I did move backwards.

Accidents can occur when things are busy at any time but you can avoid a lot of collisions and messes if you exercise caution at all times and be aware of who is around you and alerting others of your intentions. It just makes good sense and continues the good flow of service.

Anyone out there remember any big spills that occurred when performing delivery of food and beverage orders? I am sure it has happened to all of us at one time or another.



  1. Well, I have never worked as a server because I would cry if someone was mean to me so that job wouldn't work…But here is a story…My best friend and I used to go to this one sushi hotspot in the city all the time. The servers knew us but this one server always managed to spill something on our table when she was leaving food or picking up dishes. And she never did this to any of other diners. Our last straw was when she spilled an entire glass of cold water on my best friend and laughed. We never went back there again.And yes we tipped 20% or more since we went all the time it would seem cheap not to tip more!

  2. Very sage advice.I have taught my kids [when out to eat] that servers have the right of way in a restaurant and to keep an eye out for them – because if the servers are rushing with a full drink tray or hot food I don't want my kids in the way.[Although a lot of times the server will stop for us.] πŸ™‚

  3. I've dropped plenty of things, but never as a result of someone running in to me. I think that's part luck and part assuming other people are oblivious idiots and being extra observant of them.I think the most memorable spill I had involved my own dinner. I was leaving out of the kitchen, and to this day I don't know what happened. I was upright, and then I was suddenly on the floor on my side, no memory of the fall. After I hit the ground, I felt my dinner land on top of me. That was about four years ago, and my tailbone still hurts when I sit too long!

  4. Naseem…you were kind to leave 20%after all those times that server spilled something on your table. That is what you call a sympathy tip. Ha

  5. SkippyMom…good advice you have. So many parents think the restaurant is a playground for their kids to run around in.

  6. Purplegirl..ouch! That must hurt like hell. Those kind of falls when you land on your back live with you forever. Good on you for not having anyone run into you yet.

  7. Great post!! Very important advice. My story isn't about a spill of mine (Veteran Server, remember? Lol!) but a spill by a young lady I was training. I wrote a post about it called "The Best RCs Have a Sense of Humor" and here's a link:'ve written an awesome post as always! God bless!

  8. Once, during a busy lunch rush, I was following a coworker to a table with a family in my section – she was carrying the adults' food, and I had the kid's. Something happened, and just as I turned the corner and was in their sight, I tripped and fell… lost all the kids' foods, and in the process I knocked over my coworker in front of me. Thankfully, she saved the food she had… those poor kids had to wait a bit longer, and that mess is definitely not one I ever want to clean up again!

  9. Elyse…that must have been Things happen sometimes that just happen no matter how focused we are.

  10. Happy new year Steve! In other news I am back at welldonefillet….whopo whoop

  11. Manuel…that is great news. I missed your wit and candor. Happy New Year!

  12. The Veteran Server…I am going to check out that link. Thank you for the nice comment.

  13. I have to admit that this is the best advice EVER in a restaurant.Our restaurant is small, and therefore moving space is limited in all areas which means more chance for accidents to occur.It's funny though. I've worked with a lot of different girls on different shifts but once you get into a flow with certain people you actually fall into a pattern and never really 'bump' into each other. Also I must admit the slight hand touch is always good warning. Telling is no use, it usually makes them turn round.The most problematic thing I've encountered is when I'm training new people. It can take quite a while to fall into this pattern with each other and usually causes some bumps. But NEVER do I move backwards. πŸ™‚

  14. Caz…thanks for the follow and I welcome your comments. With new people until you figure out what they have a habit of doing you have to exercise caution for sure when approaching them.

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