Kneeling Down

Sometimes while I am working I see a waiter or waitress kneel down to speak with the guest at eye level and take the order.

I personally couldn’t do this cause I would have a hard time standing up afterwards and after only a couple of times my back would begin to ache. I am wondering though if this kneeling down by the table to speak to the guest adds much in the way of the personal touch or is it a little too much. One time I use to work in this restaurant where the waiter use to actually pull up a chair and sit down and chat with the guest while mentioning the features and taking the order. We eventually scrapped the idea.

From two points of view , one do you as a waiter do it and do you feel it adds to the diner’s experience and lastly as a guest do you feel comfortable when someone kneels down close to your table when they greet you?

Just wondering….



  1. No. Please don't kneel down [or even try and sit with me.] I have no problem having to look up at you.It is too familiar in my opinion. The only exception I will make is when we know the server personally.Otherwise? Please stay standing up, I don't need to be that close to them.

  2. SkippyMom….I agree with you I don't think it makes any difference in the final outcome and only tends to get in one's own space making the interaction uncomfortable.

  3. When I worked in fine dining we were always told not to get that close to your tables. The only time I ever knelt down to get "face to face" with someone was if they were older and/or had difficulty hearing me.I tend to think that a lot of people find it a bit intrusive to have the server get that personal. I don't typically go out to dinner to make friends with my server, I usually go out to eat without having to deal with the complications of cooking, serving and cleaning up a meal….and I greatly appreciate (and compensate) the staff that makes my life a little easier for a few hours, but that doesn't mean I want to get personal with them.

  4. I do it occasionally, but I only do it when I'm talking to little kids. I hate feeling like I'm standing over them and being imposing and half the time, they don't want to talk to me anyway. I've gotten better results from squatting down so now I'm on their level to get their entree or desert orders. I've never had anyone complain and the parents always tell me "thank you" when I've done it. I don't do it for regular tables, though, and I wouldn't dream of sitting down.

  5. I do it. And a lot of my coworkers do it too. Ill even sit in the booth with them as well…however I always 'read' the table first. I wiuld never sit with guests who didn't seem to like that kind of personal experience. My restaurant is just personal like that, and it has delighted any table I did it to.

  6. Bernadette…by the comments it appears that it depends as well the type of clientele and restaurant you work in. I tend to side on your side but imagine someone like myself kneeling down to take an order as opposed to a younger good looking person. I bend over to hear the person but couldn't kneel. Then there is always that 3 foot space that is one's territory. Thanks for the comment

  7. Jumpit…doing it for kids seems okay to be more in tune with their thoughts and of course to hear what they are saying. Nice.

  8. AZWaitress…there you go someone who does it with success. Obviously the place you work likes the relaxed approach and of course you need to read that table.

  9. I work in a Mediterranean resturant that has a special seating area – the canopy. Here, guests sit on cushions on the floor, so not kneeling down to take their orders isn't really an option because I'm far further away from them than I would be in a normal serving situation. However, at the rest of the tables in the resturant, I would never think of kneeling down to take orders; lean in to hear someone speaking quietly, of course, but otherwise no.

  10. As a guest, I find it obnoxious, but at least they're not sitting at your table to take the order — that is the worst.If you sit at my table, I'll say, "Oh, are you joining us? You can take care of the check then."If only more waiters *would* 'read' the table.

  11. I HATE it when a server crouches down in front of us, or sits at our table. I find it incredibly annoying and affected. When a waiter acts too familiar with me like that, I dock my tip, and typically won't go back to that place. BTW I waited tables for 12 years, both fine dining and casual.

  12. Kabob Slinger…wow sitting on cushions to eat sounds real interesting. Naturally you would have to get lower for that. Welcome and thank you for your comment.

  13. Glavin…welcome and thank you for your comment. I tell you are not a big fan of the kneeling. Gotcha. A definite no for kneeling.

  14. Anonymous…you for sure have never worked in a place that kneeled or ate at one either. That is clear. I see you have some good experience waiting on tables.

  15. I would just like to add I am a very tall server who works where tables proportionally are very short in comparison. Pair that with loud music and you've got a situation where it is tough NOT to crouch unless you want to scream at each other, and nobody likes being screamed at, no matter the reason.I would also like to add I do not sit with very many tables….I'd say maybe 1 once a week on average. But I have always gotten phenomenal tips from these tables in particular, so that tells me they must have liked it. Maybe they're those people looking for that more personal experience, so there you go. It invites them to relax around me and they usually chat my ear off because I went ahead and gave them the go ahead.I dunno, maybe I'm just an extremely good reader with tables. If I get an aloof vibe from a table when I walk up and it's one of our taller tables, I will stay standing and not invade their space at all. I know better. But then again, there's other servers in my restaurant who are VERY personal with 90% of their tables and their tips prove that their tactics are very successful.Different strokes for different folks/environments. My restaurant IS in a very laid back town with very laid back people, so maybe that's it. I know I did not do any of this when I worked at other places, but the atmospheres were different.

  16. "I personally couldn't do this cause I would have a hard time standing up afterwards"hahahahaha and I thought it was just me!

  17. AZ…I think you have summed up how , why ,where , and what kind of establishment kneeling would work. Awesome.I am tall too and kneeling would really be tough.

  18. Manuel…I am tall and my bones would creak getting up. 6'2" is my height. I bend a bit but can't kneel or squat. I would need the guest to help me

  19. as a patron i hate kneeling wait staff..

  20. Well, I do this with most tables. Not all of them, though. You can sense which tables wouldn't like it.I've always done it, because the place I work at is really casual – and in Europe! – and everybody actually WANTS to get personal with me and my colleagues. (No, it's not a naughty place!) And then I started to do it even MORE often, because there was this article around in all the blogs which said you'd get more tip if you talked to people at eyelevel and even touched them casually? I tried it – and it works wonders!! :DI have to admit that it probably doesn't work in fine dining.

  21. Cat…feels a bit intrusive to most people I would think. You are not alone.

  22. Megaphon…gotta love Europe. Maybe a hand on the shoulder I should try with a warm sincere smile. That could work for me.

  23. I just googled waiter kneeling because it just happened. I find it's uncomfortable, especially so when a waiter sits at your booth. I know it's to get a better tip. I made a face so I noticed he didn't do it again. I don't want to feel like I have to be extra nice. It's important to be respectful of everyone always but I go out to eat to talk to the person I'm with. That doesn't mean I don't talk to a waiter but you can feel when the situation is contrived. I just want a pleasant dining experience. I didn't dock the tip and I always give 20 percent on the total bill if the server is doing a nice job and more if the bill is low.

  24. Hiker1…I like standing up and taking the order. Kneeling just is a little too within their space I find. I agree with you.

  25. I'm 25 and I waited tables at Chili's for almost 2 years. They required the servers to kneel or squat to get at eye-level with the customers. In September 2009, I started having extreme pain in both of my knees. I tried waiting tables with a cane and stopped kneeling, but it just hurt way too bad just to even walk at that point. I am now in a wheelchair and have been for a year and a half. I have been out of work and am fighting with the insurance companies to pay for my treatment, which doesn't cost near as much as I would have made had I been able to keep working. I did make more tips kneeling, but I also lost a year and a half of my 20's and 20 lbs in muscle. Please whatever you do, don't kneel on the floor at your tables and if your managers try to make you, print this out and take it to them. You look like a douche bag and you can hurt yourself seriously. Also, don't sit down at your tables unless they are good friends. It's not cute or clever. It's intrusive. They did not invite you to eat with them.Please take my advice. I was one of the best servers where I worked and I'm getting screwed don't ever eat at chili's.

  26. Anonymous…wow that is a bad experience. You bring up a whole bunch of reasons why kneeling down is not good. I have never kneeled or sat at a table for the reasons you have mentioned. I hope it all works out for you and you get compensated.

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