I've been waitressing for the past eight years while homeschooling my kids and going to school. I just wanted to respond to a few things.
Originally Posted by UberMama
But when I order them items from the adult menu, it makes about 90% of the waiters question if I really want that for them... YES!
I'm sure this can be annoying and almost seems patronizing, but there is a reason for it. See, when a customer orders something and we (the waitstaff) don't field things properly, WE get in trouble for it. The kitchen manager/chef chews our behinds about not having clarified that the portion size is huge, or the buffalo wings are spicier than the norm, or whatever.
So if an individual orders a plate of ribs for their 5yo, yes, I will make mention that the entree is enormous and that most adults don't finish it. That way, a $20+ dish isn't wasted and I don't get chastised when the customer sees it and goes, "Oh, I didn't realize it was so big. Can we get something else, instead?"
Originally Posted by BrandiRhoades
With all due respect to the former servers and hostesses here, I don't think it's uncommon for a 4-year-old to need a spoon, fork, and napkin.
Napkin, yes. Spoons and forks are usually not used by the younger crowd, because they mostly order things like grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, and chicken strips....all of which are finger foods.
At my place of employment, the tables are always set before people sit down. So we spend more time removing place settings than we do bringing them. I always leave the place setting for young children, but most parents push the entire setting to the side, anyway, so their kid has a place to play or color.
And you would be surprised at how many people ignore the small plate they are provided and allow their children to eat bread/appetizers directly off the table. Actually, I've seen a large number of adults
use their menus as bread plates (even though they have a bread plate) before I clear the menus away.
Originally Posted by PreggieUBA2C
I can imagine it being hard to wait for children to order when they don't want to or aren't ready. I think treating a child like a real person whose presence matters is still very important, and I think that is what bothers parents here- that the initial consideration isn't made.
Families are all different. Some parents are control freaks who will force their kids to do the ordering, others are control freaks who won't allow them to order. It can be difficult to read people....especially when it's busy and the turnover is fast-paced. I'm all for treating children as real people....it's usually the parents who get in the way of that. If I ask Junior what he'd like for dinner, and he says, "The double bbq bacon cheeseburger," most likely his parents will veto that and tell him what he's allowed to have....which wastes time. In a high volume restaurant, 30 seconds means a lot.
And if a kid is more focused on his Nintendo DS than on the menu, I assume the parents will order for him. I tend to ignore people who are paying close attention to their electronic gadgets, no matter what age they are. I aim to give excellent service and my time is valuable; I figure when people are ready to engage, they will put their devices away.