We were at the beach at North Carolina. The restaurant was perfect. It reminded me of Cape Cod - a white plank porch that expanded around three sides, each with a view of the ocean. I sat with my sister and my teen-age niece, her girl friend and my young nephew. The girls were beautiful, blonding hair and bronzing skin from their week in the sun. My carrot -topped nephew was very freckled and very impatient.
We were blessed with a great waiter. While he took our order and served the meal, he chatted about himself and we learned he was going to be entering U.N.C. Wilmington in the fall, majoring in computer science. When he brought an extra helping of blue cheese dip, we learned he liked to surfboard in the early morning before he went to work. When he brought extra iced tea and let us try a new shrimp recipe that was going to be that evening's special, we learned he owned a jeep wrangler that he bought from his brother and had fixed up with a four speaker stereo system. And when my nephew had sat long enough, Josh took him out to see the jeep.
A wonderful meal, everyone had a great time. When I paid the bill I tipped nicely as we had great service, and I like to support higher education. We then met my nephew, said goodbye to Josh, and headed to the car when my nephew reported, "Josh says he wants to go out with my sister." Say what? Oh busboy, the "great service" had a motive. My niece grabbed her brother and pulled him behind the car to get the "skinny" on the conversation with Josh. My sister poked me and pointed. There stood Josh on the porch, sporting a gigantic smile. He gave us a nod.
Oh busboy, if desired, waiting tables can be a pretty good profession for meeting potential dates. But is it allowed? Is it OK? Is it proper? Are there rules against it?
I am sure some restaurants don't allow it but it does happen. A wait person interacts with many persons a day. Better than the website match.com - waiting is face to face. One gets the opportunity to see the person, check out their manners, their taste in foods, how they dress, how they treat their table mates and how they tip! One gets to speak with the guest without any thoughts of romance, starting on a neutral note. And it works both ways.
All workplaces have the potential for meeting the person of your dreams. Restaurants are no exception. My experience has been that my wait staff usually dated among themselves, not the customers, but we had a few occasions when the waitress got asked out by the customer.
Personally, I think it can be OK either way. Attraction is a funny thing, so let it happen. There are so few opportunities to meet good people, why not while you are working?
This is not to say that people pick this profession to "pick up." Quite the contrary. This is not to say that customers can't be out of line in the flirting department when interacting with a waitress, or waiter. But this should not keep genuine connections from happening.
I can think of a few guidelines that might help to safeguard both parties.
How to ask out a waitress/waiter:
1. Don't do it on the first encounter. But tip well so you are remembered.
2. If you are serious, return a few times and ask to sit at his/her table. Don't bring a date there ever!
3. On return, be your normal friendly self but be sincere. Engage him/her in conversation, but don't monopolize his/her work time. Most people are fairly bright and will start getting your "vibes."
4. One time, introduce yourself and shake his/her hand. BINGO...this says a lot. You can now play it by ear, leave a note with your number or ask for a date out directly.
5. Hopefully you are bright and will understand if there are not good vibes coming back. Do not push.
How to ask out a customer:
1. This is a bit tricky. Find out the restaurant rules before even thinking about it.
2. Don't look at customers as potential dates. Realize that in many instances, this could be seen as inappropriate. Consider it only if they have come in many times and you are, at least, slightly familiar with them. Josh was a bit bold, but given the ages and circumstances, it didn't seem so out of line.
3. Do a good job with your service. Pay attention to the vibes coming back. Giving time to this might be hard if you are doing a good job at your job.
4. Don't ask them out while you are working. Learn a bit about them, and perhaps you can "run into" them at another place.
Oh, Josh and his friends became a part of our vacation that month, and we returned to the restaurant many times. So, in the right circumstances, it can work.