Five Signs You Hired the Wrong Server

Hiring the right person can be a challenge in any industry. New hires require training and need to work well with the rest of the team. A mistake in hiring can be a costly one but every now and again it happens.

Here are five signs that the server you just hired, you’ll soon have to fire…


1.     It’s been four weeks and they still don’t know the menu.

During the interview, they touted tons of experience in the industry. They’ve been serving for years, but they still can’t recite the current draft list to the table. To make matters worse they have to check with the kitchen EVERY time a table has an allergy.

This can be prevented! Make sure each new hire can pass a menu test. It should deter those that aren’t serious about working in your establishment.


2.     They don’t want to work.

It isn’t until after you’ve hired them that you discover they have another job. Out of the four shifts they’ve been scheduled, they’re only working two and are constantly trying to call out.

Not wanting to work is a huge red flag and indicates that this new hire might not be reliable. Before you start looking for their replacement, sit them down and figure out what’s going on.


3.     They’re always on their phone.

Most restaurants have a no phone policy for good reason. Nothing is worse than a distracted server whose attention seems to be on everything but their tables.

If your latest hire is constantly hunched over their phone flipping through Facebook or taking selfies in Snapchat, that’s an issue. Have progressive discipline in place. First offense they receive a warning; second offense you take the phone; third offense fire them.


4.     They’re always late.

A good rule of thumb is five to 15 minutes before their shift, in uniform and ready to go. Alas, this new person scrambles in five minutes late for almost every shift, and worse, still needs to change into their work shirt!

Public transit can be a pain, and sometimes traffic can be a bit unpredictable, but if this new hire is serious about their position, they need to plan ahead to show up on time.

Make sure your expectations of when they arrive are clear when you hire the person so that everyone’s on the same page.


5.     They haven’t shut up about wanting to be on the bar.

You get it, they want to be a bartender and one of your bar staff is going to grad school in a couple of months. If the server doesn’t understand that they need to prove themselves on the floor first, then their sense of entitlement is going to cause problems down the line. Ambition is great, but you hired this person as a server, and they need to be focused on serving, not muddling cocktails.


If the latest server you’ve hired is doing any one of these things, it’s definitely a signal that the two of you need to have a talk. Servers are replaceable, but they’re also the person your guest is interacting with most. A good server can create an amazing experience for your guests and that is the key to keeping butts in seats.