You Probably Never Noticed These Little Things Servers Do to Make Your Meal Special

From extra-hot coffee to shiny spoons, there are a billion tiny details that add up to a magical meal.



Dining out isn’t necessarily a magical experience, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some restaurant wizardry happening. There are lots of things that servers do behind the scenes that help make a dining experience a good one. Think of it as David Copperfield using sleight of hand on a deck of playing cards to blow your mind. I’m not saying this happens in every restaurant, but when it does, you probably don’t even notice it.

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Cool trick, bro

Pouring hot fresh coffee into a cold mug does nothing for the integrity of the coffee, so very often a server will first pour hot water into the cup, swish it around a little bit, pour it out and then refill it with coffee. It keeps the coffee warmer for longer and you’d never know that someone took this extra step. An extremist will steam the cup with the cappuccino machine.

On the opposite side of the thermostat, bartenders will very often fill a cocktail glass with ice water and let it sit in the glass while the cocktail is being made. As the drink is shaken, the glass gets cold so when that Dirty Grey Goose Martini is poured into it, it tastes even better.

When you order a dessert that comes with ice cream, there’s a good chance that the dish it’s served in was sitting in a cooler right next to some spoons. Just like a chilled cocktail glass or a beer mug, cold dessert dishes make things better and it happens on the sly. It’s the same thing as leaving plates under a warmer so any food that goes on them stays hot longer. Just another way to impress a customer without any expectation of them recognizing it happened.

Related: Suddenly Craving Sizzling Steak or a Chocolate Dessert? You May Have Been Tricked Into It

Sour power

If you have ever asked for lemon wedges for your hot tea and it arrived sans seeds, thank your server. While seedless lemons do exist, it’s much more likely that a server painstakingly removed the seeds than the restaurant going to the trouble and expense of procuring a more expensive crate of lemon without them. Poof, the seeds are gone!

When you receive silverware without the slightest trace of the dreaded water spot, it’s probably because someone polished each and every piece of flatware using either vinegar or lemons (with or without seeds) to ensure that silverware is shiny and clean. It takes a lot of time, but it’s worth the effort even if a customer doesn’t notice it.

Related: 7 Tips for Getting a Great Restaurant Meal Even When You're in a Hurry

That's a wrap

Ever ask to have your leftovers wrapped up and when you get home you see that the container has been carefully labeled with its contents? It’s a small gesture, but a huge help and one that won’t even be noticed until after a customer has left the restaurant. I used to go so far as to draw a little fish on the box for the grilled salmon and a cow for the burgers.

Related: Are the Specials at a Restaurant Really That Special?

Choc it up

When you order hot chocolate at a restaurant, there’s a good chance it’s a packet of powdered Swiss Miss poured into some hot water and stirred with a plastic straw. There are some servers who like to enhance that sad excuse for a chocolat chaud à l'ancienne by adding a splash of chocolate syrup to it to make it a little more decadent. Never mind that it’s basically high fructose corn syrup with a dash of imitation cocoa, it’s the thought that counts. There’s no hocus pocus, they just want to make it better for you.

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Sip, sip ... hooray!

Have you ever requested that your cocktail be extra strong but didn’t bother to ask for a double? If so, you may have been pleasantly surprised to take that first sip and think the bartender definitely hooked you up. I regret to inform you that it’s an illusion as stunning as David Copperfield making the Statue of Liberty disappear. While I can’t say how Mr. Copperfield pulled off his trick, I do know what the bartender did. They poured the liquor directly into the straw. Magic!

Restaurant staff aren’t magicians, but servers genuinely want customers to enjoy their time in a restaurant. Hopefully, all the abracadabra that happens behind the red velvet curtains will encourage higher tips and a greater appreciation.

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