If you’re looking to become a member of a restaurant’s waiting staff, chances are you’re going to spend a decent amount of time refilling water glasses.
It’s standard practice in most dining establishments. You’ll look over at a half-full glass of translucent liquid, and your training will compel you to spring into action and refill it. It’s totally understandable.
The problem is, there are a lot of different beverages that look like water. Seltzer and Sprite, for example. And when you’re super busy waiting on dozens of needy customers, it’s easy to slip up and accidentally pour flat water into, say, a glass full of sparkling mineral water. There have been tweets, Reddit threads, opinion columns, and entire podcasts dedicated to this seemingly hyper-niche issue.
Apparently, whenever a waiter pours water into some sort of clear soda with ice in it, the internet takes notice. The best thing for you to do is to make sure you’re not one of those waiters…
Again, this isn’t totally your fault. But it will probably affect your tip at the end of the meal. Fortunately for everyone involved, watering someone’s Sprite can be avoided — or remedied — through a number of easily implemented strategies.
Use different colored glasses for water:
Some restaurants already do this. They use clear glasses for water and a different colored glass (red, green, etc… ) for flavored beverages. This visual aid helps distinguish between water cups and soda cups.
Use memorization tactics:
Whenever someone orders a beverage that you know could be confused for water, like Sprite, make a mental note of who they are by remembering something about them. For example, “Guy with the green polo, Soda.”
Put fruit in seltzer:
This will be easy because most people ask for either lemon or lime in their seltzer water when they order it. That wedge of citrus fruit will serve as a visual cue not to pour water into the glass.
Don’t be afraid to ask:
Before you ruin someone’s carbonated beverage, politely ask them whether or not it’s water. It’s that easy. They won’t be upset with you for not remembering. Or, at the very least, they’ll be much more upset if you water down their soda. And if you do accidentally water someone’s soda, be apologetic and offer them a new drink.
Being a waiter is a demanding gig. The hours are tough and the pay hinges on the generosity of the customers. Implementing strategies like the ones listed in this article will help you to get the most out of your job and avoid unnecessary mistakes.
Thanks for reading, and remember, don’t water the Sprite.