I thought it might be helpful to put down some definitions to words that we throw around constantly but might mean nothing to the lay-person.
The Dictionary of Serving
Weeds (in the weeds) – To be “weeded” is to be so extremely busy that you don’t even know what needs to be done. As a server this is the ultimate fear, because at this point you have some much to do that you seem to be perpetually behind or in slow motion. (Also known as being “under”).
Camper – A camper is someone who sits at a table long after they have overstayed their welcome. If you have your check, have paid your check, or are just malingering at a table and talking without regard to time, you are camping. Leave! If you want to have a meeting, get a conference room.
Turning Tables – Servers earn their money by serving as many tables as possible during their shift, we call this “turning” tables. Get them in, sit them down, feed them, get them out, and get somebody new in… all as efficiently as possible. If you are camping you are preventing us from turning our tables and hence we lose money.
Running – To run a server is to continue to send them on pointless errands every time they come to your table. It can also include sending them on a new errand as soon as they return from fulfilling your previous request. For example, you ask for a drink, and when they return with your drink from the bar you ask them for more napkins, a glass of water, etc. which could have been gotten while they went for your original drink. The only thing that pisses off a server more than a shitty tip is to be ran.
Deuce – A table of two. There’s nothing wrong with a deuce…. unless it’s sitting at a table for four.
’X’-top – An “X”-top simply is the number of people sitting at a table. Hence, a 4-top is a table of four, a 10-top is a table of ten, etc.
Double-tip – Many restaurants include gratuity on their checks, usually for larger parties, but some chains will do it for parties as few as 4 or 6. When you leave a tip on top of this pre-determined gratuity, you are double-tipping the server. Keep doubling us up, it’s our bread & butter!
Double-sat – To be sat with two tables simultaneously. This is usually the host or hostesses fault, but can be caused by somebody requesting a specific table, which throws off the seating rotation. It’s a quick and easy way to find yourself in the weeds.
Pre-bus – The clearing of plates, side-plates, empty glasses, bottles, etc. It is a way to clear room on the table for the next course, to encourage you to eat faster, and to help the busboys get our tables cleaned and set more quickly.