Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for business owners and their teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

Don’t be like waiters memorizing orders


It’s summer time so we are going out more often than usual (especially when the weather is nice). Because of that we are visiting various cafeterias and restaurants. What I recently found out is that some waiters are trying to show off how cool they are and instead of writing down what we want to order, they are trying to memorize everything… and almost every time it’s a bad idea.

Don’t be like waiters memorizing orders

Whenever a waiter is trying to memorize the order I notice 5 types of feelings get involved:

1. Insecurity

I’m always asking: “Are you sure you don’t want to write that down?”, they assure me it’s fine but I don’t feel secure about their response and I’m afraid I’ll be getting a wrong thing - not a feeling (and first impression) you want your customer to feel, now do you? I just don’t trust this waiter.

2. Disappointment

Almost every time the waiter gets the order wrong. One time I didn’t get a Cappuccino but Espresso, the other time I didn’t get my beer with my meal … and I have a lot more examples I can quote here. As a customer, I’m really disappointed.

3. Embarrassment

And the waiter is embarrassed. Their previous self esteem is gone with the wind and they are apologizing deeply for mixing the plates or forgetting something…. and having to come over several times to make sure that they got the order right. Not an image you want to project to your customer.

4. Anger

When the waiter gets several things wrong I’m starting to get really angry. I came here for a simple dinner/lunch/dessert and it was supposed to be a great experience now that I’m going out with my friends, but I’m getting angry instead. And believe me, as a business owner I can tell you - angry customers are something you should avoid at all costs.

5. Overall dissatisfaction

That’s it. I’m totally dissatisfied. I hate this restaurant/cafe/bar and I just want to go home. I’m not in a mood of doing anything else this evening. Of course I’m exaggerating, but the bitter taste of a bad customer service stays with me the whole evening. And all because the waiter wanted to show off. Was it really worth it?

Don’t be that waiter!

The main idea in David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” book was to free your mind from memorizing stuff. Put it all into your trusted system and make sure you can retrieve it quickly and easily. David is so right in this regard!

I still sometimes catch myself saying “I can remember that” and I always regret it afterwards. Trust your system and not your head - and make sure you write stuff down. You’ll later be glad you did.