Your Shot: Order Up! Restaurant Servers At Work

People who enjoy eating out love to talk about restaurants. They’ll wax poetic on the hottest new menu, gush about chefs, and trade tips on scoring a hard-to-get reservation.

But in all that talk about eateries, there’s a critical aspect of dining out that rarely gets a mention (unless something’s gone wrong, that is): the waitstaff.

As anyone who’s waited tables knows, being a server isn’t just a matter of carrying trays and writing down orders. Watching skilled waiters and waitresses in a busy dining room is like watching a fluid dance. They weave among tables, placate children, replace dropped forks, and juggle multiple orders, literally and figuratively. They keep track of food allergies, respond to requests on the fly (“Can we change tables?” “Is it possible to turn down the music?”), and smooth over delays in the kitchen. And they do it all with a smile.

So on your next meal out, take a moment to appreciate the servers working the floor—not to mention the hosts, bussers, and others who work hard to make your experience seamless. And in the meantime, take a look at our some of our favorite shots of servers hard at work, courtesy of National Geographic’s Your Shot community.