We all know that a good joke can really lighten the mood with a table. Most servers are also aware that we are not stand up comedians. Standing in front of your table and telling a two minute joke is not your job. It is a fine line for a server. You need a joke that is relevant to the conversation with your table, but is also very brief. This is why one liners are such a valuable part of a great server’s repertoire.
A one liner is the punctuation to a comment or sentence that occurs naturally in conversation with a table. They are not always great jokes. They are more likely witty retorts. They are just one sentence that is dropped to give your table a chuckle. They maintain your professionalism while demonstrating a sense of humor.
I would actually argue that the more professional your demeanor, the more necessary it is to have a few good jokes. In order to be more than just a generic server, you must find a way to demonstrate that you have a personality. Dropping a few bad puns might not demonstrate your personality, but it is a very easy way to be more personable with your tables without running the risk of offending. These are very low risk because they are unlikely to offend and do not interject you into the conversation as a longer story would. They can also be used multiple times per shift and become almost instinctive.
So now that you understand the value of the one liner, you need a few good ones. I just happen to know a few. Most of mine are very specific to certain items. I have a hard time serving any of these items without dropping the line. Here is a random sampling.
Arnold Palmer: So tasty they named a golfer after it.
Water without ice: I hate it when mine gets watered down too.
Water: We just got a fresh delivery from the city this morning.
Gin & Tonic, Jack & Coke, etc: I’ll see if the bartender has a recipe.
Wings: Those just fly out of our kitchen.
Mozzarella Sticks: You can’t beat them with themselves.
French/Italian Dressing: You know in France/Italy they just call it “dressing”.
Temp: How can I cook that for you? Well not me personally. I only know how to make toast and it is always well done.
Well Done: I think we do all our steaks well.
At Checkback: How was the fish I recommended? Good I was really on the hook for that one.
Follow-up: That is a bad fish line. Not everyone catches it.
Follow-up: Believe it or not I am single, these puns really don’t reel the ladies in.
Prawns: If everyone called you shrimp, you would want to get that big too.
Lobster/Crab: Those just came in today. We were nervous they wouldn’t get here in time and leave us in a pinch.
Oysters: They will be out shortly. Just be nice to them, they are shy and it is tough to get them out of their shell.
Of course they are terrible jokes. That is the point. The one liners are designed to get a chuckle or groan, but not offend. These are also just some of mine. Share some of yours with the group in the comment section. If you have an item you want a line for, leave that in the comment section as well. Hopefully someone much funnier than I am will have one for you.
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