Order up! Check out these 10 character writing prompts on servers, baristas and bartenders. Yes, the people who get you food, coffee and beer are people to and they frequently lead interesting lives with families and problems all of their own. There have been some wonderful stories that focus on the existences of these irreplaceable people that help us by laughing or listening. While I haven't personally spent time as a server or a bartender, my acting life allowed me to see many different service employees during their off-hours and I've heard enough stories to write hundreds of characters worth. My time as a barista at a major coffee shop taught me a lot about life, but also about the kind of person who enters into the service industry. Let's push past our stereotypes of service people and try to create well-rounded characters with thoughts, hopes and dreams.
Free Character Writing Prompts #22: Servers, Baristas and Bartenders
1. Always serving your coffee with a smile, you wondered how somebody could be so incredibly perky at such an early hour. When you commented that he must knock a few back before the shift starts, he said that he doesn't drink coffee and he's naturally this way. He frequently cracks jokes and keeps the mood very lively in the room. Has he always been such a naturally early riser and what does he do outside of work?
2. When you stepped into church, you were surprised to see your favorite bartender sitting at the pew next to you. He was usually your go to guy when it came to telling a lewd and crude story to and now you felt embarrassed. You started to apologize and he waved you off. He said he was happy to do his job. How did a man of God end up tending bar and why?
3. No matter what time of day you came in, it seemed like she was always working at the diner. When you asked her about her story, you were surprised to find out that she was a part-owner of the place. She worked on the floor nearly all day long because she could barely afford to pay employees. She got into the business because she loved people, which was much closer to her love than her last job as a pencil pusher. Will her business succeed?
4. She looked like the epitome of the indie coffee shop: covered from head to toe in tattoos, multiple piercings and when she worked, the radio was always tuned to the local college's station. You asked her about a Harvard diploma you saw on the wall next to a painting and it turned out it was hers. She had previously been on the track of becoming a biology professor but decided to go the opposite direction of the prim and proper world of academia. Is she happier now that she's able to express herself and why?
5. He wasn't just a server, he was hell-bent on being the best server in town. Even though awards weren't important to him, he had won the local newspaper's "best server" trophy three years running and it was because he was superior when it came to caring about the customers. He had been a strung out drug addict only a decade earlier when someone told him that his life's reward will be equal to his service. He took that advice literally. What are some of the things he does to make his service superior?
6. They love him when he bartends at one of the most popular night clubs in the Boys Town neighborhood in Chicago, but they truly love him when he does his drag act on Sunday nights. Sure, he remembers all the customers and practically has their drinks ready before they get to the bar, but they go completely mad over his outfits, his songs and his comedy. He's said that if he made enough money from drag, he would even consider giving up tending the bar. What are some of the satisfactions he gets from serving people at a bar and how do those differ from what he gets out of his performances?
7. While some people have their swimsuit calendars and others have their Internet obsessions, you were in love with your barista. The way she smiled at you and handed her drink over the counter, lingering just long enough to rope you in before moving onto the next customers. Whenever you had trouble getting out of bed for work, you thought of how pure her skin looked and the dimples on her face when she grinned. What does she do outside of slinging coffee and does she secretly harbor a crush for you as well?
8. When you put together the schedule for your bartending staff, you always try to give everybody a regular amount of high-money weekend shifts as possible. You often cringe, however, when you have to put down your niece's name. As a favor to your brother, you gave a job to the angriest, most energy sucking creature you'd ever encountered and despite her extremely good looks, she seems to have only lost you business in the three months she's worked there. What happens when you confront her over her bad attitude?
9. When he graduated from one of the best universities in the country, his parents expected him to go far in this world. After he defied their expectations by trying his hand at acting, he returned to his birthplace and became a full-time server at a popular restaurant. He continued to do shows every once in a while, but slowly but surely, serving took over his entire life and he worked every weekend, giving him no availability for acting. Will he continue to be a server for the rest of his life and why?
10. On the surface, it seemed like she was a simple server of frozen yogurt at the local soft-serve station. In actuality, it was a cover, because she was a spy for a government agency, looking after an important asset in the area. She hated when people looked at her like she didn't have high aspirations for life, like she hadn't learned to nail a target from hundreds of yards away with a powerful sniper rifle. She sometimes wished she could use that skill on unruly customers. How does she get by with the monotony (in her opinion) and is her mission successful?
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Use the above prompts or article as inspiration to write a story or other short piece.