Thursday, February 26, 2009

Waitressing... Tipping, The good, the bad and the ugly


Seriously I swear it was just 9 and now it is 11:30.. wtf where does the time go?? Anyway...

Last night was not a fun night at work I had a reservation of 28people, half of them children... Some sort of kids sports team.

This normally would be fine but there was 2 women in this group that I seriously would like to punch and I am a lover not a fighter.. they were just the rudest women. I won't go into details because well that takes too long. Just take my word for it that if I didnt have my "work face" on these 2 women would have gotten a few choice words my opinions thats for sure! If my child plays on a sports team with parents like these 2 I seriously would NEVER sit at the same table as them group or not, I would not be going to any event that involved them.. One of them had their ex husband there and I wanted to tell that poor poor soul how sorry I was for him and completely understood why they are exes because I would seriously harm that woman if I was her husband.. I am a lover not a fighter... remember that.. lol, but these 2 women have no disregard for others, no manners and no control over themselves or their children.. and not just no disregard to me but others at their table as well.

Waitressing is mentally, emotionally and physically disabling challenging. If you have never waitressed thank your lucky stars and be nice to your servers because one day you may need to waitress and learn that its no easy task to wait on people hand and foot even if they are the rudest people on earth! And think they are the only people present in the restaurant and are the queens of the land.. One day you can have a customer hug you, the next day you can want to punch your customer.. talk about a mentally unstable job! Now I know why my mom is crazy.. She has waitressed/bartended for 25 years off and on... but sometimes she can be a type 2 (IMO of course see below for explanation) customer too even though she knows how it is.

I am always "excited" to wait on a fellow server.. there are 2 types of fellow servers when they come as a guest..

There is the first type of "server guest" is those who understand if you forget something, if you make a mistake now and then after all we are human not a computer, understands if the food is a little delayed in the kitchen when it's busy, Don't whine for minor issues, help you by moving plates to a pile at the end etc. that I feel is the type of "server guest" that I fit into.. I am a very calm and go with the flow person anyway..which most of these types are.

Then there is the second type of "server guest" is those who are arrogant and think they were/are the best server in the world, did/do everything perfect and expect everything to be absolutley perfect, timely, never forgotten, no mistakes. Whine and complain at the slightest thing (like you not talking to them enough when you are busy). That I feel is where my mom fits into quite of the few times I have went out to eat with her she exhibits some of these behaviors. Those types of "server guests" are generally very inpatient people, always with a sense of urgency, cocky and arrogant not just when they go out to eat but in life in general.

When I go out to eat if something is forgotten I simply ask again, it's really not a hard thing to do. Of course like everyone I don't want the server to forget something but I surely won't dock their tip or get a "tude" about it. UNLESS they repeatedly throughout dinner forget my soda, my dessert, my side of sauce etc.. The really only reason that I dock a servers tip is if I feel they were exceptionally rude to me (and that would be hard to do because I am so nice :). ) or instead of tending to what I needed they were chatting up their friends at another table (which I could care less about as long as I am tended to as well once I am content and don't need anything you can chat up all you want) or just not paying attention to me and or nowhere to be found my entire meal so I didnt get any thing I needed like drink refills, napkins, etc.. its not that they forgot anything its that I never even got to ask for it because they were MIA (aka in the back cleaning and or talking to co workers, reading a paper, eating, smoking, you name it I have seen it.) and even then I would NEVER give below a 10% tip (unless they used a derogatory term like the "R" word about me or my family in my presence or earshot).. Because servers have to pay taxes for tips based on their sales... that is their income, that is their rent.. Have you seen a servers hourly wage check?? Pffffffttt.. The tips are the main income and if I stiff or give a below 10% tip that is taking someones rent money etc.. and I cannot do that no matter how bad a server they may or may not have been because I don't know their situation at home, a family member may have died, they may have children to support, they may be brand new employee. If I feel it was the worst service I have ever gotten, or something so rude was said etc then I would talk to a manager about it so they can discipline the server or train them better, but I still would tip the server 10%.

Think of it this way, if you filed a report after deadline (aka delivered meal) because your were too busy or had to wait for you source (aka kitchen), at your job do you feel you should be docked a dollar an hour for that day?? Doesn't make any sense does it?? If you forget to edit a sentance (bring a refill or extra side) with one report out of the 25 you did that day (one table out of 25 you had that day) do you feel you should be docked 5$ of your pay for the day?? Think about it... if you feel you should be docked pay.. then by all means dock a servers tip/ and or stiff them, but if you dont feel that should cause docked pay since you are human and make mistakes then dont dock a servers tips below 10%.

I almost ALWAYS give a 20% tip.. its very very hard for a server to be so bad IMO that they would get a 10% tip from me (exception: I tip 10% for to go orders as everyone should IMO)..

And another thing if you are running low on $$ and that is your excuse not to tip a decent amount.. then you shouldn't be out eating in the first place. That is absolutely no excuse.

And do not tip based on the number of people in your party.. this is not the 90's.. that rule doesn't float anymore. Tip based on your sales... because we pay taxes for our tips based on those sales numbers.

If you drank 4 long island ice teas.. and made your bill go up 25$ in bar drinks then you tip with that INCLUDED not just your food... if you don't want to tip for bar drinks then don't order them.

Do not sit at a table by yourself and drink coffee for an hour.. and tip a quarter.. this might fly at a pancake house or cafe where there may be plenty of extra tables to sit at, at any given time. But not at most resturants. Yeah a quarter might be 20% of the cost of coffee but you took up that servers table for an hour when they could have had a family ordering dinner and be making a decent tip amount. Most restaurants each server has a set section of a few tables.. unlike a smaller restaurant where they arent as busy a server can seat you anywhere in the restaurant because they are the only server and they have plenty of tables where they can take on more people.

And last but not least if another worker besides your server brings you water or delivers your food or assists you in any way.. DO NOT dock your servers tip.. remember we servers have to tip out to those people out of the tip you give us and they are there to make the whole restaurant run more smoothly. At my restaurant we tip out the bussers, the food runners and the bartendars. We used to have to tip out the dish workers too!

Okay lastly.. If you are getting multiple different people assisting you in a large restaurant, your intended server may be the "key" for that night.. they may be getting the strange person who just brought you a refill some change out of the till for their table. Its an even exchange.. Your server is not ignoring you, in fact they are making sure you get your refill in a timely fashion by having the person that needs the change bring it to you while they get the change from the till. They could just as well make you wait for your refill until after they are done getting change for the other server.. but that neither helps you get your refill timely or helps them with the "work" exchange with the other server.

Same goes for the "closer" of the night who assigns duties to servers that must be completed and verified before each server leaves for the night. Which mostly entails cleaning the back kitchen area, rolling silverware, prepping items for the next day (scopping butters, sides, salads etc. depending on restaurants). Your server may be the "closer" and follows the above just the like the "key" they may be checking/verifying that the "duty" was done by the strange person who just brought you your dessert.. again an even exchange while your intended server is verifying that the "duty" was indeed done the person they are verifying is bringing you what you need in a timely fashion. Would you rather they make you wait and bring it to you after they okay the other server to leave for the night?? or would you rather it be brought quickly by the server getting ready to leave?

With that said.. I will shut up about the restaurant business.. until further notice... which well could be tomorrow you never know.


Domestically Disabled Girl said...

Well written. I agree completely, and I have never waitressed. I always tip around 20%, and sometimes higher, especially if my boys have been loud/messy/ect. You are a saint for what you do!

Oh Boy...Oh Boy...Oh Boy said...

Just have to soooo agree with, if you can't afford to tip, don't go. I have seen so many friends do this and sooo many times I've eneded up paying way over my share in order to leave a fair tip on a shared ticket with friends. I once went out with two coworkers to olive garden who each had like $7 cash and ordered the soup and salad $4,99 and then had dessert, $1.99 cuz that's under $7!?!?!!?? I was too spineless to say anything, they just threw their money in and I ended up footing the tip AND tax for everyone.
I'm typically a 20%er but often a little more for great service (i can easily down 5+ sodas during a meal, if thye keep on top of me they deserve it) but my "seriously annoyed" tip is 15%.

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