Monday, October 22, 2012

Table For Two Please!

Having spent the first half of my adult life waiting tables for a living it has made me both a critic, and a defender at each restaurant I eat at. If I had my way I would make it mandatory for every U.S. citizen to wait tables for a minimum of one month before they turn 25. Not only would this experience help everyone be more understanding when they go out to eat, but it would help them be more patient, considerate, and appreciative of every service position.

Not only did I spend my young adult years waiting tables as a single parent, but most of the women in my family raised their children by serving other people. It continually surprises me that a lot of people still do not know how to tip! Allow me to educate the masses. A basic tip for a restaurant server/bartender is 20% of your entire bill. This is VERY easy to calculate! It's simply $2.00 for every $10.00 on your bill. If your bill is $60.00 then your tip is $12.00. I know some people think this is ridiculous and the restaurants should pay their servers a higher hourly wage so they don't have to tip, but this is not the reality of the restaurant industry and it is highly unlikely that it will change any time soon. The bottom line is, if you don't want to tip a server for busting their butt waiting on you, then stay home!
someecards.com - Cheers to all the good people who know to tip 20%!
This brings me to my next point. Take a look at what is going on in the restaurant. Is it busy? Does your server have a lot of tables? Is your server also waiting on a large party? Any good server will try their best to meet your needs to the best of their ability, but occasionally there are circumstances outside of their control that is preventing them from giving you 100% of their attention. Be patient, and understanding. If need be, speak to a manager about the situation, but do not punish the server with a low, or no, tip. Trust me when I say they are running as hard and fast as they can to meet everyone's needs. I can honestly say that there has only been a small handful of times that I have truly experienced bad service and left a smaller tip because of it. Also, how your food is prepared, or when it comes out of the kitchen is COMPLETELY out of your servers hands! Your server is not the cook, and if you are unhappy with your food just let your server know and they will try to remedy the situation to the best of their ability.

If you happen to be with a large party, and only have one server, again please be patient. Trying to service each persons needs (drinks, appetizers, meals, sides, extra needs, etc.) can be extremely demanding of your servers time, and if they do a great job, then your tip should reflect your appreciation! It is a lot harder to serve a party then it is a table of two. I should also point out that being responsible for your mess is applicable to more than just the public restroom. If you do happen to leave a huge mess that you, for whatever reason, are unable to clean yourself, then again, you should compensate your server for having to clean up your mess for you.

Some people are lingerers. Maybe you are having a business lunch/dinner, or a "getting to know you" date, or just want to take your time and have a nice relaxing meal. Whatever the reason, the longer you sit at your table, the less money your server is going to make unless you compensate them for the extra time you sit there! If you and a friend sit and have drinks for several hours after your meal, you should add a minimum of $5.00 extra to your tip for every half hour you stay after your meal. Your server has bills to pay just like everyone else does, and by you occupying their means to make money for long periods of time, you jeopardize their ability to meet the financial needs in their life. If you don't want to tip your server more, then go sit at the bar. BUT, if you order more drinks at the bar, then you have to tip the bartender by the same 20% rule. Furthermore, being mindful of your servers time, especially if they are busy, is the courteous thing to do. Talking or texting on your cell phone when you should be ready to order is extremely rude. At a bare minimum, put your cell phone away until you have placed your order...keeping it tucked away all night is even better!

Waiting tables is a very demanding job, but with the right attitude you can make their job easier, and a lot of times even quite enjoyable! And, with any service job, the more your server feels appreciated, the better their service will be the next time you see them. Tip your server well, and they will serve you even better!

What standards do you have when it comes to tipping? Do you have a "bad tipper" story to share? What is the best/worst service you have ever had? I would love to hear your stories!

7 comments:

  1. Nicely worded... Yes, I think everyone should have a time of it waiting tables. You will appreciate the money you do make all that much more.

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  2. I Love This, No one knows how hard a servers job is, Unless you were a server, And lots of people think very little of servers which is a sad thing beacuse they probly work 10x's harder then most people, And yes wouldnt that be fun if everyone had to be a server, Hahah I bet they wouldn't want 10 diet cokes, and extra ranch 4 trips later! O and they would forsure clean up after the kids they created! Would you let your kids throw crap on your floor at home?? If so STAY HOME!! Hhaha Good Post

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    1. Thanks for the post! People would definitely be more aware of how they treated servers if they spent a month doing it! I also agree that everyone should treat eating out at a restaurant like it's their own home or at someone else's home. Would they leave their child's mess on the floor at a friend's house? Or would they constantly send their friend running to the kitchen for extra ranch, or refills they don't end up drinking? I certainly hope not!

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  3. I stumbled upon this article, and I have to say, even as someone who has never waited tables or worked in a restaurant, I 100% agree! For those of us who know how to tip well, it is that much more embarrassing to dine with friend's or family who do not! I can't even count how many times I have secretly left an extra $5 or $10 on the table to help make up for the lack of tip my companions left! Not only is bad tipping rude, it costs people like me more money to make up for the inadequacy of others. Thanks for writing this!

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    1. Kate,
      You are so right! I always try to sneak extra tip money on the table if I'm with people who are bad tippers, or if they treated a server badly. It is ridiculous that people don't realize how much their actions reflect or have an effect on the other guests they are dining with!

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  4. I 100% agree that it should be mandatory for all American's to wait tables. Most people I know did wait tables and therefore are pretty good tippers, but as a former server/bartender/cocktail waitress, there are TONS of people who do not know how to tip!! I waited tables at a Fish Market/Steak House and we waited tables as a "Team of two". One night, my partner and I waited on a table of about 6 women in their 50s. Our restaurant had gotten completely slammed, and the kitchen was a little short staffed, so food was coming out slowly. My partner and I made sure all of our tables had refills on drinks, lots of bread, etc., everything we had control over. Eventually their food came out, they proceeded to eat it (all while we were very attentive to their needs, understanding that it is frustrating when the kitchen is slow), when they were finished, they got up and left... All 6 women, in their 50s WALKED OUT on their bill... and DID NOT leave us a tip! It was AWFUL! I cannot believe that anyone would walk out, let alone a group of women in their 50s!! I can't remember the exact cost of the tab, but it was easily around $300!

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    1. THAT is crazy! I've had people walk out on bills before, but they were always teenagers! The worst part is that they are not only screwing the restaurant, but the servers as well! I wonder if anyone has ever been arrested for doing that...since it is stealing!

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