This is the twelfth installment of "Eat This List" - a regularly recurring list of things chefs, farmers, writers and other food experts think you ought to know about. Today's contributor is the pseudonymous blogger The Bitchy Waiter. He lives and works in New York City, and has appeared as a guest on Dr. Phil and a guest commentator on CBS Sunday Morning and in a previous Eat This List. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @bitchywaiter - and don't forget to tip.
When customers go to a restaurant, many variables can affect their dining experience. The server is in charge of some of these things, but many of them are beyond his or her control.
This does not, however, keep some people from punishing their poor, defenseless server in the form of a lower than average tip. I would like to apologize in advance for some of the things my customers might be unsatisfied with the next time they sit in my section.
1. The wait
I am sorry you waited a long time for your food. Please understand that I do not cook it. My job is to correctly notify the kitchen what it is you would like to eat and then bring it to you when it is ready. If there are 100 other people all ordering at the same time as you are, your food might take a little longer, but I assure you I want you to have it just as quickly as you do. The sooner you have it, the sooner you eat it and the sooner I get to turn the table over and make more money.
If you need your dinner to arrive in just a few minutes, might I suggest something other than an appetizer followed by an extra well-done steak? But I'm really sorry.
2. The food
I am sorry your food wasn't what you expected. If you have never tried pan-seared monkfish with celery root slaw and you feel like expanding your culinary horizons, I encourage you to do so. If the menu does not give you an adequate description of the fish please feel free to ask me questions. Even if I have never had it, I can give you an honest opinion based on the hundreds of other people I have served it to.
If you're unhappy with it because you hoped it would taste like fried catfish and mashed potatoes and it instead tastes like pan-seared monkfish and celery root slaw, that's the risk you take for broadening your palate. But I'm really sorry.
3. The noise
I am sorry the restaurant was too loud. Sometimes restaurants play music. Sometimes there are other people in the restaurant who are quite loud. Sometimes you are sitting next to a baby who is teething and the parents don't seem to care that he has been crying for twenty minutes.
It is not me who decides what music is playing or how loud it is, I can't change the acoustics of the building and I don't want to approach a baby to rub Anbesol on its gums or give it a shot of brandy. But I'm really sorry.
4. The prices
I apologize for the high cost. I agree that prices in restaurants seems to have risen at a much faster pace than the average income and I can recognize that it seems ridiculous to pay $20 or more for a hamburger when you can buy ground beef at the grocery store for $4.99 a pound. As you can imagine, I don't set the prices.
I guess the one consolation I can offer you is that if restaurants paid their servers a living wage and did away with the annoying expectancy of tipping, that cost would be offset by customers and your burger would cost approximately $133. But I'm really sorry.
5. The timing
I apologize for asking you how everything was right after you put food in your mouth. I don't do it on purpose. It may seem like I am standing around the corner waiting for the exact moment when your mouth is full to ambush you with annoying questions, but I'm not. If you think about it, most of the time you are at my table you probably have food in your mouth. That's why you're in a restaurant; to eat.
At some places, management requires me to "check back" with the table a certain number of times to make sure your needs are being taken care of. Trust me, I would rather not have you try to answer my questions while I am watching a piece of romaine lettuce securing itself between your two front teeth, but I am just making sure you're satisfied. But I'm really sorry.
Will there be anything else for you this evening?
Of course there are times when the server is absolutely at fault. Perhaps he wrote down the wrong order or maybe he ignored you even though there were no other customers in the restaurant. In those cases, the tip should be a reflection of the service received.
Sometimes though, it's easy to forget that there are lots of other factors that can ruin a restaurant experience and the blame doesn't always fall squarely onto the server's shoulders. It's easy for your waiter to apologize but just because he says he is sorry doesn't mean that is was necessarily his fault.
But I'm really sorry.
Complaints? Share 'em in the comments below. See more of The Bitchy Waiter's musings at thebitchywaiter.com
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It's pronounced hos-pi-tal-it-tee
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I desired to thanks for this good learn!! I undoubtedly enjoying just about every little little bit of it I've you bookmarked to check out new stuff you publish
I'm a server. I am not a servant. I'm here to provide a service... that is all. I get really riled up when a table seems to be having a terrible time. Most of the time that is all their fault. I'm not there to entertain them, but only to get them their food and drink and bill. Once people realize that, all will be right in the world!
Well, I am very late for this rodeo, LOL. It has been decades since I've waited tables and a lot has changed. I'll speak to what I do – tipping – and why I do it the way I do. It is a job, as honorable as any other job out there. The tasks associated with waiting are not difficult, but the dance to make it all work, and look easy, is difficult. You also have to give the impression you are happy to be there, even if your dog did just die :( . When I go out, I usually have a pretty good idea as to how much I'm going to spend. I'm usually right in the ballpark but can just really blow it sometimes :) . I'm usually just paying my own bill so it is much easier to manage this. Heck, the ladies at the $5 Chinese buffet get a dollar just for bringing me a glass of water and a fortune cookie (and the bill). Barring a physical altercation (never happens), I'm tipping the minimum. I hold the wait staff to that that is in their control. Food quality, price, noise levels are not in their control. So the minimum is always there, and can only go up. What drives it up, I just never know. I for one appreciate what they do.
Hello, I have been a server for many years. I would like to respond to some of the comments I have read on here, and to hopefully be a voice of reason for both sides of the argument.
1) The timing: Yes, sometimes the food and drinks take along time, but that doesn't necessarily mean the server has forgotten you, or done something wrong. I work at an upscale restaurant directly next door to a concert hall. On show nights, the entire restaurant, bar and lounge fill up at once, everyone orders at once, and they all need to leave at the same time to make the show. The food and drinks take longer, simply because of the sheer volume of orders being received by the bar and kitchen at the same time.
My job is to make sure my guests are aware that there may be a bit of a wait, and to make sure they are comfortable for the duration of their stay in my section. My job as a server is 95% communication. I communicate with the table about the status of their drinks and their food, I communicate with the kitchen about the status of my tables, ones that are getting really antsy, I ask the Chef to push out their entrees first. I communicate with my managers about the moods of my tables. And then I go back to my tables and I tell them what is going on.
When the table leaves, the fact that the food may have taken along time is not reflected in my tip, because I have done my job to make sure they are informed. I find a lot of time people think the server has forgotten about them. If you make it a point that you haven't, people stay happy.
2)Our tips: Yes, we rely on tips to make a living. Most states pay well below minimum wage. I live in Oregon, where servers are paid a minimum wage of $8.95, and I rarely have any money on my paycheck, it is used for state and federal taxes. While I do rely on those tips to pay my bills, I do not expect it to happen or feel entitled to it.
I work really hard to ensure that guests have a great time from the moment they sit down, to the moment they walk out the door. Sometimes I do drop the ball, and It is reflected in my tip. I don't blame the customer, I blame myself, and sometimes I dwell on what I did wrong all night. And sometimes I do everything right, and people still tip poorly. In that case I roll my eyes and laugh it off.
3)Servers should get a real job/have made some poor life choices: Here are the perks of being a server; You can make enough money to support a family, buy a house, buy a car, go to school, go on vacations, have a retirement account, have a savings account, all while only working 30 hours a week. You have your days free, and you set your own schedule. It's not a bad deal. Plus, if you ever want to make more money, you just work more shifts.
4) For the people who say who think that all servers are rude, eye-rolling and condescending, while that can be the case, it is not always. Servers who are professionals take their job very seriously, and try to ensure that everybody's dining experience is the absolute best. This is how we make our living!
I waited tables when I was in school. The customer is always right. Repeat, the customer is always right.
A good server should make a customer feel like they are always right. But is the customer indeed always right? Heck no. For example, if a customer is too intoxicated, a server can and should refuse them another alcoholic beverage. If a customer is causing a scene for what ever reason, you can refuse them service entirely and ask them to leave. You can refuse service to a customer that isn't dressed properly. The list goes on and on.
Thank you, Buck!
Wrong...you just don't tell the customer that.
How condescending, I'm so annoyed, I think I'll go out and run a waiter ragged tonight and tip them 5% for my revenge.
You're an awful person and I hope you suffer some horrible tragedy soon
I hope you know the definition of irony.
" Hello Pot. Yes Kettle? You're black!"
Seems some people who dine out with the expectations of having the server as their personal butler on the spot with a drink and a shot of olive oil for their second basket of bread 5 minutes after they devoured their first basket of bread, rudely dismissing the server when he/she approached the table to take a drink order within that 2 minute industry standard greeting time. "We just sat down give us some space." Like greeting you and inquiring as to whether or not you are thirsty for something to drink is cramping your style? Only a couple minutes later to be flagged down for that second basket of bread?? Yes folks do you treat your relatives this way when you go to their house for dinner? Do you treat your friends this way when you dine with them? I mean communication is the name of the game on both sides of the table, If you want the best service communicate that to your server...meaning you just need to realize that your table is not the only table the server is taking care of, that if you're not ready to order that is fine but do not make the server feel like you were ignored after you asked them for more time. Try asking the server for a list of drinks, recommendations of wines by the glass, drink specials, or even just a plain glass of eater is fair game. But the rude quip to begin the dining experience will just get you curt and indifferent service. The hospitality business is a "business" and people performing a service expect to be paid. Servers are tipped employees and the standards set in the good ole US of A is 15- 20% at least for competent to great service. Yes it is your right not to tip, but it is our right not to give you good service the next time you pinch a penny in our place of employment. We are not declaring war on rude diners, we are here to help you have fun, relax and enjoy. Mechanics charge astronomical rates to fix your car, plumbers, doctors, lawyers, and all we are asking for is a tip to compensate for the fact that American restaurants do not have to pay us a fair wage because we are "tipped" employees. That is the system we work under, that is the system I honor when I dine out, For anyone not to acknowledge this system, is the same as stealing money from someone for a service rendered. So if you have a problem with a server, tell a manager, communication is always the answer, but don't just stiff someone because you are to cheap to adhere to a system of etiquette that has been in place for generations. Sounds like a cop out to me.
"Mechanics charge astronomical rates to fix your car, plumbers, doctors, lawyers, and all we are asking for is a tip to compensate for the fact that American restaurants do not have to pay us a fair wage because we are “tipped” employees. That is the system we work under, that is the system I honor when I dine out, For anyone not to acknowledge this system, is the same as stealing money from someone for a service rendered. So if you have a problem with a server, tell a manager, communication is always the answer, but don’t just stiff someone because you are to cheap to adhere to a system of etiquette that has been in place for generations."
The professions you listed out have been accepted by the society as specialized jobs. Supply, demand and skill determines how much the society will put up with. Waiting is a not an easy job. It is physically exerting. By that token, the ditch diggers, people who clean up yards, garbage collectors etc should be paid a lot more and/or tipped but they are not. Tipping is a "chicken or the egg" issue. Waiting BECAME a tipped job because people chose to use tipping as a way to flaunt one's wealth, grease the wheel, share the happiness from being satisfied etc. This was noticed by the restaurants which then proceeded to hire people for REALLY low wages under the observation that people easily compensate for the difference. I'm fine with the concept as long as the needy people benefit from it. That means I'm ok with financially disadvantaged people such as single moms ***earning*** a good tip. This also means that I'm NOT ok with people who have other means (read teenagers with working parents or students for whom waiting is optional) expecting 20% tip for bringing the food. In addition, I'm NOT ok with establishments getting away with paying ridiculously low wages to the waiters.
You are asking the customers to "compensate" for a problem that exists between you and your employer. That is wrong. Let the restaurants pay a decent wage and pass on the expense to the customers. At the end of the day, for the customer, the total check amount including the tip is the bottom-line. The customer is going to look at 'higher cost + no or less tip" and "cost + 20% tip" and accept the one that is lower.
If you really believe that customers are stealing money for a service rendered, then put that amount as a "service charge" on the bill and collect it. The very word "Tipping" means that it is optional and exists for REWARDING the extra mile. "He is not giving, so you give me" is not a valid argument.
Please, learn a little history. The "tipped employees" section of the Fair Labor Standards Act was written to give a break to restauranteurs who complained that if they had to pay the minimum wage, they would go out of business and besides, "the wait staff gets tips, so that should be part of their income." Similar rationales were used to justify the lower minimum wage for farm workers.
But, IN ALL CASES, if the results of the exemption for the lower minimum wage does not meet the national minimum wage (currently $7.25), the employer is required by law to make up the difference.
Laws don't come out of nowhere. Look at the laws to see who gets the financial advantage and you'll have a good idea of who would have wanted them written that way.
Sounds like some need to find a different line of work. If you are older than 26 and still waiting tables...you made some wrong choices in life.
Only in America is customer service considered something other than a vocation...
So someone who is 26 and supporting themselves through grad school is making the wrong choices in life? You seem like a pretty miserable person to be so condescending. I hope karma is swift for you.
"impatient and entitled."
Our tip money makes us entitled and we sure have every right to be impatient, because nobody loves waiting.
Our money makes us entitled, because we are paying for our time there! Every tip paying customer that tips well for good service is entitled to good service.
Our money makes us entitled.
I find it disturbing that the majority of these conversations start out either by one extreme of wait staff are meant to wait on us hand and foot/need a real job/etc, and on the other hand the superiority of said waiters over all of the inferior customers who don't stip/we get to spit in their food/haha mentalities.
It's as if wait staff vs customers could be subsituted for Repubs Vs Dems, and no one on these messageboards would be the wiser.
Both sides sound ridiculous.
Now bring on the chorus of "If you don't like it, why'd you comment with a "clever" insult to follow
I have a harder time respecting wait staff when on these forums there is always a post about spitting in food. If servers want to be treated as professionals, you might want to stop posting about messing with people's food.
It makes it sound like the profession is staffed by immature children.
Usually the wait staff spits in the food is because the customer is being unprofessional first and gets what is coming to them. In customer service there are alot of customers who act very immature and snobby brats.
It doesn't matter whether the customer is unprofessional, immature or snobby brats, spitting or contaminating the food in any manner is a) wrong, b) in most cases, has no effect and c) potentially will land you in prison. Doing that is the equivalent of making negative comments behind someone's back. Unless the person hears it or knows about it, the action has ZERO effect. Similarly, unless the patron falls seriously ill, your action has no effect whatsoever. It doesn't teach the patron a lesson that he/she will behave in a better manner the next time. If the patron does fall ill and if many have a similar effect, then the establishment will come under scrutiny which in turn, will bring the likes of you under the magnifying glass and you may get fired. Your $2.13 /hr goes to $0.00/hr.
Instead of standing up to a nasty customer, if you resort to tactics like this, you are highlighting your own lack of power. You are basically saying that you are entirely at the mercy of the customer. Is that what you are saying?
Two wrongs do not make a right.
I understand what you wrote, and I experienced just that when I was a child. My brother used to hit me so I felt that I needed to hit him back to "get even".
Then I grew up and became an adult.
Why do customers have to subsidize the owners of the restaurants? Pay them for what they're worth!
That's all well and good, except then you, as a restaurant guest, to pay for food, food preparation, alcohol and beverages (no free refrills), drink preparation, and for service. And remember, as a business, restaurants are actually looking to make a profit, so then tack on a few extra dollars for that too.
So for you to not subsidize the wages of the staff, you'll be paying much higher. Think about it, you'll be going out for a 45 minute meal of burgers and fries and will be paying roughly $10 for drinks + $30 for food + $40 dollars for service (to be divided amongst: server, bartender, busser and runner.
It is cheaper for you to subsidize the service cost via gratuity. And you'll find that your service is friendly, efficient, and gracious if you, in turn are friendly and gracious. Even if you have a million requests or are particular on certain things. Be friendly and gracious and realize that being in the service industry is, in fact, different from being subjected to servitude.
Nonsense. Others have already done the math in some previous comments to illustrate the invalidity of your point. There is no reason why the restaurant could not pay the wait staff minimum wage. It would make little to no impact to overall meal cost. The cost of a tip to a waiter by the customer exceeds the potential restaurant markup on the food to compensate for the new salary. The truth is most waiters make more money with tips then they would with minimum wage. Thus owners and waiters have no incentive to change the system. Thus the fleecing and the name calling of non-tipping customers continues. There is no legitimate reason in our modern society to be tipping. Its nothing more then an archaic throwback from the guilded age in Europe that some Americans continue to perpetuate out of peer pressure.
"There is no legitimate reason in our modern society to be tipping." I completely disagree. I enjoy dining out regularly. Personally, I love having complete control in determining my server's tip based on their service. I especially like the idea of being able to leave a big fat $0 tip for those very rare occasions the server pretty much went out of their way to make it a horrible experience. The issue though is that there are certain people out there that simply refuse to leave a fair tip. If you feel it's unfair that you have to tip approximately 20% to your server for good service or you simply can't afford it, don't go out to eat. It's that simple. Sorry you don't like the system but I think it's great.
"don't go out to eat" is not for anyone to say because this tip is categorized as optional. So, technically speaking, one only has to make sure that there is enough to cover the check amount. If restaurants really don't want people eating without tipping, then they sure would add that to the check. So, you continue to reward your servers with 20% for excellent service and I will with 15%.
The annoying part of the tip is not the money but the percentage expectation. Who decides that it should be 12% from what used to be 10% and who decided that it should go up to 15% and then to 20%? Is there a social memo that is circulated? Or, do we apply sheep mentality? Decent service should be the norm that is guaranteed by the establishment. Excellent service is and should be something that the waitstaff works for and earns the tip.
As SteelOnTarget pointed out, the math quite doesn't add up. The argument is not whether the waitstaff should make that much money (hey, everyone has to eat and live their lives) but it is how they should make their money. The restaurants, being businesses, will in no way continue a system that doesn't make economic sense to them. So, out of the 3 parties to the equation, you can take the restaurant out. That leaves the waitstaff and the customer. The restaurant provides a "take it or leave it" proposition to the waitstaff and the waitstaff, out of necessity, takes it. Then, the customer is squeezed under the guise of societal norm, the right thing, you are paying for the fine experience, culture, upbringing etc etc.
I'm all for the waitstaff to make a decent living IF that is what the market determines as their value. That determination should NOT be based on an arbitrary 10% .. no no .. it should be 15% .. no, it should be at least 20% argument. Add a service charge, if need be, to the check and use that to ensure that the waitstaff are at least paid min wage. Anything that the customer feels as deserving shall be paid as tip, on top of that.
The other issue about bad behavior on the customer's part should not even be an argument. No one should treat ANYONE as beneath them. Customers should have a clear barometer to determine which ones are waitstaff mistakes and which ones should be taken up with the management.
Why does everybody forget that the staff are not all dedicated to a single table, so any additional cost is shared between tables? Is it because they don't think about it or because the results don't fit their preconceptions?
Let's assume a restaurant with 40 tables, with each server assigned 5 tables. Kitchen staff is 10 people, including 2 food runners/bussers. Let's also assume everybody is paid $10/hour and that the restaurant is popular, so the tables are always occupied.
– The cost of wait staff, per hour per table, is $2.
– The cost of the host/hostess, per hour per table, is 25 cents.
– The cost of the kitchen staff, per hour per table, is $2.50
So, the hourly wage cost per table with all employees paid $10/hour, is $4.50. If each table holds four people, those costs are distributed across those four people, so the total wage cost per meal is $1.125.
In today's world, with all except the kitchen staff considered "tipped employees", the restaurant's wage cost per meal is significantly lower:
– Wait staff, per hour per table, 42.6 cents.
– Host/hostess, per hour per table, is just over 5 cents.
– The cost of the kitchen staff, per hour per table, is $2.10
Wage cost per table is $2.63, for a difference between the two scenarios of $2.12. That $2.63, again spread out over four meals, is almost 66 cents.
Granted, this is a simplified scenario that doesn't take all factors into account, yet it shows quite clearly that those arguing against a wage increase for tipped workers appear to assume that the entire cost of such an increase will be absorbed by each diner and not distributed across all the meals served.
I should add that I left the kitchen staff's wages at $10/hour, except the runners/bussers, who are categorized as tipped.
I'm a waitress, I have an income, therefore I have a "real job". Oh, and I make more in 20 hrs, than you do in 40...ignorant ass suckaaaaas! Take a bite out of that! And, if your tired of shitty service, maybe you should remember the golden rule...*Treat others the way YOU would like to be treated* cause remember, your food & drinks are in my hands ;) If you cant handle that, learn how to cook lazy ass.
"Have a real job" is a lame comment; every job is a real job. I get that. But, your response and the attitude you convey in those responses are actually hurting your profession. Comments such as this will cause people to have a general bad opinion of all waitstaff. If someone treats you poorly, don't take it quietly. Let the customer know that his/her behavior is not correct and will not be tolerated. At most, you will lose the tip but you will walk away with your head held high. You don't have to be rude but you can politely put them in place or involve your manager.
Next, the comment "your food and drinks are in my hands" is dangerous. What you are implying here is that you will serve a sneezer or something else equally disgusting. Remember that whatever you write on the internet will stay online for ever. It is not very difficult to tie the online comments to a real person. If you are ever caught doing something like contaminating a person's food, you can actually go to jail and these comments can be used against you. Do you think that all waiters and waitresses are your friends? It only takes a small split in that wall for someone to turn against you or report you.
Finally, whether the customer is a jackass or a better tipping angel, they are the reason why you have a job. While you should stand up for yourself and for better treatment, you should never act like you are doing them a favor. It is as pointless as a movie theater arguing that they are doing the customers a favor. The restaurants are there because of the customer and not the other way around. The customer will not shrivel up and die if there are no restaurants. But, if there are no customers your job sure will shrivel up.
i can't help but laugh at those who constantly tell servers to "get a real job". Let's lay out this little scenario. Picture every server quitting, then picture MILLIONS of restaurants closing their doors. Millions of people out of work, millions of dollars not being paid out and taxed, massive loss of revenue for the federal government, massive spike in welfare recipients. Economic chaos! Or people could just accept the fact that a server is not sub-human, they work just as hard as anyone else, they just have a different way of earning their money. We may be the face of the establishment, but the article simply points out that there are things beyond our control. My key to success is honesty with my customers. I communicate and tell them why things are taking longer than expected, offer them some bread or something to keep them from starving to death while they wait, and walk straight back to the kitchen to get an ETA on the food for that table. I have waited tables for 13 years and I absolutely love my job! people complain about the tipping system, but I love it. No restaurant in this country is going to pay me what I make in tips on an hourly basis. Unfortunately there are a lot of teenagers working summer jobs, and countless others who take the job just to get a little extra money in their pockets who really don't care about the establishment they work in (or anyone besides them selves) that give the rest of us a bad name. I earn every tip I get and I am very good at what I do. In 13 years, I can count on one hand the number of times I have been stiffed by a table. Those who cannot make money working in this industry could perhaps benefit from retraining, switching restaurants, or if the job makes you miserable go ahead and find a different field. Just don't assume that because I choose to remain a server that i don't have a "real Job"
Precisely why people should tip well and tipping should be a measure of how good the service was. If people are "dependent" on the tip to even make a minimum wage, then the customer should be made aware of the expectation that at least a 10 or a 15% tip is mandatory. I know that no establishment will do that for the fear of driving customers away but short of that, you are requiring every customer to have gone through a "how to tip" school.
Your point about the teenagers and a few others who are there for some extra cash, is quite right! There is nothing wrong about the teenagers wanting to work and earn some extra cash but the mindset ("If I wait tables, I WILL get 20% tip most of which will be cash") with which they come into work on the very first day is bad. That's what I see in most places these days. Many of these young waiters are from fairly affluent families that my heart is not bleeding as to how little they will be netting if I don't tip them well. This is the reason why the uncertainty should be taken out of the customers' hands. A base but a convenient salary should be built into the cost of the meal. It will then be like what happens when you go mortgage shopping. Every lender has to give you the APR which is a convenient tool to compare the various lenders, apples to apples. This method is likely to get the establishment good waitstaff and the customers can get a sense of "go to A which is slightly more expensive but the food is good and so is the service" versus "go to B which is a quick eat but the food and the service are just ok".
The waitstaff (mostly the transient ones) should understand that waiting is NOT a job where you can hope to make a quick 100K. There are some waiters who make a very comfortable living but I don't think (feel free to correct me here) it is a standard everywhere.
I'd probably have a heart attack if I ever hit 100K waiting tables. i am the sole provider in my home with a husband and 5 year old child. I still have to have a second job, but I do not view either job as "extra money". i do not deal well with those who expect 20% in tips just for showing up and muddling through the job. I have to bust my butt for it. Good waitstaff is selling food and beverages for the check total and selling their personality for the tip. Want to increase your tips? Stop rolling your eyes and looking aggravated with certain tables (certain races, tables with kids, certain age groups, etc.) walk in the door and sit in your station. Do your job with a smile on your face! Yes, there are things that happen beyond my control, but I still take ownership of the situation. it is MY job to personally check with the kitchen on timing issues, MY job to put in orders correctly the first time to avoid delays, MY job to make sure any errors are fixed promptly, MY job to do everything possible to make sure your experience is enjoyable! Even if something is not my fault and I am going to rip the kitchen a new one for not caring about it, I still apologize and take ownership of MY tables!
If you don't want to be treated like a SERVANT than you should probably find a job that doesn't required you to be a SERVER!
If you want to be tipped better, remember, your fault or not, your tip is a reflection of the SERVICE provided, BY THE WHOLE ESTABLISHMENT, if you want to be judged based on you and you alone, open your own restaurant and kitchen and do things however you see fit. Until then, you will be tipped according to my EXPERIENCE. You can blame it on whatever you want, but it's likely your crappy attitude, laziness and my cold food (because you were too busy talking to your friends about your crazy night, and how your man did something stupid so your suffering from a hangover and are tired) that got you that less than average tip.
P.S. It doesn't help that the conversation you had about those things happened within earshot of my 4 year old child and she is now asking her Sunday School Teacher what a hangover is.
9 times out of 10, if your tip suffers, it's not because something was out of your hands. It's because you lacked professionalism, courtesy, manners, or just weren't doing your job. Take responsibility.
Haha...you're ignorant...and if you don't want your 4yr old to be exposed to the real world...leave her in the safety of your shelter...
May be so. But, in a place where your tip depends on the mood of the customer, you may not want to behave like you are standing at the line to get into a dance club.
I agree with your point on taking responsibility, but I disagree with your justification of treating people like servants. Yes it is my job to serve you your meal and make your experience enjoyable, but referring to me as a servant indicates that you view me as being beneath you, and that is simply not the case. i don't care what a customers background, income, or education looks like. that does not make them better than me just because I work in a profession that most people just flat out can't handle.
Springs1 Identity : Casey Anthony
Nobody tips, nobody waits on tables. If nobody waits on tables, you're basically going to be eating at a McBugger. Tip your waitron units or learn how to make your own meals you cheap, fart-sniffing skags!
Yeah, this is why I eat out less than I used to. So many waitstaff seem to hate their jobs and hate their customers.
I gave up trying to decide what service is worth. Do your job with reasonable courtesy, get 20%. Act like an asz to me for no good reason, get a penny.
I waited tables for years–putting myself through college and as an artist in NYC. Waiting tables is like life–it is not always fair. Get over it .You represent the establishment. If someone else F's up apologize and take care of it. That is why you make the big bucks–many times more than management. If you don't you need to find a new gig or become a better server. Don't explain customers don't care. I can't tell you HOW TIRED i am of listening to customer service people including servers explain what happened–like that makes it all better. This is a chance to grow up and be all you can be and good waiters have skills that translate to many careers. Stop whining and put on your big boy/girl pants.
Yessa massa, I be getting yo food right away. Sorry fo wantin to be treated like a human.
LOL, Sasha, we get it. You're fed up with everyone else's whining. You are one fed-up girl, indeed, and you've earned it! Waiters and waitresses, on the other hand, must STFU when they have to deal with people like you. You're a piece of work, you know that?
You very well may be smarter than your customers, but if you go to work every day hating the fact that you are waiting on people who are "inferior" to you, then it is probably coming across in how you treat them. If you have no pride in your work, you probably won't do it very well, regardless of your profession.
I live in an affluent area, and I'd say about half the waitstaff here act like they are too good for their jobs.
ive worked the line many a night being told to "slow down" as if we can wait idly by while tickets are hanging. i currently work in a restaurant with no holding areas (heat lamp/convection oven) and i watch plates sit and sit. this article is stupid and written by someone id never want to work with.
B Paul: A famous lady once said that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. It looks like you have an inferiority complex. I hope that doesn't make you feel inferior.
My comment was actually meant for someone well down this message thread, but ended up at the top.
He was going on about his college degree, and how superior he was to the people he was "forced" to wait on.
I met a lovely gentleman tonight who has been a waiter for 45 years! He put all of his children through college. He has a real job! God bless him and all of us in the service industry!
Take note: TBW is pushing people here to defend their point of view. The truth seems to hurt them that much.
Waiting tables was the perfect job for me whole going to school, the hours were after I got out of class, and it was convenient. I have a friends who has her masters in psychology and is still waiting tables because she enjoys it and it pays. Just because I serve you foods does not give you the right to disrespect me... Where did that idea even come from?
Just because you have a "real job" that does not make you better than someone who is waiting tables... In fact it makes you a far worse person for even saying or thinking something like that.
If everyone who waits tables goes and gets a "real job", who will feed your rude ass? Show some respect for your fellow man. You are what is wrong with the world today.
Oh yeah, I agree with you , word-by-word. I live in India where waiting tables at the restrau is seen and often 'treated' as something that got to do mainly, if not only, with the less-educated, downtrodden and those who live in a 'hand to mouth' condition, those who have got no other means of survival. Trust me, this is how they are even treated by the customers , and that is something pathetic.
I have always had idea that what matters is not the work , but the 'finesse/dedication/passion' with which each assigned or chosen task is carried out. I still remember the words, "If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” – – by Martin Luther King Jr. holds true still.
However, it was last year when I went to Canada for further studies that I was able to experience how is it to work like a waiter or in a factory, and the kind of respect everyone deserves and should be given, irrespective of the nature of work they perform. Unfortunately, my country still lags behind on this aspect, and needs to work on, broaden and liberalise a bit. College students working as a waiter/waitress is still looked down upon here, something questionable for the 'family values/status' !
"who has her masters in psychology and is still waiting tables because she enjoys it and it pays." No, her master's degree is worthless and waiting tables is all she can get.
I am sorry, I don't mean to be offensive, but do you think even if her masters degree is 'worthless', waiting tables was the only thing her friend was able to get? I mean, there are a lot many things between waiting tables and exploiting the masters degree to the fullest! Don't you think so, David?
No, David appears to be one of those people who chose his job for the money and only the money and believes that's how all people choose their work. If that is the case, he is incapable of understanding why anyone would work in the service industry, retail, or any profession that requires direct interaction with customers.
I think it's appalling when someone can't even manage to say "please" and "thank you" to someone like a server or cashier. I think you can tell everything you need to know about a person by how they treat people like servers and others in retail or customer service positions.
Agreed! No one should treat the waiters and waitresses poorly. Ps and Qs are what we learn as children and yet forget to use it one a daily basis. Anyone who fails to say "Please" and "Thank you" have a serious character deficiency.
Oh please. So much for the customer is always right. if i am paying $20 for a burger, i don't care whose fault it is if i have waited too long, paid too much, didn't like the food. The waiter is the unfortunate representative of the establishment and i feel no hesitation is letting him/her know when things are great or when things suck. It isn't my fault when things go wrong at my non-waitstaff job either but hell will freeze over before i will complain BACK AT a client who has something less than stellar to say about my employer.
Absolutely, let them know, because you're right, they are the representative of the establishment. But, I hope your comment contained an unspoken notion that you're decent and intelligent enough to know that factors that are out of the server's control should not reflect in their 20% tip.
Well said !!
Do you really expect a customer to do a post-mortem analysis and figure out whose fault it was? In some cases, it's obvious, granted, but in many cases, it's not. What you're therefore suggesting, is to tip maximum, regardless of the quality of service, which is antithetical to the idea of a "gratuity". It can't be approached with a sense of entitlement (the author of this article does exactly that, thereby antagonizing many people who might be otherwise sympathetic). It's a hard job, and a thankless one, I get it. Because supply vastly outstrips demand, restaurants pay their waiters minimum wage, and expect them to make up the rest with tips. (Had that not been the case, a service charge would have been baked into the check, as is the case in many parts of Europe and Asia).
From the customer's veiwpoint, however, he/she is paying a gratuity for a service (and not compensation for the waiter) that is "end-to-end": quality of food, ambience, and the quality of service by the waiting staff, etc. The service is good/acceptable/bad, and tips are paid accordingly. The remuneration policies of the restaurant is something between the waiter and the management, and can't be the customers concern. I'd expect that good waiters would leave shoddily run joints and go to ones that serve good food, on time, and have great ambience. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the better waiters are often found in restaurants that are well-run. Regardless, lets not approach gratuity as a tax or a wage, because it isn't. If it were, restaurants would add them in the check. (Many do for groups of larger than 5).
No one expects you to write a book report on why your service wasn't perfect, but we do expect you to be understanding. Servers cannot control the whole restaurant. They cannot stop the hosts from seating too quickly, or the kitchen from getting backed up, or the other customers from coming in during normal dining hours and thus adding to the number of people that need to be helped. If I get your order right, send it immediately, check on it frequently, and then ensure you like it after you've received it I can do no more. People like you tend to walk in to a restaurant oblivious to everything else going on (like the fact that its packed and every server there is running around like crazy) and then complain when your extra well done steak doesn't magically appear in front of you within ten minutes.
The customer is most likely wrong in many cases actually...
So go to McD's where the staff are paid non-tipped minimum wage and care less about their jobs. You'll get worse food served by someone who really doesn't care to impress you and is probably a convict, on drugs, or dropped your burger on the floor and didn't care enough to get you a new one. At least your restaurant server is doing all they can to provide you decent service. If you feel they are an unfortunate representative, leave an extra large tip because chances are, they dislike the policies that make a poor dining experience for you even more than you do. It's like yelling at a customer service rep over the phone – they really don't care because they probably have the same opinion of their employer as you do, and when you yell at them it makes them less likely to actually help you. If you're that upset, find the address of the corporate office and write them a strongly-worded, certified letter – BY HAND. Only then will you affect change at the establishment. Until then, keep your mouth shut or stay home.
McDonald's employees are convicts or on drugs??? Nice
LobsterCrusher you are an egotistical, worthless piece of trash. For you to say bad things about employees who work at an establishment that markets at a lower tier than yours makes you the biggest loser of them all. And your attitude that we should feel sorry for people who choose to be at the forefront of customer service is the sorriest excuse I have ever heard of as a justification for sympathy.
Go to hell and stay there.
stay home. brilliant. way to drum up business there partner. If everyone stayed home for fear of ticking off their waiter, you would be out of a J-O-B.
I agree. If you are a waiter/waitress you took the job knowing full well you will "serve" someone. If you don't like it, YOU get another job, plain and simple. I work hard and when I do go out and spend my HARD EARNED money on a $20 burger, I want my experience to be pleansant, fast, hot and drama free. I don't make much more than waitstaff, maybe even less than some of them, but restaurants are there for a reason, for me to not have to cook or clean up after. So, I expect the best of the place. I certainly am not gonna pay someone a ton of money for dinner AND bow down to please them at the same time.
Nobody asked you to BOW DOWN and please your server by asking for basic and mutual respect. How would you feel if people treated you that way at work? If they do treat you that way at work and you agree with it then you have some self-esteem issues. Also, if you made a mistake at work or were having a bad day and your employer could withhold your pay how would you feel. I personally think it should be law that establishments paying employees tipped wages (2.13 per hour) should be required to automatically include 15-18% in the bill and pay their employees according to their sales. Then all the whining and complaining can stop and servers will still care about giving service because like any other job in America the incentive to do a good job is to not get fired. Still I don't think customers should have the whim and right to decide the tip because most of them are impatient and entitled.
By the way, what people have so screwed up here in the states is that they honestly believe eating out is a necessity and that by tipping you are giving us a luxury. Totally backwards... working for a living is a necessity and eating out is a luxury. Everyone thinks that they are entitled to personal servants... to wait on them, to clean their houses. Everyone is a Mcmillionaire in their own minds. When you sit down at a table for waiter service you are asking someone to perform a paid service for you. Don't like to tip... cook at home or pack a sandwich. Had rude or slow service then complain to management. You are lucky you have the option to tip and if employers started paying servers your bill would go up just as much as bill+ original tip because guess what... EATING OUT AND BEING WAITED ON IS EXPENSIVE BECAUSE IT IS A LUXURY.
" impatient and entitled."
OUR TIP MONEY MAKES US ENTITLED and we sure have EVERY RIGHT to be impatient, because NOBODY LOVES WAITING, NOBODY!
OUR MONEY MAKES US ENTITLED BECAUSE WE ARE ***********PAYING FOR OUR TIME THERE IDIOT**************! EVERY PAYING TIP CUSTOMER(that tips according to the service that isn't cheap) IS ENTITLED TO GOOD SERVICE
You are such a loser.
OUR TIP MONEY makes us ENTITLED and we sure have every right to be impatient, because NOBODY loves waiting.
Our money makes us entitled, because we are PAYING for our time there! Every tip paying customer (that tips according to the service that isn't cheap) is entitled to good service.
Our tip money makes us entitled
get a real job? I have a degree and find that i make more money waiting tables then in my field. I also make more money then most of you people bitching about servers getting a real job. Get a clue. People write articles about how to deal with "office issues" or being a stay at home mom is or isnt a job. People are working, they are expressing their opinions. What kind of job do you have where you have all this free time during the day to write comments about how a server isnt a job?? Complain about the economy and then complain about what kind of work people call a job. Get a clue then get a life.
It takes just as much effort to deliver a hamburger, as it does filet mignon. Tipping really has no place.
Tipping would not be required if the restaurant actually paid the waiting staff enough. Only those who have worked in this field know what it's like. Some restaurants don't pay the wait staff anything. They are expected to live on their tips. It's 30 years since I was in this position but I still support the waiters, By the way, many establishments expect the waiters to share the tips with the back-room staff also. IT's not your fault, But there it is.
I think servers are the first to think tipping is antiquated. I was a server for 8 years. Trust me, I would have much rather known my money was coming in a paycheck than from some Ahole at my table who thought tipping was outdated but still decided to come to my place of employment to eat, order me around, and then throw me a lackluster tip.
There are so many words trying to come out of my mouth at the same time. But, nothing will address your comment quite like saying please go to the nearest restaurant that will hire a server with no experience and get hired as a server. You will see things in a whole new light rather immediately I feel. If you haven't walked several miles in my shoes on a concrete floor for 8 hours then your opinion is invalid to me.
Well I have worked in the food industry, only problem was it was for banquet staff. Which meant I got treated like crap too and nobody gave you tips because you were not in the "special" category of waiters. You know what I did? I quit and found another job. I didn't go around complaining in the only country in the world that seems to feel entitled to an outrageous 20% tip. I instead did something about it. Don't complain about your employer not paying you enough and expecting the customer to pick up the slack. Do something instead of throwing around peer pressure to try and convince the other hard working, poorly paid, ill treated workers of America to take pity on your chosen profession. Unionize, campaign your congressmen, find another job, the options are quite boundless. Tipping is only a little over 100 years old in the US and was an archaic throwback borrowed from the guilded age of aristocracy in Europe. In short it was a way for wealthy Americans to flash their cash. So to say its an antiquated system is an understatement. Tipping demeans the waiters and the customers. It perpetuates a system where some individuals are allowed to feel superior to others because in the end they control the purse strings(the tip). Which has evolved into a psychotic lvoe hate relationship between wait staff and customers, both whom judging by the many responses seem to be at odds. The legislative limbo that low waiter salary seems to securely rest in only benefits employers who complain ad nauseam that if "they" had to pay a living wage then they couldn't do business. Yet somehow the rest of the world has figured this out and never mind that with the current peer pressure system they are de-facto passing that cost along anyways to the customer. So to summarize this archaic tipping system only serves to perpetuate what it was originally designed to do, create a wall of separation between the haves and have not's.
According to the IRS it does have a place. Servers are taxed on their sales whether you tip them or not. The per-hour rate for tipped wages is $2.13/hour, in case you didn't know. In addition, they have to "tip out" (give money to) bussers, bartenders, and hostesses – all of whom, by the way, earn more per hour than the server – based on the table SALE. So if you order $100 worth of food over an hour and stiff the waiter, he has to pay out of pocket $0.20 to Uncle Sam, $2 to Jake the Bus Boy, $2 to Lisa the Hostess, and $5 to Joe the bartender. That's over $7 more than he earned from his employer that hour – and I'm being conservative on the tip-out. He basically didn't get paid, but paid to put up with you. Please, stay home or go to a fast food place if you can't afford or disagree with tipping. I'm sorry your parents didn't teach you manners or customs, but is it really the server's fault your parents failed you? Don't take it out on them. Just stay home. Then someone with some manners, tact, class, culture, and social awareness can have that table. Hopefully this has educated you a bit. If you don't like it, support wage reform, as many people disagree with tipped wages and want to see that minimum raised, but please remember to tip in the meantime.
You know your whole argument reminds me of another time in American history where certain people we're deemed 3/5ths of a person. From your perspective, if I didn't support slavery which was a societal norm greatly supported by the landed gentry whom all had " manners, tact, class, culture, and social awareness" then my options were to shut my mouth and not travel to the south. However, if I did want to show that I possessed " manners, tact, class, culture, and social awareness" then I should perpetuate the system and must buy slaves simply because of a societal norm, at least until it magically changed to what I might deep down really feel is right.
Again and again its the same argument. I don't get paid enough by my employer, therefore its the customers fault. You know what? Ranger up and grow a pair, find another profession or fight to make a change in the system. Stop blaming the one side in what is currently a mutually disadvantageous relationship. Americans in great numbers walk around with a sense of entitlement, all this tipping business does is feed the mantra of "me". Just look at the many proclaimed waiters in these comments that have proclaimed "if it wasn't for the tips, then you wouldn't get any service, go eat at Burger King, etc". Never mind the fact that you are dismissing the work contributions of a great deal many people who work hard for little reward as well. But these statements suggest the only reason an American should take pride in their work and try to excel at their job is because a 3rd party is going to fluff their paycheck. I have not heard a single valid argument put forth for why a insignificant minority of Americans should be treated so specially outside of what is the real societal norm(not tipping for labor or services rendered). Time and time again all the arguments go back to a dysfunctional employee/employer relationship. I will concede the one point that the American system of entitlement seems to also empower customers with a degree of vulgarism they should not be expressing or taking out on employee's. However, the system of tipping only throws fuel on the flames of such a potentially poor interaction between waiter/client so why feed it more? Anyone that complains their bacon isn't crispy enough to a waiter needs to slap on a 100lbs of combat gear and walk the highlands of Afghanistan for a year watching out for land mines and some real nasty non-bacon eaters. Then they might learn to stfu and be grateful to eat whats in front of them.
"According to the IRS it does have a place." hmmm.. I wonder why. Could it have something to do with the greed of the individuals who, for the longest time, didn't report or under-reported the tip income? You list out manners, tact, class, culture and social awareness. How about adding honesty and negotiating ability... ON YOUR PART? IRS's tip reporting threshold is 8%. So, if you receive 15% cash tip and reported only 12%, YOU ARE CHEATING!! You take care of your side of the problem and let the customer decide how to assist in the wage reform.
The IRS forces the hand of the establishment BECAUSE the servers were dishonest in the first place. So, don't use that to justify your DEMAND for a higher tip. If the restaurant has a policy of allocating tip income to ALL waiters in order to cover the shortfall under the 8% rule, then have an agreement with the management that you will be truthful in your tip reporting and will be vigilant about who is under-reporting.
YOU cheat the IRS
IRS squeezes the establishment
The establishment brings in a blanket rule and squeezes YOU to be honest
And, YOU want to squeeze the customer to pay more for a problem that YOU created in the first place???
Ha ha .. nice try.
Percentage of gross sales to the other staff.... take it up with the restaurant and NOT the customer. If this industry is so difficult, then find something else to do.
Actually, the IRS does it because it's required by law. That portion of law was pushed by restaurant owners.
I saw a college buddy of mine waiting tables at Pizza Hut. He told me how he'd been layed off from his programming job and how he nearly lost his house and car. I told him, "I really don't care. Just go get my sodas." I saw him in the back crying so I figured I should go talk with him. He looked up at me, and I said, "Please go get my sodas NOW."
Now that's comedy!!!
You should have let your mom do that, so you would not have had to leave your birthday party...
You suck at being funny
...and you suffer from cranial-rectal inversion.
and you think that something really 'cool', 'witty' you did? Get a life !
I have been avoiding this conversation for a long time now but have to chime in.
1. A European-Trained chef with 20 years’ experience (originally from the USA)
2. Have, as part of my practical training, waited on tables to "see the other side" of the operations
3. Have had the luck to do those above working with a TRAINED service staff. Yes waiting is a PROPER job! The degree is offered alongside culinary arts in the local technical college, and takes 3 years to complete. As a matter of fact the 1st year of both of our trainings we are all mixed together: Chefs, Hotel Management, and Restaurant Servers.
Point 3 is the most important of those above as the job as a waiter/server is seen as a real job and thus those employees (Part and Full Time) are paid as such, making the need for tipping solely voluntary. This ends up usually being an exercise of rounding up to the nearest €5 Euro increment, depending on the type of restaurant and the total bill.
For a restaurant doing 40-120 meals a day, 6 days a week and up to 500 meals a day on the big holidays such as Christmas and Easter, the €2 average tip per table will still add up to a healthy sum.
From my experience at the first restaurant I worked in, which I found the fairest, we handled the tips as follows:
All tips were collected by the owner throughout the year and on a weekly basis put into a separate bank account to draw interest. In December or the first week of January, they were split 65% amongst the service workers, and 35% to the kitchen. Then the 2 supervisors of those areas divided the tips on a percentage basis against the total man-hours worked for the year. So basically we all got a share of the tips, including the chefs because we also provided a part of the dining experience for the customers. As the service workers do the most running around and face-to-face dealings with the (often annoying) customers, they got the larger amount of tips. Again I thought this was a very fair approach. These tips do show up on that month’s wage slip, meaning they are taxed as well.
So my problem with the issues being discussed in the article and by readers….
Since I have been away from the USA so long, I seem at a loss as far as tipping goes when I do fly back to the States. Sometimes I do truly forget about the tip until when I am paying and then cannot remember what is considered “normal”. Bear in mind that when I left the USA, I was 20 and the average tip was 15% tops, and I wasn’t frequenting many restaurants at that age.
Due to my experience (and yes, bias) I do also believe that the kitchen does indeed deserve part of the praise for the experience. Because the servers are the ones that bear the brunt of the kitchen’s errors they deserved the lion's share of the tips. (and yes, you CAN approach the kitchen and ask to speak to the chef, I have had this experience and reciprocate this as needed in restaurants where I do not even know the kitchen staff. We are not afraid of talking to customers, albeit maybe a bit busy to do it at all times. And we take criticism just as badly as any normal person, but still we take it seriously and try our best to improve.
However, the coin (no pun intended) has two sides. If you take the praise (and in the case of the way in the USA, 100% of the tips) for the tasty, wonderfully prepared, perfectly timed steak (not prepared by you) that you served quickly and courteously (good job on your part), and the customer raises his tip from 15% to 20%, you have to also expect that a burnt steak or a cold dish might drop that tip due to faults not your own.
My suggestion since seeing both sides of the job and the differences in culture, I as a consumer, would be happy to pay 15-20% more for my food and not have to worry about calculations when paying, IF the restaurant owners would treat servers as real workers and pay them a proper salary for the hard job they do. It actually has left me astonished how this trend has progressed this far as to the customer subsidizing almost 100% of the service workers wages through tips.
Long story short, unfortunately this will never happen, and presumably will only become worse and worse as the owners try to pay their staff even less, making the servers expect even higher percentages of tips on the bill.
I have other pet peeves about the dining culture differences between Europe and the States and can go on and on….
1. Chefs: create a complete dish on the menus please but allow for substitutions. Meat, Sauce/inclusions in Sauce, Vegetable side dish, Starchy side dish, garnish end of story. I hate this scenario: “I’ll have the bone-in-rib eye medium rare please”. “Do you want salad or vegetables with that” “what kind of dressing do you want, we have Ranch, Blue Cheese, low fat Blue Cheese……” ad absurdum. Don’t get that in Europe really. Waste of time.
2. Turnover of tables in the USA. Only on the busy holidays and maybe Sundays, did we ever double book a table. If a party of 6 comes in at 6pm and they want to stay until 2am (and are still indulging in food or drinks) then they have that table until then. Again, culture differences kick in here as people will eat, drink and talk together on a table for 8 hours and not want to leave after 2 hours max.
3. NEVER, EVER do you see a bill on the table in Europe before you ask for it. That has never occurred to me in any restaurant in the 20-some years I have been here. If it were to happen to me, I would consider it an insult and pay my bill demanding every cent back in change. And , guess what? If I am seated at a table in the States and NOT have been informed that the table has been double (or triple or even quadruple) booked for that evening , and am expected to leave right after putting down my fork, yep, you are not getting 1% tip. That is a no-go! Inform me ahead saying “this table is booked from 8:30pm for the next sitting” then I know to find another restaurant where I am treated as a valued customer not just a cash cow (my last pun for today).
(cowering now from the expected blows!)
Quite simply put, you are a fool.
Sorry Deb, but I am curious of the reasons you come to that conclusion. For saying that servers should and deserve to get a proper wage and that restaurant owners use and abuse their staff by getting around not paying them correctly? Or for not liking the restaurant culture in America (where I come from)?
Simply put by what is clearly a simple person. Way to denigrate the rest of the world because they don't agree with the worlds smallest minority not getting 20% tips in 1 country in the world.
Extremely well put and all very good points. It's just a shame it takes so many lines to explain these differences to the militant 20% tipping crowd which probably won't bother to read all of it. I much prefer the European style of restaurant going and laissez faire attitude between customer/staff. Unfortunately I doubt many of these folks wont get past the part where you don't agree with automatic 20% tipping.
Who has time to read all of that? Let alone type it?
I'm here to read an article, not a comment some wacko wrote.
And yet again, there is the case in point. The irony is you just read an entire blog post which is nothing more then opinion and then feel that someone is a wacko for writing a counter point. Interesting.
Thanks for the comment Ashlee, and I apologize for being loquacious at times but having said that, yes I indeed did have time to write it which is my prerogative, and if you just came to read an article, you accidentally scrolled down about 30cm too far to the "Comments" section after the article was finished, or did you indeed secretly intend to read the comments? ;)
All I heard in his ramblings was "WAHHHHHHHHHH, WAHHHHHHHHH, WAHHHHHHHHH!"
Trollin', Trollin', Trollin'...
I'm guessing you prefer the low fat blue cheese option instead.
If that's the case, your handle is a lie...
Yep, typical TBW response. "TL;DR, and you're a horrible person."
Please, if you disagree with ChefK's point of view, let me know where you work, so I can avoid patronizing the restaurant. I'd appreciate it.
Holy Manifesto Batman! I'm thinking you are just a tad too fond of yourself. Mom should have given you a little more attention.
Geez dude, go get a room with yourself.
ChefK, you have my sympathies. I found myself drawn into this but can see there are many trolls on here who are not interested in being educated. I think you and I should give up. The only thing I can offer is that Karma is a bitch and it could well happen that these people may end up waiting tables in this economically challenged era.
Good luck to you.
ChefK, I must start this out by saying that you had a really well-articulated and thoughtful response to this, I daresay something you've been thinking about for awhile now. I'm not European-trained, I studied photography and graphic design, and pursue photography freelance while serving and bartending is my full-time job. You raise a very good point about what is wrong with the food service industry in American culture, and that is education. As servers, we aren't trained in a classroom, we're trained in the field, learning to deal with all the difficulties of working in a restaurant as we go. Some servers will go above and beyond to educate themselves in regards to food or beverage or dining room technique, while others have the opportunity to be trained by their employers to varying degrees of expertise.
To address the point of front of house/back of house sharing tips, I would wholeheartedly agree that what you've said is certainly true...if the server/bartender was being paid a living wage. Sharing is caring, right? And the house that runs well together, leaves happy/content customers. However, this is not how it works in the States. As TBW says, these factors he delineates directly affect the income of the person serving the food. Not the kitchen staff. Not the management.
As to your 3 points of contention with American food culture vs European food culture, I would say these things:
1. I'm behind you 100%. A complete dish shows far more of the love that goes into it's creation than a choose-your-own-adventure kinda meal. With that being said, people are constantly wanting to switch and swap and craft their own dishes. less of this, more of that, can I have this instead of that? I blame Burger King for that.
2. & 3. Turning of tables is the way businesses make money. It sucks, but it's true. It's also how servers as they are paid now, are able to make their money. The wage for a server varies from state to state, but in most cases is less than $3.00/hr, just so we're clear. Do I as a server, think that it is ok to drop a check at a table that is done eating? Absolutely. Would I drop that check within minutes of them finishing their meal? Not without first asking if there was anything else needed. Otherwise you've got a 15-minute window. And that's being generous. The laissez-faire dining attitude just doesn't work here, which is unfortunate. People may learn to enjoy their dining experience more, as well as learn a touch more respect for a profession that is all too often thankless.
I think TBW's blog and articles he writes are shocking, confrontational, incendiary, and pretty much amazing. Do I agree with everything? Nah. But I can definitely say I've felt similarly to most of his rants at one time or another.
Thanks for offering a great viewpoint ChefK.
the problem is servers make as little as 2.25 an hour where your kitchen staff make much more. In the good ole usa a server can not live with out those tips.
As a server I can honestly say that you can't have a more "real job," especially if the food service industry is really the only industry left that still employs millions of workers in America. If you have a bad experience at a restaurant notify a manager, or let your server know right away. I love it when something goes wrong at a table and the customer never speaks up until they are leaving and the guest says the server forgot my appetizer. That could easily be remedied by letting them know, it might have been something as simple as a mis -communication, or "I just didn't hear you say that you wanted to order that item". Nonetheless, if your food tastes bad, is cold, to tough, under cooked, hair in the plate, etc. Help your server help you have an enjoyable meal. That is their job. Do not sit their idling, ready to turn on the anger switch. Be involved the more you communicate to your server, the more they know what you really expect and want. If the server is incompetent, or the kitchen is indifferent, do not go there again. But instigating a fabricated complaint is a real low ball way to go about living a life. I for one would never do that to anyone... in any walk of life. There are degrees offered in "Hospitality" it is as real and packed with stress as any other business including, medical, law enforcement, law, etc. And people have to eat every day. That is as real as it gets! So when you say get a real job, you might need to be a "real person" with a real perspective on your surreal life.
I find the comments about servers not having real educations amusing. Why? Anyone with half a brain would realize that all of the above items are common sense. Unfortunately, idiots who DO complain to servers about things that are completely out of the control of the server, DON'T BOTHER TO THINK BEFORE THEY SPEAK. You do not have need to have a college education to use your head before you open your mouth...in any scenario.
O.k. O.k., people... Let's stop wasting time trying to sensibly debate the middle aged wanker in his moms basement who got rebuffed by the cute waitress at Applebee's (whom he has been meticulously stalking for about a year),and get ready for work. Those tables won't wait themselves!
For everyone who thinks we need better educations, better jobs, blah blah blah, and are giving any excuse as to why it's okay to treat servers like crap, I would like an answer to this....I have a college education, I work a full time job, serve part time, and I'm 36 weeks pregnant. How does that make it okay for people to treat me like crap because of something that's out of my control when it comes to your dining experience? You are all so judgmental to think that just because someone is serving that they are less of a person. Many of my coworkers are doing it to get through college to become nurses (which is a very good profession once you actually get a job. Do they deserve to be treated like crap because of it? No. Take a good look at yourself before you start judging your server and treating them like something on the bottom of your shoe.
Regardless of whether one is pregnant, NO ONE should treat the waitstaff like they are crap or beneath the customers. That is a separate issue altogether, apart from the tipping problem. Will it make it alright if I treat you like dirt but leave a 25% tip? Somehow, all the waiters commenting here are making their problems the customers'. That is the part which I dislike. Unionize and demand better salary from the management. If the management wants to pass the cost to the customer, so be it.
Many states are right-to-work states and you can be fired for any reason. Legal or not, what server can afford a lawyer when they are fired for reporting actual tips which are lower than 15% of their sales? The employer is NOT going to make up the difference, the employee gets fired. This is capitalism, for crying out loud. Fire the under-performers because there are enough people without jobs willing to wait tables and falsely report higher tips to keep their job. Some places, you make a living wage on tips, sure, but at chain places? Good luck. Unionizing doesn't do any good. Unions have no power, even in places where unions are allowed to exist. An extra big tip from the d-bags definitely makes up for some of the d-baggery, to a point, but I've seen people behave in a manner that would otherwise get them arrested if they did it to anyone else.
So, the manager sexually harasses the server. Since the server can't afford a lawyer, he/she doesn't have a choice but to go along with it? What an idiot you are! Use the social awareness you talked about and deal with illegal actions such as firing a server for reporting actual tips when they are lower than 15% of the sales.
For the rest, read my response to your other post.
Bitchy, you are my hero! You speak for me and all of my coworkers. We love to read your articles and we all follow you on facebook. YOU ARE THE MAN to us food servers!! Stay bitchy!!!
Loud music in a restaurant is one of my biggest pet peeves. It often seems that Sunday brunch is accompanied by the inappropriate and extraordinarily loud "roadhouse" atmosphere from the Saturday night before. Unfortunately, the only person a diner can complain to is the server. We know the problem is not your fault but we rarely are offered anyone else to whom we might voice our concerns.
The Manager. Ask for the manager on duty.
Does it seem that the more and more of these "viewpoint from the waiter" blogs on eatocracy come out, while trying to be sarcastci and clever, they are coming off more and more condescendingly? Is that just me?
I love the food blogs, and I appreciate anyone who does a job they try their best at, but man, if the person who is continually writing these were my server, why do I believe he would already have pre-judged what type of customer I have before I have even opened my mouth?
Now, as eatocracy is full of overly senseitive and uncharacteristically passionate people, bring on
1) The people who agree with me and will then go on to blatantly insult all wait staff
2) The people who support all wait staff no matter what and will now start insulting me.
P.S. Was a server once at Baker's Square, and while not fine dining, do have experience as a waiter, before too many insults get hurled my way
There is a fine line between 'pre-judging' and sizing up your table. If you did not pay attention to what the type of table you had, that might create problems later. In the author's case, considering he has been doing this for a LONG time, he has a ton of stories and, let's be honest, you should know, being a server even for a short period of time, people can truly cross the line and do so on a regular basis. He writes about it. What is the problem?
Fabulous! Another funny as hell article by my man "Bitchy"!
I prefer how I experienced being waited on in France. Instead of coming by your table either interrupting a conversation or catching you with a mouth full of food like they do here in the US, they stay along the wall waiting for you to signal them over when you need something. I like that much better.
navajohn that is totally unrealistic first off in a busy restaurant a waitstaff member can't be hanging around the corner waiting for you to signal them, they have lots of tables, that is how they make their money. Second since the waitstaff in Europe don't work for tips, I have heard of people treated very rudely by European, especially French waiters.
Well first off, I think your generalization of the French is offensive. Have you ever been there? I have, several times, and have always been treated very well. Of course Paris is to France much like New York is to the US so if your complaints are from Paris, don't judge the rest of the country by that.
Next, I was merely pointing out that the way they wait on you over there is preferable to the interrupt-driven US method. They don't wait tables like here which can be really helter skelter. And I think they have more staff doing different jobs.
Yeah, the "more staff doing different jobs" part is really key. Unfortunately, servers here are expected to do a lot of different jobs around the restaurant, which is why management feels the need to make "two minute check-up" rules and the like–to make sure that servers are using every single second of time on their clock to do something productive. I can't imagine most restaurant owners here wanting to hire more people to divide the labor more efficiently.
Also, when I was new to serving, I tried standing by a fairly distant wall to keep a watch on my section...and I think I just creeped out / annoyed people that way. Different expectations, I guess.
I lived in NY for a bunch of years and even worked as a waiter, I now live in Barcelona and I can tell you this much. In Europe, servers do get paid by the hour, in the US they don't. In Europe waiters will be rude to you and will treat you poorly, in the US they don't – mainly, because if they're rude to you that's less money in their pocket and trust me I prefer by far USA "waiter service" than Europe's.
I also would like to say I have had "real jobs" ( loan officer, realtor, sales, etc) so you can reframe from saying get a real job. I work as a server for the moment so I can spend my days with my beautiful son and nights while he's in bed at work.
I have been to France several times and the majority of the waiters are rude in fact...
Haha why don't you just stay at home ;)
No offense intended, but isn't that what the slaves did for the rich people in the past? They stand against the wall until they are "signaled" to come over and do something, whether it's clear the table, fill the waters, or get them something else? We are "servers" not "servants". And I have a full time job on top of my part time serving job before you try to say I should get a different job that treats me better.
In Europe, that is their full-time job. They are paid at the prevailing rate and do not work for tips as wait staff here in the States do. Additionally, most restaurants (in my experience of over 12 years in Europe) add a 15% gratuity to the price of the meal.
My experience isn't recent, though, so things may have changed. But I don't expect they will have changed that radically.
Yea, that style won't be happening any time soon here. I work in a place where people an be extra ridiculous. I haven't been to their table in the two minutes it took to get drinks for the table behind them? They'll tell another server they've been looking for me for ten minutes. Our tables seem to be very "needy" that's fine, it's my job to get them what they want but it doesn't leave me time to stand by a wall. Also, if we stand and wait for our customers to need us, they complain to management that we aren't doing anything. We have seriously had customers complain that the host was standing at the host stand when all the tables were filled by diners. That customer wanted the host to do something other than, well, host.
All subjective. Now bring me my dinner.
After reading some of these comments I am amazed that people are civil enough to even eat together in public or congregate in other settings.
We're not. The US is 5% of the world's population but 25% of the world's prison population. LOL Just drive on the highway – no one thinks of anyone else, only themselves. It's the way Americans are I guess. Sad, huh?
If you don't like being a waiter then get an education so you can get a REAL job. Otherwise, shut the hell up.
Puckles you should be forced to wait tables for three months for making idiotic statements.
A REAL job? As opposed to the fake one he already has? Is that a hologram waiting on you or a REAL person? Real person, real money, real workplace, REAL job.
Many people work their way through school waiting tables. That would be having or getting an education.
Oh Puckles. What is a REAL job? The fact that I work 25 hours a week, make MORE money then you do and also spend WAY more time with my family make you a little jealous?!!?
That's cute. if all waiters had a "real" job, who exactly would bring you your food?
Who are you, or anyone else for that matter, to ever think you are better than anyone else who is out busting their butt in the work force? ESPECIALLY those in the often thankless service industry.
At least servers are EMPLOYED, which, right now, is a step above a lot of people in our nation who are only looking for hand-outs...foodstamps...welfare...free medical care.
Many of us have waited tables and then gone on to other things, some have not...."don't forget who you are and where you come from" – F Scott Fitzgerald.
Puckles is that guy who sits drinking beers with the other dads at a near by table, while his shit kids trash the restaurant. "Don't worry Buddy, the waitress will get you Another root beer for you to throw at your brother."
So what would you tell me to do? I work full time at a college and then work part time as a server. I also have a college education. So am not working a "real job"?
Man, it must be nice to not have to work to pay for this education you speak of. I'm currently still working weekends at a restaurant as a second job while I'm finishing up my Master's degree. Believe me, if I could snap my fingers and earn that degree without having to pay a cent of my own earnings, I'd do it. But, I guess I'm just not as lucky as you are, sir.
I have EARNED a degree; I CAN NOT find a job because of how much our economy sucks.
I wait tables because it's the ONLY way I can support myself.
Not all of us are as blessed/spoiled as you. We have to work our way up the chain.
Oh and by the way, PLEASE ask your waiter what they do in their spare time. I can assure you, 90% are most likely pursuing an education; if they haven't earned a degree yet.
So BOOM, YOU can shut the H up.
I'm a server and make about $25 an hour on average. Getting a "real job" would mean working more hours for a lot less money. I'd rather spend more time at home with my kids than worry about what people think of my chosen profession.
What is the advancement plan with waiting though?
my "fake job" pays my rent, my bills, gives me insurance for only working 25 hrs a week and vacation hours as well as the flexibility to take time off whenever I want. and whike i already have my bachelors degree, i continue to work my "fake job" to put the money I make into the small business I will have own and have up and running in 2 years. suck. on. that. asshole.
My fake job paid for a 3 week trip to the Florida Keys and a new car this year.
The majority of your servers are either getting an education and then spending their nights and weekends on top of that waiting on unappreciative entitled jackasses like you... or already have a degree and are still waiting table because if you haven't noticed there is a recession out there that has been going on for 5 years. Thanks for being a turd though.
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