May 20th, 2013
12:15 PM ET
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The bill was $5.97. This Steak 'n Steak regular thought her server, Cece Bruce, had gone above and beyond over the years. She tipped accordingly.

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Filed under: Restaurants • Service • Tipping

'We are servers not servants!'
April 10th, 2013
04:30 PM ET
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His name is The Bitchy Waiter and he'll be taking care of you folks this evening. Earlier this week, the popular blogger served up five ways that customers get in the way of their food arriving in a timely fashion.

And a whole lot of folks bit back, with more than 1100 comments about the role of waitstaff in getting meals to people in a timely fashion - and even their value in society. Here's a sampling menu of some of the most popular sentiments.

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Filed under: Buzz • From the Comments • Restaurants • Service • Tipping

Sushi hotspot fined for labor violations
March 14th, 2013
05:30 PM ET
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Protestors have taken to the streets of Beverly Hills accusing Urasawa, one of the country’s most exclusive and expensive restaurants, of theft. The victims however, are not the well-heeled patrons but are instead the servers and kitchen staff who were cheated out of compensation.

Urasawa, a world renowned Japanese restaurant, has been ordered to pay fines and back wages because it failed to pay overtime or provide breaks to employees.

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Filed under: Food Politics • Labor Issues • Restaurants • Service • Tipping

Give a snarky quip (and no tip) and thy receipt shall end up on the internet
January 31st, 2013
10:00 PM ET
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Before making the career jump to journalism, I worked in the service industry for several years as a server - or waitress, depending on what generation you’re from. While I loved my job most of the time (great guests and cheap food whenever I wanted it), I quickly realized that some people didn’t quite understand the difference between server and servant.

Like every server, I had my fair share of horror stories: a 25-cent tip on a $19 bill, men who felt it was socially appropriate to pinch me as I walked past and, of course, the customer who was never wrong (even if they sent their steak back more than twice). So while I adhered to the idea that the customer was always right, that didn’t give the customer free rein to act like a jerk.

It appears that not everyone shares my opinion, though. After dining at an Applebee’s in St. Louis, Missouri, one customer not only left no tip, but also wrote a snarky comment on her bill.

Chelsea Welch, another server in the restaurant, snapped a picture of the receipt and posted it to the social media-sharing website Reddit. The Consumerist later picked up the story, if only for Welch’s equally snarky picture title, “My mistake sir, I’m sure Jesus will pay for my rent and groceries.”

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Filed under: News • Restaurant News • Restaurants • Service • Tipping

November 5th, 2012
12:00 PM ET
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Chef, author and Emmy-winning television personality Anthony Bourdain is now a CNN contributor. He will travel around the globe to places such as Myanmar, Israel and the Congo as host of a new CNN show premiering this April. Follow him on Twitter @bourdain.

When you’re a small, independently owned and operated restaurant in New York City, the perishable inventory you just had to throw out of your warm refrigerators as a result of Superstorm Sandy may have been valued at, say, $2000 (to pick a completely arbitrary and optimistic number). And that’s what, in a perfect world, you might presumably, hopefully, eventually get back from the insurance company. If you’re lucky.

But the real value of that food was at least three times that amount from the second it entered the door. That’s the number you were counting on generating once that food was prepared and served. More likely, that’s the amount you needed to generate to cover the expenses of operating your restaurant.

Tipping point – family locked in restaurant for skimping on mandatory gratuity
May 10th, 2012
11:15 AM ET
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Our sister site HLN reports that a Houston, Texas family claims they were locked inside La Fisherman restaurant after refusing to pay a 17 percent tip on their meal. The restaurant's policy states that the percentage will be automatically added to the tab for parties of five or more.

Customer Jasmine Marks told that the staff was rude, the drinks weren't refilled and her group received generally poor service. Marks asked if she could speak to a manager to have the auto-gratuity stripped from the bill, but claims the staff locked the doors and told her that her options were to pay the 17 percent or speak with the police outside.

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Filed under: Lunchtime Poll • Restaurants • Service • Tipping

Get on the bus! Meet the folks who clean up your restaurant mess
October 18th, 2011
04:15 PM ET
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Alec Baldwin and Martin Luther King Jr. did it. So did Zach Galifianakis and Jon Stewart. Table bussing is generally one of the lowest-paid, least glamorous restaurant gigs, but it's almost a rite of passage for those entering the service industry.

The word "busboy" (or girl) comes from a combination of "bus," derived from omnibus - meaning ‘dealing with numerous objects and items at once - and "boy," because at the time (1910 or so) most positions were filled by young men.

Duties typically include removing finished plates and glasses, resetting tables and, fairly often, cleaning up diners' spills and messes. Restaurant labor was divided this way so that servers could spend more time tending to tables. Some restaurants even go as far as to separate table setting, bussing, refilling water and food running into individual jobs.

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Filed under: Restaurants • Service • Tipping

Visitors to the U.S. - avoid these tipping pitfalls
June 8th, 2011
09:30 AM ET
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Jim Boulden is a CNN Business 360 correspondent

I've just gotten back from a ten day holiday trip in the U.S., which included a lot of meals, bars, baseball games and hotel rooms – which means, of course, a lot of tipping, or not as the case may be.

I may be American by birth, but I have spent 20 years overseas and so I have to re-learn when to tip, how much to tip, and how to get out of tipping when it feels right.

I am also cheap. I hate the pressure to tip but I am quite happy to tip well when the service warrants. I also know well that many an American teenager survive off the tips, something non Americans don't seem to readily understand.

Read Jim's tipping tips at Tipping traps in the U.S.

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Filed under: Restaurants • Service • Tipping

A life in waiting
January 28th, 2011
06:00 AM ET
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At the front of the room, Pierre Siue calls roll. The rest of the room stands in their uniforms quietly, attentively, collectively with pens and pads out ready to jot down the notes from today.

A man with slicked-back silver hair approaches the front of the room carrying a wooden tray - part of today's lesson. "This is from Connecticut," he says pointing to the object on the right of the tray. "And this, is from Provence," pointing to his left. "Both are washed rind and will be new cheese selections on the menu this evening."

This is DANIEL, the flagship restaurant of famed French chef Daniel Boulud - one of seven restaurants in Manhattan with a New York Times four-star review and one of five with three Michelin stars. And this is the meeting held every day before dinner service, where the maître d' goes over the reservation book details, executive chef Jean François Brue explains any addendum to the menu and the general manager Pierre Siue oversees the calm before the dinner rush storm.

There are no models or aspiring actors in the room. It's an education, a continuing education at that - but it's also a career where the word "part-time" doesn't exist in a world where the profession of serving tables is typically viewed as a transient one.

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Filed under: Best in Life • Bite • Dining • Favorites • Fine Dining • New York • Restaurants • Service • Tipping • Travel

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