Since returning after Christmas, I have been working two jobs, the first of which is a waitress at a bar&grille. A few days a week, for 8-12 hours anywhere between 8am and 5am , I am taking orders, running food, cleaning the restaurant, and trying to keep a smile on my face while older people yell at me about coffee and drunk college kids throw up on the table.
Recently, as he signed his bill, a young man made the following remark:
“I see that you get an automatic gratuity of 18% on tables over 5 people…You really lucked out on that one. If it had been up to me you wouldn’t have gotten that tip; You were terrible.”
I looked up in disbelief as this man then reminded his friends not to add any tip the their bill because I didn’t deserve it.
Which leads me to the following rules about dining out:
1. Always be nice to your server.
This person–this person who is smiling at you no matter how rude you’re being, putting your order in, and bringing out white hot plates as fast as possible; who is making no more than $2.50 an hour –This person is a PERSON. I can appreciate that maybe you’re not always terrible or that you’re having a particularly bad day and just need to be mad at someone and I definitely know that sometimes servers mess up or are unpleasant, and food is slow, or cold; But please, please give her the benefit of the doubt and be kind to her. I guarantee that if you show your server kindness, understanding, and respect, she’ll be grateful and treat you better in turn.
2. Be patient.
As a very impatient person, I can relate with how having to wait can sometimes make a person agitated. Add in fatigue and hunger and well, bring on the gremlin. But sir or mam, when you chose to come to a busy diner at 11am on a Sunday morning, well I’m sorry but you brought it upon your damn self. We are all just one person and one singular person, no matter how good or efficient he is, can only do and carry so many things at once. More often than not, your server is busting his ass and burning her hands and arms trying to get you to your play which starts in 20 minutes. So please, either learn to be patient or eat at home.
3. Be considerate.
This one goes out to all you drunken fools. I know it’s hard to be a good judge of what is appropriate behavior when we’re drunk, but seriously, make a valiant effort. For example, it’s not okay to vomit, pee, or excrete any other bodily fluid in the restaurant. Gross. If for some reason, that puke just sneaks up on you, don’t just try to pretend it’s not there. It is. I see it and smell it and at least 3 other tables did too and have since split.
It is also not smiled upon to destroy the bathroom, wander into the kitchen, kiss the waitress, or my personal favorite, start a fight. Gentlemen, nothing makes you more lame and pathetic than starting a fist-fight at a restaurant at 3:30 in the morning. And if you’ve got one of those friends, BRING HIM THE HELL HOME.
4. Never EVER walk out on your table.
Now I don’t know if this is the protocol at all restaurants, but at mine, if a bill walks out without paying, it’s coming out of my pocket. That’s right. Not only do I miss out on a tip, I now have to shell out whatever exorbitant amount you decided to spend on mimosas, bloody marys, and omelets. We do not make enough money to be taking you and your friends out to brunch. Sorry.
And finally… 5. Always tip your server.
It is a terrible feeling not to get tipped, especially if one knows that she did a good job with the table. There’s no excuse for not tipping something and even a shitty tip is better than none at all. “But she was a bad waitress,” you think. Maybe she wasn’t the best this day, this time, but more than likely, there’s a reason for that. Possible reason #1-It’s her first day. #2-Your food was late because the kitchen is slow or the burner on the grill is out. #3-Your order is messed up because a cook read it wrong or didn’t tell her that they are out of said item. #4-The bartender makes the drinks, not your server…the list goes on, and these have all happened to me. Granted, I’m not too naive or presumptuous to assert that there aren’t just some bad servers out there, but good or not, this person is living on tips. The paycheck she gets every week (if she’s lucky) amounts to less than $100 for over 40 hours of work. Do the math and have a heart.
And if all that doesn’t make you think twice the next time you want to screw over your server, maybe this will: A server never forgets. If you are sweet or tip well, I remember you and take extra care of your table during all subsequent visits. If you’re one of the above mentioned punks however, well, I remember you too.