so i recently took on a second job because:
1) since the divorce, my living expenses have doubled and i’ve drained my safety cushion so i need more money
2) i was going out and spending way too much money on food and alcohol that my body doesn’t need
3) i had too much free time on my hands and was getting lazy
4) if i want my dream of owning a record label to come true, i need to get my debt taken care of and start saving money NOW.
i found a server position with this cute little mom and pop restaurant not too far from my house. family run, great food, good neighborhood joint. i had been a server before in college and always liked it – the client interaction, the exercise, the atmosphere. in the misdt of my nostalgia, i forgot about the cheap customers, endless side work, and aching feet.
i want to start this rant by thanking all the friendly customers who know how to tip and don’t run me ragged in the process. also, thank you to those that may run me around a lot, but realize you’re doing so and make up for it in the tip. you are the minority, but please know that you are remembered and the level of service that you get each time you come in will only get better. i will remember your names, what kind of wine you like, that you don’t care for croutons, and will allow you to order the salmon you love, even though it’s not on the menu anymore.
now, for those of you that don’t fall into the above category. i have no idea if you’re cheap bastards or just clueless, but here is a brief overview of tipping ettiquite as well as some insight into the life of a server.
*anything between 10%-15% is NOT an acceptable tip. when you leave that amount, you are telling the server that they did a bad job. one rare exception – if you don’t order any drinks or need a refill on your water, order one simple entree, eat and pay quickly and don’t leave a mess, then 10%-15% is understandable, although still a little cheap.
*anything less than 10% is an INSULT. ESPECIALLY when you suck down your drinks like you’re in the desert, requiring your server to fill them every 30 seconds, order appetizers, soup (which of course isn’t hot enough and can i have more crackers?), salad (no onions, or croutons, extra tomatoes, extra dressing), an entree (with special requests), dessert, coffee (with frequent “warm ups”), sit there for 2 hours, and then tip $6 on a $90 ticket, all while telling me what a great job i am doing for you.
*I AM NOT YOUR SLAVE. I AM MAKING $2.50 AN HOUR AND DEPEND ON YOUR PROPER TIPS FOR MY WAGES. whoever thinks that servers should be paid by their employers need to realize that YES, that SHOULD be the way it is, but it ISN’T so please just deal with it. your food costs would be astronomical if the restaurant was paying it’s servers $10-$15 an hour with paid vacation and sick leave and health insurance. when you go to a restaurant, social conventions state that you are agreeing to tip the appropriate amount. If you can’t afford to spend at least %15 of your bill to pay your server for all the time she spent with you, then maybe you should order the proper amount of food that will fit into your budget, or not eat out at all.
*did you know that I have to report 8% of my total sales for tax purposes? did you know that i have to tip out the bartender 5% of my tips and the busser 10% of my tips? that $2 you left on a $25 ticket doesn’t stretch so far then, does it?
*COUPONS. i love coupons – i use them all the time. HOWEVER, you should tip on the amount of the food BEFORE the coupon is subtracted. i am AMAZED at how many people don’t understand this concept! just because you get 50% off of your dinner, does NOT mean that i worked 50% less to serve it to you.
*being old is no excuse for being cheap. there are plenty of old people who know how to tip well. a dollar does not go as far not as it did in yoru day, ma’am. and the sweet little smile and the way you say “and here’s a little something extra for you, dear” does not make up for the fact that you tipped me 5%.
*if you’re old and you call me sweetheart or dear or honey, i don’t mind, really. i know i look young for my age, but i’m nearly 30 and being called “kiddo” by someone in my peer group (especially another woman) is a little insulting.
*please don’t be condensending to me. here’s a newsflash – most people in the serving industry are working it as their SECOND job. they are in school or an artist or starting their own business or just need a little extra cash. the majority are not stupid or uneducated or working there because they can’t get another job. i have a chemical engineering degree, am working on my MBA, and am saving money to start up my own business – what have you done with your life? yeah, that’s what i thought. amazing how people change their attitude towards me when they learn that i am actually a successful person.
*being “math-challenged” is not an excuse to leave a bad tip. it is actually very easy to approximate the tip. tax at my restaurant is 8.1%, so if you just take the tax amount and double it, that should be your minimum base. or, you can do what i do, which is take the amount of the ticket, round up to the nearest $5, take 10% and double it (so a $34.54 ticket would be – 10% of $35 = $3.50 x 2 = $7)
and here are some non-tip related tips to make our transaction run smoother.
*if you do have a god-blessed coupon, please present it to me sometime before i give you the bill.
*if you are ready for me to take your payment, please put the credit card in the slot of the folder and put it on the edge of the table so that i can see it. unfortunately, i don’t have x-ray vision and if i don’t see the credit card sticking out, i will assume that you are not ready to pay yet. if you’re paying with cash and want change, let the bills stick out a little bit so i know they’re in there.
*if you want a drink refill, please put your glass near the edge of the table so that i can see it better.
*if you are done eating and want me to clear your plate, please put your silverware on top of the plate and put the plate slightly to the side. then i know that you’re not still “working on it”.
i know it may not seem like it from this rant, but i am actually a very good server! i always have a smile on my face, i don’t judge you when you walk in the door (unless you’ve been in before and i know you’re a cheapskate), i keep your drinks refilled, i accomidate any kind of special requests you may have (luckily the chef likes me), and i try to read you to see if you like to joke around or just want to eat and leave. i truely appreciate all the great customers and love serving you guys. i just want to try to get the word out to the people that don’t know any better, because it is really frusturating to know that you’re doing a really good job and then not get adequately compensated. it seems like this is something that has been the bane of servers everywhere for years and years and years, and for those in the biz, it’s something we have to deal with every day.
if you want to read more about the plight of waiters and waitresses everywhere, check out these sites: