Late last night I had what I would term a "good" inner-city table. Good because they clearly were working to change their lives for the better, but had not yet broken through from some conversation we had while they were dining. I took very good care of them and throughout the meal the gentleman at the table repeated that he would "take good care of me" as far as a tip. It was 2 adults and a child, bill was nearly $55.00. Mid-way through the meal the man tipped over his beer and made quite the mess of the table. Being the ever ready waiter I quickly moved their food plates (they had only had their food for a couple of bites) and speedily soaked up the beer before it worked its way onto their laps. This took a whole of about 1 minute start to end, and other than the strong smell of evaporating beer residue you'd never know anything happend. Again he thanked me profusely, and I had their food back in front of them before it even began to cool. The end of the meal came and mother and daughter made their way to the bathroom to clean up. The check was on the table, and the man calls me over and hands me $4 (which I didn't know the amount, as it was folded up) and says:
"Here's four bucks, that's a good tip right?"
I knowing the bill is $55ish, reply "Sir, it is not for the waiter to determine the tip."
"No really. What do you make? 5% on most tables?"
I assess his question, he is looking at me with a genuine curiosity. Dillema.
"Do you really want to know sir?"
"Honestly sir, since you asked me sincerely I'll answer you. But first I want to say I'm not pandering for a larger tip. You asked an honest question, I'll give you an honest answer."
"Sure." he says.
"I average more probably than many of the other waiters in this store, I am more experienced than most are. On an average night I will range from %13 to 20%. There are a lot of factors in that, but that is generally where I am at when I go home. I do have to tip out from that to our bar tenders and bussers."
"Oh damn" he says.
"Sir, that was not my point, you asked, and I'm sure what you gave me is an appropriate tip." I say pretending he didn't brag that it was $4 a couple of minutes ago.
The two ladies show back up at the table at this point, and I thank them again for coming and leave it at that. I leave the table, and am standing towards the door when they leave. The man, woman and child all thank me again (the child was very polite throughout the meal in spite of it being very late). They remark I am the best they have had at this store. I thank them and say goodbye again. When I return I find he has left me $2 more dollars for a tip.
Related Tags: Red Lobster, Darden, GMRI, DRI, Tipping, Food Service, Waiter, Waitress, Server, Restaurant, Bartender, Busser, Customer, Customer Service, Seafood, Dining Out, Eating Out, Gratuity, Wages