Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Working for the 4-6%


Many customers come in having already decided how much they are going to tip. Not in a dollar amount, but in a percentage, with caps on the top end regardless of the amount spent. This means that on most tables, we are working on a range of 4-6% of tip that we can actually influence as servers, barring incredibly bad experiences for the guests. More and more I am frustrated by giving over the top service, and being given crap tips. A 12% might come in, get outstanding service, and still only leave 15%. While the few dollars don't seem like it would be that big of a difference, to the waiter it is huge. I rarely wait on less than 100 guests a week (often a good deal more than that). My guest check average varies night to night, but I'd say it averages in the $21-22 range for the most part.

$2200x10%=$220 $2200x12%=$264 $2200x15%=$330 $2200x20%=$440

So that little bit of difference really adds up for a server. It is the difference between paying the light bill or not. Especially after you factor in tip outs and taxes. It is a difference of thousands of dollars to your server. So think about that, while it is just a dollar or two, it really adds up for us. Very few waiters are getting rich serving you. So if your server goes above and beyond, makes grandma feel special, cleans up after your hellion children, listens to you tired jokes, and gets you a stiff drink after a long day, take good care of them, they are trying to take good care of you.


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33 comments:

Ceetar said...

I do feel like some waiters are getting rich serving me. I feel worse tipping a waiter at a place like Red Lobster, or Friendlys %20, because that's only like $4/$5 a lot of times, whereas If i'm at a nice restaurant %15 is twice that.

And if i'm at a really nice restaurant, like i was last week, and the tip comes out to ~$60 for like %18 and i know the guy has at least 3-4 tables a night, sometimes the waiter appears to have made more money in he one night then i make all week.(which of cousre is why i'm rarely at places like htat)

Brad #1 said...

Ceetar, what restaurant are you going to where your bill comes to $333?? I'd like to know how many people you were hosting for that dinner. If it were more than 2-4 people, then the server does deserve that much. Just because it came only from your pocket doesn't mean that you are justified in being any cheaper.

I'd like to hear back about this one.

Brad said...

I tip pretty much the same percentage everywhere, even though the serice is usually undeserving of a "gratuiy", because I know it's how they make their income. On those rare ocassions when the server bothers to refill a water glass or returns to the table to collect payment in less than 30 minutes should I give them a bonus for reaching some level of competence? I think not.

If you want to "get rich" you might want to set your sights higher than a serving gig at Red Lobster. I'd be glad to see the tipping system abolished. It's antiquated and good service is a thing of the past. Just pay people a wage for taking orders and carrying food backa nd forth and build the cost into the menu and most people, servers and customers, would be happier.

mrclm said...

I don't know that I'd vote for that Brad. I would guess I make more money than many of my co-workers on average. Under your system there would be no benefit for my ability to give better service. Years of experience doesn't equate to good service either (though it certainly is a component), so just increasing the pay of those who have done the job longer isn't a solution. Tipping is a merit system, but unfortunately few understand how the system works. I'm with the LB on this one. It seems as though most people's minds are made up before they even order what percent they will be tipping at the end. My experience is that very few ever go up from that, and some will go down from that. I don't begrudge anyone I serve poorly for leaving me a crap tip. If I have neglected you, I don't deserve it. But if I brought your loud and obnoxious son 7 Coke refills in 5 minutes it is nice if your recognize that. (side note...maybe it's the Coke that is making your son so obnoxious...)

So I appreciate the current system, though there are certainly flaws.

Big Chris

Fiona said...

I personally think the whole tipping thing is out of hand.

The price I see on the menu should include the cost of taking my order and delivering it to me with grace and in a decent time-frame. It should include keeping my table tidy and replenished where necessary.

Anything above and beyond that (I'm not a very demanding customer) should warrant a gratitude yes....but not an expectation of monetary reward for doing one's job. If the system is broken and people aren't being paid properly for the work they do, that should be fixed.

It's not up to me to make sure anyone's light bill is paid when I go into a restaurant for a meal.

Lobster Boy said...

Fiona,
would you be willing to pay a flat 10-15% more for all your meals you eat out? Instead of being $40 your bill would be $46. I think most chain waiters would take that any day, though fine dining waiters would likely turn it down.

Lobster Boy

Skwerly said...

LB,

I'm with Fiona on this one, and to answer your question to her, yes, I would pay extra on menu prices to avoid tipping. Most of the time, though, in order to avoid tipping, waiting, waaaay overpriced softdrinks, and the inevitable crappy service, my husband and I just get takeout.

I find it very hard to believe that most servers see tips as a reward for good service. Most of them act like the patron owes them a tip. My husband and I pay close attention to the service we receive, politeness, how our drinks are attended to, the hygiene of the server, even down to how change is given. (A smart server does not bring a $5 bill - they bring five ones.) They also do NOT ask, "Do you need change?" ALWAYS bring change without asking- asking is like assuming you get what's left of what I paid, and I hate assumptions.

Honestly, like Fiona, I just wish the whole system was ditched. It does not inspire much better service. Many, many other people in service-oriented professions (mechanics, dry cleaners, tailors, etc.) perform their jobs for a flat salary. If their performance is poor, then they are fired.

zelda1 said...

Funny, hubby and I were having this very conversation after going to a upscale restaruant and getting really crappy service. I always remind him to leave the required 15% and when the server goes out of their way, I remind him to pay extra. I agree that all of that should be included in the price of the food. Too many waitresses get stiffed by folks who are just barely having enough money to pay for their food let alone tipping, or assholes who just don't tip the right amount, or people who blame the bad taste of the food on the server. So, pay the staff and adjust the bill and all is well. In fact, our favorite of all eating establishments, includes the tip in the total. We just pay and leave, it's all good.

Brad said...

Would you be willing to pay a flat 10-15% more for all your meals you eat out? Of course I would. I', paying 15-20% already so that would be a price break.

I'd also like to see management take some responsibilty for the lousy service that's so common. With the current system they see servers as subcontractors and it's like they don't comprehend that the practice of hiring surly teenagers reflects poorly on an establishment.

Springs1 said...

"A 12% might come in, get outstanding service."

The definition of "Outstanding service" is truly DIFFERENT for EVERYONE. I, for instance, HATE when servers bring refills without me ordering. I agree with skwerly about assumptions. The server ASSUMES I want another of the same drink or that I even want another drink. I've had servers bring the check instead of making 100% sure my husband and I were ready for the check. That's an assumption that counts against the tip even if I want the check or the refill. I feel customers should call all the shots. If I want the check or a refill, let me order it or simply ASK. I don’t like servers **ASSUMING** things.

I’ve had a server assumed he’d get 31 cents and he got nothing. What happen was my husband and I paid with (2) $20 gift certificates on a check that was $34.69. When he gave us back the change, only a $5 bill was given back, no cents. I went up to him and told him about it because he left very quickly from the table. He decided to make us wait and do something else instead of getting our change, which was VERY RUDE not to go RIGHT AWAY to fix it. That delayed us from leaving all because he ASSUMED something. He only said he was sorry after he handed back the 31 cents, which I feel he should have said he VERY sorry IMMEDIATELY. I feel he did it on purpose, because it was almost just like if he asked if we wanted change, except, this was MUCH WORSE, because he decided to KEEP part of our change, thinking we were going to give him a tip, which we were going to give him at least $4.50, because his service wasn’t that great and wasn’t very attentive, but to KEEP part of it himself, even if it was just a cent is TRULY WRONG! He ASSUMED he was getting a tip and for that alone he got stiffed. I feel you return ALL change if the customer doesn’t state if they want change or not. We had some one dollar bills in our pockets and coin change so we weren’t going to use the change he gave us for his tip. I feel the waiter should have returned all of our change, even if we were just going to leave it on the table, because it was OUR CHANGE, NOT HIS *YET*! It’s NOT the waiter’s decision to keep part of our change, no matter how small of an amount it is. Normally, we don’t have this problem, because we usually use a credit card to pay. If we ever have to pay with cash or gift certificates again, no matter if I want to leave EVERY cent and dollar that is given back, I will ALWAYS want change since this happened. It’s the principle of it, not as much about the cents as it is the fact that he was going to STEAL it without *US* decide that. It’s NOT the wait staff’s decision to add a part of a tip unless I am in a large party that has automatic gratuity added automatically. We were only a party of 2, so this should NEVER have happened. I truly don’t think it was a mistake. I think he just **ASSUMED** that we wouldn’t have wanted the coin change and that it was his tip. Since when is most check exactly with no cents? I’ve had that very few times. I just don’t get WHY he did that? Instead of $4.50, he got nothing for his ASSUMPTION. He stole from us, so we STOLE from him. He SHOULD get a tip unless the service really is very bad, but I can’t forgive someone that STOLE from us intentionally. It’s one thing, when a server accidentally overcharges you and they seem truly sorry, it’s another not to return all of someone’s change. This was NO ACCIDENT in my opinion. This was INTENTIONAL and I will NOT stand for someone ASSUMING they will get a tip. I would MUCH RATHER ANY DAY a server ask if I need change than to take some of our change as what this waiter did.

I may see your service as not so good and another person may see it as fantastic. I’ll give you an example: Waiter gets everything right(no mistakes with food, drinks, or the check), but does certain things that irritate me personally let’s say(which some of these things HAVE happened to me at times). For instance, my waiter gets my husband and I’s food order, but goes to greet a table of 6. The table of 6 takes a while asking questions about the drinks and appetizers as well as finally orders, taking approx. 2-3minutes. Then my waiter finally goes to put both tables orders in. That 2-3 minutes that our food could have been on the list to be next to start cooking. If you get an order, you SHOULD out of common decency go put the order in RIGHT AFTER you get it. I don’t appreciate when I ask a server for something and they decide to go to other tables before doing what I asked. If it’s MY TURN, let it be MY TURN. If someone’s food or drink is ready, that’s COMPLETELY different, because those people ordered BEFORE I did, but if I ask for the check and my waiter goes greet a table of 10, that’s RUDE and their tip will DEFINITELY be lowered. Letting other cut in front of the first person that asks for something is WRONG. I don’t care if it’s not a “LINE” literally it’s WRONG to let someone cut! If I ask for a side of ranch and my waiter goes ask another table if they want refills, that’s just plain RUDE.WHY should we have to wait that extra time while our waiter gets refills and my side of ranch as well as our waiter going to another table to begin with? If another table asks for refills, DON’T come to my table first, go and get their refills. Make us wait OUR TURN. Do what is asked FIRST, then come to our table. Basically, my point is, just because you think you did a wonderful job that the customers should tip 20% or higher, doesn’t mean the customer sees it that way. I’ve tipped under 15% lots of times for servers being rude. The time that I made an example about that the waiter greeted a table of 6 after we ordered really did happen and we gave 12%. It’s just wrong to make us wait longer to eat if we were seated and greeted before the customers at the next table. Why should I have to watch him ask what 6 people want to drink and if they want appetizers? We were only 2 people of all things, so for us to wait for 6 people is just plain RUDE. It’s just like 6 people cutting in line in front of us. This is really NO DIFFERENT than a line situation.

Some customers I’ve read about online on message boards and blogs say that they like it when servers give the check and refills without asking, because they don’t want to be bothered with anything. I feel if those customers want a complete silent service, they should get take-out. I don’t feel a server should waste time getting refills that are possibly unwanted. That wastes time for EVERY customer that server has.

“More and more I am frustrated by giving over the top service, and being given crap tips.”

In ***YOUR*** opinion it’s “TOP” service, but NOT EVERYONE sees things the “SAME” way. Some customers like to chit-chat with their server. I personally HATE a chatty server and honestly I’ve read online, MOST HATE chatty servers. Some customers don’t like a too attentive server, but I actually do like it when they are very attentive, because I sometimes need to ask for things and if they aren’t around very much, then I will be pissed waiting a long time for something. Top service is an opinion of the certain customer. Your opinion of top service is just that, YOUR opinion. Just like my opinion on top service is MY opinion. My point is, quit bitching about “TOP” service, because it’s *YOUR* opinion of what you see as “TOP” service. I am not saying that some customers aren’t cheap, because some are truly just cheap asses. I feel MOST customers tip fairly in general. Also, your opinion on TOP service, may be a mistake involved for all I know. ANY mistakes are NOT, DEFINITELY NOT, top service. If you forget ANYTHING or my food is OBVIOUSLY wrong that you can see the mistake without touching my food, that’s NOT top service to me and probably most of the general public.

Fiona said...

Where I live there is a '10% service charge' on all bills and I'm ok with that. I even add another 10% if service warrants it.

Yes, I prefer it that way.

Lobster Boy said...

Springs1,
You are the PITA customer that is cause of many of the waiter blogs in existance today. You want a babysitter, not a waiter. A majority of restaurants in the USA train their service staff to silent service. Like it or not, that is the way it is. I suspect it is just a ruse by you to come up with a petty excuse to leave the crap tip you deep down really intended on leaving originally. My guess is that you almost NEVER leave the "big tip" you would love to give. Let me tell you something your husband should have a long time ago - the world doesn't revolve around you.

Lobster Boy

Springs1 said...

"I suspect it is just a ruse by you to come up with a petty excuse to leave the crap tip you deep down really intended on leaving originally. My guess is that you almost NEVER leave the "big tip" you would love to give."

I give "BIG TIPS". 25%, 28%, 23%, etc. It depends what happens in the service. Does my server make *ANY* mistakes? HOW does the server HANDLE those mistakes? Does my server try to order for me or tell me what they think I want? Does my server forget things I've asked for and I have to ask for them twice? Does my server ASSUME things such as that I am ready for the check? Does my server serve me food with no utensils, because he or she doesn't notice I don't have untensils to eat with? It depends on the service as a whole. One major screw up such as the incident when I didn't get my entire change back on purpose, DEFINATELY messed up his tip to get nothing. It all depends on what KIND of mistake it is and HOW they handle it. The waiter didn't get my 31 cents RIGHT away, nor did he apologize right away. If he would have handled things differently in a "CARING" manner, I may have left SOMETHING, but he didn't care, so WHY THE HELL SHOULD I? He acted like he did it on purpose by not apologizing right away and not getting my change RIGHT away. Why should I have to wait longer to leave for his "ASSUMPTION?" He STOLE from me, so I STOLE from him. What goes around, comes around. Treat others the way you'd like to be treated if you were the customer in that situation.

"The world doesn't revolve around you."

The world DOESN'T revolve around the wait staff either. So if they do a bad job, they'll get a bad tip. If they do a great job, they'll get a great tip. As I said before, everyone has a DIFFERENT opinion on what is "TOP" service.

"You want a babysitter, not a waiter."

You want not to do as much work by being lazy. I bet your the type of server that gets refills without asking just so you don't have to come to the table and ask, because you are too LAZY to find out if that is what the *CUSTOMER*, NOT YOU, wants? I bet you make a customer wait longer for their soft drink, just because other people at the table have mixed drinks and you are the type that will deliver the drinks all at once, making that one person at the table wait just as long for a soft drink as a mixed drink, even though you can make 2 trips, but are too lazy to. See, I would deliver the soft drinks first not to make that one person wait longer for no real reason. Getting a soft drink takes MUCH LESS time than a mixed drink. I bet you are too lazy to make 2 trips? Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you do make 2 trips in that type of situation. Your reaction to my response tells me in my opinion that you want to do the least amount of work for a great tip by saying I want a baby-sitter. I want a server that works their butt off for me and they'll receive that 25% or higher tip. That's their JOB to work their butt off. You seem like you don't want to work for your money. It's sad today SOME servers are just very lazy. You want the "BIG TIP", WORK FOR IT. TRY not to make mistakes by taking some EFFORT into your work by double checking things such as the check for overcharges and if you bring out the food, make sure it's the correct entree, correct condiments if any were ordered, and correct side dishes. If you don't do that and bring food that is OBVIOUSLY wrong to the customer, you are one of those LAZY servers. If you don't double check things and they are wrong, no wonder why you get 12% tips. Did you EVER think of that? ANY MISTAKES made is truly NOT good service. If you forget my side of tartar sauce, you won't get 20%, that's for sure. If you don't apologize for forgetting it, definately 14% or 15%. Be nice and I'll be nice back more in the tip. Be uncaring and I'll be uncaring in the tip. I treat servers the EXACT WAY they treat me.

The Pensive Penguin said...

Okay, LB you hit the nail on the head with Springs1 one in your first response to her and she only confirmed your assesment with her second comment, so I'll not beat that dead horse.

On another note, I'd like to know where you other people are eating that you get such terrible service "inevitably". Where I come from (Southern California and Vegas), even the bad service isn't as bad as whet you people are saying is the norm. Waiting 30 mins for your ticket to be tendered is something that I have never even heard of happening, Brad. After fifteen minutes I would have forgiven you for walking out without paying. And not being able to get water refilled at all is pretty bad too. My suggestion would be to find better places to eat out at. I eat out regularly and never recieve bad service like you describe, and I definitely neve give service that bad. If I did, I would certainly not expect a tip.

Skwerly, your stance on the asking about change in a cash ticket is understandable, of course we should bring you your change. I disagree that we shouldn't ask first for one very important reason: a very, VERY large percentage of people who pay cash give exact change with tip included and do not expect change back. By asking and saving a trip to all of these tables we give ourselves extra time to give better service to all of our guests. This goes for everything. I know I said I'd leave her alone, but Springs1's diatribe about refreshing soft drinks before mixed drinks and taking two trips to refill drinks because servers are too lazy to make two trips to the table falls under the same category. First, it is terribly bad service to give half of a party something and make the other half wait longer (i guarantee she is always the one drinking a soft drink, and she would complain about having to wait longer for her mixed drink while the soft drinks are being refiled if the tables were turned), and second, if I refill the entire party's drink in one shot, it saves me time to get your order perfect, and make sure my other four tables are getting the same good service you expect. When your server does something to save time, it is not because he is lazy, it is because he is busy, so be a little understanding.

I don't know about RL, but where I work, depending on the night and the staff, server's sections are 5-9 tables, and on busy shifts that were short staffed, I've had as many as 23 tables going at once. (Back to my point about bad service, not one of those 23 tables waited half an hour o get their ticket tendered or went more than a few minutes without water, so I don't have sympathy for the "Surly teenagers" that wait on you, but I also don't have much sympathy for the people who still go back to such restaurants.)

And finally (this is it, I swear) Brad, as for management taking responsibility for lousy service and hiring people who can actually do the job, I'm all for it. I've never worked in a chain restaurant, but they (I'm typing with RL in mind) are so big, and have so many employees that it is impossible to do that. There aren't many people who can do the job satisfactorily, and most of them are qualified to do something easier for more pay. The honest truth is that it is both a physically and mentally demanding job that most people can't handle, and the fact that poor service is common enough for so many people to be pissed off about having to tip is proof. You are right about the surly teenager line, nobody who can handle the job wants to do it, so you're left being served by surly teenagers. I would, again, suggest going to nicer restaurants that can afford to pay people who CAN do the job right, so that you can get the service that you desire.

Ranting complete.

Springs1 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Springs1 said...

Pensive Penguin

"I know I said I'd leave her alone, but Springs1's diatribe about refreshing soft drinks before mixed drinks and taking two trips to refill drinks because servers are too lazy to make two trips to the table falls under the same category. First, it is terribly bad service to give half of a party something and make the other half wait longer (i guarantee she is always the one drinking a soft drink."

For one thing, a LOT of times, I'll order a soft drink and a mixed drink. Some servers will think of the **CUSTOMER'S** feelings and make 2 trips, which is one to bring the soft drink and the other to bring the mixed drink. As far as talking about it's "terribly bad service to give half a party something" is just STUPID. Think about that you can make the people that aren't getting mixed drinks not be thirsty. Think about THOSE people's feelings that TRULY SHOULDN'T wait 10-15 minutes to get their drinks. Also, if it is a huge party of like 10, if 8 out of the 10 want cokes, WHY make 8 people wait longer for 2? Is that really fair or right? Now, what you could do is ASK if they would like a glass of water along with their mixed drink. If they say yes, you can still deliver a drink to EVERYONE until their mixed drink comes out. If they refuse(which most don't), I still wouldn't make 8 people suffer with thirst for only 2 people. Think about people's feelings and time. It's not about how "FAST" you do it, but how "FAST" it gets to the customer. Do you understand it's faster for the "CUSTOMER" to get their soft drinks if you bring them separate than if you make them wait until you bring everyone's drinks? I understand it makes you have more trips, but WHY make people wait if they don't have to? It doesn't make sense. Why make for instance, a table of that has Jane Doe and John Doe, that Jane Doe orders a coke and John Doe orders a margarita, that Jane Doe has to wait just as long for her coke? That's NOT fair. What you could do is if another table needs something, you can tag along that coke for Jane Doe. That way you WOULDN'T be making an extra trip in a sense, especially if another table wants some refills. You are UNCARING server. You are only thinking of the "FASTEST" way to do it in general, but NOT the FASTEST way to satisfy your customers. It's just not fair that you make 3 people at a table of 4 wait longer for their cokes if one guy wants a pina colada. YOU KNOW IT'S NOT THINKING OF THE **CUSTOMER'S** feelings that are at that table. People want their drinks as FAST as possible. When I get a mixed drink and a soft drink, I EXPECT the server to bring the soft drink first out of common decency. There's no reason to make me wait longer to drink my soft drink, just because my margarita takes longer to make.

Think about if you were at a table of 5 and you only wanted a coke, which you were very thirsty. Think about that you would have to wait 10 minutes for a freakin coke, because 4 people are getting mixed drinks. That's just UNCARING of the server not to serve the customers that are thristy. It's not like entrees being served at the same time, that's COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. When you drink a coke, you take a sip once in a while, but when you eat, you are eating non-stop, which my point is, everyone doesn't have to have their drinks at the same exact time, where as someone's food should be brought at the same time. Do you undestand that you are making other people suffer with thirst at the table to make ONE trip? Think about your customer's feelings that are at the table. I understand it may save a trip, but it may not, because as I stated before you can get someone's coke while you are delivering other refills or a side of ranch or whatever to another table along the way. What's wrong with that idea? That way it not only makes you have ONE trip, but it makes the customer or customers at the table that only order a soft drink not have to wait as long as the customers that order mixed drinks. So sometimes you can make "ONE" trip if you are delivering other things in that area. Think about that, seriously.

"When your server does something to save timeit is not because he is lazy, it is because he is busy, so be a little understanding."

Saving time for other customers, NOT for the current customers. Saving time for YOURSELF as well. Don't you get it? The current customers at the particular table you are serving that order mixed drinks and soft drinks are making those customers that only want soft drinks wait LONGER, which is WASTING TIME FOR THOSE CUSTOMERS. Don't you get this?

"I disagree that we shouldn't ask first for one very important reason: a very, VERY large percentage of people who pay cash give exact change with tip included and do not expect change back. By asking and saving a trip to all of these tables we give ourselves extra time to give better service to all of our guests."

As I stated before, I will not "SAVE" servers a trip anymore if I pay with cash or a gift certificate no matter if I leave exact change or not. I feel you SHOULD show the servers that you will return **ALL** of their change. If you make a trip that you end up seeing you really didn't have to make, well you did. It's you ***JOB*** to give back someone's change. I understand it speeds up service for everyone, but if I ever pay with cash or gift certificates again, I will NOT tell them to keep it. If anything, I feel like most people that the server is assuming the entire amount is theirs already by asking. I feel it's like *SOLICITING* for a tip when you ask that. It's almost like thinking to yourself "I'm getting a tip", which the server shouldn't automatically ASSUME they are unless automatic gratutity has been added. I just feel it's rude to ask that. I understand it saves a trip, but you have a job to do which is get change. You definately are ruining some better tips you could be getting. A LOT of people HATE when servers ask "Do you want change?" Wouldn't you rather make higher tips instead and just make the extra trip? I will always get change because of what happened to me with the 31 cents. I saw what kind of thief he was and I would have NEVER knew that if I would have said "Keep the change", even if I would have ended up giving him every last cent. I think it's always better if the customer doesn't say "Keep it", that you just assume they want change, because they may do like myself and want to see if you will return every last cent or they may want to give you their 1 dollar bills and keep the $5 bill. You don't know what the customer wants and if they don't tell you, just get their change, because it is ***YOUR JOB*** even if they leave every last cent on the table, it's your job. You may waste your time, which I understand, but think about how many customers agree that it is really RUDE to ask if they want change.

Lobster Boy said...

Spring,
It is astounding the degree to which you have no clue. I still stand by my initial statement. You are simply looking for excuses to take out your rage on your server. My guess is you secretly blame them for your being over weight and your husband no longer finding you sexually attractive, and you are further jelous because most of the young waitresses who take care of you are cute and in their sexual prime.

Everyone is a big tipper on the internet lady. That would be like a guy saying his schlong is 12 inches long and he drives a Ferrari on the internet. Pure bunk. The guys who do have both have to boast about neither.

Lobster Boy

Anonymous said...

Love the site Lobster Boy - I have a friend who works there (waiter) and most of what you blog about is true.

BTW - Great response to "Spring1" - My mom's family owned a restaurant and she waited tables. Its a hard job especially when you get very demanding patrons who leave crappy tips. Good luck with "AYCE - Shrimp Season".

Lobster Boy said...

Jessy,
I love your profile photo! Is that a prawn you are about to eat?

Lobster Boy

Springs1 said...

lobsterboy
"You are simply looking for excuses to take out your rage on your server."

NO, I have had times where EVERYTHING went perfect. I've left 26% and a couple of times left as high as 28%. They did NOTHING wrong. They didn't order for me, they didn't make any mistakes. They let ME ask for the check. They let ME order for myself. They did EVERYTHING as it should be. I've left 25% tips lots of times and that's the TRUTH. I am NOT looking for excuses. I will not let someone order for me, even my husband. If I'm not ready for the check, yeah, it does get annoying that the server ASSUMES you are finished. If they make mistakes, do you think it's fun when that happens? HELL NO, it sucks. I am NOT just making an excuse to tip less. It really does get me mad when certain things happen.

"My guess is you secretly blame them for your being over weight and your husband no longer finding you sexually attractive, and you are further jelous because most of the young waitresses who take care of you are cute and in their sexual prime."

I'm 29yrs 5'0" weigh 90lbs-92lbs. I'm NOT overweight. I am attractive. My husband even said I looked pretty this morning even. He DOES find me sexually attractive. He always talks about my butt looking good. These topics have ABSOLUTELY **NOTHING** to do with the server's performance. I don't make the server "ASSUME" change is theirs or "ASSUME" I want another refill or "ASSUME" I'm ready for the check. I don't make them forget my coke or forget my side of ranch. I don't make them overcharge me(which we've been overcharged over a dozen times since 2001 literally), because we go out to eat twice a weekend. I don't make the server decide to go greet 6 people first that just got seated after we did and not go put the order in so we end up waiting longer for our food. My sexual life and my looks have NOTHING to do with the server's performance. I know I look good. Sure, I'm not beautiful, but I do feel sexy and pretty, depending on what I'm wearing that is. I don't think any woman looks good in sweat pants and a sweat shirt just waking up.

Lobster Boy said...

Honey, you missed my point. I obviously know nothing (nor honestly care) about your sex life or physical size. My point is you are pretty clueless as to how restaurants and waiters work, and you make huge, incredibly self centered assumptions based on your lack of knowledge. You have been called out on this numerous times. My point was that I too can make these WAGs about things and come off authoritative. I would honestly say you must have some control issues. It is clear you have no understanding how this idustry works. You have no clue about the training and resposibilities of a waiter. What you want is someone to babysit you for your meal. You want a butler you have trained well, not a waiter who knows his/her job. Until you come to grips with this, you will continue to get what you perceive as "bad service" and will continue to find excuses to punish your wait staff as you feel justified to do. Sometimes the truth is clear, and people don't want to hear or see it. Maybe someday you'll tune into this, but until then you will continue to be disappointed by servers. Unless of course servers become robots you are able to control, then you'll be completely satisfied - no tipping and exactly what you want once you get the dumb thing programmed.

Lobster Boy

Fiona said...

Where I come from, service to a table is to everyone, at the same time. For the drinks and the food. No first drink is served before others, no food is served before others, it all comes together so everyone gets what they ordered at the same time.

As a non-imbiber, I'm perfectly happy to wait for my beverage to be delivered with my friend's more complicated cocktail.

Just the way it is and I think I like it that way.

Merely my tuppence LB ;)

Fiona said...

"It's just not fair that you make 3 people at a table of 4 wait longer for their cokes if one guy wants a pina colada. YOU KNOW IT'S NOT THINKING OF THE **CUSTOMER'S** feelings that are at that table."

Actually, to me that IS thinking of the custmoers because it's common courtesy to wait until everyone has their first drink, or their food, before actually starting in on my drink or food, if it happened to be delivered first.

It's plain rude to do otherwise to me. Or is that just a British thing?

Lobster Boy said...

It is decidely not just a Brittish thing Fiona. Springs has no understanding of how a restaurant works, nor the graces that go along with being in a restaurant.

Lobster Boy

Skwerly said...

Wow, dude, I don't think I've ever seen rants such as those of Spring in any comments section before...

She seriously sounds like a real tightass, and were I ever to work foodservice, I would NOT want her as a customer. I feel bad for her kids, if any, for the impossible standards she seems to set! Good grief!

Fiona said...

Calling them 'standards' is being kind skwerly ;)

Actually to be honest I usually gave up reading about a quarter of the way down each, there didn't seem to be much reason to continue, I got the gist of it all in the first sentence or so...after that it was all just repetition and rambling :)

Brad said...

I'll try not to be as windy as Springs1 but I'd like to recount a typical recent dining experience.

We went to a local bar/restaurant know for its Belgian dishes and mussels. There were two tables, ours (a two top) and a large table of about eight or ten, covered by the same waitress. Some other customers sat at the bar.

When the server presented out check I produced a credit card immediately. She saw this and made a move to pick it up but hesitated and then walked away. The food for the larger party had come up and she proceeded to serve them. It took a long time. Many of them ordered mussels, which required producing not only the food but also bowls for the discarded shells, and the orders had to be sorted out and drinks were refilled.

As we waited and watched for ten or fifteen minutes I thought about how wrong the waitress was to not take our card and cash us out. She traded our time for the larger party's benefit. It would've only taken a couple of minutes to settle our tab but we had to wait until all the others were served.

If I was one to punish or reward the waitress for this she would've found a very poor tip, but I gave the standard 18%. Maybe she made a conscious decision yo sacrifice our table, after all a decent tip from us would only be about $4 and she stood to make much more by catering to the larger party.

Here's the question. If she took care of our transaction in a timely manner, would she have been deserving of a larger gratuity? No, it would have been just part of the minimal expectations of the job.

Another question: if I had left a poor tip in response to her decision, would she have known why or would she have just assumed I was cheap?

Lobster Boy said...

Question: Was your card visible to your server? Often times people will put a card down inside the table presenter and the server will not know there is a card in it. Ours even have a specific slot with the words "Place Card Here" printed on them and people are unable to manage doing that.

There are a lot more variables than simply choosing between your table and the large party. Perhaps the manager was watching/helping your server, and to not take care of the hot food (which is priority #1 other than health and safty issues) would be a serious breach of responsibility as a server. In your exact scenerio were I to take your card when I know that my food is being presented I could get in trouble. There is always the chance in my store that nobody would notice (we almost NEVER have only 2 tables) but that is a chance few servers I have trained, or who work in my store would take. Food is the priority. The manager or some other worker should have taken care of your card. If you were unhappy about that, it should be with the manager for not covering for their team members, not the server doing his/her job.

Springs1 said...

Brad
"and drinks were refilled."

Now, I understand these people need refills, but that request for those refills came AFTER the request for the check, meaning, the server should have came back to your table to ring up your credit card RIGHT AFTER she delivered the food.

10-15 minutes is a flat ZERO tip for not going in order of request. NO ONE SHOULD EVER WAIT 10-15 minutes to get a check rung up, EVER! That is BAD SERVICE. My husband even agrees completely with me. We've had time where we waited 10 minutes and 1 time even 17 minutes. ZERO tip is what they got. They can't come back in a timely fashion, there's something wrong. I can understand delivering the food right away while it's hot as well as those people ordered their food BEFORE you asked for your check, but to get refills before that is just a stab in the back. It's letting that large party CUT in front of you as far as the refills go. The refills were requested AFTER they were delivered their food, so since your check request was first, your check should have been rung up within a 5-7 minute range at the most.

Lobster boy
"If you were unhappy about that, it should be with the manager for not covering for their team members, not the server doing his/her job."

It was the server who *DECIDED* to get those refills first, which were requested AFTER the check, so it's not that the server didn't do their job, it's that they didn't go in order of request, hence 10-15 minute wait for the check to get rung up. My point is, it was ***VERY DISRESPECTFUL*** to do this to ANYONE, ANYWHERE you go. I don't care if I'm in an actual line or am dining in, you are supposed to go in the order of request to be FAIR. If I am at table 8 with my husband and I ask for a side of ranch. A lady at a table before me requests their check. I EXPECT the server to get that lady her check BEFORE my ranch out of ***COMMON DECENCY***. If she got my ranch first, she'd be letting me CUT in front of this lady and making her wait longer to leave. Which I don't get WHY someone would do that? That lady's time is JUST AS IMPORTANT as mine, but if she asked for something BEFORE me, then it SHOULD be gotten BEFORE me. I am NOT talking about things that need cooking or a mixed drink, I am talking about things that you can grab right away like extra napkins or the check. A server can make a decision to be FAIR or not. In Brad's case, this server WASN'T being fair and made him wait a LOT LONGER than what he should have. Delivering the food is fine, but getting those refills should have been done AFTER the check was rung up. That's just the **CONSIDERATE** and NICE thing to do. If that large party had 10 people, think of HOW **LONG** that takes to get those refills. I would have left ZERO for ZERO RESPECT. If I asked for my check FIRST, then my check SHOULD BE RUNG UP **BEFORE** ANY OTHER REQUESTS ARE DONE **EXCEPT** if someone's food or alcoholic drinks are done that ordered BEFORE I asked for the check. NO ONE SHOULD EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, WAIT 10 or more minutes to get their check rung up. That is NOT good service. The SERVER decided to be UNFAIR and INCONSIDERATE, NOT THE MANAGER. It's NOT the manager's fault that the server favored the larger party, that's the SERVER'S decision. That server was looking out for the higher tip from the larger party, NOT Brad's time or feelings.

Lobster Boy said...

The deal is Springs that you have no idea of what was requested when for the most part. A guest might request for a drink in 5 minutes (which isn't uncommon for a bar drink). So if the server brings that drink after taking your check, which came first? There is an infinite number of scenerios that one could come up with. It honestly boils down to you thinking you know something about that which you really know little to nothing about. To those of us in the industry, it is clear you speak from ignorance. I could take your sophmoric rants to any of the people I work with (servers) and my guess is that they all could identify that you have no clue what you are talking about on this subject. Is it your personal preference? Certainly. You are entitled to your opinion, but that doesn't make your opinion either informed or correct. Ignorance is bliss as they say.

Lobster Boy

Springs1 said...

lobsterboy
"A guest might request for a drink in 5 minutes (which isn't uncommon for a bar drink)."

More than likely, it sounds like that the food was delivered and then the customers at the large party asked for refills. If the refills were asked before, WHY O' WHY did the server give Brad his check then? WHY wouldn't she have gone to get the refills FIRST, if they would have been requested FIRST? Getting a check before refills that were requested BEFORE the check would be wrong. In this case, it sounds like the check was requested BEFORE the refills.

As far as the bar drink, that's ONE drink being delivered just like the food. As I stated before, if ANY food or drink that was ordered BEFORE the check request should be given to those customers at that large party. It sounds like these refills were requested at the time of the food delivery, wouldn't you say considering the server got Brad's check? She would have gotten the refills BEFORE the check if they would have been requested before then and if the food was ready when she would have went to get the refills, then Brad wouldn't have even received his check until the refills were finished being delivered. So think about that. Think about being FAIR.

Fiona said...

AARRRRGGGHHHHHHH

Ceetar said...

Hmm. I always forget to check back to my comments. shame there is no notification.

I wonder if 8 months is too long to reply to Brad #1's question.

I think there five of us. It was a more expensive Steak house. Might have been Ruth's Chris.

I'm not saying I did tip less, I'm just saying arguably the guy at Red Lobster did as much work bringing out our meals as the guy at Ruth's Chris, but when i tip them, a 20% tip of $5 at Red Lobster looks cheap, and a 15% tip of $50 at Ruth's Chris looks expensive.