Thursday, November 01, 2007

You know you are a server when...

I'm stealing this from NhObOis on Myspace.

To all of the " I hate this place" servers out there!!! SERVERS. READ IT... EVERYONE READ IT!

For everyone and anyone who has been a server at some point in their life. Read it and laugh. Because we all feel this pain. ALL THE TIME!!!

You know you're a server when.....

1. You know that "in the weeds" is NOT a camping term.
2. You cant decide who you hate more: kids, old people, teenagers, foreigners, or Canadians.
3. You're pissed if you got a $10 tip on a $60 check.
4. You can figure out 20% like nobodys business.
5. You heavily debate putting on a gratuity for a big party. And may call in a second opinion to evaluate the table.
6. You're familiar with the signature cocktail: water with lemon.
7. You don't have any idea what the special is and could care less.
8. When you go out to eat, you over analyze everything your server does. And even if they fuck up you still tip at least 20%.
9. You hang out at the server table.
10. You know about all your co-workers sex lives and drug habits. And you participate in one or the other; or both!
11. You know what the most dreaded side work is and how to avoid getting stuck with it.
12. Same goes for the death section.
13. You understand the importance of booths.
14. You know that an over cooked steak is the worst re-cook ever.
15. You want to kill the kitchen when they have 30 minute ticket times.
16. You will take the long way around just to avoid your table.
17. You hate making desserts.
18. You get weeded waiting forever for the bar to pour you a freakin beer.
19. You live out of your car.
20. You always have cash on you, yet you're always broke.
21. Your cash is usually still in your book days after you worked.
22. You know who sells the good drugs.
23. You never know what happened to the wine key.
24. You become a nocturnal creature.
25. Everybody on a Sunday AM shift has a hangover.
26. The busser is never around when you need him.
27. Getting cut does not equal getting out.
28. You need a manager card to wipe your ass!
29. A fuck up is always appreciated by the starving servers...
30. And you're all like a bunch of vultures when it happens!
31. When in doubt-you go with medium.
32. You use the term 86 in regular conversation. Yet you have no idea where it came from.

And if you haven't seen this next section before, you need to pass it along.

For all of you who DON'T wait tables!!!
If you go out to eat, or plan to EVER again... READ THIS!


easy tip: take 10% of the total price of the ticket and then double it.
$50.00 tab = $5.00 x 2 = $10.00 would be an alright tip.

The next time you're out eating at a resturant, look at your server. Do you think they are really happy to be doing that job? The answer is no, they are not, but it's what we do, and we do it for the money so please help them out. Its a tougher job than you think and you should pay them accordingly!

There are SO many people out there flooding the restaurants w/o any knowledge of how to tip. Here is a short guide for the general public to follow. Feel free to print out and store in your wallet and/or purse.

If you have children, DO NOT let them, open and dump anything on the table (ie; salt, sugar, etc). IF YOU DO, you must leave an extra $5 for the server to clean up YOUR CHILD'S mess & to restock the now unusable wasted items. We are neither their babysitter nor their parent. The least you can do is pay us for the extra work. Also make sure you control your kids and don't let them scream or run around the restraunt. It's very distracting and rude to others eating, not to mention dangerous if they get ran over by a server with hot food in their hands.

If you feel the necessity to stay for longer than 15 minutes after you pay, its an extra $3 every 30 minutes. We make our money from the tables. If you are in one and we can't seat it, we don't make money. Not to mention, if you are our last table we have to wait for you to leave before we can leave.

Telling a server they are the best server they've ever had is not a tip. If we are good, let us know by leaving us more money. We cant pay our bills on compliments. Its not that we don't appreciate the praise, its just that if you say that and then leave 10% it's an insult.

Prayer cards and any other religious pamphlet is NOT a tip. It is insulting that you assume we are w/o religion and must save us. Again, like ..3, we can't pay bills w/prayer cards. We'd go to church on Sundays if it wasn't mandatory to work on Sundays because EVERYONE who goes to church follows it by eating out.

It is not 1960. Cost of living has gone up dramatically since then. 18% is the MINIMUM amount of what you should be tipping your servers. Look at the first number of your bill. ie. if your bill is $30, double the 3 & you have a $6 tip. If the second number is more than 5 however, you must add a dollar. Remember, our companies pay us minimum wage (minumum wage for servers is $2.13 for GA $6.75 in CA, $3.13 in FL, $3.09 in IA, $2.13 in NJ, 2.65 in MI, 2.15 in OK, $2.13 in TX). And we are taxed on 10 percent of your meal automatically anyway. So if your meal is $100 and you leave $10 and we tip out $4-5 to the busser, bartender, and whoever else then we pay tax on 10 dollars and we make $5. It seems small but it adds up. How many times do you eat out per week and do this?

If you get a discount because your food was prepared wrong or something, do not take it out of our tip. We didn't cook it. The cooks get paid hourly regardless if the food sucks. However, we only make what you give us.

If you happen to get anything for free and you did not have a problem with your dining experience, most of the time it is because the server thinks you will realize that they are giving it to you for free. There should be extra tip thanking the server for the free item. They could get in a lot of trouble giving away free stuff. You should give them hazard pay for it.

If you come into the restraunt 10 mins before closing or any time near closing hurry up and order your food and get out. Closed means closed, not social hour. It is so rude to sit there and take your sweet ass time. We can't leave until you leave because we have to do sidework and clean the table you are sitting at. We don't want to stand there waiting for you for an extra hour just because you don't want to go home. We recommend 24 hour establishments such as Dennys if you wish to sit into the wee hours of the night.

If you only come in for coffee or a dessert, to do paper work, or to have a meeting, don't sit there taking up our booths for hours. We are not Starbucks or a hotel restraunt. If you want to sit for hours, go there or else you better leave a good tip for us and camping fee included.

When we come up to the table to greet you and we ask how you are doing, please let us know. We honestly want to know how you are doing. And ask us how we are doing as well. It's called manners. If you are in a bad mood we want to know that from the beginning. A confused stare or complete silence does not suffice as a reply to "How are you doing?". Also most of us are REQUIRED to say certain things during the greeting, so please don't interrupt our greeting and say "I want coffee", "Can we get some bread?", or "What are the soups?" Just sit tight for a goddamn minute & let us talk. You're not helping us out & saving us time by stopping our greet, you are pissing us off.

Don't ever talk on your cell phone in a restaurant. This is probably the rudest thing to do. If you must be on your cell, at least keep your voice down in respect for other customers. If you are on your cell phone when we walk up to greet your table we will walk away and not return until you get off your phone. Just show some respect and give us your attention for a couple of minutes.

When you're taken to a table, sit there. There's a reason you were taken to that table and it's because that server is next on the rotation. If you prefer a certain table, section, window seat etc. specify that to the host/hostess BEFORE they walk you to your table!! Don't wait till they get to the VERY back of the restaraunt then ask "can we have a booth?" "Can we sit by the window?" No! The reason you weren't sat by the window or in a booth is most likely because the server by the window or the server with the booths just got sat and you will receive better service if you stay put. If you ask BEFOREHAND the hostess has time to sit you accordingly. They have time to find you a table where you will be happy to sit AND receive good service!

If you wave at me or try to talk to me while I am talking to another table or have a huge tray in my hand, I WILL ignore you. We have other people besides you to take care of and unless we are standing still or hanging out by a computer, we are doing something. It is rude to think we will stop what we are doing for one table just to come help you. Let me put this heavy ass tray down in the middle of the dining room to find out you want more sauce. Do not grab me, or wave, or shake your glass, or call me ma'am or waiter or any other pet-name you want to call me because you were on your cell, or talking, or interrupted my initial greet where I told you my goddamn name!


Jo Meder said...

If this is, what it means to go to a restaurant in the US, I'm really glad it won't happen any time soon.

So sorry to read that the fucked up economics in this business over there seem to lead to such a thoroughly unpleasant "dining experience" for both sides. By european (or at least german) standards almost all of these demands would be at least ridiculous. Except for the ones demanding to behave like a civilized human being, of course.

Just one example: if I go out eating, there's nothing I could care less for than how long I occupy a table. It takes however long it takes, none of the restaurants business. And I know, that this isn't any problem for the places I go to or for the servers working there.

Just glad to not live in the US now,


KateT said...

From item number 5: "It is not 1960. Cost of living has gone up dramatically since then. 18% is the MINIMUM amount of what you should be tipping your servers."

That is not how percentages work. It is nothing more than a greedy suggestion that one should tip a higher percentage than in the past due to inflation. 15% of an inflated number is itself an inflated number, so tipping automatically keeps pace with inflation.

There are lots of good reasons to tip more than 15%, but this isn't one of them.

6th Floor blog said...

yeah. I was going to point out what Katet mentioned. There is no obligation to tip 20% or more. I get offended that servers want to try bump the tip up and up and up. Not everyone eating out is 'better off' than the server. I go into a restaurant expected to tip somewhere between ~12-20%. There is virtually nothing that will get me to deviate from that amount. So really, you're talking about working for about 2 or 3 dollars.

The problem with most of these items, is that it's assuming the server is faultless. See me waving? That's because you've ignored me for 20 minutes. Why am I still sitting here? Because you dropped off the check and forgot about us, despite the fact that we wanted to charge the meal. I find this happens way too often, to what would otherwise be great servers. After they check on us after the food is arrived, they pretty much disappear. There is nothing worse than waiting around after you've done what you came there to do(eat) because the waiter has mentally dismissed you.

And none of this 'waah wahh, we hate our jobs' News flash. Most of us hate your jobs. If you didn't want to be server/make the money you do in tips, you're just as capable of doing something else.

TheLobstahWoman said...

*sigh* Ahhh the good ol' list of our pet peeves... these lists always get me riled.
I've been a server for a long while now and there's a certain point where you realize to bitch about these things is silly... they're never going to change...
Well... except for the screaming messy kid thing. I swear one of these days i'm going to kill some kid jumping in and out of his seat screaming like a monkey and spreading the salt and sugar packets all over creation.
One day there was a woman who's kid bolted out of the restaurant without her knowing, when she turned to look and realized this little brats screaming had stopped because he wasn't around anymore she was SOOOOOO angry at the host stand for not noticing if HER child had gone out the door or not! Sorry lady, we're not your restaurant full of babysitters. Watch your own damn little brat! She eventually found his dumb little ass and proceeded to have a word with the manager about the Host stands transgression.. OH PLEASE. Luckily the manager told her what was up ;-)

Denise said...

jo meder: in germany, your servers are paid by the restaurant PER HOUR, their tips are a little bit on the top to reward for good service. it doesn't matter to anyone how long you sit there, because the servers make the same amount if you sit for 3 hours or 30 minutes. i'd also like to say that you wouldn't enjoy service in a tip-free situation...your water would take plenty of time to show up because there is no incentive to bring it too quickly. i've eaten abroad, and the service is, at best, shitty.

katet: there is an issue here with "tip creep."

the issue is that in 1960, the server minimum wage not only covered taxes paid on tips, but also sent a little money on toward the server. i suppose that by your comment you haven't waited tables in the past few years, but the minimum wage for tipped employees hasn't gone up with inflation. the minimum wage for servers in my state has not changed since 1968, and you'd better believe that the restaurants around here all pay exactly that wage...$2.33/hr

So, while 15% on the bill in 1960 was completely reasonable, as the wages paid by the restaurant "covered" the extra 3% (or so), that is no longer the case. Every single one of my paychecks are made out for less than a dollar. LESS THAN A DOLLAR. and frankly, I'm lucky if they are made out for anything at all- because you ought to know that when you have a paycheck for no money, that signifies a larger tax bill in a little while.

6th floor blog: i agree, a lot of "bad" customer habits are forced by shitty servers. been to denny's lately? let's just say you better pray they made your food right the first time because that waitress is NOT coming back until she's got the check in hand. however, i work in a fine-dining restaurant and i am not a denny's server. all the little shit that other servers do that keeps them busy like polishing silver and making desserts? i don't do that shit. i have nothing to do but pay attention to you...and you'd better bet your ass that i do a damn fine job, too. i walk out of my restaurant after tip out with 20% as a testament to my ability to bring shit to your table and remember what you wanted. when i get shitty and/or rude customer behavior, it is rarely due to a fault of my own...more likely it's a grabby dirty old man or a woman who was on her cell phone while i took the drink order for the table.

also, yes, everyone hates their jobs. but, next time you're at a restaurant, look at the average server's probably college age, right? you see, i turned to waiting tables when i started school; i was super poor and also not lazy and/or a trust fund brat. in order to avoid large amounts of debt, i turned toward an industry that will allow me to take my classes due to an appropriate and "off-hours" schedule. probably, when i graduate, i will find myself continuing to wait tables on the weekends to make ends meet.

so, get off your high-and-mighty horse, tip your waiter appropriately (and i don't mean tipping a bad waiter really well, nor to i mean ignoring great service because you're cheap) and act like you remember the lessons from pre-school.

jeebus...who knew that basic social and business interactions were this painful?

Cricket said...

Re: #1, every time I hear the "we're not your babysitter" comment, I'm reminded of a table I had a couple years ago (I'm not waitressing any more, though it would pay better than what I do here).

The mother sat down with the two pre-teen kids, then told me she was meeting a party on the other side of the restaurant and to let them order what they wanted. I actually was, effectively, baby-sitting, keeping an eye on the kids while I took care of my other tables. I had to hunt her down to bring her the bill. She complained about what they ordered even though they both had burgers, I think one of them off the kids' menu. Even so, she tipped something like 80% for the extra trouble. Note to non-servers: this made the difference between a very amusing anecdote about the Many Hats of a Server and feeling utterly taken advantage of (which a 15-20% tip would have done in this case).

Fiona said...

I think having to remember my waiter's name is bordering on excessive. If I forget the name but am polite, surely that's still acceptable. Is miss, ma'am or sir an insult?

Should the waiter remember 'my goddamn name too' if I tell him/her what it is?! I don't expect that.

As for waving, that's something we all do in these parts, that and imitating the movement of a pen for the bill to come. When I wave or make that motion, I'm not asking the wait staff to drop everything and leg it over to take care of me, but am merely indicating when they have a moment, I need something extra. A nod in my direction is more than enough to let me know they'll be over when they have a moment. In a busy restaurant, if the waiter doesn't have time to check up on me every 10 minutes, how do I get something I need, otherwise?

Waiters wait, customers get served. Especially if this 20% monetary transaction is expected ;)

Tim said...

Great list of "You know you're a server when" I love Lobster, but would never ever eat at Red Lobster again - Maine Coast Lobster is worth the price you have to pay to have it shipped in.

Dennis said...

Great post...and very entertaining blog. I began my serving "career" at a Red Lobster here in Michigan, moved on to a bit more upscale seafood restaurant and, when I stopped waiting tables, launched a satire publication for restaurant employees called Don't Tip the Waiter, often referred to as "The Onion meets the restaurant industry."

I recently started a blog along the same lines as my publication, and I'd love some feedback if you get a chance. Keep up the great job!

- Dennis

The Brother Hammer said...

Idiots at work
Today, I was sent home because I complained, to a manager, about getting triple seated within the first ten minutes of my shift. I realize that it was busy, but I feel that it is inappropriate for the asshole hosts to seat me three times in a row at any time. And yes, there were other tables available.

I refuse to lower my standards with my customers just because it is the policy of the Darden corporation to treat their guests like herd of cattle and have their hosts move them into a section blindly and without communicating with the server.

I have never had a complaint and will take time to meet and greet the guests and not be rushed by idiot teenagers who care more about Zwinkys and their ipod then about work.

Maybe, it is time to move on.

jon.biscotti said...

I've seen this before some where but being a server at red lobster i have taken the liberty to print and hang these out side of our store. Hopefully it will catch on.

No Nonsense Girl said...

Been reading you, wanted to let you know I've linked you in my blog roll. Visit me sometimes!!! :)

lobstergirl said...

i agree with what The Brother Hammer said about seeting
i understand that people want to sit down when they get there but if they sit in the lobby for three minutes they might be annoyed. if they sit at a table and sit for four minutes before someone gets there they are pissed. I want to give my customers great service, but when i get triple sat i can't do that.

christopher said...

Just curious about the second point, way up at the top. Why are Canadians grouped with other people to hate? I'm thinking it's because waitstaff up here are paid a fairly decent wage, and we're a little more used to tipping closer to 10% (or less). But I just wanted to make sure. :) Since reading all these waiter blogs, I now tip 20% all the time, Canada or US. Karma.

Lobster Boy said...

It is because most Canadians are poor tippers when they are here in the USA. Especially a few years ago when the exchange rate was so bad (for Canadians). If you don't know what an appropriate tip is, ask another table or a server other than your own.

Lobster Boy

Neil said...

I was going to leave a 20% tip when i realized the server had added a 15% tip automatically to our bill. There were 3 of us in the party. Why?? Cos i had an 'accent'. Even though i'd lived in Canada for 6 years they assumed us Brits don't tip. I, of course, told her and let her have the 15% and kept the remaining 5%.

I agree there is no excuse for tipping below 10% but WE'RE NOT ALL MADE OF MONEY, in my books 20% is for above average service (i usually tip 25% in those cases), for 'average' service it's 15%. Canada or US. If you don't like that fact, find another job.

Void said...

#13: "Do not grab me"

I loved it when people did this while I had a tray full of food in my hands. The geniuses would just happen to grab the arm I had the tray in, and it would just happen to tip in their direction. Oops. My bad, dumbass.