If you’ve never worked as a server, there’s probably a good chance you might be doing things that piss the wait staff off. His is a general list of faux pas;
I”ll get the big one out of they way. We’re hoping for 20% and that includes alcohol. Why wouldn’t it? I got you the bottle, the glasses, kept your glasses full while you drank it. 15% is still acceptable but unless I fucked up on your table, c’mon don’t be stingy. What you may not realize is that I actually have to tip out the support staff from my tips. That means the bussers, runners, bartenders, coffee person, host, and wine sommelier are getting a chunk of my tips. One place I worked based that number on my sales. So if your check was 100 bucks, regardless of what you tipped me 5-7 bucks was getting tipped out. So $20 yea! $10, crap, I’m only walking with 3-5 bucks. Don’t give me the “verbal tip” by telling me I was the best server you’ve ever had then leaving me 12% and don’t tell me I was so good I deserve a raise, that’s what the tips for. Also, tell the manager, not me. I know I’m good. The managers don’t always. You might get me in a better section tomorrow night or out of the dog house if one of the managers don’t like me. Generally, tips don’t get to me. I usually get good tips and if I do get a shitty tip, it balances with really good one. So let’s move on to…
“One Timing.” One timing is the process of sending me to get your table something on multiple trips almost immediately. Remember I have 3-6 other tables I’m waiting on. I have a laundry list of things I need to get done with dozens of obstacles in the way. Multi-tasking and consolidating my steps is essential to my success. So when I bring you your refill of diet coke, then you ask me for some more dressing, I go and get it. Then your friend decided she wants extra dressing too, I go and get it. Now your boy friend wants a cup of ice to put in his Cab (I don’t know why, but someone did ask me for that this week,) you’ve just sent me one 4 trips when I could have done it in one, and now I am behind with all my tables. Oh and adding when you get a chance! doesn’t help. It doesn’t let me know “you’re on my side and that you understand.” If I got you the extra parmesan “when I had the chance” your salad would be done, you’d have finished that 1/2 portion of chicken you’re sharing with your girlfriend, and you’d be drinking your skim milk cappuccino. And for fuck’s sake don’t ask me to take your picture! It’s one thing if you see me calmly walking around or chatting with my other servers. No problem. But if you see me clearing tables or with a tray full of drinks or perhaps you notice that all the tables around you are getting sat with customers at the exact same moment, this is not the time for you to ask me to drop everything and shove a digital camera in my face. Then don’t give me 2 or 3 other fucking cameras. We live in the digital age. Email it while I get that cappuccino “when I have the chance.” Lastly, don’t tell me “it’s the button on the right.” I know how to work a fucking camera.
Cash and split the rest on the cards. You got the bill, you give me some cash and two credit cards. You want me to keep the cash and put the remaining amount on the cards. This in and of itself isn’t a problem. Here’s what is: $200 check. You’ve given me $100 bucks cash and two credit cards. I give you back to credit cards with $50 bucks on each one. You then leave $10 for each card. You and your buddies just left me a 10 percent tip. No customer ever seems to get this concept. Just because you left me cash for half the bill doesn’t make the tip go away. Or rather, I guess it does. The only thing you could do to piss me off more is take both copies of the receipt. When you do that we get nothing. And in the case of the restaurant where we tip out based on sales, I just lost money taking your table. Thanks!
Here’s the next one. It’s 11:55 pm. You’re hungry and for some damn reason you don’t go to a bar that’s open till 4 am. No, let’s go to this restaurant that is almost completely empty and closes in 5 minutes! Now because of your hungry drunk ass; a server (or all closing servers,) 2-3 bussers, at least one cook, a bartender, a dessert guy, and a manager wait for you to get your appetizer, entree, dessert, coffee while you admire how beautiful a night it is!
Two women sat in my section last night for 5 hours. They were my first table and my last one. Here’s something to be aware of, by sitting at a table for a prolonged period of time, you’re stopping me from getting another table. So if you order another drink or two, that’s nice, but in your place, I could get a 4 top that is ordering appetizers and entrees and possibly a bottle of wine. For the most part I don’t really care that much. For some servers, money is their primary goal. Sell you the most expensive items, get you out, get the next table. For me, I genuinely do care about your experience. I want you to leave happy. So if you’re sitting there talking to your buddy, I can focus on my other tables and give them that experience.
However, I want to get the fuck out of there. Servers don’t have a time we get off. Based on how busy the restaurant is, a manager will look around the restaurant and decide if they need all the servers currently staffed. Once they feel business has died down, they will “make cuts.” Certain servers will be told they are “cut,” meaning that any new tables sat in their section will go to other servers and they just need to wait till their current customers have paid out. Let me say that again, I stay until you have paid your check. So if you find yourself in a restaurant, it’s pretty late, and you maybe notice that your server is not talking to any surrounding tables and every 10 minutes or so is asking if you need anything (or perhaps glaring at your from down the hall) there’s a good chance you are keeping them from going home. You don’t need to leave, you can keep chatting away with your friend, just ask for the check, pay, and sign the damn thing. Those two ladies I mentioned earlier, they sat with their check for 30+ minutes. When I came to take the payment, their reply was “hahaha, we haven’t even looked at it.” They came in, ordered their drinks at 6:05 pm, I gave them their check at 10:47 pm. Even after I ran the card they took 10 minutes to sign. I finished my paper work, changed and they were still sitting there as I left. Oh and for 5 hours + at my table they only left me 15%.
—Doesn’t believe how oblivious some people are.