Friday, October 19, 2012

Waiters, Tips and Service

I had an interesting thing happen this past week that has sparked a thought process…Yes, they can be random at best, so thanks in advance for reading this long blog!!

I was in NYC with some friends at a restaurant.  It was just an OK place to grab a bite after doing a walking tour (Can you guess what the tour was by this Picture??)
Anyway – the restaurant was nothing gourmet by any means...not memorable enough to remember the name of the place (hence not blogging about the meal!) but with service that was absolutely memorable.  Our waiter Walter was amazing.  Anything we asked was answered with “of course”…and while I could go on about the little things he did – his professional behavior and stellar customer service was really a stand out.

He impressed so much, that one of my friends asked him to see the Manager… (mind you we hadn’t even eaten our main course yet and Walter did look a little freaked out!).  Without question, Walter said “Of Course” and got the manager.  When he came to the table, she said, “I just wanted to let you know that Walter’s service is amazing.” 

I wonder how many of you think to do that.  We all are so quick to complain – but how many of us tell either the manager or even the waiter themselves what a great job they are doing?

Of course that got me to thinking about tips…as at the end of the day, Walter knew he was appreciated by the 45% tip we ended up leaving him.  Excessive, absolutely … but with 7 women at the table who were very impressed with his service…we all just threw in above and beyond to say Thank you.

I’ve never been a waiter, but I married one (does that elude to "I played one on TV??").  I know me enough that I do not have the temperament or the personality for that particular job.  And after knowing my husband just shy of a decade, I have a deep appreciation for anyone who has the patience, energy and overall amazing demeanor to service the public. 

I hate most of the public…you’ll get that feel as you read through my blogs and we get to know each other…Unfortunately, a waiter doesn’t have the luxury of outright hating the public – they must cater to the public - give in to ever whim, thought and desire of the customer they are helping that evening. OH, no…I couldn’t do that to save my life. I swear if someone snapped their fingers at me, I’d walk over and slap them.

I’ve witnessed many a “did that just really happen?” incidents in restaurants involving waiters and customers…and I’ve heard many a funny, irritating, down right ‘people-are-disgusting’ stories from Dave and other friends in the restaurant industry. 

Let me tell you my favorite of all Dave-isms from his tenure in the business…this makes me chuckle every time!

Two ladies come in for lunch…each have a burger and a beverage and ask for separate checks (in case you don’t know, that is one of a waiters least favorite questions to be asked). Dave brings them their checks, they pay and leave.  One of the ladies left an appropriate tip for her portion of the bill…the other lady put on the tip line - no monetary tip, but the words “Jesus Loves You”.


Maybe it’s an occupational thing – but these days when Dave and I go out, we’re always leaving over 20% when we have good service in a restaurant.

This is a scenario I witnessed recently:
A group of diners are in a restaurant…the service is fine, they were being paid attention to, they never wanted for a drink nor did they have to ask for more bread or butter, their special requests were handled with ease…
One of their appetizers wasn’t cooked to her liking…the waiter took it back and did bring another a short time later.  Another didn’t like how his meat was cooked, but just ate it anyway.   

Upon paying the bill, the guy actually said that he was tipping 10% because of the errors with the meal…specifically said ‘that will show him’.

Ahhh....What did the waiter do?  They served; they did their job, but because the food wasn’t correct people feel the need to take it out on the waiter (um…isn’t that the chef’s job??).  I don’t understand why they didn’t talk to a manager, but rather decided to ‘dock the pay’ of the waiter.

Pet Peeve:  (I was out with a few friends and their friend when this one happened)… we decided to go out for some drinks and maybe some appetizers. We did sit at a table, and the service was just fine…at the time to pay the bill… the friend of a friend just threw in a few dollars for the tip “because we didn’t eat a meal, it was just drinks and apps”. 

Yes.  She said that.

I don’t know why would anyone think that 18-20% tips don’t count for just drinks and apps?  Your waiter has to tip out the Bartender who made your drinks and the bus person who cleared your table (which lessens his take) and yet – its OK to not tip right cause it was just ‘drinks and apps”?  Needless to say the rest of us covered it…but I was stunned!

And how many of you do this (or know someone who does):
You sit at a bar and order a cocktail before dinner or waiting on friends.  The bartender gives you your check…which you pay and leave $1 extra. I’ve seen it numerous times.  A drink is usually about $10.00 … why would you only tip 10%?  If your drink was 10 least leave $2...really!?

I am ashamed to say that in my youth – I’ve done things like this.  Youth and ignorance on my part…absolutely and in my defense it was before I knew anything about the food service industry and I was overly critical of service. OK, yes, I’m still overly critical of service – but I do so knowing that if I have an issue with something – I take it to the person who can do something about it (the manager)…and not take it out on the livelihood of the person serving me.

Ok…vent over.  Moral of this story: next time you’re out to dinner and your service is good – take the time out to say thank you...verbally and monetarily.

Until Next Time...

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