I wanted to take a chance to enlighten those of you who do not have the pleasure of serving others in a dining environment.....
When you first walk into a restaurant, you will definitely notice the age of your host or hostess. They're generally under 18 and this is probably their first job outside of fast food. They might look similar to deer caught in headlights. Please don't take advantage of this.
Going out to eat is usually a great time. Please do not come into my restaurant in a sour mood and take it out on me before I even get your drink order. Wendy's is next door and McDonald's is down the street and there is limited interaction in a drive-thru. Perhaps that will better suit you tonight.
Do not go to a popular restaurant, and especially one with a bar, to have a quiet and intimate conversation with your friend that you haven't seen in years. Corporate chains of restaurant actually have a policy about the volume of music in their restaurants...LOUD. It's a marketing ploy. If you're happily bopping to music, or even mildly irritated to distraction-you might spend more money.
Servers have a ton of responsibilities. Not only do I take your order and bring you food, I also take food that is ready out to other tables, fill ice buckets, run dishes through a dishwasher, roll silverware (yeah, those cute little cutlery wrapped in napkins-generally done by your server), stock things like RANCH DRESSING which seems to disappear at a rate of 16 oz per five minutes, and then we come to you each time with a smile to meet your needs.
Which brings me to the most important part of dining out. How you tip your server. The number one thing to remember is that we make 2.13 an hour. Yes-unless you are in a few other select states like CA or NV or WA, your server only makes 2.13 an hour. Should I say it again in a clearer manner?
I MAKE 2.13 an HOUR.....2.13 per hour....TWO DOLLARS AND THIRTEEN CENTS.
The general rule is to tip 15% of your bill. And it's okay to tip more. I'm generally understanding if a family leaves me 10% with a heartfelt "thank you" because times are tough. But, they're tough on me, too and this is my job. If you had me bring you more than 2 refills, and you and your thirteen friends asked for them at different times-my tip should go up. If you think it's okay to snap your fingers at me, tug on my shirt while I'm at another table, or simply yell at me across the dining room-my tip should go up.
I make 2.13 an hour and there are generally 1-3 hours of a shift that I don't make tips because I'm doing all that other fun stuff that servers are responsible for. And because what we have control of is very limited. In fact, we are the peons of the restaurant. Yup, I said it. (Deanna, hope you aren't reading this right now.....)
If your food is burnt; I apologize and will have it re-cooked. This does take time. I did not cook your food, nor am I the one that tells the cook how to do his job. I am the one that communicates with the cook.....*evil grin* (I have never, ever in any restaurant where I've worked had food spit in or otherwise compromised. Nor have I ever, ever known of another server/cook to do that. Big, scary myth to keep our guests in line.*wink*)
I do not have control over your wait time, either. That's partly the doe eyed hostess and the insane servers snapping at said hostess every time they get a "bad" table or if the timing of when our guests are seated is all wonky. And the rest of it is just the business....
Food taking a long time, thinking we forgot about you? It's fine to ask, but when I come back and tell you that my kitchen is slammed with 200 plate orders, don't act like it's my fault.
And I giggle at the thought of your face if you were back in the kitchen and saw all of those orders come in at the same time.
Now, let's say all is well and you aren't having any problems at all. You have been served your drinks, food, desserts and the bill is delivered all within a 20-30 minute time period. There's a reason for that. Each table is money. The faster you leave, the faster another
One last thing you should know about tipping. At the end of the night, your server does some tipping of his/her own. As servers, we tip our hosts/hostess or bussers AND the bartender(s). And it's 3% of our SALES. Not our tips, but our sales. Which means that if my guests rack up a lot of money in their check-say 150 dollars-$4.50 of that money goes straight to my bartender and host. It used to be that we tipped according to our total tips at the end of the night-but it came down that too many people were "stiffing" their co-workers. It's the business....
And it's a business I love. I don't feel like I'm a peon or lower than anyone because I serve others as a living. I feel honored. I meet a lot of really great folks that end up becoming friends. On Veterans Day, I had the highest honor of serving our men and women in uniform and heard so many fascinating stories-it was a lot of fun despite the chaos-it was a controlled chaos.
So, when you go out to eat, keep in mind that your server is kind of like....'just the messenger' and you aren't supposed to shoot the messenger.
Have a great week!!! It's my Friday today and I'm hoping to get a lot done over the next few days off. If you can't tell-the business is ruling my brain right now. ;)