A Server's Guide to Dining Out and Getting the Best Service.

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posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 01:58 AM
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After you've been seated, you will be greeted by a server. This is not the time to be on your cell phone, some servers will wait until you’re off the phone to greet you. During the greeting, It’s important to look at the server and listen to what he/she is saying to you. Smiling, saying hello back, and listening makes for a happy server. A happy server is a good server.

After you’re greeted, your server will ask you what you would like to drink. What seems like a simple enough question confuses many people. If you really have no idea what you would like to drink, let your server know that you need time to decide, and ask for a water. If you’re a drink guzzler, or are super thirty, order 2 drinks. Unless your sever asks you for a food order at this point, it isn’t the best time to try and place one.

“We are running late and need to eat in a hurry.” Ok, no problem, a good server will be able to accommodate you, but you have to help. Order simple, no substitutions, and no special orders please. Appetizers, salads, and fried foods are quickly prepared. If your not sure what will come out of the kitchen fast, just ask.

The server will look at YOU when it’s YOUR turn to order. If you don’t know what you want, ask to be last, don’t expect him/her to stand there while you read. Reading the menu is a great way to find out what is in the food you are ordering. If you HATE mushrooms, and think there’s a chance they could be in the dish, ask. And lastly, unless you know your child is capable of placing an order in a timely fashion, please order for them.

Food delivery. When your sever sets your food down in front of you, look at it. Think to yourself: Is this what I ordered? Am I missing something? Do I need more of something? Do not start eating and/or flailing your arms around the table until everyone has been served. Do not start asking for the things you need until everyone has been served. When all of the food has been delivered the server will look at the table and ask if anyone needs anything, this is your cue.

The check back. This is suppose to happen within a few minutes of food delivery. Please take advantage of this time to get ALL of your ducks in a row so you don’t have to keep running the server back and forth. If for any reason you don’t like your food, don’t get upset and be rude to the server. Give him/her a fair chance to fix the problem, a good server will have a reasonable solution to the problem.

Never Ever:
Snap, whistle, or shout across the room for a server’s attention.
Interrupt your server while they are with another table.
Try(even if you think you’re helping) to remove things from the tray.
Be a low talker, speak up!!
Stand around in highly traveled walk ways.
Roll your eyes or have a bad attitude.
Leave your child’s mess all over the floor, pick up most of it, we can vacuum up the rest.
Forget to say please.
Forget to say thank you.
Stiff your server.

The basic tip for a server is 15% of the bill. If she/he did an outstanding job it’s 20%.
If your party was difficult and unable to follow these general guide lines, and the service was still successful, tip 20%+. If you are in a group and you are not paying, make sure someone is tipping appropriately.
edit on 1-8-2011 by MidnightSunshine because: oops




posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 02:10 AM
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How many times have I wanted to write this?!? I was a serve for 35 years. I wanted to post, just what you said, on the ATS live, No Children Allowed thread, but it seem to be too much at the time. S&F for you.

PS Check out bitterwaitress.com, very funny/good stuff.



posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 02:14 AM
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reply to post by windword
 


Thank you very much Windword. I've been serving for 20 years, an unlike most, I love my job. Thanks for posting and the link, i'm gonna go check it out now



posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 02:38 AM
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As someone who has worked in customer service for 8 years I gotta say, no one really cares about having a "happy server." WE have to make people happy or we lose tips/our jobs. Customers are not there to satisfy us, it's the other way around. Sure, it'd be great if everyone quit bein inconsiderate jerks, but they're not there to make us happy...



posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 02:42 AM
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it's amazing that some folks don't know or care to be kind to your server. Everyone who goes out to eat should have to have been a server before.

i remember doing a 50 top (separate checks) . after the orders were taken about 6 more people joined. they just pulled a table up to the big long table and sat down, and started demanding stuff, and there was no way to get to them.

i almost lost it....my numbering system went right out the window, and they looked at me like i was crazy

everything worked out in the end and i had many beers after work

it's times like that i'd give the money back if i could erase the memory from my brain



posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 02:45 AM
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reply to post by Hawking
 


Oh I agree, but the truth of the matter is, polite people get better coustomer service.



posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 02:50 AM
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Originally posted by MidnightSunshine
reply to post by Hawking
 


Oh I agree, but the truth of the matter is, polite people get better coustomer service.


Lol yeah I'm working at a hotel right now, polite reasonable guests are going to get stuff like fridges, microwaves and lower room rates. I very much appreciate calm rational people for not making my job unbearable, as some of them do



posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 02:51 AM
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reply to post by BadBoYeed
 


eeeew the dreaded "seperate checks"
If they only knew how difficult it can be to get that numbering system to run effectivly....Makes it lots of fun when nobody wants to stay sitting



posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 02:55 AM
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reply to post by Hawking
 


hmmm...Never had the pleasure of working in a hotel. I have stayed in quite a few, and everytime I do I see rude demanding people. And lots of work, organizing, and head aches... have a good shift



posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 02:58 AM
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Do not start asking for the things you need until everyone has been severed.


I'd wouldn't wait to ask anything if my whole party is going to be severed by some psycho


Funny typo...

*People should not tip waiters as they should demand a reasonable pay for their job rather than being dependent on their looks....If he or she does not deliver a good service the establishment would logically attract fewer customers and the owner should base his hiring process on that.



posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 03:04 AM
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reply to post by FriendlyGopher
 


I don't understand the first part of your post. Are you calling me crazy? And for the second half, if i were getting tipped on looks i'd be one broke beeotch.
edit AAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA I'll go fix it
thanks
edit on 1-8-2011 by MidnightSunshine because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 03:12 AM
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The part before the "never ever" was pretty awesome! Thanks for tips. As a person that dines out (more than I should
) I will use that to my, and servers everywhere, advantage. I do have some comments, however:


Never Ever:
Snap, whistle, or shout across the room for a server’s attention.


A server must show up at my table within 10 minutes of me sitting down to at the very least acknowledge my existence. If nobody has shown up within 15 minutes of first sitting down, I'm off to another restaurant.

If, after ordering, it's been over 15 minutes since I've seen my server, even though they've been in the area where I've been able to spot them, I'll use whatever means to get their attention, and an attitude will not help them out in any way. I certainly don't expect them to hover (actually I only want to see them on a couple of instances, outlined below), but more than 15 minutes per sighting is not service.


Interrupt your server while they are with another table.
Try(even if you think you’re helping) to remove things from the tray.
Be a low talker, speak up!!
Stand around in highly traveled walk ways.
Roll your eyes or have a bad attitude.
Leave your child’s mess all over the floor, pick up most of it, we can vacuum up the rest.
Forget to say please.
Forget to say thank you.


I never do these, even if I or the server is in a bad mood/rude.


Stiff your server.

The basic tip for a server is 15% of the bill. If she/he did an outstanding job it’s 20%.
If your party was difficult and unable to follow these general guide lines, and the service was still successful, tip 20%+. If you are in a group and you are not paying, make sure someone is tipping appropriately.


Here's where I get crazy. I have two requirements of my server (after ordering), aside from something "urgent":

1) Fill my glass without me asking.
2) Check up on my table every 15 minutes or so.

That's it. If my order is wrong, I rarely get mad at the server. I can tell if they got the order right but the kitchen screwed up (which is the case probably 85% of the time, if not higher).

Even if a server is obviously having a bad day and is short with me, that's usually just fine with me. It means they won't be hovering, which I can't stand.
"Yes, my food is fine. Thank you!" 2 minutes pass.
"I said it was fine 2 minutes ago." 3 minutes pass.
"YES, IT'S STILL MAGNIFICENT!"


Again, fill my glass and check up every 15 minutes. If those two rudimentary events don't happen, there is no tip. Those rules should be ingrained in any server, but I tell them my two rules up front anyway to make it easier on them. If you can't perform those two simple, fundamental things without even thinking about it, well you better hope the next table is a big tipper.

Do those two things for me and I usually tip about 20% for average service (yes, that much, and my wife usually rolls her eyes since she thinks even that amount is "stiffing" them). Even if you aren't friendly, give me mushrooms (which I most certainly did not order), set down a shoe-leather steak (I wanted it with flavor, AKA rare), or put salsa on my eggs (seriously? people put salsa on their eggs?). I'll just eat them and still tip you if you do those two things.

A server dumped hot (very hot!) gravy on my leg one time. She still got a tip because both before and after the spill she filled my glass and checked up on us. That's how easy I am. And that's how much servers want me at their table.


/TOA



posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 03:35 AM
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Wait? So 15% is standard, And 20% is a great tip? Wow, I did not know that, I just always tipped 25%.. That's what my mother always did.

This guide covers what YOU as wait staff would like the customers to do, but can you give customers tips on what to do when we encounter poor service? What is the correct way to go about this situation? I've had a few terrible experiences, I'd like to share a few of them!

About 2 weeks ago, I was at my Local Denny's. I eat there a lot because they are open 24 Hours. It was about 2am. I was seated by the Host who was a new guy, in the back of the restaurant, It was almost a full house. After the Host seated us He asked us what we would like to drink, we placed our orders. A minute or two later, our actual waiter showed up with our drinks and took our order. After about a 20 minute wait or so a different waitress brought our meals out, and we got our obligatory refills on the drinks. After that the rest is unbelievable, We were both forgotten about! All three people that had dealt with us were working the front of the house, and there was one girl working all the tables in the back surrounding us? We finished our meals and sat there, empty cups, empty plates, no bill...

I am a very patient person, because I'd rather sit there and find out firsthand how long it will take before the waiter/Waitress remembers about us, rather than start causing a commotion. 20 Minutes pass and still nobody came to check on us. At this point I was disappointed and bored, so I grabbed the other girls attention who was doing an awesome job watching all her tables, and told her that we were forgotten about!

5 minutes later the Waitress that brought our meals out, left the bill on the table. needless to say, I only tipped a $1. That is the smallest tip I have ever left in my life, but they didn't even deserve that. I only got 2 drinks! That's terrible, They never even checked on me to see how my meal was or anything...

The second case Sounds very similar! The same new host sat me at my table, I was alone that night, when He sat me down, he asked me what I would like to drink, I ordered a Coke, and then I said I'm actually ready to order, So I ordered my double Cheeseburger. For the first time in my life my MEAL came BEFORE my drinks, after a 15 minute wait, I got my Burger, and still never got any pop... Lucky for me, it was the MANAGER that brought out my burger, and she sat my plate down, and asked if I needed anything else, I turned and looked at her, and said, "I still haven't gotten my drink?" She brought me 2 cokes...

Your opening post seems to forget the fact that we TIP you, to run around for us, and give us good service! We are already paying the restaurant there portion for the food, but we are personally TIPPING YOU to cater to us. I agree the customer should always be polite, but saying stuff like "If you are a heavy drinker, order 2 pops!" That is absurd! Do YOUR job and check on me every little bit. Do not leave it on the customer to make less work for you. Your job does NOT end when you leave the meal on the table. You still need to tend to us, until we are ready to pay the bill.

Other than that, the rest of your "rants" are perfectly reasonable. You run around for me a bit, (and I'm not difficult, unless refilling the pops a handful of times is "difficult") and I'll leave you %25.



posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 03:45 AM
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reply to post by The Old American
 


10 minutes!?! Boy, you are a nice customer! I always try to acknowledge the table within 2 minutes and greet within 5. If you haven't been seen in 10 minutes, do what you gotta do,,,lol At that point i'd rather hear ya whistle, than watch ya walk out the door




Again, fill my glass and check up every 15 minutes. If those two rudimentary events don't happen, there is no tip. Those rules should be ingrained in any server


When I train new servers, one of the first things I tell them is "The customer shouldn't have to ask you for a refill" it’s the easiest thing you can do to keep people satisfied.
You're absolutely right about everything you said, you are an awesome tipper, and I wish I could wait on you.



posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 04:47 AM
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reply to post by Mikeyy
 


Hey Mikeyy, your Mum taught you well, your severs should appreciate that 25% tip. I’m surprised the servers at this Denny’s aren’t diving for you from the door. In chains like that you’re sometimes lucky to get the full 15%.

Well, about the first bad night, I think you guys WERE just forgotten. What a shame. I bet some one went on break, and/or passed the buck to another (overly busy) server who was to engrossed in taking and filling orders to care about people who already ate. And since this substitute wasn’t going to get the tip anyway, he or she didn’t care if you wanted coffee, tea, or dessert. I really don’t blame you for leaving the dollar, and commend you for not stiffing.

Now on to the next issue, you said:



he asked me what I would like to drink, I ordered a Coke, and then I said I'm actually ready to order

This is one of the reasons I suggested:



Unless your sever asks you for a food order at this point, it isn’t the best time to try and place one.

Although it’s a poor excuse, this is why your drink was forgotten. Servers do the same thing over and over. Greet, get drinks, take order, place order in kitchen, serve food, check-in, clean up, ask about dessert, deliver the check. Your sever just took your order and moved on to the next step. It’s sad but true, if she wasn’t able to handle thinking backwards she should of asked you to give her a minute.

Now about ordering 2 pops, lol, over the top, maybe. But people do it all the time. They know they are gonna suck down that first one and they want their refill ready. There are some people who will literally drink it all on one drink and drink 5 or 6, so that was for those people. I have learned over the years to spot these people and give them less ice and keep those refills ready, but many servers aren’t aware nor do they care about my thirsty patrons.

You are wrong about one thing though, your servers job doesn’t end until you pull out of the parking lot. If I had a nickel for every, togo box, hat, or glasses I have ran out to people in their cars, ….well, I’d have a lot of nickels


One last thing, and I hope I can say this with out you getting offended, you said:



I'd rather sit there and find out firsthand how long it will take before the waiter/Waitress remembers about us, rather than start causing a commotion.


I've seen this a lot. People will, knowing you have forgotten something, just keep letting you walk on by. It really upsets me to deal with people like this because I hate forgetting things, and I hate even more for my customer to sit without something that they need. Just sitting there, quietly building up resentment towards me. By all means, if you think your server has forgotten something, speak up. No need for commotion. Really the only commotion should come from the server who will feel stupid for forgetting but glad to be reminded to bring you what you need.

Sorry about your 2 crappy nights at Denny's. I used to work at Eat n Park (a lot like Denny's), loooong ago, and it's mean to say but, in those kind of restaurants the servers aren’t always the best nor do they care to be.

Thank you for posting and I hope my answer was a good one.



posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 04:36 PM
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reply to post by MidnightSunshine
 


Can you come and work in Harrogate sweetie cos we're lucky to get a coffee here within 30 mins !!

Seriously though I was blown away by the quality of the service in the US, it's just awesome, and you get unlimited coffee refills

Plus with milk shakes you get the whole shaker, so its kinda 2 shakes !!

Hmmmm, and don't get me started on the 99c all you can eat salad bars



posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 04:45 PM
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I have a legitimate question....As a server, do you expect the tip to be based upon the pre-tax total or the total including tax? As I understand it, it is customary to tip based upon pre-tax totals.
edit on 1-8-2011 by Aggie Man because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 05:09 PM
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I think your little guide is pretty reasonable...it's really just basic courtesy (servers are people, not slaves).

However, I'm going to use your thread for a little rant.

I understand that drinks at restaurants are overpriced and they give a nice little bump to the check, which gives a nice little bump to the tip. But me and my wife only drink water...all the time. At home or out...that is all we drink. Now it hasn't happened often, but I have seen servers roll their fricken eyes when we both order water for our drink.

So just a little tip to any servers out there...you do that because you are pissed that the check will be lower because no drinks are ordered...guess what....you just screwed your tip.


Ok...sorry...had to let that out.



posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 08:03 PM
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reply to post by uk today
 


OOOO I used to work at a place that sold a lot of milk shakes, I loved making them, and putting the whipped cream on top. So you guys have to pay per cup of coffee? Geez that sucks. At that milkshake restaurant I worked at we had what we called "The counter rats" LOL they just hung out all day long drinking coffee. I bet if they had to pay by the cup, they'd a been making a lot more coffee at home.

Thanks for posting buddy



posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 08:49 PM
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reply to post by Aggie Man
 


Hmmm that's a good question, I'm not really sure. I look at the total including tax to figure out the percentage of tip.






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