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

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posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 09:00 PM
I pretty much follow those guidelines. And am a generous tipper...
However, those who make Life hard on ANYONE who has complete control over your food, is not thinking clearly.
Think it through.

If you're bound and determined to piss off your server. Do it AFTER your food has arrived.

posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 09:09 PM
reply to post by Mikeyy

You tip 25%? Yowza!

I cannot wait for the day when servers demand proper wages and stop holding customers hostage for tips. You are hired to be a server, so do your job. I don't even care if you are pleasant; you don't have to smile, flirt, or even talk to me. None of that nonsense will get you a better tip. As a previous poster said, there are two things that will get you a tip (though mine are different: Bring me the right order (the right plate; I understand the cook can screw up) and make sure I have water. It's so simple.

posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 10:20 PM

Originally posted by OutKast Searcher
I think your little guide is pretty'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 do that because you are pissed that the check will be lower because no drinks are ordered...guess just screwed your tip.

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

I’m really glad you brought this up. Unfortunately most servers, especially the young ones, are in it for the short term. It’s just cash in their pocket for that day, and they couldn’t care less if you ever came back again. I see every person in the restaurant as my future customer, and an advertisement for new customers. Even if it P-O’s the other servers, I make it my business to make sure (when I have time) that all the patrons are happy, because at the end of the day, they are ALL my bread and butter.

It annoys me when I hear a server itching about people, that they assume are cheap, because they ordered a water. To me it isn’t being cheap, it’s being smart, and is not an indication of a poor tipper. I’d rather wait on a table of 2, with a 30 dollar check and a 5 dollar tip, than not wait on anybody at all because of a rude selfish co-worker!! Thanks for your rant

posted on Aug, 2 2011 @ 01:03 AM
reply to post by MidnightSunshine

lol...i've actually refused to serve cocktails till everyone was sitting (on a big separate check party)

posted on Aug, 2 2011 @ 01:58 AM

Originally posted by spacedoubt
I pretty much follow those guidelines. And am a generous tipper...
However, those who make Life hard on ANYONE who has complete control over your food, is not thinking clearly.
Think it through.

If you're bound and determined to piss off your server. Do it AFTER your food has arrived.

Once when I was 18 I witnessed another 18 year old server spit into a hot fudge sundae. It wasn't even her customer, another young server let her do it because it was for the new girlfriend of her x boyfriend.

Other than that, I have never seen anyone, do anything, to any food, ever. I always hear people say they won't send food back to the kitchen because they think someone will do something to it. I have never ever seen this kind of thing happen, and to be honest, I don't get upset when people send stuff back. I want people to enjoy their food, not suffer through it.

Thanks for being a good tipper, and for posting about it!

I find the best way to deal with an overly upset person who is being extra rude is to be overly nice and apologetic in a slightly louder voice so people around them notice they are bashing me. Works really well to help put a persons anger in perspective .

edit on 2-8-2011 by MidnightSunshine because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 2 2011 @ 10:03 AM
Spacedoubt, Old American and you[Midnight] pretty much touched on all the things I had in mind when I was first reading this thread. Mostly....

With that's my $.02 worth...and that's not my

I know I can be difficult sometimes. I HATE condiments. If it's green or red, I usually don't want it anywhere near my plate. Almost 99% of the time when that rule is violated though it;s the kitchen, not the server. So it's not their fault.
You don't tip there, but another example of my pickyness is at Subway...I always make them clean the knife off before they cut my

But here's my take on putting up with I'm always nice about my requests. "Could you wipe the knife off please?" or " No lettuce or tomato please." I have found nice customers make for happier servers. Happier servers in turn make for happier customers.

But this is my big point. I'm loyal. Both to a restaurant, as well as a server. If I liked it; liked the food, liked the service, liked the cleanliness, liked the other clientele there, I will more than likely be back. And tipping well makes the repeat visits all that much better.
I don't have a rule I follow though as far as tips...other than I don't follow rules.I may get great service on a $1 cup of coffee [purely hypothetical since I don't drink coffee, but hoping you get the point...] and leave a total of $5 as payment.

I tip to make the server happy for great service. I tip to make them WANT to serve me when I go back. I might can be a pain in the ass, but I compensate for it. If I get a happy ending...good service....I give them a happy ending in a great tip. And we all love all around happy endings.

One last piece of advice for customers.... Understand even the best servers have bad nights. I almost never let a single bad experience influence my opinion on a restaurant or a particular server. So I agree 100% with Midnight here. Take care of your servers, and they will take care of you.

posted on Aug, 2 2011 @ 12:45 PM
reply to post by webpirate

Oh great!! Thanks, I never even thought aboout asking them to wipe that darn knife offf!!!!! You can bet I will be super sweet next time i'm in Subway saying "Hey? Could you wipe that knife off for me real quick , please

A 400% TIP!!!!!!!!! Holly smokes
LOL You are sooo my new BFF

If you ever come to Pittsburgh you better look me up and come eat at my restaurant, or I'll hunt you down and shank you with a dirty Subway knife!!!

But here is one of the truest statements posted in this thread and I wish I had included this in the OP...

Understand even the best servers have bad nights. I almost never let a single bad experience influence my opinion on a restaurant or a particular server. So I agree 100% with Midnight here. Take care of your servers, and they will take care of you.

Thanks for your 2 cents it was worth a million to me

posted on Aug, 2 2011 @ 01:53 PM
reply to post by Mikeyy

Hey. I was hoping to get your take on my answer to your post, what did you think?

posted on Aug, 2 2011 @ 01:55 PM
To prove I am not a miserly customer, I normally tip 20%, 25% for a smallish check. I have a hard time tipping 25% on a $200 meal, however. I also agree with OP's points. I agree that a cutomer ought to act that way. Nevertheless, tips are not mandatory: They are EARNED. I'm not required to tip you at all, and if you screw up, you'll get very little. I don't "owe" you and if you think so, get over it. Fortunately, that rarely happens. And having laid the ground rules, I don't think I am too demanding.

I do want to be greeted fairly soon after being seated. In the morning, I will probably want some coffee pretty quickly because I'm probably not quite awake. I don't mind sitting a few minutes with just that. In fact, I prefer it.

Note that it is possible to serve people too quickly. One of my pet peeves is to see that my entree has arrived when I'm half way through my salad. It's awkward. Where do the plates go? A little attention paid here and it wouldn't have to happen.

Getting your attention ought to be easy. If I need something I will nod your way or discreetly raise a hand half way and wait until you can get to me. I understand you have other duties and other tables. But it gets frustrating if you intentionally ignore me. If the server hovers about the area and won't look in my direction, we have a problem. I'm not demanding instant service. Eye contact and a nod back is sufficient. When it takes me ten minutes to get your attention that percentage meter is going down fast.

I appreciate a friendly server, but I really don't want you as a New Best Friend. Sorry. I don't want to hear about your personal life. I don't want to know about your boyfriend. I don't want to know about your babysitting difficulties. You need to maintain a certain distance without being aloof.

Don't call me "Honey" or "Hun." Really. Don't call me by my first name just because you read it on my card. Let's make this "business friendly" and leave it at that.

Note: If I'm a regular and eat at your place every week I would relax on the personal front. We may call each other by our first names and enjoy a little chit chat. But even then we ought to keep it in check. If I'm a stranger at your place and you go on and on and on and on and on with "Charlie" at my expense, that's just as irritating.

These percenatges do not apply everywhere. I was in Germany recently and tipped 20%. I was told after the fact that 10% was about tops in Germany. Perhaps some of our International members could comment on customs in other countries.

posted on Aug, 2 2011 @ 09:40 PM
reply to post by schuyler

Hi Skyler! I named my first born son Skyler, awesome name

Ok here I go:
To me, tips ARE mandatory. As of right now, the average server in my city makes $2.83 an hour, so until that changes, I rely on tips to live. I can understand giving less money if a mistake has been made, but not stiffing. We're only human, and we make mistakes. Fortunately for me, I make very few mistakes and have a way with people, so my tips are rarely effected by, a long time ago I made a lot more mistakes, and paid for it now and then.

"Having a way with people" brings me to another point that you made. To be a successful server, you really have to learn how to read people quickly. I can figure out right away if you want minimal personality, or friendly chatter. I have a wide range in my service from strictly business, to your best buddy. I always feel sorry for thoes ALWAYS overly friendly, hovering servers because I don't think they even have a clue as to just how annoying they are

About the regular customers holding up the servers from doing there jobs!! This is so true, and it annoys me too. Oh yes, I chit chat with them, but I keep it in check. I get PO'ed when other servers stand at a table for 10-15 minutes BSing, when they should be cleaning!

Thank you for your post Skyler

posted on Aug, 2 2011 @ 10:08 PM
Everyone has got their "bad server" stories. Likewise, there is probably no shortage of "bad customer" stories.

So what's the best way to deal with a "bad server"?

Being forgotten about seems to be pretty common. My latest being forgotten about story happened a few weeks ago. I went to a usual haunt and waited up front and the little podium where it says, "Wait to be seated." ..and I waited, and hostesses and wait staff walked around.. and I waited..and a few of the staff made eye contact with me.. and I waited..

By this point if I had been supposed to have a friend meet me there I'd have walked out. It had been 10 mins. (I timed it). Finally a middle aged guy in no uniform came up and asked if I'd been helped. Told it had been about 10 mins and I hadn't been. He told me to follow him. When I asked he assured me it would be ok. He showed me to one of the several empty booths they had. I asked if he worked there and he said, "Kinda, I own the place."

After he left the next 10 mins was the biggest flurry of activity I've ever experienced by wait staff. Multiple checks to see if I needed anything, if I was ok, what could they get me, etc... and after that my friend and I were pretty much forgotten about again. I guess the owner must have left. Food cold, no drink refill until long after empty, long wait for the check. Not really a complicated order. 2 guys ordered 2 beers, 2 orders of the wing special, and a side of fries.

I'm all for rewarding a job well done. I believe it. How should we customers deal with a job poorly done?

edit on 2-8-2011 by Frogs because: added a bit more

posted on Aug, 2 2011 @ 10:19 PM
reply to post by Frogs

Sad thing is, most servers still expect a tip, even in that situation.

posted on Aug, 2 2011 @ 11:05 PM
reply to post by Frogs

Hmm good question. It's things like this that make me loooove the old "comment card box". Not too many restaurants have them, and they should to keep the servers on their toes. Other than that there really isn't much you can do aside from letting a manager know. If you still plan to return to the restaurant, and don't feel comfortable complaining in person, you could try looking for a web site.

If it were me, I'd complain in a heart beat. I never get to eat out and if my evening becomes unenjoyable because some lazy server is too busy eating, talking, or texting to perform the service I am paying my HARD EARNED money on you better believe someone would get an ear full!

I wish more people would complain to management in situations like this. It bothers me to hear crap like this because it makes us all look bad. And I don't appreciate those servers getting away with giving sub service with out reprimand, and I HATE lazy co-workers!!

posted on Aug, 2 2011 @ 11:20 PM
reply to post by InvisibleAlbatross

If it were me in that situation, and I somehow "forgot" to do my job, I wouldn't expect a tip. I most definitely would of bought 2 of those beers, apologized a lot, and felt like an @$$.

Any server that would forget about her customers, and expect a tip has no business being a server.

posted on Aug, 2 2011 @ 11:55 PM
reply to post by MidnightSunshine

Don't get me wrong; I don't think every server would do that, but I have had some that did a crappy job and looked at their small tips with disdain.

The best server I had was in a pub around the corner. A friend and I ordered two cokes and a large pizza; simple enough order. The table behind us ordered something different, but the server accidentally gave them our food. Instead of saying anything, they ate our food, then got mad at her when she took them the right order and refused to pay, even though she did not ask them to pay for her mistake.

My friend and I were understanding, mistakes happen. She was grateful for our patience, comping our meal, including a free app that she insisted we order. She even refused a tip. I couldn't believe it. She made a long-term customer that night. (And I will tip, I promise)

posted on Aug, 3 2011 @ 01:16 AM
reply to post by InvisibleAlbatross

Ugh...This fairly common mistake is why I train servers so announce the dish while placing it. But,...there are still, now and then, people who don't pay attention, or just don't care...and they eat it!! I'm always shocked by this, when I go out I want what I ordered, not what the guy behind me ordered

That is a good reason to comp a meal, and I would of done the same thing. You wouldn't believe what some people will do to get a free meal, ohhhh the stories!!!

oh and by the way...thanks for tipping

posted on Aug, 3 2011 @ 12:19 PM
I appreciate your friendly attitude on this thread, but I'm afraid I must disagree with you on mandatory tips. There is no law that requires tipping. I have been in some restaurants where it states quite clearly that a "18% gratuity will be added to parties of six or more" and I either accept that or reject that. I've always thought that was kind of stupid because 18% is all they're going to get. If we were inclined to tip more, it wouldn't happen. I was at a business lunch when this happened and we were unawares until the check came. People had already laid out quite generous tips. But they picked them up again when they learned it was "mandatory."

Tips may be "customary," but they are not required. We have not entered into a contract where I agree to give you extra money just because you are doing your job. I'm not responsible for how much you get paid. The restaurant owner/manager is. I'm also not responsible for you taking the job in the first place. There are other jobs and other professions you could have chosen. The idea that because you are paid less than you think you are worth, therefore I owe you does not cut it with me. If I ever got the distinct impression (through osmosis or telepathy) that I was required to leave a tip, it would be a whole lot less than I would normally do--perhaps even nothing.

Tips can be illusory, too. My barber charges $18 for a haircut. It takes him 15 minutes. I asked him once of "all his slots were full." He assured me they were. Indeed, it's hard to get a same day appointment. So he makes $72 an hour, over $600 a day. And he expects a tip. Such a deal.

posted on Aug, 3 2011 @ 01:08 PM
As I have been on both sides of the serving experience, I tip well --- when it is deserved. I do not believe that a tip is mandetory - if I receive exceptionally poor service (I'll explain more), then the tip is nothing. Poor service usually warrents a 10% tip, etc. It really depends on exactly what goes on.

When I dine, it is with my kids most of the time. (Dinner With Dad Night). We do this while my wife is in class during the night once a week. This is a big deal with the kids, as they get to pick the place we go to, and order what ever they want (fairly responsible eaters so I am not worried about lack of veggies, etc.) How my children are treated by the waitstaff is exceptionally important to me. If my kids leave happy, you get a big tip. What happens to me is more of an after thought.

We had one experience at a resterant that had a free slice of pie night. My kids know that they need to eat their entire meal or they don't get any pie (my rule, not the resteraunts). We had a waitress (not ours, different table), drop a pile of dishes right next to our table. Broken shards everywhere, etc. Not a big issue. It happens. Effect on tip zero. However, when our waitress came to the table, she says to my son (age 6 at the time), "What did you do? Oh, you are so not going to get any pie now." My son, who was quite excited about getting a slice of pie started tearing up and then started crying because he actually thought she was serious. The waitress then said "I can't deal with this" and abandoned us for the rest of the night. We ended our service with a different woman who was confused where our waitress went. The owner was a little concerned about what happened, and told me that he hoped it didn't affect our decision to come back. I explained that it was my kids choice, not mine, and they were pretty upset about it. At the time, we were going there between 2-3 times a month. I left a small tip for the second waitress that helped us. End part 1.

When we finally returned about 4 weeks later, the kids decided they wanted to give the place another chance. As luck would have it, we had the same waitress. Our food was disgusting. With my meal, the potatoes were frozen in the middle (so much for home made), and my son's was completely uneatable. His french toast sticks were rock hard, cold, and had no dipping sauce/syrup. At the moment when the waitress asks if she can get us anything else, I hadn't touched any of the food yet, but asked her about the dipping sauce - and she said she would get it right away. That was the last we saw of her all night. Every waitress that walked by our table, I asked if I could get some service (Sorry, you are not my table) and then I started asking for the manager (Sorry, I'm too busy right now). I finally stood up on my chair and asked to see the god damn manager now. He came over immediately (and he knew us, so he knew there must be a serious problem). I calmly explained what had happened, and all I asked was to be comped for my son's meal (his side was edible, mine was unedible, as such, total amount was 1 meal). He ended up comping us for everything, and gave us some pie to take home. Was I supposed to leave a tip for that? Both service and food was horrible. (Never had that experience there before). Since then, my kids permanently added that resteraunt to their black list.

Finally, something a bit mroe recent - went to a seafood resteraunt, and I ordered the lobster bake, which I have been wanting to try for such a long time. Kids and wife were all served perfectly. My meal appeared fine, until realized my lobster was frozen rock solid. I called her over, she immediately took it away, and placed in another order. Kids and wife are enjoying their food, and offered me some, but I declined, anticipating my lobster bake. Second attempt arrives, and the waitress waits at my table to make sure it is all right. Same thing, lobster is frozen rock solid. She said she would get the manager immediately, which she did. Manager comes over, and I explain the lobster is frozen. She said she wasn't sure why it would be cold, and I asked her to touch the piece I held out for her. It was frozen rock solid. She was shocked. At this point, I am practically in tears,as this is a place I love to go and it was bothering me (that and I was really hungry). They brought me over a bowl of soup, and ended bringing me a different dish than I ordered because apparently they couldn't cook it right. My portion of the meal was comped, the waitress still got 20% (based on the rest of the meal).

Now, given these detailed descriptions, do you feel higher tips were warrented? Tips are directly related to service. Poor service == poor tip.

posted on Aug, 3 2011 @ 09:21 PM
reply to post by schuyler

Feel free to disagree all you want. I guess all I can really say is I'm lucky that everyone that I wait on understands that If they don't tip me for serving them, I don't eat. Even though you don't like to tip, or the idea of tipping, doesn’t change the fact that tips are 75% of a servers paycheck. We report our tips nightly and pay taxes on them. Comparing a hair dresser's salary to a server's wage is not a very fair comparison. I'm pretty sure they make well over minimum wage where we make less than 3$ per hour. We are paid this very small wage because It IS customary to tip, and 98% of people do tip servers.

I agree about the automatic 18%. Where I work we don't do this, and I glad...I am the "party" server, and I always get about 20% if not more from large parties.

If restaurant owners across the nation all at once decided to start paying there servers 10-15 dollars an hour to do the incredibly hard work that we do, do you have any idea what you would be paying for your cheese burger??
Lemme hear ya say "House Burgersss!!!"

posted on Aug, 4 2011 @ 01:23 AM
reply to post by TLomon

“We’re given away pie, and maken your kids cry”

Good Lord, what on earth was she thinking??? Play a little peek-a-boo, give them a few maraschino cherries, but never ever tease a kid you don’t know!!! Poor kid. Yea, Giving the second server a couple bucks was a fair thing to do. I can't believe she didn't get fired. If I owned a restaurant I wouldn't have any servers because I'd end up firing everyone
I'd of told her immediately, you don't have to deal with it, go home!!

You know I probably shouldn't throw all my fellow servers under the bus, but I'm going to anyway. When it comes down to it, other than over and under cooked meats, the server has control of what leaves the kitchen. I can see, MAYBE, bringing out that first lobster bake still frozen because I'm sure she couldn't tell just by looking at it. If I were me, in that situation, you better believe I would of got a knife and make a slice into the second one just to be sure it was cooked through if I didn't see the cook do it for himself. Servers like to blame everything on the cook but the way I see it, I have to set the standard for what I will deliver to a customer, and if I don't like the way it looks (burnt, undercooked, sloppy, under portion, greasy....) I politely ask the cook to correct the problem. Here is one of my pet peeves about servers....A hair on the dish. I can honestly say I cannot remember ever serving a hair to ANYONE!! I don't care if it's a friday night during lent in a fish pub, you servers need to take the time to look at it and make sure you are serving food you would eat yourselves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GRRRR you also hit on another pet peeve of mine "your not my table"??? "I'm too busy"???? where in the hell are these people from??? I already went over how I feel about every table in the restaurant in an earlier post so I'm not going to get into it, but like I said before.... "Server, you're fired"
So to answer the question:

Was I supposed to leave a tip for that?

Absolutely freaken not!!! That was a fiasco, not a mistake!!! I meant you should still tip the server if she accidentally servers you a root beer instead of a coke, or spills something on the table, not servers you a bunch of # and deserts you!!!!!!!!!

And this one:

Now, given these detailed descriptions, do you feel higher tips were warrented? Tips are directly related to service. Poor service == poor tip.

No, I think from what you said, the servers in all three situations got what they deserved!

Thanks a lot for your post TLomon I appreciate it
even if it did P me off

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