The topic of the day is tipping. I am well aware that in certain countries, tipping is actually frowned upon. However, in my country, it is encouraged.
As you may or may not know, I bartend and wait tables. I do not work at a fancy restaurant, nor do I work at a hole-in-the-wall bar. It’s your average restaurant. I may not be the best server you’ve ever had, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the worst. I may not make the best drink you’ve ever had, but I’ve made it according to my company’s specifications. If you think it needs to be stronger, then order an extra shot. That is not my fault. If you order your steak well done, and it comes out half-alive still—not my fault. If you order a diet coke, and my restaurant has ran out of diet coke—not my fault.
You know, there are only certain things that I (and others in the same industry) can control. I can usually control how quickly you are greeted. I can offer you an appetizer, I can tell you about our cheapest drinks, or I can try to upsell you on every single thing that you order. You don’t have to fall for any of “our” tricks to make your bill go up. See, there’s an old wive’s tale, that goes something like “you should tip 15% of your bill.” A lot of servers will try to upsell you on everything all the while hoping that the extra $0.99 guacamole will actually add an extra $0.15 to their tip.
I have a family of six. When I go out to eat, I know most of the tricks, and if I can afford an appetizer, I’ll order one. If I can afford an expensive martini, then maybe I’ll order one. If I can’t afford a Dr. Pepper, then I’ll order a water. Heck, sometimes I’ll even go to a McDonalds, or Burger King.
In the state that I live in we make $3.63/hour for waiting tables. That is it. In fact, ALL of my check goes to pay taxes. I do mean all of it. In fact, even after all of it goes to taxes, at the end of the year, I still owe a little bit more. Every single one of my paychecks say $0.00. Basically, I make what YOU (the customer tips me). If I do a horrible job, guess what? I still deserve a tip. If you go to work and screw up all day long because you have other stuff on your mind, you still get paid, right? Your boss doesn’t dock your pay when you have a bad day, do they?
If I do an “OK” job of waiting on you, I think I deserve at LEAST an 18% tip. Inflation has taken a hit on us, just as it has on you. 15% if we are having a really down day and screwing everything up. Speaking of screwing everything up, don’t come into a restaurant “looking” for things that are screwed up. If you ordered something mistakenly, don’t blame me (as i’ve written down what you’ve ordered and can show you) because you ordered the wrong type of chicken strips. Don’t come in using coupons and pretending that you don’t have to tip on that—that’s rude! You’re getting free stuff!
You know, most of us realize that when you leave happy, we make more money. If you are not rude to us when we mess up (occasionally we do), then we will usually do everything in our power to correct it. Why in the world would we want you to have a bad meal? We want you to come in, bring your friends, and come back often. We want your money!
I cannot STAND when I hand a table their bill and it reads something like $54.77, and then they leave a gratuity of a 5 dollar bill on the table. What an insult! Especially, if they had enough money to buy that appetizer, and those extra shrimp, then yeah, they should be able to tip. On a bill of over $50.00, I expect AT LEAST a $10.00 tip. Even if I screw up, as long as I did everything in my power to correct it, I should never get less than a 10% tip.
Here’s what I really dislike: Scenario 1: 2 women, 4 kids—both women order margaritas or daquiris before their butt even hits the seat…then has the nerve to ask if kids drinks cost anything, b/c if they do then they’re drinking water. Really? You can afford alcohol, but not some milk for your baby? Don’t worry ladies, kid’s drinks are free in my restaurant.
Scenario 2: A family gets out of their big fancy expensive car, not only runs up a $70 tab, but runs me like crazy, then leaves me a $5.00 tip. Get outta here with that! Insulted! That’s what I am now!
I hate to play the “I got kids card,” but sometimes a man’s gotta do, what a man’s gotta do! In my little pad I scribble your orders on, I have a picture of my family. I hold it to where you can see it, you betcha…
There’s always somebody curious as to who all those little ladies are, and if the fact that I have four kids don’t help you tip accordingly, then I don’t know what else will…