What Happened To Waitresses? - "It's Only Food" Blog at Allrecipes.com - 269017

"It's Only Food"

What Happened to Waitresses? 
 
Mar. 1, 2012 8:19 am 
Updated: Jan. 16, 2013 4:13 am
Back in the day, a waitress would seat you, wipe off the table, take your drink order, bring your drink order, take you order for apps and the meal, and actually bring it out; then they would ask if you wanted dessert, bring it to you if you wanted it, then give you the check and ring you up at the till.  They would also bus the dishes and clean off the table and reset it.

Here is what we have now:

One of the six of the hosts/hostess' take you to your table and ramble off the specials and try to get you to order a drink (spendy drink too), tell you the name of your server then poof...their gone.  Out comes the bread boy who gives you a basket of rolls or a cutting board w/ a tiny loaf of bread for you to saw and hand out.  Next comes the water boy who pours your water and shuffles off to the next thirsty bunch.  Now the server pops out and tells you again what the specials are and gets you order for beverages and apps.

Someone else brings you the beverages and apps and then your server pops out again to get your food order.  The food order goes in and someone else comes out to get your plates-and its not the water boy the host or the bread person-not even the pepper boy.

Your food arrives, you are warned not to touch the plates because the are hot-again from someone other than your server- and then your server comes around to ask if everything is tasting good, dropping off the check as another bus person comes to clear away the dishes while you are eating. They come back around one more time to get the check-ask if you need change(an obvious hint for the tip)

Now-the question is who gets tipped and how much?  You were served and treated by at least 5 people, you saw the server maybe 3 times and they probably only have 3 or 4 tables to serve during the night.  Is there a disparity in the money you are giving the server? Do they split it up amongst the help?  Is there a big jar in back that gets the money, and it is split evenly?  Is there going to be an #Occupy movement for the 99% who work and don't get tipped?  Is this why labor costs are so high?  And why food prices are going up in restaurants?

I love waitresses and all that they do, but I kind of miss the old days when the 60 year old waitress with the surly attitude and the whiskey voice took care of you and 25 other patrons and gave you pie and coffee like it was the last rights. Ah but I long for the days of yore.....

Your thoughts are welcome in this forum.  Have a wonderful day
 
Comments
Mar. 1, 2012 8:33 am
My aunts were professional waitresses all of their working lives. Very proud of the job they did. I agree with you and would also add my pet-peeve... I hate that when your food is served (whether by waiter/waitress or someone else) They stand at one spot near the table and ask the customer who ordered what and proceed to have customers pass food around. It happens almost everywhere now and is rude and annoying. I feel better now that I've said this!
 
Alex 
Mar. 1, 2012 9:03 am
I expect some of it is probably due to ridiculously impatient people who feel like they're the most important thing to grace the earth and can't figure out why they aren't being served immediately. A hostess seats you because the pompous people would complain that no one has come to greet and seat them while the waitress was bringing someone else their drinks. Waitresses can't be every where at once and people want attention/their stuff immediately. I don't know how 'new' it is though. Maitre d's and bus boys have been around for ages. I agree with irayd about it being a bit rude that they have to ask who ordered what and have the plates handed down (depends on the size of the table though, usually they don't do this for a small table of three or four, in my experience). This is a situation where I agree the waitress herself (or waiter himself) should be doing the job of bringing the food because she/he knows what you ordered (hopefully). Or at least the waitress should accompany the person carrying the food to direct it to the right person. But again, by sending someone else to bring the food to you, you get it a little bit faster and that seems to be what most people care about.
 
Mar. 1, 2012 9:13 am
well, here in the deep south...waitresses are certainly prone to do it all. but i certainly think it's how up-scale a resturat you are eating at. we very rarely hit a high-dollar place. i love the cheap places where the waitress still calls you sugar, sweetie, honey and such. they will come by the table and want to know why you didn't eat all of "it." tipping, i believe the waitress must share a percentage with all the folks you mentioned to include the bartender.
 
cupcake 
Mar. 1, 2012 9:14 am
Love the trip down memory lane! Really miss those surly full-service waitresses!
 
Mar. 1, 2012 10:43 am
I don't care as long as they bring me my food, and it tastes good. I ate at the olive garden twice. about 30 years ago, and 2011. both times it sucked. BTW I hate the bread sticks at Olive garden.
 
Amanda 
Mar. 1, 2012 11:01 am
I agree with gderr- it depends on where you're eating. On the rare occasion I eat out, it's a local place and most of the employees know me. I've also noticed that if the customers take the time to talk to those waitresses, they're less likely to be treated like "just another table".
 
Mar. 1, 2012 11:16 am
Olive Garden is to Italian food as Taco Bell is to Mexican
 
Mar. 1, 2012 11:19 am
The more upscale places do this but now it is ubiquitous in all the "chains". It is because we are more demanding and impatient not to mention rude. When I waited tables, the rude people got really slow service-such a shame-I figured being the a--ho--they were, they weren't going to tip anyway
 
Mar. 1, 2012 11:20 am
still loved to be called sugar and sweetie too! That is a good test of a good waitress from the old school
 
Mar. 1, 2012 11:42 am
front of house staff normally agrees on how they will split tips before the shift. some servers tip out hosts and busboys/dishwashers, others pool tips and split them all. i like to give servers the benefit of the doubt. my friends, my sisters, my parents, etc. have all worked as servers. working in the back of the house, i hear all the horror stories of customers stiffing servers or just being awful, so i generally tip well regardless.
 
Mar. 1, 2012 12:10 pm
If the order was written down properly, there should be no confusion as to who gets what at the table, regardless of who is doing the serving, the waiter that took the order, or a server that is seeing the order for the first time. The ticket should be in the proper order. It just makes life better all around. Now, having waited MANY a table, I'm happy to tip well, but one sure fire way for my waiter to see their tip PLUMMET, is to swoop in to take my money and say "Do you need change?". My answer is "I didn't until you said that." Cheeky assumptions like that mean you need job training and a lesson in etiquette. "I'll be right back with your change" is the way to go and it makes a world of difference. Okay, that's my pet peeve of the restaurant world today!! But like has been mentioned, this "person for every job" (and I had to laugh at the reference to the "pepper boy", with a vision of the guy with the four foot tall pepper grinder coming to my table..."Say WHEN!") trend is most typical from the chain restaurant and I try to avoid those. i never have much extra money to spend, so I'd much rather spend it at a private/family owned business than a corporate giant. Thanks for the blog!
 
Mar. 1, 2012 12:17 pm
by the way I always tip 15% or more even if it is bad service, but if it is bad service I will most likely not go back.
 
Mar. 1, 2012 12:25 pm
i got into the habbit of tipping 25% or more. and let me tell you, it has paid off. my favorite restaurant in minneapolis gives me VIP service now! haha! it's amazing what a server will do for you if they know you appreciate them. a better tip means that the server will absolutely give your ticket extra attention.
 
Mar. 1, 2012 12:54 pm
Hahaha... Angela. You got it right. To quote Vincent Antonelli (My Blue Heaven)"It's not tipping i believe in...it's OVER-tipping."
 
Mar. 1, 2012 1:18 pm
Mimosa has it right! Orders should be written in specific rotation and anyone serving the table should be able to put the correct dish in front of each diner. It has been my experience the more corporate the ownership the more people involved in table service. The host(ess) makes sense, sort of like an air traffic controller, keeping track of empty tables and who has waited the longest etc. The sad thing is that water-boy or pepper-tender along with the busboy is probably working for tips and at the mercy of the customer to tip well and the front of house to be fair in the distribution. Many of them are illegals and work incredibly hard for very little.
 
Mar. 1, 2012 2:54 pm
I seem to a different experience. The last 4 out of 5 times I have been out to a restaurant (yucky chain or not)..we get a table, menus and name of our server...then we wait 15-20 minutes...then he/she swings by takes our drink and food order...runner drops off the food...busboy clears the table..server drops off the check then...crickets...again for another 15-20 minutes...
 
Mar. 1, 2012 5:25 pm
My formula is to tip 20% plus $1.00 for each trip we ask them to make, plus $1.00 for keeping my drink (coffee or iced tea) filled without me asking for it. Conversely, I'll deduct $0.50 each time I have to ask for normal service. I never punish the servers for bad food. The host better be ready for an earful, though.
 
Mar. 1, 2012 5:36 pm
Just looked at your comment, Chef John and I'm reminded of something I did that was sorta likesomething a butthead would say. The waitress asked,"What can I get for ya, Honey?" My response was, "I hate being called honey or hon. If you can't help it, then I want another server." Her eyes watered up immediately. Apologising after the fact seems like an empty gesture but I tried. She showed me which of the two of us had more class by continuing to wait on me as she did her other customers. After eating I slithered out after leaving a 20.00 tip for a burger and fries.
 
Mar. 1, 2012 6:49 pm
> "$1.00 for keeping my drink (coffee or iced tea) filled without me asking" some times they don't ask and just top off. both me and my wife hate it when they try to push more coffee on us, because we need to adjust the sugar and cream.
 
Mar. 1, 2012 10:14 pm
Perhaps some guidance for anyone considering this honourable career: www.BigWorldSmallBoat.blogspot.com
 
Naan 
Mar. 2, 2012 6:51 am
I think food runners have become more of a restaurant staple because the kitchen doesn't want the food sitting on the pass for ages while the waitress/waiter is at a table taking orders or handling payments. The customer gets their food faster and they can turn tables faster and people are happy; it's all about making money. I know... it's all kind of impersonal, but that's the big chains for you. We almost never eat at chains. Yuck.
 
Mar. 2, 2012 7:13 am
I find that you get the impersonal service at the impersonal chain restaurants so I try to avoid those places at all costs. As to how my tip is split up by the staff, well it's not my issue or problem. I tip on the whole experience. If the service stinks, they get 20% on this bill but they will never see me again. If the service is okay, they will get 20% and will see us again. If the service is friendly and good, they will get more than 20% and we will ask to sit in their section when we return. I'll never stiff anybody. I was a bartender a long time ago.
 
Mar. 2, 2012 7:26 am
I try to tip really well no matter what Most of the time I am probably making up the difference on a table that stiffed. If they are a bad server I still tip because the laws of nature in the business will eliminate the weak just like in the jungle.
 
Mar. 2, 2012 8:14 am
This has been fascinating to read for several of us across 'the pond.' Here, in only the most congenial restaurants might a 'gratuity' be 'anticipated.' The acronym TIP (to ensure promptness) has taken on a rather grisly image over the past two decades. It's an 'understood' among the american psyche, just as having money handed over for even the most innocuous reasons - opening the door, pouring the water, etc. I noted with interest in Manhattan that my Amex receipt, before processing, asked me to insert a 'waiter's gratuity, then I had to tab next to a 'sommelier' gratuity, and finally to a 'table captain's gratuity. Whilst I'm certainly not a prude to the pace of New York, even as sedate an individual that I am, I felt pretty much (figuratively...I think), I felt as if I had a gun to my head. Since childhood I was savvy to the 'coin game' where often a fiver of the change was deliberately left in coin so as to make the diner possibly appear a cheapskate in front of his dinner date. But now as less people use real money, the rules of engagement seem to have changed. Having lived in Australia for years as well, where tips simply don't happen, it's difficult for 'our' psyche to adapt, even by rote action, to the ways of our friends across the water. Indeed, it's always a learning experience and this thread has been quite interesting for me. Thank you for that! Fr B+
 
Mar. 2, 2012 8:39 am
Thank you. And good to hear from our cousins from across the pond. I am assuming from your written diction that you are from the Angle Isle?-Good to hear from you and keep on cooking. I will be in Britain in 2 years maybe we can meet in Piccadilly Square for tea?
 
Mar. 2, 2012 12:56 pm
I was a waitress many years ago at a "supper club" as they were known. Steak house too. I did it all and was proud of my work. I would wait on as many as a party of 20 and it wasn't easy. I received the tip and from there I would tip the bus boy at the end of the night. We helped bus the tables too as well as set them up. I made good money but I earned every penny. Getting to know the customer made the customer feel special and would request to sit at your work station. The good old days.
 
Mar. 2, 2012 2:45 pm
regarding who gets the tip and what split percentage......I honestly don't care. Not my issue. My job is to tip fairly for good service, sparingly for bad. Usually 20%.
 
Mar. 2, 2012 7:53 pm
Gderr is right.....personal service from sassy waitresses is still alive and well when you visit the South. I love that! We go to our fav steak house on the strip where it is old school with well seasoned waiters and old bartenders who call me "doll" Love it! Even in Las vegas, with millions of visitors, they remember us and our drink order:)
 
Lela 
Mar. 3, 2012 3:32 am
My husband and I have a few small restaurants that we like to go to that have great service and this case waiters. What I like best about these particular waiters-they greet you like an old friend and even remember what type of beverage you had the last time you were there. They bring appetizers with more than normal portions and ask-is it the usual today? We talk about their kids, our kids, and of course the weather.
 
gosarahe 
Mar. 3, 2012 7:52 am
Most restaurants have a system for tipping out bar and bussing staff based on a percentage of your sales at the end of the night. The hostesses may get a tip-out as well. You should tip the appropriate percentage for services received, and assume that the server is "tipping out" appropriately. Lots of restaurants have a "Hot food GO" policy, where anyone in the kitchen when the food goes out is expected to get the hot food out to the table immediately- this ensures you get hot food at your table, if your server is waiting on someone else. I don't see anything wrong with this- you can assume your server is doing the same for his or her coworkers.
 
Babbs 
Mar. 3, 2012 8:06 am
You men out there may not agree with me on this one. But what ever happened to the hostesses/waitresses/servers wearing clothes !!! It seams that in the larger chain restaurants, the girls' skirts are getting shorter and shorter, and the girls are thinner and thinner. Went for supper with my co-workers (who happen to be men), and the waitress's skirt was so short, when she was reaching over handing someone their meal, she was holding down her skirt. Even my co-workers felt embarrassed for her !
 
Mar. 3, 2012 9:27 am
I hadn't thought of it, John, but you are so right.... at least 3 people are involved in the process of serving me! That is one of my biggest pet peeves, too, mimosa! JUST BRING MY CHANGE! Don't ask! I also hate when they take my food in the "back" and package it for me! I am quite capable of putting it in the to go box the way I WANT IT! lol Great blog!
 
Mar. 3, 2012 9:53 am
I have done quite a bit of watiressing myself and although most of the jobs I had I did everything from greeting at the door to busing my tables afterwards I did have a few where we had dedicated hostesses, runners, bus boy etc. I greatly prefer the jobs where I took care of my patrons from beginning to the end of their meal, I did find it to be more personal and likely a better experience for the dinner (I know I liked to be served by one person not an army). Working with lots of support staff does have its benefits though and I assure you they all get tipped. The way in works in most restaurants is that your support staff (including the cooks) all get a percentage of your total food sales. So at the end of the day when you get your cash out slip that says you sold XX amount of food you give out the percentages of that to the appropriate help (every job is assigned a different percentage). This is good for them in that they are guarenteed a set percentage of sales. It is less good for the server sometimes, she gets whatever percentage the customer deams she is worth, whether thats 15, 10 or nothing. But the help staff, even if they did a miserable job (likely resulting in the server getting a dreadful tip) get a standard percentage that comes out of the servers tips.
 
Mar. 3, 2012 10:16 am
You tip one person: YOUR SERVER! Unfortunately, it is their responsibility to tip everyone else that helped serve your table. Their help allows your server to multi-task, & service more tables at one time. So, please keep that in mind at tip time. Fifteen percent don't cut it anymore.
 
Mar. 3, 2012 3:52 pm
I had started to say that I hadn't had much experience with so many people serving me, but it seems that after reading the comments, that's become very popular with the chain restaurants, which I tend to avoid. We don't visit restaurants very often, but we stick to the local ones when we do. I tip well for good service (25% usually) and will tip 20% for bad, but I'll either speak with the manager before I leave or I won't ever be back. Fortunately, we very rarely experience that. And Babbs has a great point...female servers and hostesses, especially in the "trendy" or chain places tend to wear very little it seems!
 
Mar. 3, 2012 4:05 pm
We used to go to this Asian buffet for almost every special occasion, birthdays, etc., and they remodeled it into a really good restaurant. They gave us free sorbet and oranges at the end of the meal...awesome waiters/waitresses.
 
Mar. 3, 2012 4:41 pm
Which brings me back to the original question-What happened to having the one waitress. Back in the day the seem to be able to do the job no matter how busy it got. I havce heard a lot of reasons why there is more help, but what happened to singular great service?
 
MISSDARCY 
Mar. 3, 2012 5:45 pm
How about when the person who comes to take your order mere seconds after your tush hits the chair says, "Do you need more time?" Now you are torn between saying yes (so you can figure out what you want) or risking not seeing them again until you're faint from hunger. "More time" does not mean 20+ minutes! (Still, if you can afford to go out, please count yourself lucky. These days our big night out consists of a trip across town for bake-it-yourself pizza from Sam's Club . . . good thing it's so yummy!)
 
MISSDARCY 
Mar. 3, 2012 5:52 pm
And since the "across the pond" difference has been raised, folks from across the pond, when you do visit the U.S., please do tip! I understand it's a cultural difference, but not only is it unfair to the wait staff who depend on the $, it's also really uncomfortable for any Americans (say, your daughter-in-law!) who are with you when you insist that you don't need to leave one!
 
Mar. 3, 2012 6:40 pm
I dont like waitressess who insist on table vulturing....they take your plate when there is still food on it.
 
Mar. 3, 2012 7:06 pm
I think I am a rare one here. I don't want a personal conversation or to be bothered by the person bringing me my food! I don't care about your life story, I don't care how low your being paid, and I don't care about your home life. I have waitressed, so I am not totally oblivious to the hard work and low pay of all restaurant workers. I eat out about 2 times a month and when I do I try to go to fine dining or a good mom and pop bbq retaurant. The fine dining do have more workers at the table and I love it. They keep the table clean, the drinks full, and the food comes out hot. I don't get the nostalgia of the one female waitress? I always hated being waited on an exhausted mom or grandma, the bright red nail polish scared me and I was always afraid it was in my food, and the amount of aqua net in their hair was so much I thought I it was perfuming my food. The food also sat for so long, because they were so busy it was cold. I am actually happy with the way it is now. I felt bad when those tired woman waited on me. Yes, I know I am in the minority on this. Please, I am grown do not call me sugar, sweetie, or any of those names that only your loved ones or children should be called.
 
Mar. 3, 2012 7:08 pm
Sorry, men. :( However, I do agree, what is up with these short skirts at these restaurants. At one of my favorite places, I noticed they started making the servers wear black hose with the black skirts. I was so happy for that change! The nude hosiery looked a little.....well out of place for a dining establishment.
 
Mar. 4, 2012 6:57 am
I wish all restuarants are like the old days. The other night, went out with the family for dinner. We had a hostess who sat us, server who took drink and meal orders .Another who brought the meal.Same server returned to ask if everyhting was okay and brought the bill. So we had 3 people serve us.Not bad. We have been to places where up to 6 people served you. We tip once and usually 20% of the bill is more than enough. OH How I wish there were more dinner type eateries around. I love that kind of service.Friendly and very personal.
 
lovetocookformandz 
Mar. 4, 2012 9:04 am
The local fine dining restaurant we frequent, not a chain, follows this rule: Whichever server is in the kitchen when the food comes up runs it out. The food ticket has the table # and the customers position # so any server can deliver the plate to the correct person. The chef wants the food taken out as soon as it hits the line. Hot. It doesn't matter who delivers my order as long as it is delicious and correct.
 
Mar. 4, 2012 11:46 am
Exactly as Doug Matthews said. If you're looking for that 60 year old waitress, she is probably now the owner.
 
margorie 
Mar. 4, 2012 12:23 pm
you are obviously going to the wrong restaurants. tip out os something practived in the greater majority of restaurants, it comes from serevrs and/or bartenders, often bartenders recieve it in some instances have to pay it, and is distrubted amongst the 'support staff'. support staff consists os hosts/hostesses, buspeople, cooks, sometimes management. some restaurants take a % for breakage, not many. tip out can be dispersed by hours worked throuogh the week, or nightly based on that nights sales. servers can tip out up to 5% of their sales, at a grand a night that is 50 bucks, adds up through a 5 shift week. a side note, servers are not responsible for any increase in labour costs, the exact opposite in face, they make LESS than minimum wage almost everywhere. i have worked with cooks who make over 200$ a week in tip out and make 20 bucks an hour and work ALOT. restaurants are like a living thing, you need all the parts to be working to survive. some departments can make up for others for awhile but not forever.
 
SNUGOO 
Mar. 4, 2012 4:28 pm
I work in an establishment that our batenders/waitresses are useless.They find it more important to fill a drink then bring out hot food.I`ve actually had food brought back to me saying the costumers complained it was cold,really,funny it didn`t come off the grill cold!!!They do not go back and check on the patrons and see if they need anything only to see if their tip is ready.My family owned a restaurant business and my father would have fired these people on the spot.Our front people walk out with more money thean the people who deserve it.Our bartenders walk out with or close to 100.00 on early shift and night shift 200.00, and all they got for them was a drink or two as I plated dinners for all these people and walked out with 50.00.Tips meant To Insure Proper Service,if waitresses were paid only by tips maybe service would be better.And please don`t forget to tip the kitchen help,they deserve it the most!!!
 
foodie243 
Mar. 4, 2012 5:29 pm
As a server, I work at a restaurant that has hosts and bussers. I STILL am not able to move fast enough for some of my incredibly snotty guests. And don't assume that you are not one of those snotty guests. Explain to me how a server is supposed to simultaneously be seating a guest, getting another guest a drink refill, while running food for a third table, and getting a dessert order for a fourth table? It's not physically possible. And the reason why a server that is not the one that took your order might bring your food to you, is so that you can get your food sooner, while it is still hot. Before you start critiquing the food service industry, I dare you to spend two weeks in a server's shoes and then you will understand why there are bussers, and hosts, and you would realize that the "days of yore" never existed. Quit complaining that you get better service and appreciate the improvements.
 
Puck 
Mar. 4, 2012 9:11 pm
I worked as a hostess for a couple years. Often, it was my experience that I was looked a bit down on by the waitstaff...they seemed to think my job was a piece of cake in comparison to theirs. But, man, is that not the case at all! If we were slammed, I would run drinks or bus tables, but that was not supposed to be my job. My job was strictly to coordinate the dining room, trying not to over book one server, seat customers and give them their menus. And, of course, try to appease customers when the wait was long. When we were slow, I would help the waitstaff with their side work, rolling silverwear, etc. I worked hard and proved myself, but if a server continued to look down his/her nose at me- guess who got the least tables and therefore the least amount of tips. Oh, and not one time ever did any of them ever share their tips with me...but I was okay with that.
 
waitress 186 
Mar. 5, 2012 8:17 am
WOW...i soo agree with foodie243! please walk in my shoes for two weeks...i would say 2 months! this is my job, and i do a good job at it. no i dont know your name...but when you come in to the restaurant 5 times, i only waited on you 1 of those times and never seen you again! people, are rude, needy, demanding, greedy, inconciderate of others, picky, hard as hell to please, usually comes in with an attitude, and TIP LIKE ABSOLUTE ! if you dont wanna tip your waitress then dont come sit down and eat! you chose to go into someones place of employment and sat your unhappy cheap at their table, ordered up the menu, ran your server, bus boy, hostess, and manager all night and still complained! not to mention, you ordered soo much that you dont have enuff money to tip accordingly! jus because its free refills dont mean you should drink 5 glasses in less then 3 minutes!!! and SNUGOO the cook..have you ever thought that because the food gets done at different times...sits and waits for the rest to get don(getting cold), plates get put together,(food getting colder), specials on the plates, (still getting colder) that maybe ALL THOSE THINGS CONTRIBUTE TO "COLD" FOOD...or maybe its just that these people was on there phone when the food came, and waited before they touched it, and thats why its cold?? maybe...jus maybe!
 
waitress 186 
Mar. 5, 2012 8:26 am
and as far as us "useless" waitresses go..when i approach your table acknowledge i am there and give me your attention or dont bitch about me being "too busy" to get back to your table when you finally decide to get off your phone! and snugoo..you plate up the food and get an hourly rate..i have to deal with, baby, and keep these customers happy while you are doing so sooo perfectly! BUUUT...i appreciate every position in the restaurant...quit putting us down. i bet you couldnt deal with these people, keep your cool, continue on to the next table while you are frustrated, pissed off at your other table, busy while mentally and physically tired!
 
waitress 186 
Mar. 5, 2012 8:37 am
PRETTY MUCH..if you dont know how to tip..ASK A SERVER or STAY HOME! if you want a "cheers" experience GO TO A SMALL BAR or ASK FOR YOUR PREVIOUS SERVER EVERYTIME YOU COME IN(but you probably dont know their names because you didnt care enuff to remember it). if you have an attitude before you sit down..KEEP IT "YOUR" ATTITUDE CUS YOU SAT AT MY TABLE or JUS STAY HOME! if you are impossible to please COOK YOUR OWN FOOD AT HOME...if you have kids DONT LET THEM CRUMBLE FOOD ALL OVER THE TABLE AND FLOOR, KEEP ALL UTENSILS AWAY AND TAME THEM WILD THINGS BEFORE YOU COME OUT (or take them in the bathroom, whoop they , and sit back down calmly, i promise i wont call the cops). and if your food is always cold DONT ORDER SO MUCH ooorrr EAT FAST AS HELL oooooooorrrrr again imma say it..STAY HOME! and remember my hard to please, ungrateful, demanding, complaining peoples..this is our job, if you dont want to tip generously you can...well..STAY HOME AND MAKE US ALL A LIL HAPPIER!!!!
 
Mar. 5, 2012 10:50 am
Some of my pet peeves, whether in a fancy restaurant or a chain: they're servers nowadays, not waiters and waitresses (I hate the unisex term); they ask me what *we* are having (I say I don't know what they doing, but *I'm* having the fish); some of them sit down next to me to take my order (excuse me, but if you're not paying, get out of my booth!); they ask if I need change when I pay the bill (angling for a bigger tip ensures I'll leave a smaller one than my usual 25%). Those are just some of the reasons I tend to eat at home most of the time!
 
Mar. 5, 2012 10:51 am
*I don't know what they're doing*
 
Mar. 5, 2012 12:54 pm
25% tip( steep) I thought it was around 15% we are sick of tipping as we find everywhere you go there is jar waitng for money! ice cream stores,coffee houses--what do these peple get paid anyway - isn't it minimal wage? It does seem a person gets bad service most places now !!! I guess that is why we seldom eat out anymore unless a special occasion and last Nov we had identidy stolen from credit card - we are pretty sure it was the our waiter-- never let cards out of sight and from now on we pay up front desk not at table... I agree why can't olive garden serve a nice wheat artisan bread - instead of white doughy breadsticks???? ha
 
Mar. 5, 2012 1:07 pm
I was a cook for several years and then a waitress when I realized how much more money I could make. It's not easy - talk about multi-tasking and organization! At one of the first tables I ever served I spilled 20 oz. of ice water right into a man's lap! And it was a booth so he couldn't jump out of the way quickly. Luckily they lived really close-by so he ran home and changed and I gave them free salad bars and a BIG apology. They were very, very nice about it and even left a tip. I suppose ice water is better than burning someone but I really felt terrible. It was 30 years ago and I can still tell you what booth it was!
 
HJKlingm 
Mar. 5, 2012 2:38 pm
I've done a bit of waitressing in my years, but nothing formal. Most of the places I've worked (regional chains or dock bars) the cook staff were never tipped (they were salaried), the food runners were normally the manager on duty (again, salary, and rarely tipped at all), and we bussed our own tables. We didn't typically tip the dishwashers unless we had an insane night and they handled it with aplomb, and then we would tip without resentment at being asked to do so, because frankly, they worked their butts off. We typically had a set of bartenders, and one would tend to end up making drinks for the servers. I don't recall tipping out bartenders, but I probably did. Even if it wasn't expected, if they were making lots of weird drinks, or blender drinks (the bane of my existence as a bartender), or were just generally making a LOT of stuff for me, I'd hand over something at the end of the night. When I was bartending, the restaurant owner actually paid me minimum wage because the place was slow enough to warrant it, so I didn't expect to be tipped out by the servers. Unless of course, they were asking for grasshoppers left and right...we used real ice cream in the drink. Have you ever tried to get ice cream smooth in a blender? I'd never go back to it again, ha ha! Also, in most situations where I spent time as a hostess or worked with them, unless it was really busy I didn't tip them out. If it was really busy, they tended to chip in to help bus tables and do cleanup. If they helped me, I had some cash for them at the end of the night. (and yes, everyone's observations about the rising hemlines are correct! I'd have a hard time showing so much leg, because everywhere I've ever worked moving tables for myself was a definite possibility on ANY night---my outfit would need to be functional and frankly, I'm just not that voyeuristic.) I don't tend to end up in nice digs all that often, so consider the source, but I wouldn't tip a hostess unless I showed up at the door with 20 people and no reservation, and they got the party seated with a minimum of hassle (moving tables, corralling servers, and generally being pleasant to me, despite how rude I'd be for not calling ahead with a group that large.) The tipping structure will be different everywhere you go, but as far as I'm concerned (I've never even BEEN anywhere with a sommelier, pity)...you're responsible for tipping the server, and if someone else has assisted you in an exception fashion, give them a bit personally, and tell them why. They'll appreciate the thank you more than the money.
 
FLFisherLady 
Mar. 5, 2012 3:44 pm
I've worked in places that do things the old way and some the new way. A good restaurant will have a system in place to place the food in front of the person that ordered it. One of the better places I've worked for had hostesses, busers and bartenders that earned a % of our tips based on sales. I would tip out extra if they helped me more than the norm. But I was a huge fan of running food for everyone. If I got sat two tables at once and the third table was busy or I was administering refills or prebussing appetizer plates, I didn't have to worry about my food getting cold. The waitstaff all ran each other's food. I also made sure that if I was walking by a table that wasn't mine who needed refills of water or tea and I noticed it and I had the pitcher, I refilled it. I also cleared plates on other tables on my way back to the kitchen. If someone was looking for their waitress and I noticed them looking around, I didn't just get offer to get her, I asked what they needed. If I couldn't find her right away, I tried to fulfill the need. If I ran someone elses food...I treated the table like my own and asked if they needed anything else (condiments, etc) and tried to hand it off to their waitress to follow up on the order or if not, I delivered it myself. If you had lemon with your tea and I noted you squeezed it, I brought out lemon with the refill. If a restaurant has a good system in place, this works well and every waitperson helps the other out...the winner is the customer. I've worked with people like waitress186 who had bad attitudes and frankly, should stay home themselves. Foodie, the days of yore as you put it...they did exist and sadly, their is an attitude amonst some in the business today that think they are doing customers a FAVOR. How about paying attention to customers' needs and being a little proactive ladies? I spent over 6 years in the business as a waitress and 4 as a manager...so I get it. Tips should be earned, not expected. My husband I love to tip well when we dine out and we are sympathetic if we see our waitress doing the best she can and service is not top notch but she or he tries hard. We have even spoken up when some customer is out of hand...rarely does this happen, but trust me, smile and be gracious to the next, you might get a little extra from those that admire your grace under pressure. And not only do we tip standard 20%, if the person was attentive and better than average, we tip more and we compliment them to the manager.
 
Mar. 5, 2012 5:41 pm
Waitress186 is the reason people get poor service. please let us all know where you work so we can avoid what is sure to be a miserable dining experience. "if your food is cold don't order so much" are you kidding? "Eat faster" Does your employer know your opinion on these matters? Waitstaff like Server186 needs a different job. You write that customers should remember the servers name but not the other way around If you don't like children, WORK AT A SENIOR HOME. Where do you work again?
 
Mar. 5, 2012 6:08 pm
Here is 2 cents from someone with 6 years serving experience. Back in the day maybe the rude customers got slow service. In modern day America, if the the rude or overly-demanding customers don't get what THEY THINK is great service they get their meal comped and a generous gift card to dine again and we servers get a crappy 10% tip on their comped bill and written up or fired. Because of that, servers must work hard to make sure these type of customers are satisfied. That means the service might suffer for other restaurant guests that the waiter/waitress is serving. That is why service isn't what it use to be and will never be that way again. Businesses care a lot about what the ignorant, impolite customer thinks and will do anything to please them....including hiring an army of staff to try to accommodate impatient people faster. This hopefully prevents low ratings on their surveys that makes their restaurant look poor to corporate management. Oh, and I work at one of those chain restaurants...and it's basically bagged freezer food heated up to your liking. Enjoy tonight for the inflated price of $17.95. Just my two cents.
 
Mar. 5, 2012 9:53 pm
I agree...I've worked as a waitress when we had to keep the customer AND the bartender AND the chef happy. We had to keep track of how long it took the customer to eat the appetizer, we didn't turn in/deliver the app, salad, meal, etc, all at once.
 
Mar. 5, 2012 9:55 pm
And if SOMEONE doesn't refill my water glass when it's empty, I will add 10% to the check (if everything else was okay) instead of 15%. And why do some restaurants (fewer now than before) serve an eight ounce glass of water and a 32-oz glass of pop or tea? Hint: I'm a water drinker; I drink LOTS of water.
 
Mar. 5, 2012 10:05 pm
Once I was in a restaurant and a couple at another table...well, they were being impossible and not politely or quietly. Our server was doing the best he could; they were so demanding. We did not get great service, but I know the server was doing the best he could. He almost looked guilty and apologetic when he came to our table. Anyway, we felt that these other customers were so obnoxious. Really, I've never witnessed such behavior. So when the server brought our check, we went on and on, in a voice we felt could be heard (but not yelling), about how great the food was, how great the service was. I was really glad we did that. I still remember the look on the server's face. At first he just said thanks, but as we kept going on and on, he started grinning, and then pretty soon, he was trying real hard not to laugh out loud. We also stopped and spoke to the manager on the way out and told him to disregard any complaints he got today about our server.
 
Mar. 6, 2012 12:27 am
OMG!!!!!! I live far away, from all the waitressing and tipping issues and in a simple life,but reading waitress 186 comments scared me,if that is how she writes ,how would she be reacting in real life, I am glad that i stayed home like she said:))))) but what perplexes me is the role of the owner of the restaurant,isn't s/he intersted in repute of restaurant,why is it only about waitresses and tips? not like the waitress owns the restaurant to make ppl stay at home:((((
 
Puck 
Mar. 6, 2012 1:28 am
I dealt with what I thought was a hilarious outburst (almost as childish as waitress186's above) on the other side. I worked in a coffee shop in a shopping mall (a job I LOVED! Free, expensive coffee all day- yes sir!). It was when Dawson's Creek was a popular show. And Katie Holmes came in for coffee. I had not (and still have not) ever seen that show, and I had NO CLUE who she was. Everyone else was falling all over themselves, and I hadn't any idea what was going on, so I took, and proceeded to make, the orders for her and her entire entourage. Not one of my co-workers lent a hand, as they were too busy snapping photos, etc. When it was all said and done, Katie pulled open her purse and tipped everyone with a $100 bill EACH. Everyone except me. She got real close up to my face and said "I guess you regret not knowing who the F*** I am now, don't you?" and walked off! Haha! What a doofus! And I STILL don't have a single regret for not having any idea who she was...she proved she was no one I would ever waste my time on, other than to serve like I would have any other customer!
 
Elle 
Mar. 6, 2012 4:23 am
Guess I'm living in the right part of the country! We are seated by a hostess, served by our waitress, and the table is bussed by someone other than our waitress (think-they're taking someone else's dirty dishes, picking up that dirty flatware, then bringing you your nice, fresh plate...do you see any alcohol dispensers or sinks?) I've never had really bad food, never had a really bad waitress. If they're busy, we settle in to wait or go elsewhere. We usually tip 20%, 25% for really good service or if we know of a financial need (death or major illness in the family). We believe, and I taught my children, that if you can't afford to tip, you can't afford to eat out. We eat at chains when we travel, but enjoy local "joints" at home. The wait staff doesn't call me "hon" or "doll", and I'd be insulted if they did. If I leave my purse, they call my house (well, when I had a house phone--now they call my sister). If my car won't start or I'm stuck on ice, they'll find someone to help. Other than telling them, the best way I can let them know I appreciate them is to give them my business by returning time and time again.
 
Jeanie P 
Mar. 6, 2012 7:09 am
well if you go to a diner Im pretty sure you will still find that old lady with the whiskey voice and surly attitude. However, if you are getting everything you need Im not really sure what your problem is. Are you going out to eat because you want to be relieved of the stress of preparing your own food and cleaning up your own mess? Or are you going out to eat because you want 1 single solitary person to wait on your every need and entertain you while she's at it? I think its pretty self absorbed to be annoyed that your food isn't delivered by the person that took your order. If your server isn't available to deliver your food it is probably because they are tending to someone else's needs or taking another order. Would you rather your food sit in the window until your server gets a chance to bring it out to you? Or, your majesty, is it okay for one of the food runners (since that is their position) to bring your food out? As for there being multiple positions in a restaurant i.e. bussers, hosts, bartenders, food runners, they are all tipped out. All these positions are in place to make sure that when you go out to eat you go to a clean restaurant, you get greeted and brought to a table, you are informed of the drinks and specials, you have someone to take and place your order, there is someone to bring you your food and refill your drinks, then there is someone to clean your mess when you leave, and all you have to do is read a menu and sit there like a king. So maybe if it's a show you're looking for you should buy tickets to an attraction rather than relying on a your server to "dance monkey dance."
 
Michelle L 
Mar. 6, 2012 8:08 am
What happened to waitresses? Look at the average age of servers. A clueless 18 year old is not able to handle what a seasoned "old school" waitress can. But they make the same money? Serving minimum wage, as many on here know, is $2.13 an hour, and I know that I never see that 2.13. Taxes on credit card tips come out of it, and I get zero paychecks every week. Not a biggie, since my tips are awesome. Family owned restaurants are the way to go if you want personal service. The next generation might learn how to serve with a smile, but not in a corporate restaurant. In fact, the training I received from my "regulars" has far surpassed what I was taught at my first (corporate) waiting job, even though I made it to certified trainer there. Waitresses are still out there, you just have to look harder for them. They are usually in restaurants that care more about the customers than the bottom line.
 
Michelle L 
Mar. 6, 2012 8:10 am
Just a disclaimer here. Not all 18 year olds are clueless, but they tend to be less experienced. I was really noticing the lack of experience, not age.
 
Mar. 6, 2012 8:14 am
The rants above by current waitresses are alarming. I waited tables and bartended all through college and after graduation (to pay off student loans) for almost a total of 15 years. I am a minimum of a 20% and if we go to a happy hour dinner, I tip larger because the prices and resulting total is so much cheaper......and they work just as hard serving. That being said, I like friendly service wherever we go. I am friendly and understanding and I expect the same from my servers. I NEVER offered anything less to my customers. I try to give someone the benefit of a doubt, not knowing what kind of stress the worker is suffering. Like many jobs, the war stories shared among colleagues and family are the great stress reliever we all need. To let that anger well up and take it out on customers (rude or not) is counter productive to a happy work life. Don't get me wrong, there is a certain level of behavior that customers should abide by, but I have always subscribed to "kill em with kindness". It works 99% of the time. Thanks for the service all.... I truly appreciate service workers and the hard and demanding work they do everyday.
 
SNUGOO 
Mar. 6, 2012 12:11 pm
Listen waitress 186,I`ve plated my food appropiatly(for people like you "at the same time").I`ve got tired of waiting and delivered the food MYSELF AND got them their drinks because our waitresses were "busy" texting on their phones.I`ve always looked at my waitress in the eye when I ordered, if you read my input you would have read my family had owned a restaurant and my Grandmother had owned a bar in the good old days that served food and ale.So I DO know what I`m talking about.I`ve been "in the business" since I was born and I do mean that.When I was 6 I was rolling silverware,putting napkins and silverware on the table when we catered,making bishop hats,By the way you view this point I know I can run rings around you on my worst day.
 
blugrl 
Mar. 6, 2012 12:37 pm
A huge "Thank You" to most of you that recognize the hard work me and my fellow servers do. I've been waiting tables for 22 years and raised my daughter by myself on that income. I love the service industry but, I have to tell you the public is not easy to deal with. If you are grumpy, fighting, bitchy or just a straight up a jerk please dont go out to eat. My job is to be friendly and efficent. Your nasty attitude does not help me with executing my position. Have you ever gone to dinner with someone who complains about everything? (if you have'nt then that person is you). I deal with those people everday I go to work. Its hard to be kind and helpful to miserable people. When your in a BUSY restaurant and see the server running around, working hard please be patient. At times I'll have 5 tables, taking care of 20-25 people at a time. You do the math 1 of me and 20 of you with all different personalities and different needs. Please be nice to your server, we have bad days too. Oh, and anyone who tips less than 15% please stay home!!!!
 
blugrl 
Mar. 6, 2012 12:51 pm
One more thing If I ask you "Do you need change?" All it means is do you need change, do I need to pull out my bank and give change to you or can I wish you a "Have a nice evening..be safe". Please stop reading into something thats not there.
 
Rebecca A 
Mar. 6, 2012 1:27 pm
blugirl- I agree with most of what you said except the "do you need change." Even if you don't mean "are you giving me the change?" there are customers who will read it that way. Unless the customer volunteers that they don't need any change (what I normally do- and my husband and I normally tip around 25%) bring it to them and let them make the decision from there.
 
Mar. 6, 2012 3:26 pm
Everyone that goes out to eat or drink at a bar should be required to have worked in the service industry at some point..... Then the world would be a better place. :)
 
Mar. 6, 2012 3:51 pm
I am always amazed when I ask a generic question about something that personal attacks eminate into the discussion. Please be nice and respectful of each other-I was just asking a question about something that was more or less common place in the 70's I guess, now it is different, I still remember the Album cover (an album is a really big CD)that featured a waitress that we are talking about-Breakfast in America by Supertramp. Great album and great nostalgia. Keep it clean and nice-no one is better than anyone else.
 
Mar. 6, 2012 3:56 pm
LOVE "Take the Long Way Home." Great blog, chefjohn.
 
Mar. 6, 2012 5:29 pm
my pet peeve these days is that during the meal ALL of these people come by to ask if everything is okay. After the third time we jus say "yes, everything is STILL okay"
 
Mar. 6, 2012 6:38 pm
I agree with everything you said - Its sad how everything has changed.Do you remember the gas stations that filled your gas and washed your windows and checked your oil. well I think waitresses now a days are lazy and just want the tip - its all about the money
 
Mar. 6, 2012 11:38 pm
Great blog, chefjohn. It is amazing the type of responses you have gotten. Very entertaining. Almost like a restaurant setting, really. You cannot control who comes in, or what they do. Reading this reminds me of when I worked in the service industry. 20 plus years in some fabulous places. From Comedy clubs, to Private Golf resorts. You can sort the responses into Patrons. Some of them are a delight to see and wait on, others are the ones where you find your waitstaff hunkered in a bathroom stall or broom closet in order to NOT get that table.Some folks (usually the one that don't go out to eat too much) feel as though when they do go out, the server is only there to be their slave. And some folks, (the ones that get the best service) are a joy. If only there were more Maui girls and gderrs in this world. I'm with you on the concept of the old time diner style waitress. Being called Honey, or Sweetie, or Dear is fine with me. I like people, and being kind is always a good thing. We do not frequent places that 'have a person' for everything. To some folks fine dining is Appleby's. And that's fine, just not for us. I love the album too, and in fact own it. Thank you, for the crazy good blog.
 
TexasFine 
Mar. 7, 2012 12:23 am
After reading all the comments, I would like to add my observation. I believe that a big part of the unsatisfactory service in restaurants has more to do with management than the waitstaff, hostess, servers, etc. I know that in the general workforce, employees are supposed to work harder to pick up the slack, left behind by downsizing. While I never worked in a restaurant, I wouldn't be surprised if the restaurant staff isn't facing the same challenges. A poor attitude is never acceptable no matter what business you are in, and when you are miserable with your job, it most likely is time to find something else. But maybe giving the benefit of the doubt and tipping appropriately would be a more gracious approach when you know someone is trying to make your experience a positive one.
 
Mar. 7, 2012 4:47 am
Well said, Rebecca A! Since we are generous tippers, it is annoying to put down three $20.00 bills for a $42.00 meal and have the waitress ask if we need change. Really?? An $11.00 tip isn't enough? (More if the service was really good.) When we have the exact amount, including tip, we say, "Thanks, but we're good here" to let the waitress know we don't need change. If not, bring us our change and we'll leave the tip from that, rounding UP to the next dollar amount instead of leaving any coins.
 
Laura 
Mar. 7, 2012 6:27 am
When I was pregnant the morning sickness would get so bad that I couldn't eat or drink ANYTHING until I gave my body what it craved. Turns out that Mexican food is my cure-all (still works five years later for non-pregnancy related ills!) and so my husband and I would go to a little restaurant about twice a week. It wasn't doing so well financially (great food, but in a less than convenient location so few people knew about it) so I was never waited on by anyone but the ONE server. I think there were two or three at the time, but this guy ALWAYS made sure to take care of us. He knew our drinks, what dinners we wanted, and made the best small talk. This is the one place that has ever broken the 20% tip barrier for me. And in this small restaurant you could easily see the goings on in the kitchen. There was only ever ONE person cooking -- the owner. It's no surprise that this place was close to going under but has survived these five years when the regular customers rallied and recommended it to all of their friends
 
Laura 
Mar. 7, 2012 6:40 am
Also, to blugrl, I work in customer service, albeit a different branch of it, and I'll admit that some customers are cheap, rude and inconsiderate. But at the same time you should also be looking back at those sub-par tip occasions and asking yourself "what could I have done better?" There's always room for improvement, even if the customer really WAS one of those people.
 
waitress 186 
Mar. 7, 2012 7:32 am
to everyone that thinks i hate my job..i dont! i love it and left and came back!! my problem isnt with the job its with everybody who bitches about us. yes we only make 2.13/hr and live off tips. we tip out bartenders and bussers (who gets paid hourly for their position!) everyones opinions of the worthless waitress is accepted but when the waitress defends its because of a poor attitude! best believe when i am at my tables i show respect and take care of them to my best ability...HOWEVER..was jus pointing out my "pet pieves". i ask if you need change most of the time when i am busy to know if i should take that extra time to get change them the change they need! jus as you have complaints so do we! not every server is on the phone texting...that annoys me to when i am running their food to the table "auctioning off" their food! maybe what the way i said what i said was rude...but hey...dont dish it if you cant take it..lol...sometimes talkin mess is the only way to get thru the day! what i said is exactly what those old ladies you miss so much said and are still saying when they walk away from "those" tables i was talking about :)
 
waitress 186 
Mar. 7, 2012 7:40 am
ooo and snugoo...see how defensive you got when i stated my opinion...that is the exact reason i bitched the way i did :) we would never know who could run rings around who...but like i said earlier..which maybe you didnt read because of your focus on my negative comments :)...was i appreciate eveyone in the business and the guest as well. jus putting the underdogs up to bat for once!
 
Mar. 7, 2012 8:29 am
My husband and I rarely eat out, we prefer to eat at home. But the last time we did was a couple of weeks ago with my in-laws, there were 6 of us all together and we had one waitress through the entire meal who managed to bring out all of our meals at one time! I was fascinated, she had them all precariously balanced up her arm to her shoulder. She handed out each meal correctly and was attentive but not overly so. But I must say, on the rare occasions my husband and I do eat out we prefer a different experience than my in-laws, we will usually order a drink and linger for a while before eating. We also prefer eating in the bar area where we can have only appetizers and not feel rushed. My in-laws aren't drinkers so are more apt to want their food quickly. I really, for the most part, have had good waitress/waiter experiences but I am always polite and my husband is the same. Please and thank you's make a big difference:)
 
ANGEL 
Mar. 7, 2012 9:04 am
I do wait tables and have alot of regular guest request to sit with me . Yet there alot of folks out there that expect way too much for litle to nothing. I wonder if they even know that most servers only get $2.13 an hour pay for there jobs as servers that pays for taxes on those tips they are supposed to make and alot of restaurants make servers claim 17 % of their sales no matter what and think if you say you didnt make that much you apparently suck . Therefore they work for their tips and alot of them do have to tip out others. Even tho greeters and bussers are making a normal min wadge amount. Some guest think its ok to leave $1. for a family of four or more even though their kids destroyed the area and the server is left to clean it up ... I'm not saying all is like that but I have experienced it more than I would like ... The other day I waited on an elderly woman whom I let order from the kids menu paid exact change $4.26 for her bill as she had me stop as she counted it out diging from several areas of her wallet ,then before she left she stopped me again and pulled out her wallet to leave me something for being so nice and thoughtful and taking such great care of her and stated she would ask for me next time then she dug out two dimes and a nickle ... I smiled and thanked her graciously and will enjoy waiting on her again not for the tip obviously but she was the cutest old lady ever and she didnt leave a mess she is just clueless and back in her day 25 cents was a good tip she may have alsheim.. or something I always try to treat all my guest the same but if you bring you family out often and tke advantage of my good nature carma will bite you in the arse adventually.......And to all those great tippers out there god bless you !!! Waiting tables is a tough yet rewarding job and it does take skills to put up with certain folks ... See Ya Sweety !!!
 
Mar. 7, 2012 11:01 am
waitresses most certainly do not get minnimum wage. here in northwest arkansas minnimum wage for a waitress is $3 an hour. thats it. say you are lucky enough to get 40 hours (rare) thats only 120 before taxes. what the hell can you do on 120 a week? without that tip we cant survive. after tipping the busboy, paying for dropped food or broken plates, its hard. i happen to be lucky enough to live in a small town and work at several of the restaurants. i am that waitress that has your drink on the table when you pull up and the cook preparing your meal as you walk in the door. i know your name i know your family i know how much attention you want. it is my job to remember my customers. i live in a town of about 3000 and i have waited on most. and i could at the least tell you what everyone of them will have to drink. i work very hard for that tip. it really hurts when you get someone who doesnt believe in tipping but doesnt know what youre being paid. i hate seeing girls ask for tips, whether bluntly or otherwise and you never discuss how much you make with a customer. 1 its not their business, 2 they came out to eat to get away from depressing reality, not be brought down by yours.
 
TICKLES892 
Mar. 7, 2012 12:20 pm
I am currently a Server. I have had many occupations (including Restaurant Manager) but prefer Serving. I am one of those Servers you speak of. I went back to Serving because I LOVE serving. I have been at my new employment for a month now and I have regular Guests who come in and ask for my section. I enjoy the "getting to know you" aspect of serving. Giving a hard time to some of the guests. They know it is joking and makes them feel "at home".I agree that it is hard when you have several people attending your table. I prefer to be the main person at my tables to make sure that their experience is great. Hosts usually become a Server. It is a great way for them to build confidence without having the responsibility of the service. "does that make sense?"
 
Robyn 
Mar. 7, 2012 12:20 pm
I am a waitress and I do all the things you described, from seating to cleaning. I believe thats how it should be. I have worked in places like you described and you tip out the hosts/bartenders and thats it. Some places its automatically taken from your total sales and then the managers divide it, other places you are trusted to tip accordingly. I take pride in being a good server and like to do it all myself. I also take note of who ordered what and always serve ladies first!!! Also never say how are you guys doing when women are in the group, always say how are you folks doing today, tonight ect. Serving is a lost art. I'm only 35 and I know this. Good blog!!!
 
Mar. 7, 2012 12:27 pm
I've noticed a change in customer service just about everywhere, to include restaurants and retail stores. In public situations, you will always find a rude person here and there, but as the employee, I feel they have a job to offer the best service possible. I find in states that pay waitstaff minimum wage plus tips, the service isn't as good as states that pay waitstaff a lower wage and they rely more on tips. It really shows that they work for their tips. Those old-school waitresses are still out there, they have just been diluted with all the other types of service styles. When I dine out, I get frustrated when I feel forgotten about. If the service isn't good, I tip 10%, if the service is average 20%, very good service 25% and occasionally we get wowed and tip higher. My husband worked as a server and then a bartender for several years so he is very critical when we eat out. We had Valentine's reservations at the golf course restaurant and they were super busy even thought it was reservations-only. The clearly-overwhelmed hostess seated us after we stood at the podium for 6 minutes and gave us our menus without saying much, then it took another 12 whole minutes before a server brought us water and took a drink order. As she poured our waters, my husband very matter-of-factly yet politely told her it was not acceptable to have taken 12 minutes to acknowledge us. It was clearly busy but it only takes a few seconds to stop by with water and say "we are really busy and I apologize if it takes a little while for me to come back and take your order." Well, she seemed a little put off but took our drink and app orders and left. When she returned, she was super-pleasant and apologetic. She said she would comp our drinks and apologized that our appetizer may take a few minutes longer than expected. She was very nice the rest of the time and my husband left her a very generous tip, plus enough to cover the comped drinks and told her that we greatly appreciated her service and turning around what was beginning to be an unpleasant dining experience. She chose to make a difference and it was a great choice for all of us! I do try to avoid places like Applebees where there always seems to be more staff standing around talking to each other than they need, the service is often very sterile, everyone just seems like they are going through motions and don't care. I've also learned from a culinary school classmate that Applebee's and many other chains serve frozen, microwaved food. I don't mind paying $15-$20 for food (or more if fresh), but certainly not microwaved food! I hardly use the microwave in my own kitchen!
 
Berferd 
Mar. 7, 2012 1:21 pm
The original question could be more directed to what has happened to the industry. The professional waitress is still much the same but the quality of service average has decreased due to more participants in the pool. More people eat out on a regular basis than when the waitress in question was employed. Food service has consistently held the position of the highest turnover rate of almost any industry. This creates a difficult arena for adequate training with individuals who know they are going to be short term. I recall back in the 1970’s that several restaurants printed statements on their menu alerting customers that the servers were paid half of minimum wage and the customer was expected to make up the difference with a gratuity. It may not be in print now but it remains a fact. As a manager of a family style restaurant years ago I have fond respect for the “waitress”. I was stuck virtually no employees one morning. Two cooks were arrested and in jail for drug possession, the dish washer didn’t show up, the cashier quit and only the underpaid wait staff volunteered to help keep the day from total disaster. I was reprimanded for putting these dedicated employees in for additional pay for their efforts. I did not let the door touch my backside as I quickly departed that company. There have been a lot of observations stated on this blog and one I find pertinent about the server’s duty is to make sure the food they are delivering is the right item and to determine to the best of their ability that it is prepared correctly. If I order sunny side up eggs and the cook has placed scrambled eggs on my plate the server is responsible to identify that mistake and correct it before it ever gets to the customer‘s table.
 
Mar. 7, 2012 3:42 pm
Ok I don't have time to sit and read every comment (sorry everyone) so forgive me if I'm saying something someone has already said. But I am a waitress and I love my job. Sure I love the tips but honestly there are a lot of cheap skates out there and the tips aren't always what they should be. That being said, in some places, servers have to pay a tip pool (my most recent employer [who shall remain nameless] automatically took 3.5% of our sales) each night to pay the hostess, the bussers and the bartender, no matter how much work they actually did. But still, I love my job. The only time someone else brought out anything for my table it was because I was busy somewhere else. But as a rule, I try to take 100% care of my table, myself. In the same restaurant, when taking an order we were supposed to put which seat the person was sitting in so that when the food was delivered (if not by the waitress) it was put in front of the right person without the 'cattle calling'. No offence to the blogger but as a waitress myself, I kinda resent this blog. I pride myself on the service I provide. So maybe you just need to be waited on by a waitress who actually appreciates her job as well her guests, because that's what you are when you come to a restaurant. Not a customer but a guest...
 
Mar. 7, 2012 3:44 pm
I should also mention that I am a waitress in Texas where minimum wage is $7.25/hour except for servers...who make a measly $2.13
 
Mar. 7, 2012 4:03 pm
In Washington state, I just LOVE the waitresses at a restaurant called Red Robin. I am seated by one person but I have one waitress who does everything else like the old days.
 
FamilyChef 
Mar. 7, 2012 4:33 pm
I am a bartender in Texas (Veronika) and i am glad that you made mention to the 7.25/hr then also what servers/bartenders are actually making because most people that have never served a table are not aware or simply do not care hense the size of some tips with the large amount of work/attention/care that some people expect. Not to get off the main subject here "What happened to waitresses". As far as being taken care of by several people its called making sure you are taken care of even if im not there. After all your waitress is only one person. As a customer im glad that i dont have to wait on one person to get something i may decide i need after my waitress has just left the table. And i feel right comfortable asking that hostess that sat me or that server assistant(the one that brings your bread) or bartender or any of the several people that i met because they came to my table for anything. you want to feel at home when you go out to eat not like your assigned to one person.And as far as the server doing everything for you greeting/seating/breading/bussing/cleaning. We tip them a percentage of that 10 to 15% tip that you tip us. And if you do tip well when given great service then this is not for you. I agree with (Veronika) you are guests and if you go to the right places and are willing to spend the money you can have exceptional service. And if you visit my bar thats what you will get everytime because i care about each of my guests experience and they usually show their thanks in tip form. Theres a old saying "You get what you pay for".
 
FamilyChef 
Mar. 7, 2012 4:47 pm
P.S. EVERYONE SHOULD WORK IN A RESTAURANT AT SOME POINT IN LIFE.
 
Mar. 7, 2012 5:11 pm
At the restaurant I worked at, we (the waitstaff) were simply not allowed to do anything aside from take the order and check on the table. And here in Utah, the State has decided that the waiters only need to make 2 bucks an hour. So, although we may not be around as much, we NEED that tip. The other people helping you are normal waged employees, while our paycheck is left entirely up to luck and the graciousness of our guests.
 
Dr L 
Mar. 7, 2012 6:36 pm
I too cherish the personal style still seen at some cafes, diners, etc. My current two favorites work at a western decor'd family restaurant (a perfectly coifed spry gal) and a rivertown Irish diner (a hilariously rude waiter). These individuals are eagerly sought after by patrons! And earn every good tip they get. P.S. The food is good too but the service is perfecto).
 
spann.lynn 
Mar. 7, 2012 7:26 pm
There has been a change in the restaurant business simply based around the sheer demand of guests who are demanding more attention, quicker food and service times. Thus the creation of individualization of jobs. With 12 years of service in food and beverage services I can say majority of servers are doing their darn best to help serve you and all of the other guests under their care. You wouldn't appreciate it if someone came into your work and acted rudely or cut your pay, right? Most states ASSUME you make 20% of your total sales before taxes the servers make anywhere from 2-5 dollars an hour and if you choose to stiff your server for whatever reason, they pay the difference with their hourly wage. So if a table tips under several dollars they start losing money for working. Not a fair system! So at the end of an 8 to 10 hour night many most servers still have to tip 3% of sales to hosts, 3% to bussers, and 5-7% to bartenders (up to 15% of sales) before they receive their share of their profit for the shift. Use that math for your salary... I also need to add that if you have specific food allergies such as dairy or gluten, I would think if you are that sensitive to food contact avoid the food service industry and make it yourself. Be smart! There are too many opportunities for contamination so please do not be surprised at you finding yourself ill! Find a place that does not carry your food allergen. And if you are just avoiding bread please tell your server that... not that its an allergen. Think about your order: what temperature did you order it? How long would that take to cook at home? A well done steak takes 18 minutes or hamburger 8-9 minutes then dressings and addition of sides... it takes time. If you are looking for a quick 10-15 minute wait time for your food: order medium rare. If you waited a half hour to be seated on a weekend for Friday evening its most likely going to take that extra amount for your food to arrive. The wait tells you how far behind things have be running. Most places have adapted the SWARM method that if an employee sees something that needs to be done whether it is their table or not it it to be taken care of: running food, drink refills, bussing tables, or calling to kitchen to complete orders. They do it to "hopefully" have a 360 degree awareness of the restaurant and increase the speed of your service. The hosts time the system, the servers deliver and run according to your needs, the bussers play catch up, the kitchen runs on their own time and rotation. If one link fails its difficult to catch up but we try! Everyone has tough jobs and this economy isn't easy for ANYONE but that doesn't mean we need to take it out on each other! Remember the service industry is not for everyone, but everyone should be required to spend time working in it. We are ALL people with feelings! You'll find yourself making less demands and have better awareness and understanding if you take an extra breath and be patient.
 
Mar. 8, 2012 5:58 am
My husband and I eat out probably 3-4 times per month and always tip more than average, even if the waitress isn't what one expects or the service wasn't so good. I often call the restaurant once we get in the car and ask for a manager so that I can compliment the waitress/waiter because I feel like their manager needs to know they've pleased us and done a good job and I doubt many people do that extra step. We ate at Ruby Tuesdays last weekend and I was so disappointed by the waitress. She had just come on duty and obviously didn't want to work that night, approached our table with a "face", never made eye contact, never smiled, had a flat tone to her voice every time she spoke, yet when were leaving we left a very nice tip. My husband likes to give the tip to the waitress himself so he can thank them, and this girl was laughing at what was going on at a nearby table and barely listened to him, then when she saw the tip she said thank you. But I left feeling slighted and probably won't go back there. I didn't call to complain about her either. I wish I would have said something but I'm so non-confrontational I just stayed quiet and sulked in the car. We never know what may be going on in someone's life, they may be going through a personal hell and that might explain their attitude. But back to the subject, yes, the service industry has changed just like so much of our other aspects of life. I severely dislike mean, rude people and hate seeing someone mistreat someone, whether it's a waitress or a cashier etc. I've never worked as a waitress and highly respect those that do, it's rough working with the public!
 
gayle 
Mar. 8, 2012 7:07 am
it seems some of you servers might want to think about other employment if you hate your jobs and your customers so much. I tip 25% for good service. When the service is not good I still tip, though probably less, even though I sometimes really don't want to if the service was poor, as it sometimes is. I have never been unkind to a server and I wouldn't think of doing so. I also have worked in the food service industry and I gave everybody the same service, my best, as it was demanded by my employer, and rightly so. If he/she doesn't have the customers coming in the doors he is out of business and the server out of a job.
 
Angela Hagan 
Mar. 8, 2012 8:58 am
Listen I was a waitress at multiple restaurant for years, and let me assure you that the waitress does not keep 100% of the he/she may earn. A portion of the tips earned goes to the buser, food runner, bartender and hostess. by the time I tipped everyone out at the end of my shift there wasn't that much left... I would also like everyone to keep in mind that waitresses get paid $2.50 and hour ( which is ).If you can' afford to leave an 18% or better tip stay home!!!!!!! believe me waitresses work for their money!!!
 
Mar. 8, 2012 10:14 am
I loved this! Yes, I was the waitress that you described, only young without the whiskey voice. We did all of the above, plus did our own dishes and scrubbed the floor at closing. I was also the Nurses' aide, that actually gave a bath to patients plus did their hair, brushed teeth etc...changed all of the linen every day, I could go on and on. Times have changed.
 
khamill 
Mar. 8, 2012 11:15 am
I am a waitress myself, and I agree with much of what you have said. I would like to think that I hold some of the same values that you cherish so much. However, I believe that much of this new transition is the increasing demands upon these 'servers' to take on 10 to 15 tables, especially in busier restaurants. Much of this is due to the employers' scheduling and understaffing. We are being pushed way too hard to maintain the same quality service at busy times. My problem is with the guests that come in to my restaurant (not all, but enough to make a difference) consider me as just what i am a 'server'. The title server leaves the guests expecting the waitresses and waiters to do all that is asked of them within no time. I would love to do this for every table but when I have 8 other tables demanding the same of me I must make some compromises. Also as for the tipping, the hostesses and hosts, and bus boys normally receive a tip out of 2% of the sales that the server makes. Another 2-2.5% goes to the bartenders and kitchen staff. While this may not be entirely fair and I understand this the waitresses and waiters are paid$2 -3 less than any of those receiving a tip out. Simply I would just like to say if you would like to receive the service that you are used to, go in at an off time, we will be happy to give you the service you deserve. Coming in at a busy time when there is an hour wait at the door almost guarantees that something could go wrong with your meal, whether your food is cold, your server is stressed or you don't have the pleasure of your server bringing all parts of your meal. Please remember to respect these men and women waiting on you hand and food and receiving much disrespect along the way (not from all guests, once again)
 
Berferd 
Mar. 8, 2012 11:42 am
I would like to comment on several other points and/or pet peeves of mine that have been mentioned by others. Children are often prone to make a mess but I have observed an abnormal amount of situations that required the environs previously occupied by a child to be barricaded and Hazmat crews brought in to restore the area to normalcy after the vicinity was vacated. I doubt that the disaster child mode does not take place at home so why subject restaurant employees and customers to these extremes! We have something called food expediters at some places in our area. The goal is to deliver the food hot and fresh ASAP and of course turn that table for additional sales quickly. I have a problem with the server stopping by and asking “How is everything” before I have a chance to even put a napkin in my lap. Even worse is not resolving something correctly when the response is “NO”. I recently was served limp bacon when I had used very expressive terminology when placing my order indicating that I want my bacon well done. The waitress snatched my bacon and returned with the plate in less than a minute. The bacon was still limp but steaming. I told her I did not want my bacon micro waved and said she had not put my bacon in a microwave. A manager was on the scene quickly and took care of the situation. Don’t lie to a customer. Tipping has also been mentioned to excess but it is an integral element of the dining experience. In theory a tip is a post service gratuity with the server anticipating the tip and offering the best possible service with expectations of receiving a substantial reward. I have had situations where a predetermined percentage was added to the check for gratuity. This has produced excellent service and occasionally horrible service. I have a relative who was a waitress at a family owned restaurant. The IRS came to this business and reviewed the total sales and server hours worked. Each server was required to pay 8% of the determined formula established of sales per server hour worked. I know that on a good night the relative would average $400. The 8% of receipts was far less than what she was actually pocketing. I do not always follow the percent of check for calculating a tip. When my wife and I have a weekend meal at local family style restaurants our bill will average between $16 and $20. I usually leave $4. If we are having a bottle of wine with a nice meal I prefer not to base the cost of the wine on my check on a total percent. There is no more effort involved to uncork a $20 bottle than there is a $40 bottle.
 
Berferd 
Mar. 8, 2012 11:51 am
I would also like to add that I have not experienced the tip out method for most of the establishments I am familiar with around here. My relative did not have to give any part of her tip to anyone except the IRS. My wife worked as a waitress in her early years and one place had a tip jar where all tips were placed and divided at the end of shift. There were thefts from the jar, people not adding their entire tip and accusations of lazy ineffective individuals benefitting from the hard working dedicated workers.
 
pegasustat 
Mar. 8, 2012 2:18 pm
My pet peeve relates to bringing my change. If my ticket was $10, and I give you a $20, please bring my change in a bill smaller than a $10. Many times, I am counting on leaving your tip from the change you bring me, but I'm not tipping 100%. Had the server brought me a $5 and five $1's, I would have tipped.
 
Tiffanylea 
Mar. 8, 2012 8:52 pm
i have been a waitress for almost 10 years now and a bartender for almost 5. I've worked everywhere from classy establishments to Greek family breakfast places. There are a few things that most of these places have in common. 1. The waitress makes under min wage (i get paid 2.13.... yes 2.13 an hour) 2. The waitress tips out bus and bar (sometimes as much as 20% of her tips). And that hurts bad... 3. She/He can work over 8 hrs in a day sometimes a lot more depending on the place WITHOUT a break. Yeah... in Greek places you can forget about those. 4. Your boss would fire you before they'd fire the illegal Mexican busboy, cook, or dishwasher. 5. You call in sick (especially on a Sunday morning, you better have a drs note.... or your fired. You also loose out on the money you would have made if you would have gone in. 6. You don't get health insurance in most places for you or your family. So that drs not you need will cost you somewhere around $80 for something that just needs to run it's course 7. You don't get sick days or paid vacations and if your boss doesn't want to give it to you off or can't get someone to cover your days, you can't take that vacation. 8. God forbid you break a bone.... you just broke your lively hood. 9. The cost of food is high. Even more so for a restaurant. Think about it like this.. you are paying for the convince of not cooking or washing the dishes or even cleaning up after yourself. Also the lights, water, the employees. The average water bill for a restaurant where i live is 8,000 a month. And don't complain about the prices to your server... believe me we don't pick and choose what the place charges for a coke or orange juice. Anyways..... I'm not saying that everyone should have sympathy for their waitress. Thats not what i'm saying at all. Some people aren't cut out to be waitresses. Everyone has bad days. But.... please don't complain about your waitress to her bosses or the hostess (bc it goes back to the higher up if you tell the hostess) if her service is bad, not up to your expectations or if you don't like the food. You don't know whats going on in her/his life at the moment in particular when your bitching because he or she wasn't there at the exact moment you needed them. They could have been caught up with another table. Only complain or say something about their service is he or she was rude to you. Average chain gives the server 4 tables, Breakfast place they get 6-9. With that amount of tables we need someone to give them water and bus those tables. And HONESTLY do you really wanna see the girl that is serving you your food handling dirty silverware and a rag to clean off a table a few minutes before they bring breakfast? NO, That's gross!! Also, please please please realize that your server isn't cooking your food and has no control over how fast it comes out. And normally (in a breakfast place) there are only 4 cooks, and they have to cook for everyone else in there not just you! Have patience. You don't blame your doctor when you sit in a waiting room for an hour before you see them. You just com me to the conclusion that they must have a lot of patients to see before you. Same theory applies when in an eating establishment. All i'm saying is have patience, treat people how you want to be treated, and waitresses are your servers not your slaves. We put up with a lot of , from customers, other servers we work with, our bosses, the busboys etc.... all for your $4 tip. Having to force a smile when it almost hurts to do so because you have to, isn't easy. I'm a college student with one child and i'm also 7 months pregnant with my second.... and i can't wait to finally move on to something else.
 
Tiffanylea 
Mar. 8, 2012 9:09 pm
to add one more thing.... with all the people out of work right now, are you really going to complain about people being employed?? Those 5 different people that walked up to your table to offer you water, bread, take your dirty dishes, and or your take your order are ALL employed. Isn't that what we're hoping for as American citizens? Americans being employed isn't something to complain about. I'm sure you don't complain when you buy a car and think back to how many people were employed at Ford or Chevy plant that had a hand in building that car. I'm also sure that when you make your monthly payments you don't think about everyone that helped to manufacture that vehicle that in one way or another gets a little piece of that monthly payment... Same idea
 
Mar. 8, 2012 9:12 pm
Bit of a sweeping generalization there, don't you think? Surely not all restaurants are like what you have described.
 
waitress 186 
Mar. 8, 2012 9:38 pm
tiffaneylea has it about right! if you work a doubl (all day) you eat on the run. meaning you eat while you work and most of the time standing up in the back. you order your food, and you eat it sometimes cold because you didnt have time to eat it. you go in for a night shift around 4 and get off after 9..deciding to eat then or jus snack because its soo late!
 
waitress 186 
Mar. 8, 2012 9:42 pm
i get paid 2.13/hr plus tips. i tip out the bartender and the busser. i can get wrote up or fired for a complaint. i can get fired for a walk out or someone shorting a bill. loved this blog..it was nice hearing about how customers view us..hopefully ppl understand a little more about our jobs.. peace, love, and sooouuul
 
Gretchen Uno 
Mar. 9, 2012 2:52 pm
Personally, I like to eat at home. I don't have to put up with waiting in line to get a table, listening to some jerk talking on his cell phone, putting up with unruley brats. I know exactly what has gone into the preparation of my food, and I have a sense of pride knowing that I have created something. Another big plus is that I can take my time fixing it, eating it, and cleaning up. :)
 
Mar. 11, 2012 1:11 am
Now I used to be a waitress and not too long ago either. When I was a waitress I was the host, waitress and bus boy all rolled into one. I did enjoy my job but some people were IMPOSSIBLE to please. I never did my job expecting a tip but a tip would let me know that I made your experience pleasent. A hostess or a bus boy would have helped me to cater to more people but I never wished we had either execpt when it came to running a till. There were moments I would be stuck at a till cashing out customer's (that weren't even mine) for 20 minutes sometimes. That frustrated me because I knew my customers were suffering. That all being said I have a MAJOR pet peeve with waitresses/waiters these days. Everyone knows the most rememberable service is the last portion of your meal. WHat I don't understand is why servers drop your bill off at the table and then take 15-20 min. to come back to collect your payment. I can understand this if I ordered a dessert or another drink but usually I don't. What do they think I am going to do for the next 15 min? Count out pennies to pay the bill? I think not as I sit there waiting the tip slowly goes down, down, down. Just drop the bill off and come back in 5 min to recieve my payment. Most restaurents these days don't even have a register near the exit so even if I got tired of waiting I still have to go to the hostess and wait for them to track down my server so I can pay my bill. Sorry for the huge rant but it is just so frustrating to me. Like Irayd8 said I feel much better now that I have said this lol.
 
Mar. 11, 2012 1:39 am
I forgot a couple of things. Poolling tips is just plain wrong for so many reasons. Sharing a tip with a host, busboy or cook I find is unfair. Cooks make more money then the waitresses and never have to hear all the complaints directly from the customer. Some customer's are ridiculous! Some being the key word not all but I have been yelled at by customers over things I had NO control over. The cooks are also treated better by management as they think the cooks are the heart of the business. There are some GREAT cooks out there and I do think they deserve alot of credit. There wage is higher for a reason and therefore the tip should go directly to the waitress. I always thought hosts and busboys were the starting point of the industry. You start there and earn your way up to Waitress or Waiter positions. Like a motivation to stay and learn. After saying that I do have to say I HATE places that have a mandatory gratuity added to the bill. I refuse to eat at an establishment that forces me to tip a waitress or waiter even if I receive the worst service of my life. What motivation is there for a server to work hard or please their customers if they are going to get a tip anyways? I know servers are human and they do have bad days or maybe have had too many cranky customers which made them a little irritable when serving me. I almost always tip I just don't think I should be forced to. I give waitresses and waiters credit because it is a hard job to do. I am a customer who when I get great service I don't just leave a good tip but I make a point of notifying the manager on duty so they can hear some good for all the bad they probably hear. Thanks for letting me continue my rant lol.
 
Mar. 21, 2012 5:38 am
There is still a place where the waitresses call you "Hon" and "Sweetie" -- It's the "Double T Diner". My wife is not US-born, and has never been in a diner-style establishment. I took her to the local "Double T" during our last visit stateside. We were seated by the surly hostess, and the waitress came over. She was 50+, a bit on the large side, and about as friendly as a prisoner having a family visit. She still called me "Sweetie", and called my wife "Hon". We ordered a lot. She looked at her ticket book, looked at me, and gave me the "raised eyebrow". I said, "Don't worry. We will eat it all." And, I gave her a smile. My wife said, "They're not very friendly here." I said, "Honey, this is the American Diner experience. Enjoy it." Our waitress hustled over quite a few times carrying plates, coffee, and stopping by to see if we needed anything. As promised, we finished everything. She even paid us a compliment: "I didn't think you would eat it all, but you did. Good job!" It was like one of your grumpy old Aunts congratulating you on finishing her nasty peach pie. Hahaha! We paid, and I left our waitress a very healthy tip. On the way out to the car, I turned and could see her in the window watching us. I gave her a wave. She gave us a smile. And that was that. It's all about the experience. My wife has since said she likes eating at diners...
 
Mar. 28, 2012 3:39 pm
There seems to be a lot of complaints about not just how to tip, and whom, but overall service and policy across ranges of restaurants. I do not understand why people expect great service from big chains who have great commercials but are still just middle-of-the-road places to eat and spend money (Applebees, Chiles, Village Inn type-of-places). I am over the age of 50, so I have been dining out a long time. Here is what I know. Just like any retail store, which is what a restaurant really is, you get the good and you get the bad people to wait on you; franchises are all run differently, with various levels of staff turnover and management changes. Even the little mom and pop places. Running a restaurant is so difficult! And everyone has a different idea of what is acceptable, what is annoying, what is helpful, what is good and what is not. (Hey I even have a KFC I prefer over another just because they fry their chicken more juicy). These poor wait staff don't know you, or exactly what you like or don't like. Their poor habits are a result of poor management and poor training. I see a lot of simply awful patrons in the table next to me - tired, cranky, kids. They want a quick good meal but want it to be just-so. Hey, I too am very picky about wait staff and their habits, policies, general demeanor. The wrong choice of restaurants can be very stressful and very consistently so. My advice and what I do: Find restaurants you enjoy and go there instead. Big chains, little hole-in-the-walls - either/or - if you don't have a good experience most of the time, give it up and find a place more consistent to what you like. If you are expecting all these restaurants to operate the same way, the way you like, or the way the commercial indicates, you will be disappointed. Locally, here in Denver, a specific Olive Garden has it all perfect, almost every time, so we go there. Another Olive Garden might be awful. Depends on each individual restaurant. It's not personal so don't let it get to you. Move on - there are wonderful eateries - maybe not as convenient or close by but the end result is worth being more choosy about which places you patronize. There are PLENTY of affordable restaurants out there. Be choosy. I think it boils down to not making it a personal issue and understanding that it is RETAIL, only to be experienced happily if you remember it's just a store, just a restaurant. You don't like it, find a better place.
 
patty 
Jan. 16, 2013 4:13 am
it's called a diner. you want that kind of service, go there. it's a free country. as for who do you tip, don't worry about it. it's divided amongst the staff based on number of hours put it by that staff member. the manager will deal with that. you don't have to worry about it. if you are, either don't go to that kind of establishment, or don't tip, or ask to speak to the manager if you want clarification. it's not brain surgery, it's a restaurant.
 
 
 
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chefjohn

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Leavenworth, Kansas, USA
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About Me
I have been a professional restaurant person for 30+ years. I started out as a dishwasher and worked my way up the ladder. No schooling except for hands on experience in locations around the USA. I am now starting my own business as a consultant and food writer.
My favorite things to cook
Everything-except baking and desserts
My favorite family cooking traditions
Gravy, my side of the family is mostly French , so we love the sauces and gravies.
My cooking triumphs
Starting my own public access cooking show-"It's Only Food". Did 33 shows in 3 years as the chef and producer. It certainly opened up a lot of doors and paved the way for changing the way I look at food.
My cooking tragedies
Missing my family growing up and working 80 hour weeks, but I can say that it paid off. No regrets.
 
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