The Restaurant

The Restaurant
Formal Dining

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dining Out: Tipping

Any and every good server will be able to immediately sum up what kind of tipper you are based on a few basic points, such as age, race, tab, what your drinking, what your eating, how you are dressed, who you are with, etc. All of these factors total to a pretty good idea as to what to expect. Then as a server we know if the steak was over cooked, if something went wrong, if your glass went empty, if we screwed up, all of which can effect the tip. Remember that often times if you order a steak well done, it's going to take some time to prepare. Also, remember that many times a food mistake may or may not be the server's fault, it's hard to say.

Occasionally, we are surprised by the individual that tips more than expected or the jerk that stiffs us, but for the most part it's nothing new. Does this mean that most server's profile clients? Absolutely. I cannot say who the best tippers are, nor can I say who the worst tippers are, it all depends on the server. I can speak to my own experiences and tell you that in my experience age makes more of a difference than anything else. An 18 year old college kid taking his girl out for dinner is less likely to tip as well as a 54 year old professor, but it is possible that the kid wants to impress his girl by leaving a nice tip, you never know. As a young white male I find the best tippers to be older female ladies. I suppose I have a grandchild's charm about me. The most difficult guests I tend to deal with suprizingly enough are people in my same category, young males. I don't watch sports, I don't have time for t.v. shows, and I don't play the latest video games, I know very little about what people like me do, I just know my restaurant industry.

There is no other industry where the employee's are dependent on the kindness of strangers to pay thier living wage. Remember to tip your server, 20% at a minimum, if you are a doctor tip more... Don't ask me to split a $100 dollar bill on a $30 dollar order then give me two bucks, I know you have money.

Tales from the Front Lines:
Best Tip:
The best tip, (neither percentage nor dollar value, but the one I feel was the best), was from an older white man. I was working as a server in a common chicken finger style restaurant (Applebee's, Chili's, Buffalo Wild Wings, etc.) and two older couples came in and sat at a booth. I took their order, nothing spectacular, then I brough out the one man's steak. He cut into it, had a few bites, then explained that it wasn't medium rare like he ordered it. I apologized, took it back to the kitchen and had them remake it. I returned the steak to the man, he said it was perfect, but I still feared for the worst. His ticket came to roughly $50, and to my suprize he left me $30! Even after the kitchen had screwed up his order he left me well over 50%! I was astonished. Like I said, there have been times when I have made more than 50% and there are times when I have made more than 30 dollars off of a single order, but none quite compare to this man and his experience with the steak. The best tip in my opinion!

Worst Tip:
People love this story. It was half way through a dinner rush, when to my suprize I am approached by a manager, "Hey so-and-so didn't show up, but I sat a group at tables 1, 2, and 3, will you take them?" Oh boy. Tables 1, 2, and 3, is the worst section in the house, someone else didn't show, I've already got tables 5, 6, and 7 filled, and on top of that these people have been waiting for who knows how long for so-and-so to show up, but now I get to deal with them. It was a group of 10 African-Americans, all varying in age, but most in the 30's. I get their order (it's an appetizer, entree, desert special all around). I get everything out, then around the time I get the entrees passed out an 11th member shows up. I deal with them. Then when everyone is working on desert (guy 11 is working on his entree) 2 more people show up, bringing my total to 13 people! Evidently it is guy #13's birthday so as all 10 people sit and wait for the last couple to finish eating their app, entree, and desert as I gather up birthday singers. We sing, the group that wasn't even in my section to begin with, who have sucked up nearly 3 hours of my time, (time spent away from my original tables), their bill comes to in the neighborhood of $250. I thought to myself, AT the BARE MINIMUM of ONLY 10% I am going to make $25 dollars off this headache. It's important at this point to mention that at this location we tipped out our bussers and bartenders 3% of total sales (So, on this ticket $7.50 to everyone else but me). I made a whopping....


I made $8.00 in 3 hours off of 13 people, $7.50 of which I was required to tip out. I made fifty cents in over three hours. At a servers rate of three dollars, I made $3.16 for half my shift. I should have made closer to $50 off the table... Unbelievable.

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