Why Some Waiters Make Bigger Tips Than You

I stiffed a waiter today, leaving no tip, and suggesting the other people with me also not tip. If you wait tables and this is has happened to you, you may want to read on as my tipping standards are very liberal, at times up to twenty-five percent for exceptional service.

1. You work for me while I am seated in your section. Your boss pays you you something, but your real income should come from your tips. I am your customers and make or break your paycheck. Sounds brutal, but that is how it is.

2. Doing a three second drive by after the meal has been delivered is not enough. I do not sit at the table thinking if I would like a refill, clean fork, or another napkin.

I am talking with whomever I am with, and focusing on the conversation. I don’t appreciate your pausing two or three seconds to interrupt, ask a question, and answer it yourself as you walk off. As you are walking away there is usually something someone at the table wants, but you are gone.

3. Instead of seeing how efficiently plates can be removed, look for what you can do.  Check the drinks on the table. Refills should not be something one has to ask for. An almost empty glass is a good indication someone will likely want a refill.

For example, I like my coffee. For what I pay, I expect more coffee than the first cup. Same with soft drinks and water.

4. Performing a drop off the check drive by, assuring me you will be be back is a waste of your breath, and my time. You rarely come back until I am standing up to leave. Do you really think I am going to ask for something at this point and sit down again?

If you say you will be back, I really expect to see you before I am ready to leave. Otherwise do not bother to tell me to take my time, and you will be back to check on me.

5. It may not be obvious to you but you are in the people business, not the food serving business. I can serve myself at home for less money no matter where I am eating or what time it is. Make it an expectation of yourself to visit your customers and use proper manners.

Look over the table and see what you can bring that does not need to be asked for. Otherwise wait until there is a break in the conversation, before asking if anyone at the table needs anything. Wait a few seconds for people to shift from conversation to their wants and needs.

6. Whenever you get stiffed, and it is more often than occasionally, it is usually something you are not doing. Telling me, “Thanks a lot”, in a cynical tone, when you do not see a tip does not improve your skill set. It may however spark a fire in me to speak with the manager about your slovenly performance in taking care of us.

Usually I am a very good tipper, having worked in food service myself, and knowing how hard and unrewarding it is. For me not to leave some kind of tip, well, you really blew it.

When you have a customer, they are not generally their to visit a feeding trough. They are their to eat and leave the world outside the door. They may not want anything from you, and they will let you know. They may have a five a five dollar bill for a ten dollar meal, that you may never see because you think throwing plates around is doing doing enough.