Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Waiter Rant

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Waiter Rant. His writing is excellent, as well as his stories about serving famished customers. I’ve always had questions regarding what it’s like to be a waiter or waitress. What do they think of certain customers? How do they feel when food is given back to the chef, because it wasn’t to their liking? Are they pretending to be nice, in hopes for a huge tip at the end of their guest’s meal?

I’ve bartended in the past, which is kind of similar to waiting tables, yet, you’re behind a bar serving people who are very thirsty. Serving food was a part of my job as well. People would come and sit at the bar and have their lunch or dinner, along with their cocktails. A lot of people question the tip etiquette, when eating their meal at the bar. Do they tip the full 20%, even if they’re at the bar? Or do they leave the typical $1 for every drink they have?

In my experience, I have received the typical dollar for every drink—even if their meal was included. (This excludes the drunken men who were after something other than the ten beers they just guzzled--I would get a generous tip from them.) Sometimes, people would leave a huge tip by mistake, because they were too drunk to realize that they broke a $50 dollar bill for a $5 dollar drink. At that time, it was much too late to run down the street yelling, “Wait! You left me too much!” I was bound to the bar, unless I had to go to the restroom, which required me to look for someone to cover the bar while I was gone. It wasn’t easy.

As a customer eating at the bar and having cocktails, I always tip the full 20% and over if the service was good. I don’t care. It’s hard work back there and a lot of people think that bartending is just serving drinks. There’s a whole lot that goes on back there, other than just mixing a few cocktails. You have your wait staff demanding drinks for their tables, you have your beer guzzlers slamming down their bottles at the end of the bar, indicating they're ready for another hit, and then you have your hungry customers being finicky with their food, ordering complicated dishes and substituting everything under the sun. Keeping up with tabs and the shifting of seats is another challenge. You have to keep up with who’s who and who’s paying cash, as well as who’s keeping a large tab. It’s key to keep an eye on those who have had way too much to drink. It’s like a table of 20—but worse.

Back when I was single, I would go on dates and monitor how they would treat the wait staff. If they were rude and demanding, I would base that on how they would treat me in life. I’d figured if they were upset over the food that was given to them, and not appreciative, then I would get that back in return if I were cooking for them one day. If they complained about the pricing of a meal, I would then imagine they’d be cheap and stingy with their money on other matters in life. If you take someone to a nice restaurant, it’s so important to have enough money to cover for the specials for the both of you, which are usually $25 dollars and over. Don’t forget about the drinks in a nice restaurant, which usually rounds off to about $10 dollars per cocktail. Do the math before taking somebody out to a nice establishment. Never leave a stingy tip if you plan on returning to that restaurant. They’ll remember you…believe me.

Getting back to Waiter Rant---this is why I love him so much. He offers great sound advice for people who aren’t aware of how important it is to have dining and tipping etiquette. I read him almost daily. He has a very large readership and sometimes, due to his popularity, he gets a lot of flack for his content, or lack of thereof. When he’s away, people complain and start leaving nasty remarks. He’s writing a book now, which requires a lot of time away from his blog. His comments have been less than pleasant, due to people being unhappy about his lack of writing. He recently had a post up about personalized Waiter Rant mugs. He was selling them for $10.99 per mug. People started calling him a sellout and whining about how they liked him better when he was blogging daily. I bought a couple for a few reasons. For one, he’s one of my favorite reads. Secondly, I have taken some of his advice and it has worked like a charm- so I’m thankful to him. And lastly, I love to support fellow writers who are looking to pursue a career in what they love doing best…sharing themselves with the world.

Thanks Waiter!
Now go check his blog out!


Jo said...

LOL, I laughed when I saw how you observed your dates when they tipped. I do the same thing, and I'm sure now that some of them do me! Thanks for the recommendation on my way now.

Catch said...

I have always wondered why the restuarant doesnt pay the waitress or waiter more money. Why is up to the public to make up the difference? It just doesnt make sense. They are doing a job for that particular place...shouldnt they be paying them a decent salary? And I always tip well with a pleasant waiter or waitress.....if I get a stick in the mud I leave a dollar. Or if she or he doesnt come back to check on drinks....I leave a dollar. For a great tip all you have to be is pleasant.

tkkerouac said...

Great post, and you are right, you can tell alot about the people you wait on by how they treat you.
you are very intuitive.
that beer made me thirsty.

Do you have any pets you'd like to post?

Steff said...

This makes me wonder how JP feels on Hell's Kitchen? I don't think I could be that nice to everyone.

kathi said...

I love waiter rant, but sometimes my browser won't let me on his site...it screws things up. Don't know why.
But, like Seven, he is like reading something I've put money down for at Barnes and Noble. Really good stuff.

Amy said...

Great post sunshine! If he wants to sell mugs and people want to buy them, what's the big deal? Selling out is when someone compromises his or her integrity, morality or principles for money.

That isn't what is happening here. He isn't writing a manifesto about the ethics behind waiting tables, he is writing about the industy of service and selling mugs is just part of the package. I think it is industrious and smart!

Here is to the continued success of both your blog, Deb, and his!!

~Deb said...

Jo: It’s almost the same concept as observing how they treat their mother. If they treat their mother with respect, you’ll be sure to get the same back in return. Is a reliable theory? It always seemed to work for me. But, when someone is rude to the wait staff for no reason other than their self-gratifying sense of narcissism, then it’s the last date they’ll ever have with me.

Catch: I guess the wait staff makes a great deal of money through tips. I think it’s sad that the restaurants don’t pay more, because it’s hard work, and I totally respect anyone who is in that line of business. They work their butts off!

Tkkerouac: Thanks… No, I’m allergic to every single animal on this planet! But thanks for asking! (Can I submit my girlfriend???)

Steff: It’s easier to be mean and abrupt, rather to be nice and courteous. It takes an incredible person to stand up to it all.

Kathi: Both writers are excellent! It’s simple, well thought out and the stories are incredible. I love your writing, and if you were to write a book, I’d go out to B&N right away!

Amy: I just love you!!! xxoo

Matt-Man said...

I have always been outspoken towards some of my friends who are lousy tippers. I have always tipped well, which is something that learned from my Dad. It tended to annoy my mom, however. Cheers Deb!!

~Deb said...

Matt- I learned it from my dad too. He was always a heavy tipper. My mother always complained. Whenever I bring my mom out to dinner, she always checks how much I tip...but I usually scoot the bill from right under her nose. If I'm paying, no one needs to know, right?

Nancy said...

My friends hate how I tip. I like leaving a meaty tip if the service was halfway decent.

I am a BIG FAN of Waiter, too!

mindy said...

i waited tables for about 3 months.. i was really good at it. people suck at tipping though. my mom is one of them.. i always have to leave more money after she's left the table.. haha!!

~Deb said...

Nancy: Whether or not the waiter/waitress is my favorite one, it's hard work regardless. It's great to see other "heavy tippers".

Mindy: I do the same thing! When my mother goes outside for a smoke, I slip the waiter/waitress extra.

Matt-Man said...

Damn Straight!!

Sue said...

I loved the waiter rant site :) -- As a former waitress and bartender for many years, I am a very heavy tipper. I remember visiting my mom in Canada and she was leaving $2 on a $40 tab and I was freaked. I waited for her to walk away and I threw a ten on the table. I was so embarrassed. I also am however, very hard on my servers. I expect very good service with no excuses :) -- but you will be greatly rewarded for it.

And I think JP on Hell's Kitchen has a hard time sometimes LOL -- did you see some of the looks he was giving the customers on Monday night's show? I started cracking up. As for this restaurant, many of these people must know that there may be lots of problems getting fed since the show has now been around a bit. I think there are ALOT of wanna be actors in those bunches :)

~Deb said...

Ah, the aspiring actors!

Enemy of the Republic said...

Now you know this spoke to my life. I will check his blog out. Thanks!

~Deb said...

It's worth it! He's a great writer, you'll love him.

Leslie Lange said...

Nice blog. I'll be back! :)

I've always thought Bible contradictions were God's way of saying, "Think for yourself."