The service you get when you go out to eat dinner a lot of times can make or break your experience. No matter how good the food is if I repeatedly get bad service from the same place I will stop going. Bad service creates an uncomfortable ambiance and can be insulting. In the service industry your livelihood is the gratuity you receive for your service and you have to earn it every day.
Granted as someone who works in the industry you would expect me to be a very hard man to please and at times I can be. But if you ask anyone who currently works as a server they will all agree their fellow service industry employees are usually the best tippers. I believe in tip karma and in order to maintain balance in our strange world I always take care of my brethren. When I get bad service I tip twenty percent. When I get good service I am most likely going to help make your night and quite possibly your weekend.
In order to consistently make twenty percent as a server there are ten basic rules to follow to keep your customer fat, drunk and generous. When I say basic I am not saying being a server is easy because that couldn’t be further from the truth. Being a server is like having to run over hot coals for four to six hours straight while screaming customers jab your sides with javelins. When things go wrong servers usually get blamed by the customer, the kitchen and their manager so on a nightly basis there are multiple people to please.
That being said these basic rules I am about to lay out are easy enough that a blind monkey with one arm could execute them. That is why when a seemingly normal human cannot follow the ten basic commandments of being an efficient and successful server it is very frustrating. To be in the presence of blatant ignorance and stupidity angers me to no end especially when the person portraying these traits expects me to give them money for their services.
So to all you servers out there who can’t figure out why you average six percent in tips I give you the Ten Server Commandments:
Rule One: Act like you like your job. Now I know a lot of servers hate their jobs for various different reasons and that’s okay. People in every field of employment hate their jobs. However, when the hatred you have for your job reaches a table of customers it is not okay. Part of being a good server is making your customer believe that there is no place in the world you would rather be and there is nothing you would rather be doing then serving them food. If you hate serving so much that you can’t fake it for intervals of less then a minute when dealing with my table it is time for you to choose a new career.
Rule Two: Never, ever under any circumstance chew gum while serving me. The second I see you pop a bubble I will be asking for my check and leaving. I don’t know if there is something that makes me angrier than having someone taking my order as they noisily and rudely chew on gum like a cow chomping on grass.
Rule Three: Do not camp at my table. It’s one thing to be friendly and engaging, it’s another to tell me your life story including how your baby daddy just left you again and that your second kid might have to go without for his birthday because the restaurant has been slow. I don’t care. Believe me. If I wanted to talk to someone as I ate I would have sat at the bar.
Rule Four: Be sober. I know this seems like common sense but you would be shocked at how many restaurant employees across the world show up shitfaced to work on a regular basis. If you reek like vodka red bull’s and shots of fireball and continually sway as you try to focus on how I want my burger cooked than I will most likely let your clueless manager who couldn’t manage their way out of a wet paper bag with scissors in their hands know that their employee is intoxicated and costing them business.
Rule Five: Write everything down. I don’t care if you have been waiting tables for your entire life and claim to be able to recite every order you have ever taken if you don’t have a pen and paper out I automatically assume that my order will be fucked up.
Rule Six: Always keep whatever beverage or beverages I have in front of me full. This might be the most important rule to me. Keeping me full of my beverage of choice keeps me happy and makes me more generous when the bill arrives.
Rule Seven: Never blame the kitchen. I hate it when after my food runs long or comes out wrong the first thing the sorry no account server says is, “Sorry, the kitchen’s been fucking up all day I don’t know what’s wrong with them.” This immediately says to me that you are terrible at your job because you just threw the person who works five times as hard as you and makes twenty times less money under the bus in hopes that your fuck up won’t affect your tip.
Rule Eight: Don’t disappear. Sometimes once food gets dropped a server will automatically assume that their guests who are eating are good to be left unattended to for a while. This is a mistake. Once I start eating that’s when I start needing help. As I eat I drink so please reference Rule Six. If my beer glass stays empty for over five minutes because you are out back smoking or talking to your girlfriend if and when you return to my table you will be entering into an extremely hostile situation.
Rule Nine: Don’t drop my check until I ask you to. Nothing says you want me to leave and fast more then giving me my check before I’ve asked for it. Just because I finished my eighth beer does not mean I am done for the evening. At the diner during breakfast fine no problem drop away, but during dinner service keep that check open and in your apron until I say differently.
Rule Ten: Don’t check the tip right in front of me. If I am still at my table and the only thing keeping you from getting off work is grabbing my check book so you can finish your checkout than by all means swipe it off my table. However, do not open the book in front of me so you can read the tip line on my credit card receipt or count the change I left you for the effort. This is offensive and bush league and the next time it happens to me I am taking my tip back.
If you are a server and you follow the Ten Server Commandments then myself and people like me who over tip on a regular basis out of fear of an invisible karmic force that rules our universe will not only tip you fat but we will also continue to come back.