What's new
  • Announcing New Ownership at Home Theater Forum. Learn More

Whose been served? (1 Viewer)

Citizen87645

Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 9, 2002
Messages
12,899
Real Name
Cameron Yee
Alot of the suggestions seem rather obvious, but then I've spent several years working in restaurants and my mom is a waitress.

As customers remember that some of the things, like getting around to fill water, getting the check out, is not always because of a poor server. If the place looks obviously packed and people are scrambling, sure sign the place is understaffed and that could be for a number of reasons. I guess I'm just saying give servers the benefit of the doubt, because basically they wind up getting the complaints first, whether the fault is really the cook's, manager's or busser's.
 

Citizen87645

Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 9, 2002
Messages
12,899
Real Name
Cameron Yee
The server kneeling down and invading my personal space is a turn off for me too, even if she is cute. Then again, maybe I don't know a good thing when I have it :)
 

Lew Crippen

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 19, 2002
Messages
12,060
Be observant! A consistently big difference between service a top-end restaurants and family places like The Olive Garden is that trained waitstaff, many (even most or all) who do this as a permanent job, is that these trained, up-scale waiters are always looking at their customers. For example they don’t bring the food to a table and pass by everyone else, just looking at the table they are serving at the time—they look at all their tables as they bring food, water, drinks, the bill, etc.—and they are always able to acknowledge a request for something additional.

Also when they are not busy, you will find the staff standing with their backs to the wall, looking at their customers—not looking at and talking to other staff members.
 

John Miles

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jan 16, 2000
Messages
236
"Batching" is my #1 complaint in restaurants. This is what happens when a server has several tables to cover, and they don't leave the kitchen until they are ready to advance all the tables to their next state of dining pleasure.

A sure sign of batching is a server staggering out of the kitchen under the weight of the biggest serving tray you've ever seen, carrying everything from the Foo family's (long-awaited) drinks, to the Flab family's appetizers, to the Frob family's entrees, the Fnord family's after-dinner mints, and Mr. Frotz's credit-card receipt.

You have to wonder what the server does with the 95% of the time s/he spends out of service range. Batching is especially annoying in restaurants where servers "own" particular tables, as opposed to the ones where any available server is at the disposal of all customers. (Another pet peeve: why should it ever be my problem that my table isn't "your table"? I'm patronizing a restaurant, not a particular server...)
 

Citizen87645

Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 9, 2002
Messages
12,899
Real Name
Cameron Yee


That IS bad service. Imagine calling a business, getting the wrong department, and the person refusing to transfer you or provide the correct number. I doubt customers fail to see this point, but I know some servers do! In the bigger picture you might attribute some of that attitude to the management of the restaurant. If everyone is just out for him/herself, then there needs to be some serious work done by the manager. I know in the high turnover restaurant industry this is not easy, but if the restaurant was managed/treated like a team I don't think some complaints about restaurants would exist.
 

Keith Mickunas

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 15, 1998
Messages
2,041
Bringing the check in a timely manner is important especially at lunch time. Also keep an eye out for groups where you know the check is going to be broken up and be prepared. Drop the check off before they're finished with their meals and be prepared to handle payment as soon as they are ready.
 

DaveGTP

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2002
Messages
2,096
It's all about the drink. All I require is my drink refilled. I have a little bit of a hernia thingie that makes it so when I swallow, it often gets "stuck" (runs in my family here and there). I need a drink to be eating comfortably for the most part.

Thus, I put big stock in refills. Anybody who refills my drink in a timely manner scores big time with me. 90% of my tipping is based on the frickin' refills! :D

That, and getting the check in a timely manner. We're often in a hurry, and it sucks to wait around for the check.
 

Shane Martin

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Sep 26, 1999
Messages
6,017
What Scott said.

To add to this: My own personal thing is to make sure my drink doesn't get down to the point where I'm slurping. If I'm really thirsty and sucking it down I'll give them a break.

The sitting down thing doesn't bother me. In fact it usually gets a higher tip from me because they being personable. I know they have done this at Outback for me alot but not as of late.

Also, maybe its a wives tale but I heard that if you leave pennys on a table that is a sign of bad service. I don't mean tipping 1 penny either though. Just pennies in general.
 

Zen Butler

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Messages
5,568
Location
Southern, Ca
Real Name
Zen K. Butler


Discreet? Ricardo (anywho), just what kind of service are you after? ;)

Lew hit it pretty well. Although 15 years since I was a waiter at a French restaurant, this is what we were told early on. We were never allowed to pack and bs among ourselves. Keeping drinks fresh is key. Scanning your tables will put you a cut above other waiters. It also prevents you from falling behind.


Keep in mind, tips can range from next to nothing all the way up to astronomical. I was dealing with a pretty rich crowd. Trust me, this is no guarantee for a snazzy tip.
 

LarryDavenport

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Nov 15, 1999
Messages
2,973
A couple things that need repeating.

Be observant! If you notice someone uses a lot of cream in their coffee, Don’t keep refilling it to the top so they can’t get their preferred ratio of coffee to cream. I hate getting my coffee just right, taking one drink, then having a waiter immediately come over and fuck it up. Be attentive, but don’t stalk me with a pot of coffee in your hand. Ditto water or soda. Unless the glass is two thirds empty, I don’t need a refill yet. Don’t refill my glass when I’ve barely drank any just because you’re near my table. If you think it’s going to get too busy to bring me water later, offer me a carafe or pitcher for my table (this is especially true at Thai or Mexican restaurants.

It’s not the customer’s fault if you get paid a shitty wage! I’d say 90% of the time I over tip. I often pay a bit over 20% if I think my change after tip is only going to be around a dollar (ie. if my bill is $16 and all I have is a $20 then I more likely to leave the extra $1.20 over the 20%) unless the service totally sucks then I might wait for my change and just leave the $1.20 and take the $3. Most customers know the difference of a good waiter being over worked verses a bad waiter being a dick. Also, if I have to order at a counter and get my own napkins, drinks, and silverware, why would you expect me to tip?

I know you didn’t cook the food but if it tastes like crap or if it’s not what I ordered I expect you to make it right or else. If I order a steak medium rare and it comes back raw or well done, I expect my waiter to return it to the kitchen and bring me what I ordered. if that can be accomplished in a timely matter and with politeness, then I am still likely to be a generous tipper. But if I get a sigh and after a long wait get my raw steak reheated (along with the sides) or get the black scraped off my meat or bread, then not only are you not getting a tip, I will walk out without paying as soon as the coast is clear.
 

Brian W.

Screenwriter
Joined
Jul 29, 1999
Messages
1,971
Real Name
Brian
Two things are really important to me with servers:

1. Friendly... there's nothing worse than a server who seems like they're having a bad day, or is unhappy. Not my fault...don't put me through it.
2. Accessible: Keep an eye and an ear out. My biggest pet peeve in restaurants is not being able to get the server's attention. If you see somebody waving you down out of the corner of your eye, DO NOT ignore them -- at least indicate that you see them and will be with them in a moment.
 

Philip_G

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2000
Messages
5,030
Along the lines of what Larry said, if the kitchen messes up, but the waiter handles it very well, they'll get a HUGE tip.
If I were a server I'd pray for mix ups :laugh:
ok, probly not.
 

Sami Kallio

Screenwriter
Joined
Jan 6, 2004
Messages
1,035
In general you don't tip in Europe. This is why a lot of restaurant in tourist places (f.e. Florida Keys) automatically add tip to the bill. People just do not know you're supposed to give tip, or forget as they are not accustomed to it.
 

Philip_G

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2000
Messages
5,030
My collegues in Germany do, not 15% but they always left something. That struck me as odd, my German teacher always said that the tip was added into the bill and to expect shitty service, I found that not to be the case.
As a sidenote, it's amazing how much better/different the experience was going to the same restaurant with vs without my German speaking friends.
 

Keith Mickunas

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 15, 1998
Messages
2,041

This reminds of a funny/sad story. One night after work a group of us took some visitors out to happy hour. Our office manager came along, who is Irish but spent many years living in Germany also. She paid the bill, and left before the rest of us. As the rest were filing out the waitress came up to us and asked us what she did wrong. Our office manager only left a few dollars tip on a hundred plus dollar bill. We were embarrassed, to say the least. Unfortunately only two or three of us remained at that point and we had no cash between us. So the next day, behind the manager's back, we took up a collection and dropped off that night.

I also remember a time I left no tip and I think it's a good lesson to any waiter. I went with my friends Bob and Amy to an Italian restaurant near here that I just love. The only problem is I know to expect poor service, but the food and atmosphere are excellent. The waiter came and took our orders without writing them down. He then repeated them back to us and had them all wrong. Still he didn't write them down. A few minutes later he came back to verify the order again. The food arrived ok and in a timely manner, but we had a hard time getting his attention all night, we had to ask the water guy who didn't speak English to get our waiter a few times. I'm not sure I ever got my coke refilled.

The bill arrived and we were trying to sort it out. The guy never came to get our money so we could get him to break some twenties for us. I had twenties, and enough small bills to just cover my meal, I ended up giving Amy the small bills, and she put down just enough cash to cover the bill, and we left. He got maybe a few cents out of that one. His fault though, it's not like we wanted to stiff him, but he certainly didn't deserve twenty bucks.

The kicker was, the place was practically empty. There were maybe two or three other small groups there, if any. There was just no excuse.

I still go to that restaurant from time to time, not often enough to be recognized and I'm not certain I've seen that waiter again. Not that he'd remember me because he hardly came to our table. Still everytime I take people there I warn them that although the food is excellent, the service is spotty. Fortunately the last few times I've been there the service has been improved.
 

Seth Paxton

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Nov 5, 1998
Messages
7,585
Try to learn the eating rhythm of people, so that you don't over check on them or under check either. It's a mistake to pester people just as much as to ignore them.

Having said that, err on the side of checking on them, but perhaps do it just by checking in their eyeline and looking at the table. If something is lacking sooner than you expected it to be, they will be wanting to get your attention and will be looking at you anyway. That way you didn't risk bugging them, but you did attend to them as soon as they were uncomfortable.

A HUGE no-no for me is leaving people sit without the check after they are finished. That's a tip-killer for me. Maybe we want some coffee, or maybe I'm just ready to get the hell out of there. What makes this so critical is that it is the last thing I will remember before I pay the check, so all of that nice stuff from the beginning of the night was just wasted.

Of course if you ignore people until tip time comes, that generally doesn't help matters either.

Anything that SEEMS like you went out of your way to pay attention to people's needs is critical. Body language, how silverware is set (there are table rules on this that some people still follow), and fidgiting are good signs that you need to attend to the table. That's worth a lot more than just checking in on "your time". That feels a lot more fake.


Oh, one final real no-no...never, ever let the appetizer come out just seconds before the main course. People freaking hate that to no end. If they decide to order everything at once, do whatever it takes to make sure the food comes to the table in a proper order, with some 10 minutes for the salads and appetizers to be finished.

My wife's family and we both avoid ordering everything at once for this specific reason.


Yep, and I had to do it just last year at a place in San Fran that basically left my wife and I just sitting twiddling our thumbs after the meal was done. I even pushed away from the table, moved the plate away, put my silverware on the 12-3 corner of the plate, any signal we could think of to say "I'm done, I would like to give you money now". We were seconds away from a flat out no-pay walkout when the check did come.

To avoid looking like hicks who knew no better than to tip, or a tightwad who only tips 5-10%, I left just a bit of change to say "oh, I remembered the tip and the tip is 'you sucked'". They didn't even deserve that, but by acknowledging the tip aspect I made it clear that my tip choice was intentionally almost zero.
 

Seth Paxton

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Nov 5, 1998
Messages
7,585
And you know, while this seems obvious I still think people don't make the connection when they stress out.

You should truly just picture money leaving your pocket with each outburst, gnashing of teeth, bad attitude, whatever. You are actually f***ing yourself out of money with the attitude, not getting back at anyone. Your taking a bad day and making it a lot worse.

Slap on the happy face with the people that are there to turn your night around...the people who can tip you.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
353,150
Messages
5,009,361
Members
143,408
Latest member
augustosv
Recent bookmarks
0
Top