Monday, July 30, 2012

Waitress Diaries: My Biggest Pet Peeves

Since I started waitressing, I have learned more about people than I have my entire life.  I can assure you there is still true love, there are couples who stay together and LIKE each other, men are usually better tippers and some people really stink.  Literally and figuratively.

The biggest lesson has been that a good tip goes a long way.  It truly does.  Nothing drives me more crazy than a table raving about my service and personality and leaving me 15%.  Or less.

I remember eating out, prior to being a server, and tipping around 20%.  I even left tips more towards 15%.  I know I did.

Then I became a waitress, and my hourly wage is several dollars below minimum wage.  I know how heavy hot plates are, how tough it is to get salad dressings straight on a table of 10 and how disgusting it is to clean smushed food.

I also met fellow servers who are single parents.  And college students.  I work with dads, moms and twenty-something kids who are trying to start their lives.  We love our job, but it isn't easy.  And we make our money off the tip you leave on the table.

If I'm good at my job I'd love another dollar towards tomorrow's Frappuccino.  Truly I would.

After raving customers who tip poorly, my next pet peeve would have to be tables that run up checks well into the hundreds and tip poorly.  It's almost as if they think $20 is a good tip no matter how high the check is.

While we love $20, we watch your bill like we watch our kids swimming in the ocean.  And we move that decimal one place to the left, multiply it by two and hope for that number.  We do this no matter how big your check is.  Part of the reason we do this is because if we have to pool our tips, we appreciate servers who carry their weight.  "Weight" being handing in at least 20% of gross sales to the pool.

My last pet peeve?  Please, please, please remember we do not make your food.  We serve it.  We fill your glasses and we get you napkins.  We also return your food to kitchen and have to face the chef on your behalf.

Sometimes facing the chef is just about as fun as sticking needles in our eyes.

If you have bad service, by all means tip less.  But before you leave that bad tip, look around and try to understand why the service wasn't superb.  Was the server overloaded with tables?  Did the table next to you send back three meals?  I can speak for every server I know when I say we get flustered.  And we try our best. 

If we give you our best, give us your best.  And remember that your best is buying back to school clothes and paying electric bills.  You help us pay for little league and gymnastics leotards.

And for that, we thank you.

If you tip well, know that it is very much appreciated.  And if you stick to 15% no matter what the service, be pleasant customers.  We love pleasant customers almost as much as we love 20%.


For everyone who tips well, know that we appreciate you.  We know who you are, and we smile when we open that billfold.

You make our job worth doing.  And we welcome you back with open arms, whenever you need a good meal.

Happy Tuesday everyone.  Tip your server!


  1. When I was young (and actually went OUT to eat), I tipped well - even for relatively bad service - because I had waitress friends. Now, I simply feel really sorry for anyone who has to wait on our family of 6! ;)

    My biggest question is about tipping hair stylists. How much? Is it a percentage? Do you just always give the same? I dunno. And I feel like an idiot every time.

    1. I have the same trouble with hairstylists! I usually do 15%...but I always stand there trying to figure a tip quick because I have NO idea!!! We are long lost relatives I'm sure! LOL!

    2. Hi! I worked for a salon for several years... My advice is that you tip just as you would any hospitality establishment (if you love your stylist, then minimum 20%).

    3. I am a salon professional, myself. I love answering this question because it means that there are good people out there, who care about their stylistas!
      Here's the bottom line: it is exactly like tipping in a nice restaurant. 20% means you love us and what we do.
      But, it's more than that. We devote all of our time, energy, and education towards beautifying the public. We spend endless hours on advanced education, training, and staying current in top trends. This also means we devote a large chunk of our income to paying for said education, and our tools. Blowdryers, Flat Irons, Curling Wands, especially shears, are all very expensive pieces of equipment. They are investments, and we do spend upwards of $400 on a pair of shears. We do it all to make sure that what we use on your hair is only the very best. Like Waitresses, we live to serve you, and we serve you to live.

      So, here's where I add my $0.02, for what it's worth.
      The next time you're in Starbucks, grabbing a Frap, grab a $5 gift card for your stylist. Add that into your gratuity.
      Caffeine fuels us, and yummy treats are always appreciated!
      And trust me, you *want* to get in good with your stylist!

      We want you to sit in our chair, and trust us. We go above and beyond for those who show us love. Think about that the next time you schedule an appointment. :)

      Ok, thus ends my monologue.
      (...stepping down from soapbox...)

  2. I learned a lot about tipping when my daughter started waitressing. Not sure if it works the same for you but for her cash tips are better than on a credit card. I always try to do that now.

    1. Yes! We prefer cash....especially since we are on the books. Credit card tips are usually taxed!

  3. I'm determined that every one of my kids works as a waiter at some point - even if only for a month. Once you do that job, you never tip the same way again! And for the record, I was the WORST WAITRESS EVER.

  4. 20% is my minimum unless the server is bad. For me, their attitude is the main thing. If you're swamped but I can tell you are trying and are apologetic when something doesn't quite happen the way it should, you still get a good tip. I try to reward effort, period. I definitely think every person needs to work in serving or retail at some point in their life!



Throw in your two cents!