Here at The Waitress Confessions we love hearing about your own daily lives as a waiter or waitress. Here is a post that we found called That Restaurant Life by vickyamartin. Check out her blog and read the original post.
Back in 2012…
when I was looking for a summer job, I remember countless people saying to me “Become a waitress! You will make a ton of money.” As a college student I thought, how bad could it be? The money that came from tips sounded appealing and I worked as a cook in a pizza shop since high school so I had some restaurant experience. I got hired at a Buffalo Wild Wings and there I learned what waitressing was all about. And after swearing to myself that I would never wait tables again for any reason after quitting that job, I decided to work at a local bar and restaurant once again this past summer.
On a busy Friday night, restaurants are a nightmare. Waiters and waitresses are bumping into one another while running food and drinks to tables, cooks are yelling at one another to complete orders, and the printer is spitting out orders to the cooks almost constantly.
As a waitress at a restaurant that has a bar, I have become accustomed to staying up until 2 a.m. waiting for a handful of customers to drink their final beer after last call. I have met some customers who are always a delight to wait on. Those people understand that the servers and bartenders are working for far less than minimum wage ($2.13 an hour) and their positive attitudes make it easy to enjoy my job. They also understand what gratuity is fair and our paychecks are hardly enough to buy dinner at McDonalds. Their tips are what we use to get by; they are the cash that goes into our pockets at the end of the night. Then there are the people who do not understand said tipping concept, or the effort being put in my cooks, bartenders, and servers to keep the restaurant sailing smoothly. Whether it is ignorance or a bad experience that prevent these people from tipping, it still should not be the servers pay that suffers. I work at a restaurant that does not add gratuity to checks and many of times have found that it should be mandatory.
One busy Saturday night in January, I was running around from table to table as usual; refilling Pepsi with the one soda machine in the restaurant, running beer and drinks to customers, taking food and drink orders, and checking to see how my eight or nine tables were doing. I introduced myself to an older couple got them their drinks and took their food order. While waiting for their food to come up, I ran checks to other customers who were leaving and took drinks to new arriving customers.
When the older couple’s hoagies were ready, I took them to the table and asked if they needed anything else, and left. When I returned to their table, what I experienced was something worse than scorn you would receive from your own mother.
“This is unacceptable!” the old man shouted at me. The woman chimed in and added that my service was terrible as they had watched their hoagies sit on the oven for a whole two minutes while I brought drinks to my other customers. When I offered to get them something else to eat on the house, suddenly nothing was good enough. If they were not the center of my attention the whole night, I wasn’t a good enough waitress either. I gave them their check and got a 13 cent tip. The inability to understand how a restaurant works and lash out at your waitress for something they could not control shocked me. When waiting on many tables at once, it isn’t right to skip out on taking care of one table because of the impatient needs of another.
I realized from this experience why I enjoy my job as a waitress. Interacting with people and making them smile and laugh while they are out to dinner also puts a smile on my face. Seeing families together having a good time helps me suck up the fact that I am getting paid $2.13 an hour. And most of the time, goodhearted people are the understanding ones who have worked for minimum wage or less and are generous.
It is possible some people will find a reason to be cheap and skip out on tipping their waitress because of just about anything. I came across an article from the Huffington Post about a waitress from New Jersey who was left a note instead of a tip by a family of four. It read “I’m sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle choices.” The woman, who was gay, also happened to be a marine and posted a photo of the note to Facebook. This is an example that people are unethical and look for reasons to not tip. In this case, the family was banned from the restaurant and the waitress received an outpouring of donations after this incident went public. While I do not believe that all non-tippers should be banned from restaurants—because sometimes there is good reason for not tipping—I believe if you are eating out at a restaurant and have a server provide you good service, gratuity should be mandatory. Many people raise children, pay for their education, and pay living expenses from their tips as servers.
As a server, you have to have a backbone. The bottom line is that if people are not working hard at a restaurant, the restaurant will likely fail. If all restaurants added in gratuity that could be taken off in the event of terrible service, which does happen, servers would still work hard and things would run efficiently, perhaps even better. Waiters and waitresses can go home with money to pay their expenses like workers of other occupations, rather than having their wallet pay because of someone’s personal issues.
Written by : vickyamartin