Today was such a great day. I had an amazing lunch rush for a Sunday and everyone seemed to be in the best of moods. And you know what good moods mean? Good tips! I won’t lie, I schmoozed a little bit, but was genuinely happy to be serving our customers today. Life was good and the tips were generous.
The night shift was slow, but I had a couple of good tables that left me $20.00 so that helped me out quite a bit. At the end of my shift, I tallied up the tips that I had made throughout the day (I keep a record so that I have a good idea of what I’ll be leaving with). So, here’s the number all my tips added up to:
I felt very happy about that. I worked hard, served my customers well, ran plates and drinks, cleaned and helped other waiters. Seemed like for the amount of work I put in…well it was fair. When it came to doing my “reading” or my “report” (where the manager checks all my credit cards, interacs, cash, and tip-outs) I was left with $120.00.
It didn’t make sense to me. Didn’t add up. So when I checked how much I tipped out ($22.00) and deducted that from my total, I was left with $151.00 (which would make sense). But where was that $30.00? The manager checked everything again and even went as far as to go through all my bills with me in case another waiter was ringing up orders on my code and closing it cash. Hey..it could happen. But that wasn’t the case. I was missing $30.00
What a bitch, lemme tell ya! What happened to that money? Other servers were asking “Did you put some money aside? Put it somewhere else by accident?” and the answer was plain and simple: NO! I am very careful with my money when it comes to counting and keeping it safe in my apron. So what happened? I honestly have absolutely no idea. The only thing I can think of is if it accidentally fell out of my money clip. But everything stays together in one place and it’s pretty secure.
So, I had no choice but to accept it. Everything else balanced and the restaurant isn’t going to reimburse me for any lost money because it is…technically…my fault. But, when you’re a stickler for precision and money, it’s really hard to believe that I misplaced it. I just left. Took the hit and left.
Getting home and opening a cheap bottle of wine to drown my sorrows in, I keep going over my day – wondering if I somehow miscalculated or put money aside without realizing it. But my thoughts also dance around the idea of relying on technology to calculate all of my sales, tips, taxes and discounts. Could the computer I use somehow be deducting money without me realizing? Is it possible that somewhere in the computer system there is a glitch?
The idea of the possibility of technology being the culprit scares me, because to be honest I have no idea how it works. All the deductions and calculations it automatically makes. As an owner or manager, you can set the computer to pretty much whatever you want, so in my mind…is it possible that something somewhere in the computer is making a deduction it shouldn’t? Now…that’s a scary thought.
But us, as servers, how are we supposed to know this? Just take the word of the people we work for who are mostly there to make money? Sounds like it could be fishy to me, especially when they are the ones setting the conditions for the computer system. We can’t exactly approach them and say “What’s the deal here? I’m missing money!!” and expect them to pay out of their pocket when they believe you’re the one who lost it somehow. There’s no way to prove it, no complete record of cash (because a server could just pocket it), no way to show that you made the money you made 100%.
So it’s a problem – at least in my eyes.
I’ll take it as a bad day. A day where I lost money somewhere and it cost me in tips. There’s nothing more I can do except write about it and then move on. But in reality – it does come down to money. And I need money to pay for bills, food, rent, etc. The missing money is almost my cellphone bill for the month. When you look at it that way, when your tips just don’t add up, it’s not just a few dollars here and there. It can be a whole big difference.
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 Sometimes It’s Worth It by Ashley Parsons over at Why We Waitress. Click here to view the original post.
Sometimes…If I had a dollar for every time I thought, “I can’t take it anymore. I’m quitting tonight,” I wouldn’t have to be a waitress. We’ve all had those nights: it’s a half hour past closing time, and your table asks for a dessert menu, or right at last call, the birthday-drunk customer asks for 15 flaming Dr. Pepper shots. You think of responding with a laugh (or maybe flipping the table over), but you don’t. You plaster a smile on your face, ask if they’d like whipped cream on it, and tell them to enjoy the rest of their evening.
…but what about the good nights?
All too often, us servers forget about the times we don’t care how bad our feet hurt because we’re counting the cash in our hands. Every now and again, we get lucky, and customers actually give us what we bust our asses to earn. For example:
About a year ago, this cute couple came in for dinner. She was a nurse, and he was a writer – I guess opposites DO attract. Sometime during my usual schmoozy-small talk, I mentioned that I was an English major and very much into creative writing. When I handed them their check, WriterGuy started telling me about this old typewriter they had: no idea how old it is, but totally beautiful. It was just collecting dust in their attic.
(Side note: I’m obsessed with old typewriters.)
I spent about five minutes drooling over the details they gave me and fangirling over how cool it must be. Then NiceNurse said, “You want it?”
They didn’t want it to go to some antiques road show. Said it should be with someone that will really cherish it. They didn’t know how much it was worth and didn’t care to.
A month later, they brought me the most beautiful machine I’ve ever seen: a 1936 Royal portable typewriter in almost mint condition, traveling case still totally intact.
Like I said — sometimes, it’s worth it.
by Ashley Parsons
Last month a couple came in for breakfast. I stopped by their table to check on their meal, “Everything great today yall?” Their reply was yes & then she started telling me of their journey. They were heading to the East coast to visit their son and grandkids, her excitement was contagious as she shared……”Our son is in the navy and he is being promoted to master chief”. Her pride was evident as she talks of HER hero….he is not just a navy guy, he is a great husband and an amazing father of 4, one with a disability, he called and asked if I would be the one to pin his new medal on his beautiful dress white uniform”. My heart was so excited for this mom and dad, they were so excited to be apart and celebrate in this very special ceremony…..
Tuesday the grill was crazy busy(what a blessing) as I look out in the foyer at the sea of people waiting in line I see a group familiar green fatigues…I make eye contact with my regular that is part of this group, she tells me a table of 6 and I start looking for a place. I got to know this regular through her husband that has been a regular of mine for many years now…..I never knew she served in the US Army, actually the US Army hospital, until last Spring, she started bringing in a group of girls with her, all adorned in the Army green.
I got these soldiers a table and proceeded to take care of all the other guest…..a little while later my precious regular comes up to me and asked my permission for her to do something, a question I will remember forever….. Happy Beautiful Thursday yall….In the middles of the chaotic, loud, busy grill my regular stood up and spoke in her commanding voice and the grill stopped.
She promoted 3 of these soldiers right here in the middle of the dining room. I stood back with tears running down my face as we all watched these soldiers get “pinned” & promoted. My precious regular explained to the 180 guest present that since the government “shut down”, there are no ceremonies right now and no venues available for promotion but these soldiers deserved to get recognized and promoted. Oh Mylanta it was an amazing blessing to be apart of this special occasion….it may not have been as grand as the regular that was able to pin her son with the dress uniform on and many family and friend present but it was special and truly a gift.
This is the grill….flawed in so many ways & yet our Heavenly Father allows amazing “perfect” things to happen. I am honored to have been apart of these soldiers’ journey.
When customers are eating out at a restaurant, they expect a certain level of speedy service (depending on the restaurant they are dining at, of course.) When the service is too slow for their liking, there are ways that they will let you know – some more obvious than others.
During your shift, sometimes things just aren’t going your way. As great as a server as you may be, there are times when things around you just seem to get out of hand. It may take you longer to get to your tables when you’re in a rush, but there are key things to look out for while you’re running around to get to all your tables on time.
If you see any customers doing any of the following things, you know that you should be improving the speed of your service, so here are the Top 5 Signs That You Need To Pick Up the Pace.
#1. Your customers go up to the hostess stand to pay when they should be paying at the table
#2. Your customers have empty plates and empty water glasses in front of them and are just staring at you…waiting for you to clear everything.
#3. Your customers have enough time to stack up their dirty dishes on the table for you to pick up.
#4. Your customers leave because they waited too long to be greeted.
#5. Your customers get up to refill their own water glass with your water pitcher.
Some of this may seem like common sense to most of you, but to others they don’t realize the reason behind why customers may do these things. As servers, we have to be aware of why our guests are acting the way they do. Yes, sometimes people are just impatient and there is nothing we can do about it as servers, but other times we have to take a good look at ourselves and wonder if we are at the heart of the problem. Were we neglecting them? Were we spending too much time chatting with our coworkers that we put the service of our customers on the back burner? There is nothing wrong with accepting that you were in the wrong and then trying to improve on that. Next time you’ll know to be more attentive to your customer’s needs and to pick up the pace.
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