Things Your Waiter Won’t Tell You

One of my readers sent this to me and since I was too exhausted over the weekend to post, I’m going to cheat and just elaborate on this post.

13 Things Your Waiter Won’t Tell You

1. Avoid eating out on holidays and Saturday nights. The sheer volume of customers guarantees that most kitchens will be pushed beyond their ability to produce a high-quality dish.

Days of the week and holidays don’t really matter where I work. Our food is pretty consistent. You will have a longer wait during busy times, but the food will be the same.

2. There are almost never any sick days in the restaurant business. A busboy with a kid to support isn’t going to stay home and miss out on $100 because he’s got strep throat. And these are the people handling your food.

Yep. Also, if you call in sick you stand a good chance of being fired.

3. When customers’ dissatisfaction devolves into personal attacks, adulterating food or drink is a convenient way for servers to exact covert vengeance. Some waiters can and do spit in people’s food.

I never have nor would I ever tamper with someone’s food. I think it is the worst act of betrayal and it makes me the bigger douche bag. I just find out where the asshole works and treat them the way they treat me, complete with petty complaints to the manager.

4. Never say “I’m friends with the owner.” Restaurant owners don’t have friends. This marks you as a clueless poseur the moment you walk in the door.

Absolutely true. We seldom see the owner of our restaurant, but I know he expects his friends to treat all of us with respect and kindness, as he does. So asking for special treatment shows me you really don’t know him at all.

5. Treat others as you want to be treated. (Yes, people need to be reminded of this.)

It’s sad people constantly have to be reminded of this.

6. Don’t snap your fingers to get our attention. Remember, we have shears that cut through bone in the kitchen.

Very true.

7. Don’t order meals that aren’t on the menu. You’re forcing the chef to cook something he doesn’t make on a regular basis. If he makes the same entrée 10,000 times a month, the odds are good that the dish will be a home run every time.

I won’t let you order something that isn’t on the menu. I am the front line with the cooks and they aren’t going to scream at me because you want something different. Sorry.

8. Splitting entrées is okay, but don’t ask for water, lemon, and sugar so you can make your own lemonade. What’s next, grapes so you can press your own wine?

I don’t have a problem with any of this. Just don’t ask me to make the lemonade for you.

9. If you find a waiter you like, always ask to be seated in his or her section. Tell all your friends so they’ll start asking for that server as well. You’ve just made that waiter look indispensable to the owner. The server will be grateful and take good care of you.


10. If you can’t afford to leave a tip, you can’t afford to eat in the restaurant. Servers could be giving 20 to 40 percent to the busboys, bartenders, maître d’, or hostess.

Yes! When my kids were young, if I didn’t have money for a tip we ate at home or ate fast food. Last night I had a couple who didn’t have enough money for dinner AND a movie. I heard them discussing it. So they left me a dollar on a $40 ticket. Bastards!

11. Always examine the check. Sometimes large parties are unaware that a gratuity has been added to the bill, so they tip on top of it. Waiters “facilitate” this error. It’s dishonest, it’s wrong-and I did it all the time.

We do not have added gratuity for anything. I wish we did because it is so common in the winter for some of our locals to bring in 8-10 people, run my ass off and tip 5%. It is very annoying.

12. If you want to hang out, that’s fine. But increase the tip to make up for money the server would have made if he or she had had another seating at that table.

Last night I had two “important” couples at one of my tables for more than 2 hours. We weren’t terribly busy or I would have been pissed at not turning the table. They spilled a glass of ice water on the floor, never said anything and when I walked by carrying food to another table, I almost fell on my ass. In the end, they tipped me 15%, which was adequate because we didn’t need the table.

13. Never, ever come in 15 minutes before closing time. The cooks are tired and will cook your dinner right away. So while you’re chitchatting over salads, your entrées will be languishing under the heat lamp while the dishwasher is spraying industrial-strength, carcinogenic cleaning solvents in their immediate vicinity.

We are open until 10pm which means we serve people until 10pm. When you do come in at 10, please be aware you are holding the entire staff until you are finished. Be gracious when you leave. Thanking the cooks, cashier, hostess and everyone you see standing around waiting for you to leave is much appreciated. Tipping less than 15% is bad manners.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. darcknyt
    Jun 28, 2009 @ 20:18:17

    Live and learn … live and learn. 🙂


  2. Vanessa
    Jun 29, 2009 @ 01:16:20

    I like your commentary on the articles suggestions. 🙂


  3. roadrunner
    Jan 27, 2010 @ 03:22:39

    My husband and I have been working in restaurants for over 40 years. We have seen everything from the front of the house to the back and even the alley behind.

    My comment is about guests that come in near, or at closing time. RUKM? If it is finer restaurant, there will be courses that are paced to take their time, and this could take hours to complete. So the late night meal could turn into an after midnight affront. Who knows? But staff should not be obliged to endure this behaviour. Have some human feelings people!

    Thanks for stopping by.

    The food is pretty fast where I work, but you make a good point. And it is an affront when people keep you way past closing time. They wouldn’t like it if you showed up at their place of employment and lingered for hours.


  4. roadrunner
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 00:51:15

    Exactly! It’s not the same as if I ran into the grocery store at 5 minutes before closing time and bought a gallon of milk and left. (Although I almost never do this). When dining at a 3,4, or 5 course restaurant with wine and/or cocktails, as stated before it most certainly prolongs the shift. For not only the server, but the busser, line cooks and bartender. So just because you feel entitled, screw everyone else!! That’s an awesome way to go through life.

    I have actually been stopped at the front door of grocery and video stores and told “We close in 15 minutes.” In other words, get your stuff and get out.

    No such luck in a restaurant. Recently I had a couple of inconsiderate diners walk in 1 minute before closing. They stayed for 45 minutes after closing and when they left, they gave me a $3 tip and said to share it with everybody else. Wow! Thanks! Three dollars divided by 6 people is what, thirty cents an hour? Asshole.


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