Pleasure To Serve You
I recently went on nj1015.com website and read about that people are leaving higher tips, and should the new normality be a 30% tip. After reading everyone’s responses, this is what I wrote:
I’ve been everything from a family style restaurant server to a fine dining restaurant server. When I first started in the business, I was so ecstatic that I was actually receiving tips. I wasn’t educated about any form of tipping. I just always taught myself to be a generous person, and that had nothing to do with me being a server…I’ve just always been that way. Now mind you, I would still receive astronomical tips. I tried to provide above and beyond absolute quality service. When I got into fine dining…wow, what a different world. I saw a SUBSTANTIAL growth in tips and annual income. In fact, my annual income reveled that of my college degree in Biology. For the most part, I receive higher than a 20% tip. It’s my quality of work that I provide. Restaurants work differently in how servers receive their tips. Ones, like mine, I receive my credit card tips in a weekly paycheck (helps take care of those pesky taxes!) and then there are those that give servers their tips every shift (of course, this is after tipping out bussers, food runners, managers, bartenders, and hostesses). If I make $200 in a night, I typically get to keep about $160, it depends on how many people are working. Waiting tables is an art. Is everyone good at it? Hell no! Just like not everyone at Walmart is a good cashier, or everyone the drives a bulldozer does a great job at leveling dirt or filling a landfill. I work long hours on my feet for multiple hours and days. I miss family holiday times so that YOU may enjoy being with your family. I miss weddings, funerals, concerts, births of my nieces and nephews…so that you may enjoy your life inside the restaurant. When 9/11 happened, and I worked that day…3 men sat at one table during lunch…enjoying their wine. Not worried about if we should close the restaurant to be with family, or call family members. No…patiently and professionally served them. I have to always keep my cool and temper. It’s not just my reputation as a server I have to keep, I also have to keep up the facade of the restaurant. I keep secrets of people cheating on their spouses, while bringing in their “secretaries” for lunch. I have to learn to speak different languages to communicate with my kitchen staff and bussers (Spanish AND Russian, thank you). You’re not educated about food terminology or wine? You don’t know the difference between vinaigrette or dressing? Shiraz versus Syrah? That’s my job. I’ve got you covered. You have a food allergy? I know the menu to guide you through it. I make sure to discuss your issues with the chefs AND help to ensure that your food isn’t cross contaminated with shellfish or meat, if you’re a vegetarian or vegan. I know each and every single ingredient that could kill you in a heart beat. I’m CPR certified, so no worries…I’ll save your life. From the moment you enter the doors of a restaurant and I approach you, I have to figure out what kind of a server you want. Chatty, quiet, educational, sarcastic, friendly, psychologist or other. I’ve put together more condiments on plates and scrubbed plenty of your vomit off of the bathroom floors because you either got drunk or sick from over eating. Cleaning up your kids disgusting mess that you allowed them to throw all over the table and carpets/floors…yes, I definitely appreciate a good 10% to 15% tip for that. Thank you for allowing me to clean up after your child because you have no control over them. It’s my pleasure to heat up your baby’s formula in a bottle. It’s my pleasure to listen to you down grade homosexuals and call them the worse names in the books, while I’m a gay man smiling and serving you. It’s my pleasure to call you a taxi and drag you into when you can’t drive because you’re drunk. It’s my pleasure to hold onto your credit cards and cellphones for you and lock them in a safe, and call your bank and cellphone company to let you know you left it at the restaurant. It’s my pleasure to come in sick as a dog because no one else can work. It’s my pleasure to serve you after I had 3 relatives pass away in 2 years and put on big smile. Yes, it’s my pleasure. You’re right. My $2.13 an hour should cover my taxes and my bills. You’re right, I deserve less than a low tip because the KITCHEN messed up your meal, did you recall the I repeated your order and temperature back to you? Well, I did. I’m professional. It’s what I do. Order accuracy. You’re right, I don’t make enough money for health care coverage. Did you know that it would cost me over $600 a month for health insurance? That’s just basic. So, yes…I have to save up money to visit a doctor, try homeopathic remedies to get myself better, and rely on your tip money to afford a doctor. Can you guess the last time I saw a doctor for a physical? 7 years ago. I take pride in what I do. It’s my passion for guest satisfaction. Do I add a 20% automatic gratuity for parties of 6 or more. It’s a 50/50 thing. I’ve been screwed over more than once by not adding it in, and by telling people that I don’t believe in a forced 20% gratuity, and that it was such a great pleasure in being able to wait on them. I have to face you, regardless if you’re in a pissed off mood or not. I’m your problem solver. There are a lot of us professional servers out there that give a rat’s ass. That go way above and beyond our “call of duty.” With that in mind, I thank you for the “verbal tip”, for the Fake tip money with a christian quote of “Jesus’ value is higher” (Thank you, but Jesus saves the souls of many to bring them to His Father…he understands I have bills to pay), and especially thank all of you who use gift certificates and other promotional discount coupons…and tip on the lower amount, instead of the original amount. Thank you.