Issue 29

Food Service Warrior: Rules to Live By

Food Service Warrior: Rules to Live By

When arriving at the restaurant you have chosen, the perfect scenario would be to walk in the door and be greeted immediately, have a table ready for you and your favorite spirit in your hand within five minutes. Well, we all know that’s not the case. Sometimes you are told there will be a ten to twenty, or even an hour long wait before your table is ready (This is where reservations come in handy or even a call ahead of time).

Most places will tell you to go to the bar and have a drink while you’re waiting. That is great. Nothing helps pass the time better than having a before dinner cocktail. What about the people working though?  While your trying to squeeze in at the bar, some eating dinner or appetizers, some just having drinks before their table is ready, the bartenders are running around like chickens with their heads cut off, trying to find the thirty seconds it is going to take to get your drink order. BE READY!!! Don’t get the bartenders attention then look at your eight friends and ask them what they want to drink, that is one of the biggest pet peeves, and a big time waster, and also remember that after ordering eight drinks, receiving them, and passing them to your party, be ready to either pay, or start a tab on a credit card. Please, don’t look at the bartender and say you only want to pay for two of the drinks, leaving the bartender to try and figure out where the six others go and who is paying for them.

While waiting for your table take care of your tab – don’t wait until the host comes and gets you. Then you feel rushed to get the bartenders attention again and ask for your tab, while the people you are dining with sit at the table and start conversations without you. Also, while waiting for your table, if you have enough time and, room at the bar, feel free to order an appetizer – no one wins while drinking on an empty stomach.

Now for something a little more sensitive, tipping your bartenders and servers, in addition to transferring tabs. When planning to transfer your bar tab to your table, keep a few things in mind. Let the bartender know if you want to transfer. Transferring a tab is not a big deal but remember, you have been taking up time and space at the bar in which is the only area the bartenders have to make money in. Some rules for tipping on a transferred tab as follows. If you ordered four cocktails which range from $4.50 to $6.00 and you order a $9.00 – $15.00 appetizer, this would equal about a $35.00 – $40.00 tab. Even though you are transferring the tab the bartender is only receiving about 8%-10% of total tips of the server, in a tip share. The proper tip on a $40.00 transfer should be between 10%-15% of the transferred bill. This would be $6.00 for 15% or $4.00 for 10%. If you are paying your tab at the bar, tip as you would normally. When paying your transferred tab at your table, remember you have already tipped on a portion of the bill. The server is not going to be offended if their tip is only 15% because 30% of the bill was consumed at the bar.

Let talk about gratuity percentages – in most places I have worked, the percentage a server goes home with is between 18-22% of total sales. We understand some people don’t think about the economy these days and still think 10-15% is a decent tip. Well, IT’S NOT. Only if a server has done a horrible job should it be 10-15%. Let a manager know also. Servers don’t tell on themselves. Twenty percent is what we strive for. On top of that it is easy to figure out. It cost me 75 cents to just put air in my tire the other day. It is out of control and all we are trying to do is pay bills and get a little further ahead than we were last week. It’s not an easy job.  Long hours and a lot of walking, so with that being said I want to leave you with an excerpt I watched awhile back from a comedy series called “Chelsea Lately”, with Chelsea Handler.

“I know that most people don’t have a clue when it comes to tipping. The holiday season is upon us so it’s time to buckle down and learn people. Here are the rules. Everyone knows the hot waitress with the massive tickets pulls in major tip action. So, if your server is homely, flat-chested and wearing an eye patch, YOU TIP HER MORE! You have no idea what she’s been through. And if you have to whip out a calculator in the middle of the restaurant because you can’t figure out the tip in your head, then you’re to dumb to go out to dinner and you deserve to starve to death. If you round your bill to be the perfect anal number so you end up tipping $7.34 and your waiter is forced to take home your four dirty useless pennies, then he should be allowed to smash you in the face with a pepper grinder. OKAY.  Have some respect. This is how these people make a living. And during the holidays, don’t say, “Oh, I can’t really tip because I need to buy presents”. Waiters and waitresses have to buy presents too. They are not Atheists. So if you’re one of those people who says I can’t afford to tip, then you’re not allowed to go to Applebee’s.

Jeremy Hunter

Jeremy Hunter

Jeremy Hunter has lived off and on in Nebraska for 18 years. He has been in the industry for nearly 20 years. His experience as a food service warrior spans from starting out as a dishwasher to owning his own pizza restaurant. He has been a part of every aspect of the industry, but loves being a server and bartender above all. When he is not behind the bar or helping customers, he can be found with a nice microbrew and a glass of Grand Marnier.


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