TIP OF THE DAY
If you’re under the age of 8 and stick your gum under the table, there’s a special place in hell for you. Your server/bus boys have to clean that grossness up at the end of the shift. #RudePeople
“Great food, great atmosphere, horrible wait staff. If your waitress is going to talk about the chlamydia she got from a coworker and personal relationship problems while I’m eating, I’ll be sure to take home the tip. Thanks again Leah! Disgusting.” — Mike L.
Being a barista is a heavy burden sometimes: the early morning hours, the cranky customers, and the precision with which you need to make the customers’ drinks makes a difficult job even more difficult. Occasionally, I would get an afternoon shift and would get much easier customers. However, I wanted to quit when I got morning shifts two weeks in a row and then, on my day off- I was sitting at home one morning sipping my coffee when my phone rings. I had to come into work because 2 people called in sick. Noooo.
I come into work and there is already a line out the door when I arrive. I get behind the counter and start taking drink orders. I finish two orders out of a probable 12-15 orders and my milk frother starts smoking. So I had to do an emergency shut-off of the milk frother. About ten minutes later, my manager and I realized that our dark roast of the day did not taste right. We were wondering what happened and then saw a bag by the dark roast. We read the label “Ethiopian Light Roast” and looked inside. Sure enough, we had a light roast in our dark roast tin, but also mixed with another bag of coffee. Then, a customer screamed, “HURRY UP! We don’t have all day!” At that point, I was ready to lose it. All I wanted was a nice weekend morning with my fiancé while I enjoy a break from Master’s classes and an off day from the coffee shop. But no, I had to come in, get screamed at by customers, and deal with the previous day’s silly mistakes. I finished this customer’s order and it took an hour or so but we got through the rush.
Two other people came in who were going to be working the afternoon so I went to my manager’s office before leaving to express my frustrations. I had had it up to here. I was about to say I quit when my manager said, “Wait two days and take a deep breath. I will be hiring more people tomorrow and this will not happen again.” I left with his words in mind and decided that I would not quit at that point. Because, yes- my manager did hire two more people and things smoothed out a bit after that.
Those rush hour days though? They made it very tempting to quit, but I am glad I kept the job to finish paying for graduate school out of pocket.
Serving is a dangerous profession sometimes. The amount of sharp, flaming, or otherwise dangerous objects I have to carry on a nightly basis is astounding. I am grateful that our staff is well-trained. However, we have had some accidents occur and some nasty trips to the Emergency Room. This story is the worst of those experiences and it happened to my best friend. Luckily he lived, but this story is a reminder of how fragile life can be.
The night starts as an average night, tips are okay and the pace is steady throughout the night. About an hour before close I hear a crash and the sound of something hitting the wall. I walk briskly to the back to see what had happened. My friend had collapsed on the floor and there was a knife lodged in his foot. He was screaming in agony and there was so much blood. I have never seen so much blood in my life. We called for an ambulance right away. The ambulance took awhile to get there and I started thinking, “in an instant a night at the restaurant can change, as well as a friend’s life.” The ambulance arrived and said my friend had suffered from exhaustion to the point of passing out and dropped the knife on his foot by accident. Luckily the knife wound in his foot was not infected or more serious. He made a full recovery and thank goodness for worker’s comp.
ER trips are scary at any time, but especially at work, because of the quick adjustments needed to help alleviate the situation. However, if a staff is well trained, a medical emergency can be a bonding experience, even in the midst of great trial.
Getting good tips can be very difficult as a server. Customers have a lot of needs and being precise can be difficult when a restaurant is busy. Thus, good tips are always a positive experience as they are rare. I have two experiences of getting good tips.
One was for a two-top I was serving who wanted to watch the NFL Draft. This two-top was nice but in my booth for 5.5 hours. They were not overly loud but watching the TVs intently. After the draft was just about over, I went to hand over the bill at the table. They paid separately and each person gave about a 50% tip. For each of them having a bill of $30+ dollars, the tip for the table ended up being $35. I acknowledged them after I rang everything up and I heard them talking about how it was the least they could do for taking up my table all night.
My other experience of receiving a great tip was receiving a 75% tip from a group of businessmen. Admittedly I was very surprised by this tip as businessmen are not always the greatest of tippers. They appreciated being able to small talk and that I would take a few moments to listen to their ideas for pitches and market trends. On a $350 bill, this tip was very generous, especially as companies normally only allot a 10-15% allowable tipping expense on reports. I was able to get ahead on my bills and start an investment account.
Tips are not always great, but these two situations help me see that some people understand the difficulty of my position and can respond accordingly.
When you go to a restaurant and tip your server, you may automatically assume that the $5 you left them means $5 in their pocket.
Unfortunately this is not what happens. This is what usually happens when you tip a server at a restaurant.
When you walked in you were greeted and seated by the hostess. They spent less than a minute with you making small talk, finding you a seat and briefly going over specials, so surely you did not consider tipping them. In many restaurants, however, they receive a tip out from the server so part of your tip will be given to them.
You probably assume that they are paid by the restaurant, but this is not the case. The busser also generally receives a tip out. The job of a busser is to clear dirty dishes and wipe table, then prepare them for new guests. Basically, the server is tipping them because the busser helps them make way for new tables, thus allowing them to make more money.
When you order an alcoholic drink, it is prepared by the bartender which is why they also receive a tip out. The alcoholic drink can be anything from a simple beer to a more complicated and time consuming item like a frozen cocktail, so the tip out is a way to compensate the bartender for this service.
In some restaurants, however the bartender receives a tip out regardless of whether the table ordered alcohol.
The purpose of a tip out is to compensate those who helped the server provide great service to their customers that resulted in them earning a tip. In theory, this concept makes sense.
But the problem is that a tip out is not actually calculated based on the tip the server received. Instead, it is based on the table’s check.
Depending on the restaurant’s policy, the hostess, the busser and the bartender generally each receive a tip out of 1-2% of the table’s total bill. So on a $25 bill, a server could be tipping out up to $1.50, so if they receive a $5 tip, they would keep $3.50.
But what about the people who choose not to tip? Of course they realize that their server is not being compensated for their hard work, but it is worse than that: the server is actually having to pay to serve you!
Even if you do not tip, the server still has to compensate the service team who helped the server during your experience.
Other fees are also deducted from the tips that the server receives, such as a service fee if the customer chooses to pay using a credit or debit card.
A server’s hourly rate generally is only enough to cover taxes, therefore they rely solely on tips. Tipping your server is proper etiquette and should not be considered optional. Never make someone have to pay to serve you.