Sir at table 13, I don’t disagree with you that your meal is taking too long or that once you got it, there was a mistake with the order. I see that, I empathize with that. I will do everything in my power to correct this situation for you to ensure you have a positive dining experience. If the roles were reversed and I was the guest dining at this restaurant, with all these errors, I too would be frustrated. Expecting a perfect meal out with friends or family sounds wonderful, so when it does not go according to plan…I get how that can be frustrating.
But here is what servers like myself wish you could understand. You at table 13, when you leave us ZERO tip for instances like the above mentioned examples, you are failing to see that I AM NOT ALWAYS TO BLAME for those errors. Unless I blatantly ignored you, was rude to you, harassed or injured you… the majority of your issues with your service actually have little to nothing to do with your server. Trust me, I want you to have a positive experience dining with me as much as you do… those with said experiences often come back and become repeat customers!
Believe me when I tell you that as soon as I greeted your table and took your drink orders, I circled back within the obligatory five minute window to see if you were ready to order your meals. When you weren’t ready at first I made sure to keep a close eye on your table to notice when you put your menus down and seemed ready. Once I was able to take all of your orders down, including all the specialty requests and off menu changes, I promise you I immediately placed the order with the kitchen. I also promise you that I wrote all your special accommodations and requests very legibly on the order and repeated them back to you to do everything in MY power to ensure your order is delivered to you just as you ordered it. I happened to realize the food was taking longer than usual and made it a point to check back in with you, apologize and ask if there was anything I could do in the meantime for you…all with a smile I may add. I hovered near the kitchen to make sure I grabbed your meals as soon as they were ready and once I dropped them off at your table you immediately picked apart and yelled at ME for getting something wrong. Several apologies, smiles, and a comped appetizer later, your party leaves the restaurant but not before managing to loudly state their dissatisfaction with their server for the evening. I circle back to the table already dreading what I know is coming… and sure enough I pick up your check and see that you have aggressively written ZERO on the tip line. I guess I should have been grateful you didn’t decide to leave a nasty one liner with advice on how to be a better server as your “tip” for me, but it didn’t matter, I was still upset.
I am confident in knowing that I actually did MY job more than satisfactory this evening, despite being treated rude and disrespectful by patrons who clearly do not understand my role in the service industry. I greeted you with a smile and in a timely manner, made frequent trips back to check on your table, apologized for any delays, and comped items from your bill when OTHERS made errors with your meal. Yet you seem to think I control the kitchen staff, other patrons, chefs/cooks etc and based my tip on other people’s miscalculations and errors. Please be mindful of all of this in the future and realize that servers make BELOW minimum wage and rely on tips to live off of. Our paychecks are often $0.00. If I personally did something to negatively impact your dining experience then absolutely have that reflected in my tip…otherwise base my tip off of my actual job performance and how I impacted your evening at my restaurant. PLEASE AND THANK YOU!