TIP OF THE DAY
We feel you, homie. We feel you. #HangInThere
I worked at a local coffee shop when I was a teenager. I had been there two days and my mom visited each day and would tip at least five dollars. She is a nice person and assumed that the tip would be going to me or it would at least be split between us.
When I started working there, of course, I was simply being trained the first couple of days but they did, in fact, have me greet customers and make drinks. I was told I would not get any tips the first day but I was told the next day I would be receiving one-third.
Don’t believe what you hear, one-third of the tip jar was mine and I had a lot of people I knew, stop by to get drinks. The increase in money apparently was too tempting for the other girls so they decided to tell me I wouldn’t be getting any tips until the first week of training was over. I told my boss when he came in and he sided with the girls. My coworkers had been there for years and mastered the art of manipulating by then.
It was very obvious he did not make that rule and he had never enforced it in the past. My mom found out I didn’t get any of the money and was obviously angry.
Though this made us really think, how often do you think you’re tipping someone and they never get it? The simplest solution is to hand the money straight to the target person. Despite its obviousness, it is the best method.
I did not bring up the issue again and I figured I would get paid eventually. Despite my complete lack of stirring up any drama, the girls who I worked with decided to convince my boss to fire me anyway. No, this was not a professional or healthy environment, but I was young, it was summer and I needed money.
Everyone eventually found out how I was treated and the coffee shop lost a lot of business. To all of my customers, it was more than infuriating that their tip money meant for me did not reach the target at all, even though I was the one who served them.
A cautionary tale, for businesses as well as workers, everyone should be careful. When you think you are scamming someone out of money, or you put the concept of acquiring money over the ethical laws then you may end up alienating a lot of your customers. I was lucky that I knew everyone in town, but what if it had been someone unknown? There would not have been any consequences for their actions.
I never expected to get treated that way working for a family owned business, but honestly, it can happen anywhere. It doesn’t matter how regulated or unregulated a business is, make sure you are being treated fairly.
The following pet peeves are from both sides of the coin in the service industry. Many of these issues are frustrating to both customers and industry professionals…sometimes for the same reasons but sometimes for quite different reasons. Take note of the following!
This is usually a pet peeve for both sides of the industry. While there are exceptions to every rule, like dining at family friendly establishments, it is usually very disrupting to surrounding diners to have screaming children interrupting their meal.
Having to ask for items that should be standard. This includes, but is not limited to, utensils, salt and pepper, condiments, and napkins. These items may vary depending on the type and style of restaurant. Nothing is more frustrating than getting ready to enjoy a meal and then having to pester your server once if not twice for standard items that should have been there in the first place.
Customers engaging in massive PDA. This is uncomfortable for everyone in the restaurant. Staff and other diners’ alike hate to have to sit through watching others climb all over each other while trying to enjoy a meal. It is cute to hold hands and give your significant other a quick kiss but beyond that anything physical should be saved for OUTSIDE the restaurant.
This could be anything from spelling and or grammatical errors to using culinary language that the general public will not understand. Dining out should be fluent and easy, and there is just something jarring about coming across one of those mistakes on the menu of a professional establishment.
Dirty Plates, Glasses & Utensils
I mean, come on…nobody would not eat off of a dirty place setting in their own home so for something like this to appear on a table at a restaurant is just absurd. When we go out to eat, we are paying for a service and a good meal and arriving to dirty items is just a major turn off.
Awful Wait Staff
Everyone has bad days and for the most part the public can understand that. However, when there are staff members that are consistently just bad or rude or a combination of the two there is really no reason for them to be in this industry. The service industry is about just that- SERVICE. If someone cannot even put a smile on their face and do their job to ensure a pleasant evening for someone else then there is no need for that person in this industry.
While there are plenty more of pet peeves within the service industry, these appear to be the most talked about and the most frequent offenders that we see. If you are an offender, please do your part to ensure that you do not continue to engage in these behaviors/actions. Otherwise I can just hope that as an industry we continue to progress and improve our patrons’ experiences as time goes on.
In the service industry, we come across a wide array of customers…not all of them are pleasant and enjoyable. In fact, a large percentage of them are rude and condescending. Now I am not sure if these customers INTEND to come off that way but I can at least let the masses know the type of behavior that gets them on the list of bad customers in the industry. Hopefully this will help at least a few good men.
Please keep your sense of entitlement to yourself. The quickest and sure fire way to piss off your server is to immediately act like you are better than them and that they are the dirt beneath your shoe. While, yes, we are in the “service” industry…we are not your servants and should not be treated as such. I love my job and truly enjoy making sure your dining experience is top notch. This does not mean that I enjoy being degraded and treated like the worst of the worst that society has to offer. You do not get the right to boss me around, raise your voice, and demand things of me. I WILL stand up for myself and in the end you will end up being humiliated In front of the other patrons.
Please, please do NOT touch me! Just as you would expect your personal space at any given time (especially in your place of work), servers and other industry personnel expect the same. Nobody appreciates being tapped, pulled, or tugged at to get attention. Doing so feels especially degrading and is really detrimental to the mental well-being of those in our service industry. We are people too and expect to be treated as such. Please respect that.
You’re Vague About Your Allergies
PLEASE know your allergy! Most of the servers I know, along with myself, have no issue serving those with legitimate food allergies or concerns, The aggravation comes when those who claim food allergy do not apparently know what they can and cannot have. It is not our jobs to know all of your allergies and what you can and cannot eat to be safe. It is frustrating to be told that I do not care about my customer when in reality it just is not my job to tell you what you can and cannot eat. Please just be considerate of this when dining out. Know your allergies and what you should and should not be eating to align with your diet.
Split Checks at the END of Your Meal
There is nothing wrong with splitting the check. I repeat, there is NOTHING wrong with splitting a check. The problem comes when you fail to mention that you are doing so, and then casually mention it at the end of the night. This can cause a backup of thirty minutes or more while the server and table figure out who ordered what. If you let the server know in the very beginning they will easily be able to divvy up the check as items are ordered and the end of your night will go much more smoothly.
Please just keep these simple tips in mind when you are a patron at any bar or restaurant establishment for the evening. Your servers expect to be treated with respect and dignity, just as you would if the roles were reversed and you were in their position. A word for the wise!
Let’s face it. As much as servers and wait staff complain about the rude and obnoxious tendencies that restaurant and bar patrons tend to have… there are definitely things that servers and bartenders do that are just as annoying and frustrating to the customer.
Dishonest Opinions on Menu Items
When a customer asks you your opinion of a certain item on the menu…that is actually what they want. No customer wants to hear that everything you asked about is “amazing” or “the bestselling item we have.” As customers, we honestly want to know what you think we will like based on our conversations and recommendations. We’re not stupid…we know that not everything on the menu is award winning, but that is why we are asking for your personal recommendations. Customers want to know what you, personally, prefer.
Tip Focused Service
Staff being so tip focused that we lose the entire purpose of our customer service experience. There are many times that individuals at a table will just ask whomever is passing by to help them. Increasingly more and more individuals are reaching out and being told to wait for their specific waiter to help them. In doing so, it makes it appear that the servers only care about their tables and the tips that they will leave for them. They know that in helping another table for a minute or two will not result in any additional tips directed towards them so they forgo it. This practice is incredibly disappointing to consumers and in fact, quite obvious.
Too Much Physical Contact
Please do not have physical contact with your guests! This seems to be an issue mainly here in the United States, where personal space seems to have completely disappeared in recent years. Nobody wants to have their server, a person they met merely five minutes ago, touching their backs or shoulders while trying to order dinner. I will allow an exception for long standing regulars that have seen the same server for years. Then and only then, with the okay from all parties involved, is it okay to hug/touch/pat any customer.
Having to wait ungodly times in between passes by your table from your server. Most restaurants and bars have set timeframes from when you greet to when you pass back etc etc. Nothing is worse than being greeted and then waiting over half an hour just to get a drink order in. The fear is then who knows when you will actually receive your drink and lets not even think about the main course order!
This is just the beginning to a long list of things that wait staff does that absolutely gets on the nerves on the guests that they wait on. It seems that no matter what side you are on there is always someone, somewhere that has something to say!
This is a topic not often talked about, in or out of the service industry, but it is an important one. The physical demands of a job in the service industry are nothing to make light of and should be taken extremely seriously. If not careful, you can be seriously and or chronically injured due to a job in the service industry. Many injuries go undocumented or kept quiet from those that suffer due to fear or their job security and what may happen if employers find out.
LONG HOURS & DOUBLE SHIFTS
Bartenders and servers face many physical demands on a daily basis working in the service industry. The first and most prominent is probably the length of the shifts that they work. Many employees will work 12 plus hours and often double shifts just to gain better tip and wages. Often times there is a scramble of those looking for even more hours to moonlight for private parties. Those hours can keep compounding and cause significant physical, mental and emotional stress on the individual.
Next on the list is probably the amount of weight being dead lifted, such as kegs and beer cases. Bartenders are often moving tens to hundreds of these per night depending on where they work. This is a lot of heavy lifting and repetitive motions. Servers also face the risks of heavy lifting. Their food and drink trays are often incredibly heavy and require bending and lifting at awkward angles to lift and carry them through the restaurant.
Even from the small amount of daily tasks mentioned above, there are significant physical risks that those movements pose to your health. Muscle strains and tears in your back, neck, and shoulders are common amongst workers in the service industry. Injuries such as these can range from very minor where you just need ice and heat, to very major where you will be off your feet and missing work and wages. While feet do not necessary face major injury per say, they definitely face major damage from working in the service industry. The long hours and constant state of running back and forth and being on your feet without a chance to sit down can cause a breakdown of your feet over time. Ouch! (Looking for comfy shoes to serve in? Here are our top picks!) One of the most serious injuries that can occur over time is structural issues with your spine. The constant lifting, bending, standing can cause damage to the disks which can lead to pain and potential medical intervention to relief the issue.
There are several things you can do to make sure you minimize any potential injury on the job. The first thing is to be mindful of the potential risks that you may face in an effort to avoid those situations in the first place. If you know you will be heavy lifting on a regular basis, learn proper lifting techniques so that you do not create strains or tears in your muscles. Wear appropriate shoes that provide the best protection for long hours on your feet. Purchase braces that can support your back or shoulders depending on what your needs are. The best approach is a proactive approach to staying healthy and happy for as long as you can in this wonderful industry.
1. Research the Venue
Research the place before walking through the doors. While there is no 100% guarantee that in doing so you will have a great time, it certainly heightens your chances. After all there is no need even stepping foot in an establishment where you do not like the venue, menu, or theme.
2. Get Personal
It helps to get personal. Learn your bartender’s name. Make casual conversation without being obnoxious. Taking an actual interest will gain you more respect from the bartender and possibly more attentive service in the future.
3. Share Preferences
Don’t just ask a blanket statement of “What should I get?” Give your bartender your preferences, tastes, and favorites so that they can make a recommendation that is specifically suited and tailored to your needs. I guarantee in doing so you will be much happier with their recommendations.
4. Personal Space
Personal space does not just disappear because you are sitting at the bar. Everyone still needs their personal space and it is incredibly rude to violate that space anywhere…even a bar. Be mindful of other patron’s space and don’t reach over or between them, hang your personal items off of their barstool, or yell right next to them. All of this is very intrusive and you would not appreciate it if you were sitting at the bar. In alignment with this, however, do not be afraid to let the people at the bar know if you are trying to order a drink. They may be able to help you get the bartenders attention and help in passing drinks. Manners get you far!
5. Do Not Block Service Stations
Please please PLEASE do not block the service stations at the bar! Especially when the bar is crowded this is where bartenders need to pick up and drop off drinks, and quickly. Bar backs need to pass through here as well with dishes etc. In blocking this pathway you are slowing up the entire system and thoroughly pissing off the staff members.
6. Tip on the Comped Item
If an item on your bill has been comped by the bartender or manager, you still need to tip on that item as if it was still on the bill! Usually 20% of the total after tax is the norm. You are less likely to get things on the house if you are stingy with your tips and never include the free items when factoring into your decision of the amount you want to leave.
7. No PDA
Public displays of affection. Just do not do them. They are awkward and embarrassing and not just for those in your group. It makes everyone around you feel uncomfortable which is not fair to other patrons. Now, this is not to say that giving your significant other a smooch at the bar is wrong. It is not. Sucking their face, however…is!
These are just SOME of the multitude of suggestions most bartenders would have for their customers. Many things should be common sense but you would be surprised at how often some of these things happen each and every day!