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Tips for Servers: an Open Letter


To the Servers Who Fail To Earn Their Tips:

I have heard the rumors that women are poor tippers. Maybe there’s a grain of truth to that as a stereotype; I don’t know, I have never worked in the Food Service industry. Regardless of that stereotype or any other, and despite the hour at which a person might visit your place of work, here are some extra service tips you didn’t have to work for:

  • Even if you expect that a person might tip poorly, serve them as if they’ve already left you at 25% or more. Because, really, stereotypes are just social profiling and there will always be exceptions.

  • If my girlfriend and I show up at 10 PM, don’t be sour because we’re there “so late.” Especially if the establishment doesn’t close until 2 AM.
  • The easiest way to earn yourself a low tip is to fail to fill our drinks.
  • The easiest way to earn yourself a pathetic tip is to forget to fill our drinks after we’ve specifically asked for a refill! Come ON!
  • You never know when you’re being mystery shopped. You never know when your patron is an “off-duty” mystery shopper who “knows the ropes” and won’t hesitate in filling out a comment card or going online to fill out the “contact us” form. Either way, poor service could get back to your management. Likewise, exceptional service could be worth a LOT more than a good tip.

After two sub-par dining experiences in only four days’ time, I feel the need to put this out there. I know, everyone seems to be pinching pennies lately. I bet this is resulting in less eating out as a whole, lower average spending on individual restaurant visits, and possibly even lower tips in general. I am sure any of those factors can make working at a restaurant wearying.

But poor service is NOT going to fix the problem.

After all, I could be your next patron. And as a wife and mother, I appreciate, recognize and generously tip quality service: I’m in the same line of work.

But I don’t get tips for serving spaghetti or chicken nuggets with a smile.

I know it can be thankless work. I know it can wear you down. And I know what standards you’re being held to: chances are, as a mystery shopper, I have the checklist in my car.

So do us both a favor: serve me respectfully and efficiently. I’ll make it worth your time. Otherwise, I’ll satisfy your stereotype instead, and I’ll report the bad news.

Respectfully,

Brushed & Ticked Off

PS — For the record, it takes me more time to file a negative report than to say you gave stellar service. Please, if not for your own professional well being, serve me well to save me some time and effort.

2 Comments

  1. Ginger Ginger
    September 12, 2008    

    haha! i love it! i have been in the food service industry and i’m a stellar tipper. i’ve also never heard that women are poor tippers. i do, however, only hear complaints about poor tips from people that hate their jobs and don’t provide good service.

    perhaps they’re not getting good tips because their customers aren’t provided for and not the other way around.

    you obviously need to print out a copy of this letter and provide a copy to the manager of that establishment.

  2. Chucka Stone Designs Chucka Stone Designs
    September 14, 2008    

    Good for you! Nothing irritates me more than people in service industries who provide little to no service to speak of. It is not just food service either. After YEARS of working retail I not only hold a higher standard but actually have intimate knowledge of exactly what many stores mandate their employees do when it comes to clients.

    Did you know it is required for a Victoria's Secret employee to be standing in the front room & greet you on the way in the door? Or that in the Limited Too all the front tables are constantly maintained by a greeter to look perfect at all times? I have sent letters to the home offices for good & bad service in many respects, it is sometimes well worth telling management when someone has not only done a bad job but when they have gone above & beyond as well.

    How long have you been a shopper? I always wanted to do that but never thought it was a "real" thing. How did you get hooked up with that?

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torch bearing quietly

I will not act out, will not
yell or curse or slam doors,
will not make a scene -- you
do not deserve such a chance
to make an example out of me
to be proven right since you
are not. Instead, I'll stand
at this street corner, raise
my hand high and clench that
light which yet remains. It
will burn brightly, quietly,
fiercely before fading as I.

Then I'll be gone but found.

©JAC 2005

Poetry by Julie Ann Cook!

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