If you’re anything like us, you know how to make the most of any opportunity to get out for a meal or a drink. It may be a nice dinner out with family, a casual lunch date with friends, or a quick stop by your local bar for a glass of wine or a beer after a long day. Whether it’s a crowded diner, a hole in the wall pub, or a five-star restaurant, one thing remains the same, the service can make or break the experience! All this week we are talking to, and about, servers, bartenders, and people in the food service industry. Thursday, May 21st, is National Waiter and Waitress (Wait staff) Day. No, really. We wouldn’t make this up. So remember when you’re out this week to perhaps throw down an extra couple of bucks. Or simply say a heartfelt thank you for good service. And follow along as we talk to people in the business. Hint: they usually have pretty interesting stories!
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A SERVER?
DID YOU START OUT WITH THE INTENT OF DOING IT SHORT TERM LIKE SO MANY PEOPLE DO?
“Yes! I certainly didn’t want to do this my whole life.”
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO DO?
“Wanted to be an account like my dad.”
DO YOU THINK YOU’LL EVER BE OUT OF THIS BUSINESS?
“I hope so. I’d like to just play poker full-time, not just a couple of times a week like I do now.”
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST TIP YOU’VE EVER GOT?
“$200 on a $100 check.”
200%. NOT BAD. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN STIFFED (NO TIP)?
“Yes many, many times.”
THAT CAN BE FRUSTRATING. HOW ABOUT PEOPLE ACTUALLY WALKING OUT ON THE WHOLE BILL WITHOUT PAYING? DID YOU EVER FOLLOW OR CHASE THEM IF YOU DID?
“I’ve had people run out on the bill. I would never chase them. It’s not my money. The restaurants I worked for can deal with that.
“Every late night table I had (when I worked at) Outback Steakhouse in Jenkintown (PA). They were brutal.”
HAVE YOU EVER WAITED ON ANYONE FAMOUS? DID THEY TIP WELL?
Bradley Cooper. He comes to (the restaurant I work in) in Jenkintown. That’s where he is from. And yes he tips well!!
HE SEEMS LIKE HE WOULD TIP WELL. DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE APPRECIATED BY YOUR CUSTOMERS? HOW ABOUT YOUR EMPLOYERS?
“For the most part no. But there are some really great customers. Management, not so much. In the end most don’t really care about their servers. There are exceptions. I’ve had good and bad managers.
AS A SERVER DO YOU WORK A LOT OF ODD HOURS (WEEKEND, LATE NIGHTS, HOLIDAYS) AND DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU MISS OUT ON THINGS BECAUSE OF THAT?
“I absolutely work weekends and holidays, but that is where the money is at so you have to do it. I always miss out on things because of the weekend hours. I haven’t seen one of my sons tee ball games this spring.”
HAVE YOU EVER HAD SOMETHING WEIRD TURN UP IN SOMEONE’S FOOD?
“Hair, bugs, plastic, you name it and I’ve seen it people’s food.”
EVERYONE KNOWS THERE ARE SOME NOT SO GREAT SERVERS OUT THERE. WE’VE ALL HAD THEM. BUT SPEAKING FOR THE GOOD, WELL TRAINED SERVER, WHO ACTUALLY CARES ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMERS EXPERIENCE, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL PEOPLE WHO GO OUT TO EAT IF YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY?
“We get zero dollar pay checks, usually no benefits or vacation, and people still feel the need to tip like shit. Sorry for the language. If anything goes wrong when a diner is out to eat it’s the servers fault and that’s just not (usually) the case. Fifteen percent has been the standard tip forever but inflation goes up, things cost more and tips stay the same. I get the same tip on a fifty dollar check twenty years ago as I do now. I guess that’s part of the business!”