National Wait Staff Day Prompts Answers to Questions About Life in the Restaurant Business.

Yesterday was National Wait Staff Day. Bet you didn’t know that, did you? Also called National Waiter & Waitress Day, it is one of those “holidays” that really is neither nationally recognized nor a holiday. It is more of an informal day of recognition to the women and men who work long hours, weekends, and holidays, trying to make your dining experiences enjoyable. It is also a day for restaurant owners and managers to recognize their staff with appreciation and gratitude. The origins of National Wait Staff Day appear to be uncredited and unknown.

We spent some time talking to servers from various eateries all around the area and asked them some questions about life in the restaurant business. We asked servers how long they had been in the business, and if they had gotten into it as a stepping stone, or with the intent to make a career out of it? They answered questions like: what was the best tip that you ever got? Have you even been stiffed on a bill? Ever had someone run out on their check? Ever have a really great customer, or a famous customer? Or conversely, a really awful one? We got some interesting stories and responses. Amazingly there was a lot of commonality in why servers serve, the emotional (rather than just financial) connection to tips, and more.

“I’ve worked at Longhorn (Steakhouse) for 8 years.”

“I’ve waitressed on & off since I was 16. Diners mostly or small mom & pop places. I hung up the apron almost 5 years ago.”

“I started when I was about 20.”

“I’ve been a server on and off for 20 years (wow, I’m old) but mostly on for the past 7 years.”

“I waited tables through high school and college. Then I worked on and off as a server after my kids were born and I left my full-time career to raise them.”

“Best tip I ever got was $120 on a bill that was $50. Closely followed by the 3 teenage boys that left me $80 on $40 with a note that said, ‘Merry Christmas’. I still have that note. I definitely wasn’t expecting that much from teenagers. Maybe a handful of change…which made that really special.”

tips“There’s a tie for the best tip I ever received. Financially a $100 chip on a cup of coffee. Emotionally it was from a little boy. I waited on his family 2 or 3 times a week. He’d always make or give me something Phillies related.”

“I’ve gotten some great tips in the past; $50 on a $50 check. $100 on a $100. I’ve gotten several 100% tips actually.  The tips I remember most though are when kids draw you pictures or people leave you notes of thanks. Of course I need the money more, but throwing down money anyone can do. To take your own time and effort to do something nice for someone who tried to do something nice for you is valuable in a whole different way.”

“I think it was $50.”

“I actually JUST got the best tip I have ever gotten last week. It was $100. The bill was $225. The couple are regulars, they come in at least once a week. They always tip well but not like that. I believe it being Mother’s Day had something to do with it.”

jess1“I’ve been stiffed. More than once. A few months ago I got that “toeing in my Jordans” on the tip line. Ugh!!!” (If you’re not familiar with tip toeing in my Jordan’s, check out the explanation here)

“I have never been stiffed but was tipped oddly. Seven Canadian pennies & 3 golf balls.”

“I’ve been stiffed once or twice. In my experience it is usually by young kids. People from the south have a reputation for not tipping either. Actually there are lots of tip stereotypes. Luckily, it’s only happened to me those 2 times. Now shitty tips, there’s been a few more of those. And I am a very good server!”

“I remember once, someone walking out without paying at Peter’s. The owner tried to tell me I had to pay it. Ha!”

“More than once had people run out on the bill. But as a diner waitress there is always cops around. They’d go after them.”

Worst customer? “I don’t know. I forget them as soon as they leave (laughter).”

“I’ve never waited onphilliesring anyone famous or important. And thankfully I never waited on McCoy with his 30 cent tipping ass!!”

“Most “famous” person I ever waited on was a groundskeeper for the Phillies. It was after the World Series win & he let me wear the championship ring.”

“Most famous person I’ve ever waited on was Bradley Cooper, and yes, he tips well!!”

“Just have some patience and smile. Just smile back, please. Anybody that comes in…we usually know…cause they come in and they’re miserable as soon as they walk in the door…we go “Oh God, this one’s gonna be a problem”. We just know it. So, just be happy and smile back.”


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