We’re Going From Giving Thanks to Servers to Giving Thanks for Service.

waitstaff7We’d like to say a tremendous thank you to all of the servers and bartenders who allowed us to interview them, pick their brains, ask them questions, and who shared their best and worst moments in the food service/restaurant industry with us. To us, you provide an invaluable service, one which are happy to duly compensate you for. And since we know you probably don’t hear it often enough, thank you! Thank you for what you do to make our birthday dinners, girls nights out, business lunches, date nights, and a million other everyday adventures, a little better. If you’ve read any of our posts this week, or taken our polls, or looked at our photos, or visited us on one of our social media sites, please remember to show your gratitude to your favorite servers. 

flagTomorrow is Memorial Day and we hope that you will join us in honoring a different kind of service. We’ll be kicking off what promises to be a great summer here on One Unified. But first, we’re taking a moment to reflect on the true meaning of what has come to be known as the unofficial start to the summer.

And stay tuned to find out more about our upcoming new feature, the Sunday Spotlight.

Results of this weeks tipping polls

tiplar
This week we honored the hard workers in the restaurant and bar business. We also asked all of you what your tipping habits were. Philadelphia has been called a high tipping city and most of the answers definitely coincide with that assessment. These are the results.

Have you ever not tipped a server?
82% No
18% Yes

I gave them back a very under cooked burger and they gave the same one back to me (bite mark and all) burnt.

I feel guilty leaving no tip even if the service sucks. I just leave a smaller one.

Only once or twice in 50+ years. The one tome i do remember the details…we saw the server once when we sat down…repeated requests from other servers to get the server or at least another server went unheaded. We had finished our drinks over 30 minutes ago, so we got up and left.

I always tip. If the service is horrible the tip is small.

Have you ever skipped out on a tab?
91% No
9% Yes

yes at the Red Robin. I fell victim to trunking peer pressure at 3 o’clock in the morning. felt bad and paid the next day

NEVER, except for the one case above. If someone had given us a bill, we would have paid it.

On average, what percentage do you tip a server?
53% said they tipped 20%
33% said they tipped 22-30% depending on service
7% said they tip 15%
7% said they tip 10%

What would make you not tip a server?
46% checked “other” (see comments)
No reason not to tip a server
Not Tip??
Not tip?
nothing
Only if they down right fuck everything up and are rude……I always tip
Bad attitude
31% said they wouldn’t tip if the server wasn’t friendly
15% said they wouldn’t tip if the service was slow
8% said they wouldn’t tip if the food was bad

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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Tipping the Scales…Take Today’s Fast Poll. (See what we did there?)

Photo courtesy of Nan Palmero and licensed under Creative Commons license. Details here.

Tipping the Polls…Take our Fast 2 Question Poll Today…Please!

Don’t Forget to Tip Your Sever: National Wait Staff Day is on the Way.

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!

server2HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A SERVER?
“20 years!”

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.

WORST TIPS?
“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.

server1AS 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!”