Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Rebuttal to "Proven Methods For Servers To Increase Their Tips"

I'm absolutely blown away by some of the comments people left on Get Rich Slowly's post on Proven Methods for Servers to Increase Their Tips. Appalled even. What the heck are in people's minds?! Last time I checked, providing good, friendly service does NOT mean I'm attempting to manipulate people. It means I'm doing my job correctly. Management wouldn't be attempting to keep me around otherwise. I'll take the time to address some of the tips in the post along with some of the items featured in comments. As one person mentioned, the server can't win.

Wear Something Unusual: At my work, we have standard garb and can only wear stud earrings, one ring per hand and no other jewelry. It doesn't leave much room for being unique.

Introduce Yourself By Name: Someone commented that they hated when servers do this. At my restaurant, it's considered a standard to do so and if a server falsifies their name, it's a potential write-up. The concept behind this is that I want my customers to know who I am. I always appreciate it when someone DOES remember my name. If they happen to need their check immediately to leave and grab another server to get me, they can ask for Vixen, not for "a short red head". This is part of the server exam at the end of training.

Squat Next To The Table: I'm 4'11. I'm usually close to eye-level with the men I serve and not much taller than women. Heh. But, I do know a server who is over six feet that will squat next to a table for his own personal ease.

Repeat Customer's Order: Standard procedure to make sure that you didn't screw up the order, especially when it is an order with five modifications to it. This is part of the server exam at the end of training.

Smile At Customers: If you aren't doing this, you aren't doing your job well. Once again, part of the server exam. I mean really, who wants a server that doesn't smile? I'm a natural smiler; sometimes it's a big one, other times a soft one.

Sell, Sell, Sell: At my restaurant, a server has to offer drinks, specific appetizer, point to promo menu, offer to add on soup or salad, pie, ice cream with the pie, and coffee! If the manager happens to walk by when you are taking an order and you don't offer to add on a salad, you get in trouble. At the end of our receipts, a survey prints up (reward if you complete it), if the customer says you missed more than two upsell items, you get written up. No joke. This isn't manipulation; this is us keeping our jobs.

Touch Customers: I absolutely do not touch customers except for a few regular women who insist on hugging me. I feel uncomfortable if a person at the table touches me and hence I refrain from doing it as well. My best friend works with me and she is a lot more touchy-feely than I am. I notice she gets better tips from men when she cocktails. I'm not willing to flirt with my customers. I deliver excellent service and I'm a sweetheart; men don't get any special attention.

Write 'Thank You' On The Receipt: Most of the servers I know do this, but I sheerly don't have the time for it. I verbalize 'thank you' when I drop the check anyhow.

Give Customers Candy: I'm not dipping into my own pocket, wasting the space in my pocket or anything else like that. Furthermore, if I start doing that, tables will expect that out of other servers in my restaurant.

Now, in regards to some of the comments people left:

-I don't understand the sliding into booths either.
-I remember my regulars usual drinks or idiosyncrasies.
-One person complains about servers not being attentive enough, yet another complains that she doesn't like servers being too attentive.
-At my restaurant, we recommend using 'folks' instead of 'guys'. It's a generational thing with my age group.
-Regards to chatting with coworkers, it's inevitable. Communication is key in the serving industry. As a shift lead, I delegate tasks to people or hold cast calls. I do understand if they are talking about their weekend plans and you have no ice tea.
-The better servers rarely write down orders. It's all in our heads. It takes too much time to whip out paper and pen and then search for it later. I always recommend for new servers to write everything down though.
-Furthermore, when we drop food, we are suppose to quietly announce the plate.
-One person cites they don't want their ice tea topped off, but they don't want it to be too low either. I'm sorry, do we servers need to be telepathic to the ratio of beverage to glass space that you desire?
-It's required at my job to check back on the table within two minutes of them receiving their food. It is to ensure satisfaction with the order, not to disturb your conversation.
-Oh, Frugal Bachelor, you dog you! :-D
-J.D., at my restaurant we aren't allowed to leave pitchers on the table (or even set them down) unless there are ten people in the party. I once had a gentleman ask for a pitcher lemonade, so I brought him five glasses. Heh.

All in all, go a little easy on your server. We are just trying to do our job. If you didn't tip us, the restaurants would have to pay us more hourly and the cost of the food would go up astronomically. We really aren't trying to manipulate you, just trying to deliver good customer service.


SavingDiva said...

I've never been a server, so I don't really know how it sfeels. However, I realize that servers live off of tips...so I usually leave 20%...However, if I receive good service (which is becoming more and more rare), I leave substantially more. My boyfriend teases me about leaving huge tips. However, I have to admit that my server sets the mood for my meal more than the actual food. Therefore, if I had a good time, then I would be stupid not to pay for the service too...

Alison said...

great post...you brought up great points :)