Secrets Of Waiters

Michelle Crouch at Reader’s Digest has compiled another list of secrets that your waiter won’t tell you. Some are just going to make you annoyed, like the waitress who lies for sympathy tips. But there are plenty of useful secrets on the list that might improve your experience the next time you go out to eat.

Here are a few of the good ones:

1. If your waiter says something is “one of our most popular dishes” but doesn’t personally vouch for it, that’s waiter-speak for “I don’t like it but I can’t talk trash about it.”

2. If you order a frozen drink and your waiter says they’re out, consider asking for water instead. If the waiter was lying, he’ll make the frozen drink after all to avoid losing the sale. Obviously this is a dangerous bluff, because you don’t want to be stuck with a glass of water when you really wanted a daquirini, but you can always order something else to drink later if your plan backfires.

3. Don’t order water for everyone at the table out of habit; make sure they want it. Otherwise you’re wasting your waiter’s time.

4. If you’re fighting and suddenly get great service, it’s just because the staff is bored and they want to listen in.

5. The pasta Alfredo is the cheap, easy, comfort dish that restaurants serve to the unimaginative. If you’re trying to be a more adventurous diner, look for something else.

6. If you don’t like a dish, complain and get it over with. Don’t pick at it through the meal and complain afterward.

7. Ask what’s in a smoothie; some restaurants use half-and-half, which makes it a nutritional landmine.

And this one isn’t a consumer tip, but it’s just a sappy heart-warming story that will cheer you up. You know, if you like reading about people being nice to each other and crap like that.

Once on Mother’s Day, this older lady came in alone and told me that her kids weren’t able to be with her that year, but they had mailed her a gift card. So I told my manager that we had to make this an exceptional experience for her. I told her to come back with a friend some time and use her gift card because tonight, her meal was on us. We comped her dinner, and I sat with her through dessert while she told me about her kids. My coworkers were happy to cover my other tables for 15 minutes. The woman told me she would remember that dinner forever.

—Melissa McCracken, longtime waitress in Hawaii

“30 Secrets Your Waiter Will Never Tell You” [Reader’s Digest] (Thanks to Adam!)
“20 Secrets Your Waiter Won’t Tell You” [Reader’s Digest]

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  1. OletheaEurystheus says:

    “If your waiter says something is “one of our most popular dishes,” that’s waiter-speak for “I don’t like it but I can’t talk trash about it.”

    Bullshit. I know many waiters who are flat out being honest in saying it IS one of the most popular dishes and they have ate it and liked it themselves. When they say its one of the most popular dishes, odds are they are being truthful, and not being deceitful.

    • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

      I’ve also had waiters be honest when saying they didn’t care for a dish.

      • FigNinja says:

        They get bonus point from me for that.

      • reddbettie says:

        To a server at Cracker Barrel- “Whats the difference between country gravy and red-eye gravy?”

        “Country gravy is gross and red-eye gravy is REALLY gross.”

        Much deserved huge tip :)

    • MostlyHarmless says:

      Yeeeeah, nice try. I see what you did there. Original quote is:

      If your waiter says something is “one of our most popular dishes” but doesn’t personally vouch for it, that’s waiter-speak for “I don’t like it but I can’t talk trash about it.”

      If they ate it and liked it themselves, and said as much, that would be personally vouching for it.

      I understand your need to trash talk, but at least try not to go out of your way to create an alternative universe for it.

      • Chris Walters says:

        No, that was something I added after OletheaEurystheus’ comment for clarity. I didn’t mean to imply that every waiter is lying when he says a dish is good, and so I added that phrase in to make it explicitly clear what I meant.

        So it’s all good.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      What if you’re a vegetarian and someone asks you about a meat dish you have absolutely no experience with? I guess you could still say it was one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, and it could be the truth, but you would be deflecting by not vouching for it, right?

      • locakitty says:

        I used the vegetarian excuse on our meat heavy pizzas. “Well, I’m a vegetarian so I can’t tell you how it tastes, but we do sell quite a few of them to repeat customers. And the staff seems to like it as well.”

        As far as I was concerned it was disgusting, but I don’t need six kinds of meat on a pizza either.

      • JulesNoctambule says:

        I used to be in that situation quite a lot, and asked regulars their opinions so I could honestly say ‘[Item] is the most popular, and quite a lot of people enjoy [other item]’.

    • cash_da_pibble says:

      Now, This isn’t entirely true.
      When I was a waitress, one of our most popular dishes was Corned Beef and Cabbage ( ya, irish pub.)
      Now, I loathe corned beef and cabbage and refuse to eat it.
      So I can’t personally vouch for it since I have a bias.

      But many others have stated it’s delicious so I used the “Most Popular” line.
      People even questioned me about it and I was honest- ” I’ m not a Corned Beef Person so I can’t personally reccomend it, but I have heard good things about it.”

    • Bob Lu says:

      Some waiters actually told me that they didn’t like certain dishes. Once a waiter in Chilli’s even warn me the dessert I as considering “tastes awful”.

  2. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    Why would they lie about being out of frozen drinks?

    All these stories make me confused and feel like eating out is too much trouble if all the waiters in the world are prima donnas with a secret code I must crack.

    • Shadowman615 says:

      The idea was that frozen drinks take much longer to make and the waiter is either pressed for time or being lazy.

      Like I said in another post, this one’s probably BS because most places that serve alcohol have a bartender to make those drinks and don’t let the waitstaff touch the alcohol.

      //Served and bartended through a long college career.

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        I can’t really think of anywhere I eat that serves alcohol that DOESN’T have a bar. I can think of a couple of small places that aren’t staffed with a specific bartender during slow hours … but them’s the slow hours.

      • zlionsfan says:

        But the frozen drinks still take longer to prepare (unless it’s a place that has premixed daiquiris or margaritas or whatever), even if it isn’t the server that does it, and they may be reluctant to tie up the bartender’s time, especially if the server occasionally tends bar there (as is the case at some places I’ve been).

        I guess it depends on where you are and how things work there. There’s probably something that takes the server an inordinate amount of time, so “sorry, we’re out of that” or “X isn’t working” could be code for the servers’ equivalent of tl;dr.

    • Shadowman615 says:

      Congrats on the baby, btw

    • tbax929 says:

      I haven’t heard any servers ever complain about frozen drinks, but I have heard them complain about iced tea. They say it’s a pain in the ass to prepare – although I’m not sure why.

      • perruptor says:

        Iced tea, hot tea – why are they having so much trouble with tea, which is so much easier than coffee to make, whether hot or cold?

    • veg-o-matic says:

      It’s possible that, in the event that servers do not prepare drinks themselves, they still have to share tips with the bartender if their table orders a fancybev. That would be enough to make some servers try to get out of it, I think.

      • Shadowman615 says:

        Also doubtful. The waiter has to share tips with the bar staff no matter what. The more expensive drink is always preferable.

        • coren says:

          I believe you, although that doesn’t make a ton of sense to me – why are you sharing a tip with someone who didn’t do anything to earn said tip? Like if the table is having drinks that’s fine and all, but if they just ordered water, why does the bartender get a cut?

          • FigNinja says:

            Typically you don’t go through every ticket and figure out precisely how much to tip out the other staff. You tip out at the end of the night based on total take. Even if you didn’t serve any alcohol that night, you tip out the bar unless you don’t care about getting your drinks quickly in the future.

          • harrier666 says:

            Trust me. The waitstaff ALWAYS wins in tip pooling. All of those people that come sit at the bar and buy several drinks and no food tip very well. I have not once, not one night in my career that I can come up with, made MORE tips from tip pooling. I always lose out.

            Waitstaff and bartenders put their money into the pool and it gets split out to each. 5 waitstaff personnel, eg, sharing a whole floor and me with just my bar? I always raked in more. I would love not to pool tips. Sign me up!

            And as was said, if I have a waiter/waitress who pockets some of their own (and I can tell. I see them do it and/or their tip amounts are always lower than everyone else’s) or I get treated poorly by a waiter/waitress, their drinks suffer so their tips suffer. Two pointers in life: Never ever piss off your network admin and Never ever piss off your bartender. I can reduce a waitperson’s tips to nothing without much effort.

          • Shadowman615 says:

            On some checks you have no drinks at all, while on other checks drinks might take up the majority the total. Every place does it different, but in general the waitstaff would tip out either a percentage of their tips or a percentage of their total sales to the bartenders (and bussers, etc).

            Some restaurants actually have the waitstaff only tip the bartenders based on their bar sales. Whatever the case it usually seems to make a negligible difference. And no matter what, it’s always better to sell more expensive drinks, whether the bartender gets a cut of that tip or not. Especially when you factor potential refills: think $1.79 for a soda with unlimited refills vs $10-$15 for 2 daiquiris.

            This is not the same as pooling tips among all the waitstaff, it’s generally just sharing a small part the waiters tips with some of the support staff.

      • harrier666 says:

        I worked at a bar that was exactly as described. The waitstaff could mix basic drinks (eg. rum and coke) but could not make blended drinks. They did everything possible to avoid blended drinks as they tipped us directly, no shared tips. (This was in Utah).

        But the advice applies to milkshakes etc. If they say the shake machine is broken (very common) order a water. They will almost always “double check” the shake machine and come back with one.

      • teke367 says:

        Eh, the only time I known a server to lie about drinks would if somebody ordered chocolate milk. They had to make it themselves, and we had chocolate syrup for dessert, which didn’t blend well with milk. So it was a pain, and generally would be sent back for a regular drink anyway.

        Usually the tip relies on the price of the drink to the bartender, even if you had to give part of the tip to the bar, odds are the tip is larger because of the drink. The last restaurant I worked at had at 10% bar tap policy. So if I sold a table a beer for $3, the tip would be $.045 for just that drink. Soda was $1, so the tip $0.15. After I tipped out $0.30 to the bar, I wound up the same.

        The only way we’d lose money out on the deal is if we get poor tips from tables with liquor. Since our tip our was based on our sales, not our tips.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      Frequently the secret code you must crack is crack itself.

    • andsowouldi says:

      I’ve never run into this problem in nicer restaurants with frozen drinks per say, but I have found that places such as Steak ‘n Shake must clean their milkshake machines an unreasonable amount of times because they often don’t want to make me shakes at later hours.

    • annexw says:

      If the bar doesn’t have a shaved ice machine, or its blended drink, the blender is really f’ing loud. And if that bar doesn’t do a lot of blended drinks, getting the stuff out and finding room for it and then the cleaning… bah humbug. But if the bar does a lot of blended drinks, its no worries.

      It was the same way at my bar for fancy coffees. We had the espresso machine there, but it frequently “went down” on super busy nights.

    • lisalouise37 says:

      i can’t answer the ice tea question – on why it is annoying – but I can answer the hot tea. I worked in 4 different style of restaurants and all were the same when it came to hot tea. You have to get the saucer, tea cup, tea, lemon and spoon, none of which are in the same spot. Then you have to pour the hot water in the cup and walk out to the table with it, most of the time spilling some along the way because of the darn saucer. *granted if you are smart you don’t assemble it all until you get right out to the table, but it takes some failures to figure this out* What makes this different than coffee (since I also think that was part of the question) the items for the coffee are USUALLY right there and you don’t have to go all over to get them. The only time coffee is a pain is when someone has the coffee pots (if the are the thermos kind) out in the dinning room and you have to play “find the dumb @$$ who can’t put stuff back”

      As for the ice tea – some places I had to get the longer spoons for and those were never clean. Other than that waiting for it to brew may also be an annoyance but really if you make a big deal out of it your tip goes down (as it should)

  3. Shadowman615 says:

    In most places the bartender makes frozen drinks, not the waiter.

  4. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    11. We want you to enjoy yourself while you’re there eating, but when it’s over, you should go. Do you stay in the movie theater after the credits? No. —Waiter at a casual restaurant in the Chicago area

    Any waiter that cops an attitude like that toward me isn’t going to get a tip. Yes, I’m paying the restaurant for a meal, so it goes to show that maybe after the meal is done with, the restaurant is no longer supposed to keep providing service. But until I pay for my meal, the contract isn’t fulfilled and it’s my choice whether I want to stay there for another hour, so long as the restaurant is open. If a waiter were to be upset about that, they should be aware that I have not yet paid my bill, could order more drinks or dessert, and could also leave out a tip for their insufferable attitude.

    • tbax929 says:

      I try to be a little more sensitive about it. If the restaurant isn’t busy and others aren’t waiting to dine, then I’ll linger if I want to. However, if the restaurant is packed, I finish my meal and leave so someone else can have the table I was occupying.

    • Kishi says:

      Eh, there are limits. My sister works in a restaurant yesterday, and they had a group that came in at 1 and was still there at 8:30. They weren’t really buying anything after the first few hours, and she really wanted to get home but would have to clean up after them.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        To be there for that long is entirely unreasonable. I’m talking about a leisurely three or four hours at a nice restaurant. If I have to sit at Applebees, I’m going to get out of there as soon. But if I’m willingly spending time at a nice restaurant, it’s my choice to be there for three hours with my friends. I wouldn’t order a salad and water and then spend the remaining two hours chatting – but if you have the attitude that I need to eat and get out, that’s a problem for me, especially since I would be more inclined to order coffee, dessert, etc. if I were there for a few hours.

        • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

          I agree; after a certain point it becomes loitering. You have a good point, in that I may be thinking about ordering dessert, or maybe drinks, but if I feel as if I’m being rushed out, I will forgo both, and the waiter will lose out on a larger tip as a result.

        • ARP says:

          OK- I was annoyed with your first post, but I see you’re reasoning. I try to apply the coffee shop logic. If I’m at a coffee shop working, reading, surfing, etc. for more than a few hours, I try to buy something every so often to make it worth their while. Sure, if you want a long dinner, that’s fine, but I think you should be prepared to buy coffee, desert, cordial, etc. if you’re going to stay that long. I try to be more sensitive if its crowded. I won’t jump up as soon as we’re done, but I’ll try to get out a bit sooner so they can turn over the table.

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            It also goes into what kind of restaurant you’re going into. If you have a reservation, they’re more likely to be kind when you want to stay for a few hours. If they’re an Applebees or something, they won’t think twice about telling you to wrap it up after two hours. Both restaurants can be busy, but one is less likely to have an attitude about guests staying because one fully realizes that keeping customers happy is the way to get them to come back and spend more money.

        • clonestyle says:

          1. Don’t forget the longer you stay there the more the waiters/waitresses have to serve you. Leave them a nice tip, not some bullshit 15% after squatting for 3 hours to eat your meal. It doesn’t take 3 hours to get through drinks, dinner and dessert.

          2. Don’t bitch about the food, dessert, drink, etc. 30 minutes later AFTER you’ve eaten most of your shit. If you have a problem, address it in the first 5 minutes and stop wasting everyone’s time. If you can sit through most of the food then obviously you have no problem with the food, don’t be an asshole and complain when you get your check. There’s no end of people who do this expecting a comped meal.

          3. Don’t come in 15 minutes before closing time and expect people to be happy when you squat there 30 minutes past closing sipping on your coffee. You’re not just wasting your server’s time, you’re holding up the kitchen cuz they have to wait on you to clean your shit. You’re wasting everyone’s time, get the fuck out.

          4. Don’t order a drink and ask to split it up into multiple cups because you’re a cheapass.

          • MamaBug says:

            I agree with your last one completely. . Ever had some one order water, then a ton of lemon and sugar to make their own “lemonade” because they’re cheap

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            No, it doesn’t take three hours to eat a meal – but it’s entirely my prerogative if my friends and I want to spend a leisurely three hours at a restaurant, enjoying our meal, and enjoying each others’ company. It would be bad practice for the restaurant to want to kick us out when we are not only paying customers, we have been ordering consistently, and aren’t making a lot of noise.

            I find it extremely disappointing that restaurants expect patrons to eat and get out. I don’t like going to good restaurants just to eat – I like the experience, and I like to take my time and enjoy my food. If a restaurant has a problem with me and mine being there for a few hours while we are still ordering, that’s a place I won’t return to.

            • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

              Yeah, my friend and I once spent a good three hours in a local sushi joint, but we were ordering something new every half hour or so. We hadn’t been in a while, and just wanted to sample a bunch of different types. Even at $1/piece, that added up pretty quick. ^_^

            • floraposte says:

              And it most certainly can take three hours to enjoy a lovely meal with friends. America’s tendency to insist that food should be shoved in efficiently is a definite player in the obesity epidemic here.

              • LadyTL says:

                Oh come on, obesity has nothing to do with how long you choose to chew your food.

                • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

                  It has nothing to do with how long you chew, but quite a bit to do with the speed at which you eat. It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that it’s full, so the slower you eat, the less you’ll have ingested by the time your brain says stop. Shoving it in full throttle can easily result in eating more than you need to.

                  • pecan 3.14159265 says:

                    Well, now that indenting is just getting ridiculous!

                    • annexw says:

                      I’m replying to you just to see where is goes. And also to agree with you. We don’t tend to take a table for long on a busy night, but yeah, 2 hours seems about right. Maybe three if the parties haven’t seen each other in a while.

            • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

              it can take me three hours to eat a meal. otherwise i get sick. but that’s why i eat half of it and plan from the beginning to take the rest with me. i’ll camp at a half empty waffle house with friends and a pot of coffee at 4 am but i just give the server $5 [or more if there’s a bunch of us] when we sit down. and if it fills up, we head out.

        • floraposte says:

          I would agree, but I’m guessing that “casual restaurant” in the submitter’s name is pretty much code for “Applebee’s.”

      • treimel says:

        Seven and a half hours?!? Where I used to work, they would have been kicked out long, long before that–physically, if need be.

    • trentblase says:

      I think this was the only “secret” that bothered me. News flash: Waiters are in the hospitality industry. Show some.

      With that said, I do keep in mind that occupying a table reduces a waiter’s tips and try to order/tip accordingly. I also agree with other commenters that this attitude is dependent on the kind of restaurant you are at. I’ve eaten at plenty of restaurants that will serve you a prix fixe meal over several hours. There’s no way they can reasonably expect to seat another party after my 7pm reservation is complete.

      By the way, is anyone else bothered by Olive Garden’s “when you’re here, you’re family” slogan? My parents sure as hell don’t give me a bill after I visit them for a meal.

      • mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

        Or vice versa, imagine the waitstaff at Olive Garden nagging you about finishing your vegetables, or when you’re getting married. If they really lived up to that slogan, I think they could plan on never seeing another tip.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          there’s actually a themed restaurant at disney where the servers pretend to be family and they do nag you. i only ate there once because the gimmick annoyed me.

    • bonzombiekitty says:

      My problem is if you’re sitting there and there are people waiting for a table. It’s just a little annoying for the waitstaff if you’re sitting there and there’s plenty of open tables, but you’re being a royal pain in the butt both to the other customers and the staff if there’s people waiting and you’re sitting there chatting for an hour after you’re done eating.

      I’m still bitter about the time I had to wait for over an hour to get a table at a restaurant once because two big parties refused to leave after they were done, even though there was a crowd of people standing right near them waiting for a table (too cold to wait outside and there’s no bar).

    • Darksbane says:

      Pecan, I waited tables for about 4 years and unless you are tipping them 20% per hour you squat at a table then I’d rather lose your tip and rush you out so I can get actual customers that are going to make it worth my time. In the 3 hours you squat at a table I could have normally turned it over between 3 and 5 times. If you sit at that table and aren’t tipping on a per hour basis you are screwing your server out of money.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        If I’m at my table for three hours, you can get three to five parties to that table and out the door in that time? You either work at McDonalds, or you rush everyone, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t get great tips.

        I don’t usually stay for three hours, but the restaurants I go to wouldn’t have a problem with me if I did. If they do have a problem with me and a group of people staying for a few hours while we’re actually continuing to order food, and are enjoying our time there, they’re not getting a tip from us. The one time I felt like I was being rushed, we weren’t actually done. We ordered one dessert, and were considering others. The waitress took our dessert order, gave us our bill, and then plopped a piece of cake in front of us. At that point, between four of us, we had already spent about $120, and we had been there for about two hours. If she hadn’t been so rude to us throughout the entire meal, and made us feel like we were being rushed the entire time, she would’ve been making at least $25 in tips off our table alone – but because she was in such a hurry to get us out the door, she didn’t make anything.

        You seem to be mistaking “dining” as “squatting” and I encourage you to rethink your choice of words.

        • treimel says:

          Sorry, Pecan–usually I’m right there with you, but… when I waited we had a name for folks that camped out, and it was a lot more unpleasant than “squatter.” Seriously, stiffing because you felt rushed? That’s completely lame.

    • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

      It’s alright to stay a while after you’ve eaten, but I hope you at least tip well. If the restaurant is busy, you’re costing the waiter tips by staying for 3 hours. A 20% tip is not nearly enough for taking up a table for 3 hours.

      You talk about “contracts” (you have no contract with a restaurant) to explain why you feel entitled to the table for as long as you think is reasonable. I think you’re forgetting about the social contract we all have with each other.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        It takes at least an hour and a half to sit at a restaurant and have an entree. Then there’s dessert. More than an hour and a half if you order an appetizer as well. To suggest that 3 hours is an unreasonable amount of time to sit at a table is ludicrous.

        • JulesNoctambule says:

          An hour and a half for an entree? Seriously? Maybe if one eats a lot more than most people or a hell of a lot slower than most people, otherwise I can’t see that at all. The spouse and I went out tonight and I was finished with all I could handle of my meal in twenty minutes. Add in the time it took to be served, and that’s a whopping thirty-five minutes. If I count the time it takes me to get to the leftovers I might be able to rack up an extra quarter of an hour, but an hour and a half? No way.

    • cupcake_ninja says:

      Actually, I do stay for the credits for a number of reasons. A: crowds are thinner and easier to exit the theater, and B: often times there are extra scenes after the credits. That waiter can take his attitude and shove it. No tip for j00!

    • chalkboard17 says:

      I completely disagree. I was a waiter in a restaurant for almost two years and some days I would only get 3 or 4 tables to make my tips from. If someone sat at a table for three hours and ordered something every now and then I would miss out on the tips I could get from the 3 or 4 other groups that could have sat in my section.

      You… Original bill ($60) plus a new drink ($5) every half hour for three hours ($30) = $90
      A 20% tip would be $18

      You… Original bill ($60) plus the bills of one new group every hour for three hours ($180) = $240
      A 20% tip would be $48

      So please don’t stay any longer than you need to… if you want to order dessert that’s fine, but don’t wait an hour to do it.

    • pinkpetunia says:

      I had a friend in high school who got fired from her job at the IHOP for asking one of her tables to move along. Apparently they had ordered only coffee and occupied a table for 3 hours chatting during the dinner rush. Definitely a faux-pas on my friend’s part, but I can see how it would be an annoyance to a server if the customer hasn’t ordered much to begin with. Restaurants are for eating! And socializing. But also eating! I do love having a nice, leisurely meal with good company, though. But not so much sitting at a table long after a meal with dirty napkins and glasses lying around. That said, I think it’s really nice when servers ask if you’d like your water refilled if you’re hanging around a bit after you’ve paid the bill. Very considerate :)

  5. veg-o-matic says:

    I dont know about all the others, but a superyes to number 6. In my server days, I remember a handful of people who had every opportunity to tell me that something was wrong with their dish but chose not to until later so they could be indignant and balk at paying the check. Annoying.

    • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

      Yeah, they were probably looking for a free meal. >_

    • Nogard13 says:

      I don’t complain about food. I will eat it and not say a word. The reason is that I know all too well what happens when you send food back. It might not happen every time, but I’m not going to chance eating a meal that has been sneezed/spat/urinated on. I’d rather eat the meal and go on with my life. If I say something, it’s not because I want a free meal, but because it’s something that the restaurant should be aware of so that other people don’t have the same bad experience.

      I will proceed to tip as normal (usually not the waiters fault the food was messed up) and take it into consideration next time someone suggests we “eat at Joe’s.”

      • AlphaLackey says:

        I couldn’t agree more. I will never send anything back. If it’s not cooked to my specifications but still edible, I eat it. If it’s inedible, I return it and ask for it to be taken off the bill, order nothing for the rest of the night, and never eat there again. It’s not paranoia as much as it’s just punishment for waitstaff and their “hohoho, don’t mess with the people who bring you food, I can poison you at the slightest provocation!” attitude. In theory, I’d count on them to understand that I’m wording my complaint reasonably and without vitriol, and that I’m only asking for what I’m due. I’ve read enough waiting blogs to know that, in practice, I don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of catching a reasonable one.

        • LadyTL says:

          I wish there was something that could be done about that attitude really since they use it even when it was the server’s/kitchen’s fault. One time when I went out to a Friday’s with my mother, my husband and one of my mother’s friends, the server completely didn’t bring me my food. Everyone else had finished eating and when we complained they gave me this awful greasy junk that looked like it had been scraped off of someone else’s finished plate in a to go box since they wanted to get rid of us. I don’t think it was unreasonable to want my food when ordered but appearently the restuarant did.

    • Karita says:

      Seriously. I worked at Friendly’s for a while in college. We had one guy that came in 3 or 4 times, ate his entire bowl of clam chowder and then refused to pay for it because it was served cold. (That was impossible, but whatever.) FINALLY we managed to convince the manager that he shouldn’t keep giving the guy his whole meal for free since he was just scamming the restaurant. Plus he wouldn’t tip. (Not that the manger cared – his son was the greeter and would steal about half the tips as he was seating people.)

      That type of thing happened quite a bit, but the clam chowder guy stands out in my mind.

  6. rpm773 says:

    These are kind of thin. And some don’t make a lot of sense.

    Secrets of your wait staff, volume 754…

    8. If your waiter smells bad, it’s probably because he didn’t take a shower. Or it’s because shrimp alfredo is made from a boxed mix. Either way, don’t order Tanqueray in your gin and tonic!

  7. Smashville says:

    “The pasta Alfredo is the cheap, easy, comfort dish that restaurants serve to the unimaginative. If you’re trying to be a more adventurous diner, look for something else.”

    Is it me or does this one not fit?

    It’s like when I was in high school and my statistics teacher gave a list of his class homework policies…and stuck right in the middle was “In case of inclement weather…”

    • tbax929 says:

      It does seem out of place. Also, if I’m hungry for pasta alfredo, that’s what I’ll order. I don’t give a damn how it makes me appear to my server!

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      For real. I don’t make a very good cream sauce. The Italian hole-in-the-wall my husband and I like makes a FANTASTIC cream sauce. So what if I’m boring? I’m always getting the alfredo or the alfredo with chicken … BEST CREAM SAUCE EVER!

      • katstermonster says:

        Nah, I’ll definitely order alfredo at a legit Italian place. But I know people that will order it at Applebee’s, and Outback, and Chili’s, and Bertucci’s, and Olive Garden, and even much higher-end places. Without looking at the rest of the menu. I’m a foodie, I judge.

        • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

          Ah. When I want safe and boring at a “casual dining” chain, I go burger or caesar salad, which are two things I’m always in the mood for. :)

        • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

          You judge me : ( I order it because I know I will like it.. and to be honest I love it at Chillis… it is awesome and I’d eat it every week if I could. I actually found sauce in a jar that tastes just like it and now I can make my own at home.

          Awesome.

          Can you still be my friend? lol.

    • freshyill says:

      Yeah you beat me to it. Thanks, to the waiter for describing pasta alfredo to me. I hope it wasn’t too painful to part with this “secret”.

    • katstermonster says:

      I judge people based on whether they order the chicken and broccoli alredo at every. Single. Restaurant. We. Go. To. Once in a while is cool, but my feeling is that there’s no point in going to different restaurants if you get the same thing at every place. Plus, there are people who don’t even bother looking at the menu, and just order that every time. It drives me insane.

      Granted, I’m guilty of getting a Reuben at many sandwich and diner type places…but not every time! I always check over the whole menu to see if there’s something I want more.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        I critique people’s choices as well. It’s a habit, and I shouldn’t do it, but there’s nothing like a public shaming to get someone to try something new and like it!

      • Smashville says:

        I get chicken fingers a lot, but the quality often varies.

      • mexxican says:

        I can’t stand it when people base the quality of a restaurant on a single dish like fettucine alfredo for Italian resturants and chimichangas for Mexican places. It’s heavy cream, butter, nutmeg and noodles w/ some parmesan cheese. Don’t drag people to a restaurant because you like this simple dish, there’s a reason it’s the cheapest on the menu and it may or may not be reflective of other more substantial dishes. Olive Garden occasionally comes up with creative dishes that I enjoy or at least don’t mind when I get dragged there by my tastebud-challenged in-laws. Then on subsequent visits the quality suffers because no one has ordered it and ingredients that aren’t used in other dishes are no longer present (ie, no pancetta or artichokes). Finally it’s removed from the menu because people prefer crap like fettucine alfredo and garlic chicken w/ broccoli instead of trying something new.

        • katstermonster says:

          Nutmeg? In alfredo? I’ve never heard of such a thing.

          • Chuck Norris' wig says:

            Some variations use fresh ground nutmeg. There’s no excuse for pre-ground nutmeg, none. Ever.

            I prefer cracked black pepper, myself.

  8. ARP says:

    #21 [If you say you’re a good tipper to the waitress, you’re probably not]- this stereotype has proven true a vast majority of the time when I was in the biz during college and afterwards. It annoys me when I’m in a group because that means, I’ll probably have to contribute more to make up for the shortfall.

    #11 [Leave when you’re done] will annoy many, but I think there’s a rule of reason. Yes, you can technically probably stay as long as you’d like and its within your rights, but you’re being inconsiderate after a certain point. After you’ve finished you’re last item, you should not feel rushed. But you shouldn’t spend another hour there unless you’re prepared to tip extra for your time. That’s lost money if it’s crowded. I’m not sure there’s an exact number, but I’d say another 15-20 mintues after you finish your last item. A way to prolong this is to simply order something else.

    • ARP says:

      Sorry, I said waitress, it can be waiter, server, etc.

    • gaya2081 says:

      Could someone please define what a good tipper is? I travel a lot for business and I tend to be a lingerer (2-3 hours). Of course if the place has a wait I skedaddle.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        I usually tip 15% for decent service, nothing more than necessary. 18% as a base for very good service. 22% to 25% for exceptional service.

        Bad wait staff get either nothing, or very, very little.

        • Viciouspixie says:

          We were once at a Tony Roma’s in Toronto with my husband and his cousin.

          As we didn’t bother dressing up and were pretty casual in jeans our waiter proceeded to pretty much ignore us, and serving my husband’s softdrink in a tiny glass as opposed to the standard ones they have. Without going into details his poor service made us feel he doesn’t deserve much of a tip.

          The guy actually chased after us screaming at us as we were getting in the car demanding to know what was wrong with his service.

          After a short chat with my hubby he was no longer screaming mind you.. more like running back to the restaurant to hide.

          I really have no problem tipping for good service – but I hate it when people assume they deserve that 15% right off the bat no matter what they do.

          • Michael Belisle says:

            Your story highlights the reason why I don’t support leaving a bad tip as a way to send a message. If you want to send a message, talk to a manager. A competent manager will relay your message to the server with a specially-tailored ass-chewing.

            When I was a server, there simply wasn’t enough information in the tip to know how I did on that table. If I knew something was wrong, I would have tried to fix it. If I didn’t know anything was wrong, then a bad tip doesn’t clear anything up. Maybe the person is a stingy tipper. Maybe they made a math mistake. Maybe someone stole the tip. Maybe there was some problem I didn’t realize. The customer didn’t say anything to any one, so who knows?

            I don’t see why you’re apparently incredulous that the server wanted to know what was wrong. After the fact, there’s practically no way other than asking for him to figure out what the problem was. If you had let him know something was wrong earlier, he might have tried to fix something. Little things like “Can I have this in a regular-sized glass, please?” go much further than planning to subtract points off the tip for the wrong size glass.

            Getting stiffed or a really bad tip was a pretty rare occurrence where I worked. So when it did happen, the takeaway was usually to make a note of who the customer was, spout a few profanities about them, and fight over who has to serve them if they ever come in again. I can assure you, the fact that they stiffed the server the last time was not an incentive for anybody to provide anything resembling service this time.

      • Michael Belisle says:

        I wouldn’t use Pecan as an example of a good tipper (see #21 again). An adequate tipper maybe, but one has to have a really good reason* in my book to stiff a server that I hope it includes talking to a manager first. A good tipper stiffs rarely enough that it doesn’t even need to be mentioned in the tipping protocol.

        I usually tip something like

        15.0%: when there’s a problem with the service. If it’s egregious, I talk to a manager.
        20%: normal.
        25% or 30%: for awesome service.

        In general, I try not to think about it too much. I don’t really care enough to write a review of every service encounter to decide that “today’s better than average service was worth 22%”, so I usually just multiply the total by two and move the decimal point. But if something stood out, then I take the time to a little extra math (like dividing by 4 for 25%).

        ___
        * I don’t think “my server is rushing me” qualifies in my book.

  9. MostlyHarmless says:

    Ah. Crap. And here I was, feeling the warm afterglow of a smackdown.

    And yeah, sorry OlrtheaEurystheus, my bad.

  10. wkm001 says:

    If you have kids and ask the waiter for crackers don’t be surprised if he/she says they are out. Your damn kids are going to get those crackers all over the floor and your sorry ass isn’t going to clean them up.

    • katstermonster says:

      Wait a minute. I’m not usually one to mock on parents, but are there seriously parents out there who bring their kids to a restaurant without making sure that the restaurant either provides munchies, or bringing a snack themselves? Uh. Wow. That’s really bad. Either order the kid something on the menu or bring Cheerios. It’s not that hard. Oh, and clean them up after.

      • acarr260 says:

        You know you can’t really bring in your own snacks for kids, right? That’s a serious health code violation in most states as far as I know.

        • katstermonster says:

          The vast majority of restaurants, especially chains, will let it slide for simple foods like Cheerios, especially for a very young child. It’s called being a f(**&ing human. (And I don’t mean the swearing the be rude, I just like using that phrase, a la Jon Stewart.) And my original point stands – make sure the restaurant has something the kid likes, if nothing else.

    • Chrome_CW says:

      For what it’s worth, I almost always go out of my way to make an attempt to clean up the mess that my 1 year old daughter occassionally makes with crackers or with her meal. Then again, we frequently bring our own snacks or order her own dinner. We usually get funny looks from the waitstaff, and most of them say that it isn’t necessary – but I think that they appreciate that we at least make an effort.

    • lisalouise37 says:

      I have a 20 month old. There have been times where we have ran out the door and I thought we had snacks in his diaper bag, only to find out we did not. I have asked for some crackers to keep him quiet and have never been told they were out. It could be that we only go to the same few restaurants and they know (because they have seen me) I always get on my hands and knees (oh I really do this!) and clean up anything that may have fallen on the floor while he was eating. He is usually very good about not getting it all over but he is still little and stuff happens. Why do I do this? I have waited tables for about 9 years and one of the places I worked was a family chain. I was almost always in the “big tops” so that meant LOTS of kids. When the tables are a mess they are ignored by the bussers and if no one is on that night bussing you mine as well have lost an hour of wages.

      I guess what I am saying is I have needed some snacks when I go out to eat BUT I always clean up because I have been there where it has not been done. Things happen.

  11. Starfury says:

    I’m always polite to the waitstaff when we go out. I figure their job isn’t the best and they have to deal with enough morons on a daily basis that I’m not going to make their day worse.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I’m always polite, but I also think respect is earned. If a waiter or waitress is rude to me and has an attitude and screws up our order or otherwise provides very bad service, I’m not going to tip, and I would even lodge a complaint with the manager.

      The last time I had to complain to a manager, the waitress ignored us for most of our dinner, messed up an order, gave us our bill when we didn’t even ask for it, brought us our desserts and they were all on paper plates. She also didn’t refill our drinks when the glasses had been sitting empty for 15 minutes. I didn’t tip her.

      • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

        Completely justified. I have only ever refused to tip once, and it was because of horrible, inattentive service. The amusing thing is the very next day I had amazing service from a guy at Macaroni Grill, so I tipped him about 20%, plus the amount of the tip I would have left the night before. I made sure to tell him what I was doing, and thank him for the awesome job he did.

  12. Cycledoc says:

    Oh yes, and don’t forget to pay the service charge if you’ve more than 6 people.

  13. Jevia says:

    “If you have a European accent, you are a horrible tipper. Accent = 10 percent. Always. “

    Speaking as the spouse to a European, I have to agree with this. This is why I handle the bill, not my husband and I always leave a little extra left on the table when my in-laws are in town and pay for the meal. They never tip enough because in Europe, the wait staff are paid quite well per hour and the “tip” is usually built into the price (which is why its more expensive to eat out in Europe). They don’t understand that wait staff in the US usually get paid less than $3 per hour (at least in the casual dining restaurants) and depend on tips for the rest of their income.

    My husband’s better than he used to be (now having lived in the US for nearly 10 years), but he still tends to tip no more than 15%, whereas I’m a lot closer to 20%.

    My in-laws kindof annoy me on this. They love eating out when they visit because its so cheap, plus the amount of food provided in a meal is so much they tend to order one meal between them and split it. So they’re getting quite the deal (in their minds), yet they still don’t (or won’t) tip a reasonable sum.

    • tbax929 says:

      I know it’s customary in Europe not to tip as much, but I don’t like the sweeping generalization that none of them know how to tip. I’ve heard the same thing about black people. I can’t speak for my entire race, but I’ve always been a 20% tipper. I think servers need to be careful not to give shitty service just because someone falls into a group not know for tipping well.

      • floraposte says:

        I’d agree. I don’t doubt that many Europeans (who are apparently the only people with accents in the world, which is another interesting aspect of that particular “secret”) tip less because they’re accustomed to a different tipping culture, but I think there’s a massive confirmation bias in people’s assessments of this kind of thing–which then become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      • RandomHookup says:

        Of course, much of the problem is with self-fulfilling prophecy. If you don’t think certain groups of people will tip well, you end up treating them in a way that guarantees they won’t tip well.

    • harrier666 says:

      I always wonder about this. Every guide book and tour website clearly explains the tipping situation in the states. Yet, many tourists/visitors continue to use “we don’t tip back home” as an excuse. Do they really not know?

      I tended bar at a hotel restaurant for a while. The same french family came in every night and never tipped. The third or fourth night they ranted about American tourists and how rude they were. I, not caring at this point as I would not lose a tip, pointed out their own faux pas. They blabbed on and on about how they don’t tip like that back home! I hope after a few hours what had transpired settled into their heads and they figured it out, though I never did receive a tip from them and by the time they left the hotel they were getting no service from me whatsoever.

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        I have a story like this I’ve told before … I was traveling in France and I generally leave a modest tip in European countries when I’m touristing because I know it’s often expected of Americans, and I’ve lived in tourist towns and know it can be frustrating and annoying to deal with tourists all day. (When I’ve lived abroad, or been out with locals, I observe the local tipping or non-tipping custom.) Anyway, I was eating lunch at this cafe and the waitress started going on and on and on and on about how rude Americans are and they don’t even TRY to speak French (I had greeted her in French and ordered in French … I don’t speak French, but I memorized enough to accomplish simple daily tasks by rote) and how Americans never observe French customs because they are too ignorant …

        So I showed her I knew all about French customs by not leaving a tip. :P

      • Michael Belisle says:

        I’d hold that they do know and choose to ignore the maxim “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”. I mean, I usually end up tipping something modest in Europe just because I can’t bring myself to accept that it’s not required.

        It’s just the way people are. When some people travel, they try to shoehorn customs into the way things are at home. And then if questioned why, argue “It’s so much better the we way do it at home. Why are you _____ people so backwards? I refuse to do it any other way.”

  14. Jon Davies says:

    I have many thoughts on the matter (as I work in the restaurant industry), but think it wise to direct you to my favorite video blog right now – a waiter on YouTube who says what so many of us in the industry think and feel.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/YourDailyTip

    He teaches people how to be better customers, and what to look out for when they are dining. He’s funny, nice, angry, cute, bitter, and charming!

    I’ve seen his channel grow in a matter of months from 20 subscribers to over 800… but I would like to see it grow even more. He deserves it, I think!

    • AlphaLackey says:

      “Deserves it?” Five minutes in and all I’ve seen is a hideous racist pantomime that would put any Al Jolson-esque blackface to shame.

    • LadyTL says:

      He may teach people to be better customers but where is the video teaching people to be better servers? That’s how most people determine a tip.

      • AlphaLackey says:

        I found the video where he said “people judge you by how you treat the waiter”; funny, with the logic reversed, he doesn’t like it when people judge him by how he treats the customers – with sarcastic, snide, racist and angry rants.. “I’m a nice guy, but when customers only tip 18.6%, it f$&*#(ing pisses me off!” — wish I could say I was making that quote up.

  15. Copper says:

    Out of all of these rules/secrets/complaints that have been posted recently, I only think a few actually matter across all types of restaurants. Fancier places that charge an arm and a leg usually will let you linger for a few more hours than is necessary because they’re already getting enough money to cover that time. Places that charge about $12/person after drinks can’t afford to have you sit there for three hours.

    Management also has a lot to do with these things. Chain restaurants, like a lot of chain businesses in general, don’t have much leeway in making special accommodations. The manager is basically there to ensure the staff does what they’re supposed to and customers are mostly happy. When going to a chain, no matter where it is, it’s usually exactly the same as the others because of this exact reasoning. Corporate makes the rules and managers follow them.

    Also, anyone who wants to come to a locally-owned bbq and grill with a very laid back atmosphere and a full bar, come to Hooks Bar B Q & Grill in Port Aransas, Texas. It’s run by a Texas family and the owner is always there…unless he’s at the jetty a few blocks away fishing. But his daughter (me) is always there. No fancy rules, just friendly servers and great bbq.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I politely object to your use of “linger for a few more hours than is necessary” – who determines this? I’m the patron, and I’ve worked hard for my money. I’ll tip more if I’m there longer, but I don’t like the idea that there’s a time frame for when I should be expected to occupy a table.

      • LadyTL says:

        Yes, well if you want to eat a meal someplace for longer than three hours or maybe four with getting more food, you should stay home. Just buying food does not give you the right to camp out at a table all afternoon and night.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          Three hours is hardly all afternoon and all night.

          • Powerlurker says:

            It’s also a REALLY long time to spend in a restaurant in the US that doesn’t cost $50-60+ per head before drinks.

          • floraposte says:

            Yup. If a restaurant wishes to limit their table use to a certain amount of time, they need to state this up front, as McDonald’s does in some areas. If you don’t want posted signs, the hostess could inform people when they’re being seated how long they’re allowed to occupy the table. Mmm, gracious dining.

  16. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    If I’m at an unfamiliar restaurant, I try to look at the menu and narrow it down to two or three dishes and ask the waiter or waitress which is better.

  17. gofatkid says:

    that is a great story @ the end. shame on those kids…

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Why shame on those kids? You don’t know the story. The woman lived in Hawaii – that’s a pretty pricey plane ticket unless the kids happened to also live in the islands. The kids weren’t able to be with her that year – there’s no indication that they didn’t want to. But spending hundreds or thousands on a plane ticket and taking time off work to travel for mother’s day isn’t in everyone’s budget. And there’s also no indication that the kids might not have gotten her anything else, like flowers.

  18. Bohemian says:

    I encountered something I found utterly annoying when we went out for dinner last week. First we were given the sales pitch in great detail for their beer club card. Then towards the end of dinner we were given a long sales pitch for their Sunday brunch. When the waitress brought the check we got an even longer sales pitch for gift cards and something else, maybe a survey? By then I had tuned out whatever she was going on about. Getting the captive audience sales pitch when you go to buy something in a store is bad enough but three times while out to dinner? This was a nicer restaurant with multiple locations but not exactly a chain either.

  19. webweazel says:

    Interesting that this is being revisited. Last weekend, we had horrible service at a Cracker Barrel, of all places. (Anybody who has gone to one knows they are usually right on top of things.) They were not very busy at the time. The food was good, as usual, but the service was so bad, it took TWO complaints to the manager, and our entire table was not charged for the meal. We left 25 cents for the server. We don’t hold a grudge against CB, because this was definitely out of character for them.

    • floraposte says:

      Heh. I went to lunch last week and had a very…dreamy waiter. I ordered a mocha for an after-lunch treat, and after about twenty minutes he came out and said he didn’t know how to make it, nor did anybody else there (it’s a very small place). I said fine, I’d skip it, but he was endearingly and irritatingly persistent and tried to get me to tell him what was in it (“it’s chocolate and coffee, right?”) so that he could go and give it a try. No, honey, really. If you don’t know how to make it, I’m not buying from you, and it shouldn’t take you twenty minutes to tell me. I was a guest, so I don’t know what happened with his tip.

      • btrthnnothing says:

        I think that it’s better to have a waiter who tries to go out of his way to get you the drink rather than go for 2 minutes, meet a wall and save himself the trouble by just saying that they were out or something. I’m always annoyed when someone can’t be bothered to put in a little extra effort for customer satisfaction.

        That being said, he should have mentioned that he was having issues filling you order within the first 5 minutes so you could have had the option to get something else.

    • pinkpetunia says:

      It’s pretty common that service is not as good during off-peak hours too.

  20. sybann says:

    I hope Melissa McCracken gets good customer service FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE.

    Bless her heart (Yankee-wise).

  21. krownd says:

    only in Hawaii!!!!

    anyone happen to know which restaurant? I’d like to see what this excellent service is all about!

  22. kayfouroh says:

    I don’t get it. It’s like there’s some sort of code to be able to eat at a restaurant without being poisoned/lied to/etc. Seriously waiters (and of those “in the industry” — seriously? Stop trying to cover up your crappy job…), it’s your JOB to serve us, it’s not OUR job to please you during your day at work.

    I am a good tipper and I am always nice to my server but don’t act like it’s some sort of entitlement thing and us paying customers HAVE to do X, Y and Z to earn the food we’re PAYING for.

    Seriously.

  23. teke367 says:

    Glad to see the tip about making sure you left the right credit card receipt. Getting stiffed is one thing, but getting stiffed when you know the customer meant to tip you always seemed more frustrating to me. Even worse, when you can see the impression of the tip, and it would have been really good.

    I never minded campers, sometimes it sucked, sometimes it helped a great deal when I was swamped, so it usually evened out. It only really bothered me when they somebody would stay hours after we closed.

    Worst though is the people who come in minutes before closing. Perhaps because this was the great equalizer. Regardless of your race, nationality, wealth, if you came in at 9:59 you were a bad tipper, all other stereotypes be damned.

    • pinkpetunia says:

      It’s nice to be aware of the possibility of taking the wrong receipt, but crap like that happens all the time in any business – customers get overcharged all the time and they pay the overage without realizing it. I guess that’s another great equalizer. But both are reasons to pay more attention to the check. One time I got charged $39 for a Sidecar (I love old lady drinks) because they mistakenly tapped the top shelf button when they were entering it into the bar queue. Thank God I caught it. And it was great – a delicious drink and they only ended up charging me the cheap-liquor price!

  24. brandihendrix says:

    Instead of these long lists of “how not to piss off your waiter”, why don’t we just all apply simple rules of common courtesy?

    Everyone treat everyone else how you would want to be treated.

    No anger if someone ordered the wrong dish, or waters weren’t touched. It could be such a nice world.

  25. That's Consumer007 to you says:

    What I would really like to see on here is a “how to piss off or get even with jerk waiters” article. (Assumption included that they are deserving of course, obviously many or most are not deserving, but for those that are, and we have all run into them, would be great to exchange tactics.)

  26. Tvhargon says:

    “11. We want you to enjoy yourself while you’re there eating, but when it’s over, you should go. Do you stay in the movie theater after the credits? No.”

    I went to europe, and sat there for 2 HOURS AFTER MY MEAL before they brought the check, I ended up asking, and even then it was another half hour before they brought the check. Apparently people used to reserve tables for the whole night, so it was polite to sit there for a few hours after you were done. But I didn’t reserve the table for the whole night. Maybe it was because I’m american. Stephen Colbert was sitting at the table across from me. Next time I go, I’m going to stick to the fast food wiener schnitzels.

    • sixsnowflakes says:

      This is a typical problem due to cultural differences. The waiter was hoping that you felt comfortable and did not want to rush you or give the impression that he wants to quickly clear your table. My German boyfriend gets annoyed in the US when the waitress won’t quit bothering us about drinks and immediately asks for money as if we’re no longer welcome.

  27. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    this bit from the article:

    “CHECK, PLEASE
    Studies indicate that waiters can boost their tips by:
    • lightly touching the customer
    • crouching next to the table
    • introducing themselves by name
    • and—believe it or not—drawing a smiley face on the check
    —Source: Cornell University tipping expert Michael Lynn “

    crouching next to the table only puts me off a little and don’t care about whether there’s something drawn on the check
    but seriously? touching the restaurant patrons? no touchie! i don’t know you, i don’t want you touching me. it’s happened before and it skeeves me out a lot. and definitely influences my perception of the entire experience.