7 Ways to Be a Cheap-Ass in a Restaurant

How to be cheap

How to be cheap

Oh boy, another article about how to save money in restaurants. Thanks, Woman’s Day, for creating even more women that no server wants to have in his section. I’m not exactly sure when the article was written, but I am sure that it needs to be fact-checked and run through the Bitchy Waiter approval machine. Please go read the article and then come back here to see how I feel about it. Shall we begin?

Order appetizers as a meal. Yes, do that, ladies. Many restaurants do in fact offer appetizers and they are often priced a bit lower than entrees. You want to know why they are priced lower? Because it’s less food, that’s why. So feel free to order an egg roll and salad for your entree but don’t be surprised when thirty minutes after you eat, you’re hungry again. Rather than deprive your self of food, why not just save up enough money to be able to go to a restaurant and actually eat what you want to eat?

Keep an eye out for early bird specials. This idea is fine and dandy because I am all about buy-one-get-one-free, especially when it comes to cocktails. But how early do you want to eat? If you’re good with having “dinner” at 4:00, that’s great, but what do you do when it’s 9:00 and you’re ready for dinner again? Just go to bed hungry, I suppose, because you already spent your daily allowance on food. Good night. I hope the growling of your stomach doesn’t keep you up, you cheap-ass bitch.

Look for discounts online. No server is going to mind if you use a coupon. However, they will hate you and curse you all to hell if you tip on the discounted price. I cannot stress this enough. If you use a Groupon or some other bullshit coupon, and your bill is cut in half, do not think it’s okay to cut the tip in half too. The server served the same amount of food that you would have gotten without the coupon, so why would anyone think it’s alright to tip less? Oh, wait, I remember, because this article is about ways to save money.

Cut your entree in half. Oh god, all of these suggestions are just variations of saying “eat less.” I could save a lot of money too if I decided to eat half of everything. That box of Annie’s mac and cheese would last twice as long if I only ate half of it. Problem is, I want all of it. Why the hell would you go to a restaurant and only intend to eat half of the food you order? They even advise you to divide it up the moment you get it so you’re not “tempted to overeat.” Again, don’t go out to eat until you can actually enjoy going out to eat.

Enjoy a late lunch. Now they are advising you to adjust your schedule to save a few dollars. Eat a late lunch so you won’t be hungry for dinner. Sure. Eat lunch at 3:30 and then just give up and go to bed at 7:00 so that annoying thing called hunger won’t force you to spend more money on something called dinner. And isn’t this point pretty much the same as the early-bird special? They may as well call this article “How to Lose Five Pounds.”

Skip the soft drinks. I can agree on this. As much as I want everyone to order Cokes and then have three refills (and, no, the refills are not free), I can understand drinking water in order to save a few bucks. Just don’t fucking ask us to bring you a a lot of lemons and a sugar caddy because as soon as I see your ass making a lemonade at your table, I am walking to the computer and adding a $2 lemonade to your check. Lemons and Splenda ain’t free.

Base tips on service. Hold up, hold up. “If you didn’t receive exceptional service, or were disappointed with your dining experience, plan on tipping between 10 to 15 percent.” This needs to be rephrased because if you are disappointed with your dining experience but it had nothing to do with your server, you better reach your short-ass arms into your deep-ass pockets and produce a 20% tip. This suggestion is just giving people the reason they need to look for any tiny little detail that they found disappointing so they can justify the 10% tip they were going to leave anyway. “Oh, I didn’t like the music that was playing and it made me feel disappointed in my dining experience” is not going to cut it.

Please go to the original article and leave your comments because I’m sure they’d love to know how you feel about their great money-saving ideas. Let them know The Bitchy Waiter sent you.

27 thoughts on “7 Ways to Be a Cheap-Ass in a Restaurant

  1. anne marie in philly

    regarding ordering apps only – sometimes I order 2-3 apps for my meal because full portions are not available on the main menu. and I have a cock-a-tail and dessert too.

    regarding the “cut entree in half”: our former state gov did that and lost 80 pounds. he would eat 1/2 for dinner, then the other half for lunch the next day.

    the rest is just bullshit.

  2. JJS

    First of all 2/5 are basically the same concept (earlier = cheaper) Really Sabah Karimi so you mean 6 things

    I agree with 1 and 2/5 for certain things, but I think 6 is the most true.
    (1) This is specifically for me as I am vegetarian (No animal rights bitching I just hate meat and fish, you probably don’t particularlly like fish eyes or cat food) and appys usually have more variety with being meat free then entrees. Most entrees usually have a “protien” in them as they are a meal and most times thats meat.I usually order a appy and a salad or 2 appys and take some home.

    (2/5) If you know you are possibly going out later that night, like to a party/friends house/games night/whatever and you don’t want to be a pig and eat a ton of more than likely unhealthy snacks than you can go out for a FILLING late lunch/early dinner before and while doing that take advantage of specials.

    (6)I almost never order a drink, plain water is good. We all should drink more water.

    Your perception of how 7 should be interpeted is damn well spot on! My mom has been a waitress for 30 years and when we go out she tips 20-25% but there have been instances of her giving a 5% or no tip. But ONLY if a server has been extremely rude and lazy.

  3. linus vanpelt

    I can’t eat what “normal” people eat portion-wize. At our favorite Thai place I get 2 apps (crab angels and coconut shrimp on a bed of coleslaw). Exactly the right amount of food and I don’t feel disgustingly full. In places with a salad bar I usually just get that along with some soup. At the diner where we eat our Saturday “first meal” around noon I usually get the mozzarella sticks. Don’t judge.

    But, we are great tippers. When we walk into the diner (it’s sit wherever you want) the servers tell us whose turn it is to “have you guys”. At first I thought it was because they didn’t like us, but no, they “rotate” the good tippers. And I guess we’re on the “not a PITA” list, too. I once overheard Nicole and Amy negotiating who was going to have to serve a woman who was walking in the door. The back and forth was funny, but it sounded like they both deserved hazard pay for dealing with her in the past. Apparently she sends everything back several times and then doesn’t leave a tip. It’s a small town DINER, people, not Le Cirque.

    I think servers do the toughest job. I used to run a Ren Faire booth but at least I didn’t have to serve food to the crazy people!

  4. Kimberly

    I do not agree with the below statement. I have been on Weight watchers for years and this is how I am still able to go out and maintain. I was a waiter for years and I still tip on the full dinner and usually order more alcohol because I would rather use that for my points. I don’t get why this would be considered cheap unless your share an entree with one other person.

    Cut your entree in half. Oh god, all of these suggestions are just variations of saying “eat less.” I could save a lot of money too if I decided to eat half of everything. That box of Annie’s mac and cheese would last twice as long if I only ate half of it. Problem is, I want all of it. Why the hell would you go to a restaurant and only intend to eat half of the food you order? They even advise you to divide it up the moment you get it so you’re not “tempted to overeat.” Again, don’t go out to eat until you can actually enjoy going out to eat.

  5. sally

    I will often order an app as an entree because the one thing I hate worse than wasting food is lugging a doggie bag around with me. But I do order many many expensive alcoholic drinks, 🙂 and tip at least 25%, (because I was a server for 10 years) so I figure that makes up for cheaping out on the entree.

  6. Maria

    Thank you for sharing this gem Bitchy. I made sure I circulated it around my network as well as sending out a message to Women’s Day. It is NOT okay to use the media to advise people to cheat the servers to save some money. Stupid Bitch!!

  7. Tipsykit

    I never dock a server’s tip or stiff a server, regardless of how bad the service is. Why? Because as much as you might feel like you are “teaching them a lesson” or they don’t “deserve” your money, that won’t help. Having worked in restaurants for years, I can tell you that my first reaction to a tiny tip is to assume that the customer is an asshole and that is why I got stiffed. I certainly don’t sit there and wonder what I could do better next time so I get a better tip. Half the time when you get stiffed, it really is because the customer is an ass and not because you didn’t do a good job serving them. So most servers just write every bad tip as an asshole customer and not an opportunity for self-improvement. If you really have a problem with your server, talk to the manager about what you think they did wrong. If the server needs to improve something, the manager can enforce that in a way that your shitty tip never could. And if you leave a decent tip on bad service but talk to the manager, the server will know they didn’t do a good job AND they won’t be able to write you off as a cheap, whiny asshole who just didn’t want to give you his money. This increases the chance that the server might actually improve their skills.

  8. Philip

    Why are waitresses the most self entitled people in the workforce? Its crazy that they just assume we should hand them all of our money just because. If you want a good tip then be good at your job. If the service is great you will get your 20-25%. If the service sucks then you will get your 10-15% even though you probably deserve less.

    1. Suzie

      Do you get paid less if you’re having an off day at work? How about if you make a mistake? Are you always perfect? How about if someone else makes a mistake, do you get paid less then? What about if you’re having a really hectic day and doing enough work for 3 people at once?

      Why should servers have to suffer if, for example, the kitchen miscooked your steak? I don’t have any control over that, sometimes I’m not even the person who brings out your food. Even if I do make a mistake, in all likelihood it’s one tiny mistake like forgetting to bring you a side of ranch immediately when you ask for it, because I’m multitasking 10 other tables who also all need things. If in the entirety of your meal, that’s the only thing wrong, does that justify a crappy tip?

      No other profession do people get paid based on what someone thinks about what you and everyone around you did.. Why aren’t you the entitled ones for assuming that you should always get paid the same regardless of how bad you are at YOUR job?

  9. Scotty

    Why would you want to push any customers away? 20 percent of zero is zero. 20 percent of 15.00 is 3.00 enough to buy you a drink!

  10. Mellie

    Why is it that every article about saving money when dining out always has to throw something in there about tipping the wait staff?! This should have nothing to do with saving money…you should always plan on tipping the waitstaff at least 20%…period.
    I’m ok with the coupon and all that, but it’s been said time and time again, if you cannot afford to tip the people that bring you your meal, go to a counter service restaurant or stay at home. And honestly, reducing your tip from 20% to 15% saves how much?! Nearly nothing…but it makes you look a dick.

  11. Brian

    I had a lady last night order a side of white rice as her meal. She wolfed it down like she was starving, I looked on dumbfounded as I filled up her water glass. She looked like a caveman trying to get every last bite. Had i any real compassion I would have just bought her a dish, but I don’t so I didn’t. I understand people want to save money, but when you go out to eat, especially to a nice restaurant, you’re missing the mark on saving money. It must have been killing this woman to sit there and eat a bowl of fucking rice while her friends were eating expensive sushi and entrees and drinking bottles of wine.

    Long time reader, first time commenting. This blog is always a great read and I always share some posts with my fellow servers

  12. skeptic

    With all the obesity in this country, and the absolutely gross portion sizes and calorie counts in entree servings in some restaurants, why shouldn’t I eat half and take the other half home so I can live to eat another day?

  13. grubslinger

    I have to agree with Brian – the whole point of going out to a restaurant, at least the way I grew up, was to indulge a little bit. It’s one thing to take your leftovers home if you’ve eaten the way the restaurant has set up the menu, and you ordered an appetizer and an entree and maybe wanted a dessert. But it’s another thing entirely to order an appetizer as your entree because you’re a cheapskate who shouldn’t be at a restaurant. If you’re trying to save money, or watch your weight, or your kids can’t behave, stay at home. Cook for yourself. If you have money, good manners, are generally friendly, understand how to behave properly in public, can manage to get through a meal without snapping at me or sarcastically asking what my real job is, then I would love to have you in my section tonight. This culture of eating at restaurants because that’s “the thing to do” is ridiculous.

    1. skeptic

      So the only people who are allowed to eat in restaurants are those who care nothing about their weight? And if I have a small appetite I’m not welcome in a restaurant? I should just never go to a restaurant at all if I don’t want to order appetizer, entree and dessert? You’re cutting out a lot of potential customers with your greedy attitude.
      Also, “indulging” to me means trying something new and delicious, it doesn’t mean overeating like a greedy pig.

      1. Bran

        I think you missed the point he was making. I’m all for saving money but going out to eat is not the right angle at saving money. Buying a cheaper entree not getting dessert, etc is fine but only eatng an appetizer or a side of white rice is not appropriate. Just stay home and cook a boat load of food for cheap.
        Fancy steakhouses aren’t quite in my budget, so if my friends asked me to go I would most likely decline. If I did go however I wouldn’t order bread and salad while I watched them devour a ribeye and bottles of wine while I sipped on water waiting to drive them home.

        1. skeptic

          And what I am saying is that I am not just “being a cheap-ass” or trying to save money if, because of my small appetite and wish to remain nonobese, I only order an appetizer when I go to a restaurant. I want to enjoy a delicious dish.

  14. Jonothan

    “The server served the same amount of food that you would have gotten without the coupon, so why would anyone think it’s alright to tip less?”

    Very flawed logic. The server bringing me my $4 breakfast does just as much as the person bringing my $50 dinner. Do I tip one $.80 and one $10?

  15. Nicole

    I normally only order an appetizer because the entrees are 1) obnoxiously large and 2) I rarely find an entree I would enjoy. If I want to go out with my friends and only order an appetizer and a few drinks who are YOU to look down your nose at ME and say I’m being cheap when in fact I’m doing what works for me! And in case you’re wondering I tip based on how the service is, if the server sucks I not only will not tip them but will let them know why so they understand why they didn’t get a tip. Simply walking through the door to a restaurant does not give the server a green light to stick their hand into my pocket, you want that tip then I suggest you do your job and do with with pleasing manners otherwise you’re out of luck. I’ve served in the past so I know what it’s like to have a bad day but find a way to put it behind you or your own pocketbook will suffer.

  16. Nitya

    I’m sorry I have health issues that have reduced my appetite to that of a small child, and as a result of this, I order appetizers as my meal. Entrées at most restaurants are too large for me to eat in one sitting, and I spend more time feeling too ill to eat than I do feeling up to eating, so taking leftovers home won’t work for me- They’d likely go mouldy in the fridge by the time I felt able to eat them.

    Restaurants sometimes offer menus for seniors and children, but won’t allow this of us who are of neither category to order from those menus, despite our equally small appetites. Some places won’t even allow for half portions, which would still be massive for me, but better than a whole.

    I try to limit myself to tapas and other small-plate establishments, as well as very high-end ones that serve small portions of each course (such as French Laundry.) At least when I make reservations at those sorts of eateries, I can tell them well in advance to provide a truncated version of the menu- and they don’t make me feel like an ass for it.

  17. Theodore

    20% tips, nice try. The standard is fifteen and you ain’t changing that. Bring me the lemons and Splenda and the two dollars comes out of your tip for my effort.

  18. Mg

    Also, Theodore, good waiters make $60,000/Yr plus. So go fuck yourself from Maui…Come tell me about it here. Oh wait, you can’t. You’re a broke ass cheapskate.


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