Author Archives: The Bitchy Waiter

About The Bitchy Waiter

I wait tables and bitch about it on my blog, The Bitchy Waiter.

Customer Releases Secret Way To Earn Huge Tips

Stop the presses, servers. We have just discovered a way to increase our tips and if we all are able to incorporate this technique into our daily routine, it should only be a matter of weeks before we can all retire with immense wealth in our aprons, pockets and bank accounts. Shockingly, this trick comes from a customer who left the information in a handwritten note for their server. Luckily, a photo of that note was sent to me so I can share it to with the world. Honestly, it’s like finding the Rosetta Stone or the Holy Grail.

Are you ready to learn how you can soon be richer than your wildest dreams?

Are you sure you can you handle it?

This is going to blow your mind.

How to help servers get better tips.
Have them hand out a small treat (like a mint) with the check.
Put it under or inside the check to ‘hide” it.
It will make the guests feel special and treated and they should tip more.

Sweet Jesus, this is going to change our lives! I’m surprised this message wasn’t delivered via a burning bush because it is basically a miracle. Why have I never thought of this? I am dropping what I am doing right now so I can head over to the dollar store and buy a bag of Peppermint Starlight Mints. I figure I can get a bag of 100 for about $1.99. If I put one mint down with each check, that should guarantee me an extra $10. That’s like a $1000 for a $1.99 investment, y’all!

And thankfully, I know now to “hide” the mint so it will make the customer feel special when they find it. It makes total sense. I remember how it felt when I was a kid and I would find an Easter egg or discover a quarter under my pillow from the tooth fairy. (Yes, a quarter. It was the 70s. That’s all that cheap bitch left in those days.) It made me feel special, you know? Sorta like a pirate must have felt when he found a buried treasure on an island or discovered a new herpes sore that he picked up from a seafaring wench whore. This is going to change our lives!

Oh, wait. Has this been done already? I seem to recall that when I was but a wee bitchy waiter of 8 or 9 years old, my family would go to eat Mexican food at a place called Monterey House. When they brought us a basket of chips, underneath the pile of of fried crispy deliciousness, there would be some goat milk candy. And then they would bring us more when they served the check. I don’t know if it made my parents leave more money, but I do know that it meant whenever me and my brothers wanted dessert, our parents would say, “You can just eat that candy for dessert, no.”

And doesn’t Olive Garden do this too? Are there any Olive Garden slaves out there that can confirm or deny?

Oh, yeah, and I remember one time I was working Valentine’s Day and I bought a bag of Hershey Kisses to give to each table with their check. I don’t recall that it increased my tips, but then again, I wasn’t hiding them. Foolishly, I just laid them on the table, not giving my customers the opportunity to find the, therefore, not allowing them to feel special. God, what an idiot I was.

Well, I suppose this technique is worth a try. I have to go to the dollar store today to buy toilet paper and paper towels anyway so I may as well buy a bag of gross cheap candy to pawn off to my customers in a pathetic attempt to get few extra dollars out of them.

Thank you to the person who wrote this note. If your plan works, I expect to be retired in about three weeks. And you should try it too. Let’s all get rich together!

Restaurant Claps Back After 1-Star Facebook Review

You know what I hate? (“Pretty much everything?” says anyone who has been reading this blog for for more than a couple of weeks…) I hate when people go onto Facebook and leave a 1-star review for a stupid reason. Case in point is Louise who has been going to The Liberal Club Restaurant for 30 years. Thirty. Years. Think about that- when she first started going to The Liberal Club Restaurant, stamps were still $0.22, The Princess Bride was a new movie and people thought acid washed jeans were cool. In those thirty years, she always loved it, but one fateful Wednesday night in January, everything changed. Louise showed up to the restaurant and did not like what she ordered, claiming that the dish had canned clams! The restaurant disputes that on a Facebook post, but the point is that Louise, after loving this place for three damn decades, had one meal that she didn’t like and now this place is dead to her.

C’mon, Louise. Say it ain’t so! Is that how you treat everything? Did you watch all 264 episodes of Murder, She Wrote and then in the last one, “Death By Demographics,” where a San Francisco radio station changes its music format from classical to rock and the promoter who engineered the switch dies, did you suddenly decide that Murder, She Wrote sucked?

“Well, why would Jessica search for his killer? He deserved to die if he wanted to switch from classical music to rock music! One star, Jessica Fletcher! One star!”

Or what about your kids? Did you love them up until they were 30 years old and then one day, your daughter told you she wouldn’t be able to drive you to to CVS to get your flu shot and then you had to start hating her?

“I was in labor for fifteen hours with you and you ripped my vagina apart like a piece of velcro on a pair of running shoes and you can’t do this one thing for me? One star, Louise, Jr.! One star!”

When the waitress asked if Louise wanted the food to be wrapped up, Louise came up with this great response: “They can put it right back in the can that all this stuff came from!”

Good one, Louise, except it wasn’t from a can. And the restaurant also had this to say: “Our servers do quality checks a few minutes after the food is delivered to the table, any issues or concerns you have at that time can be addressed at that time, and should have been addressed at that time. Your server would have been more than happy to get you another meal to your liking.”

Got it Louise? A restaurant that has been serving you for thirty years more than likely wants to have you patronize their business for another thirty years or until you die, which ever comes first. (Death, probably…) If you took umbrage with your dish, use your words and speak to someone at the restaurant. If you have really been going there since 1987, I would guess that you have some kind of relationship with someone there and you would feel comfortable letting them know in person that you are disappointed with this visit. Don’t just be a coward and complain about it on Facebook.

And while I’m at it, let me address someone else who commented on the review. Donna, who is probably a friend of Louise, seems upset that The Liberal Club responded to Louise in a public manner and suggests that it was unprofessional of them to do so. She thinks they should have reached out to her privately. Wrong, Donna. If the customer is going to complain publicly, then the restaurant has a right to respond publicly. They clapped you right back in your place, girl.

To Louise and Donna, I give you each one star for your Facebook reviews. One star! And to The Liberal Club I give you five because you know how to handle a bad review professionally and confidently while getting your point across. You did not use snark and I am extremely impressed. Maybe someday you can teach me what it’s like to write something without snark. I don’t understand how to do that.

My final question for Louise is this: in the thirty years that you loved The Liberal Club so much, did you ever bother to leave a 5 star review anywhere? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

10 Feelings Only a Server Will Understand

  1. That feeling of immense disappointment when your think you have amazing rapport with your table of five people and then they leave you a crappy 5% tip.
  2. That feeling of intense anger when you explain to your customer the policy of the restaurant and then, when they ask to speak to your manager, that manager throws the policy out the window and gives the customer whatever they want.
  3. That feeling of complete exhaustion when you punch out from your third double in a row that lasted Friday lunch to Sunday dinner.
  4. That feeling of great relief when you finally get to go pee after nearly having your bladder explode because you just didn’t have time to go to the restroom.
  5. That feeling of sheer satisfaction when a customer was rude and dismissive to you and after they leave you discover they left their cell phone at the table.
  6. That feeling of pure happiness when every order comes out perfectly, your tables are all super friendly and every single one leaves you more than 20%.
  7. That feeling of fiery rage when a child insists they don’t need a cup with a lid and then as soon as you give them a “big boy glass” they spill their milk all over the damn place.
  8. That feeling of profound apathy when your customer tells you they know the owner.
  9. That feeling of extraordinary confusion when a customer tells you they can’t eat dairy, nuts, meat, butter, salt, sugar, gluten or anything that is on your menu.
  10. That feeling of total joy you get when you show up to work thinking you are closing but you read the schedule wrong and you are first cut.Please click here to buy my book, The Bitchy Waiter. You’ll like it, I promise. And if you don’t like it, you can talk to my manager…

How the Pickiest Woman in the World Orders a Martini

Dear Lady Who Thinks She’s Really Something Special,

Get over yourself. While I understand that you love your Espresso Martinis, is it really necessary to go to the trouble of printing out a card to give to every server and bartender that has the misfortune of having you sit in their section? I mean, come on. I feel the need to go through your card, line by line, and really dissect it to fully understand it’s idiocy:

Glass: Martini glass or coupe glass (modelled on Marie Antoinette’s left breast – yes, I know.) That’s cute. Although there is an enduring myth that the coup glass was modeled after the young queen’s perfect tits, there is no way to prove it. And while it’s “udderly” charming that you want to bring that up, I’m pretty sure if you order a martini, it’s going to show up in a martini glass. Well, unless you order it from here.

Ingredients: 1 shot of espresso (25ml water through 20g of Arabica coffee). I shot of Kahlua. 1 shot of vodka (Belvedere or Grey Goose). 20ml of sugar syrup. Bitch, please. Do you think a bartender who is up to his ass in the weeds is going to go to the cappuccino machine and measure out 25 milliliters of water and run it through exactly 20 grams of a certain coffee. Nope, it ain’t gonna happen. That bartender is going to hit the button that that says espresso. Water is going to run through whatever coffee is there, whether it be Arabica, Starbucks, Folger’s or some shit they got at the grocery store because they ran out of the other shit they usually get from Sysco food services. You might even just get a shot of decaf coffee because that was the closet thing to the bar and once the bartender saw your explicit instructions, he instantly stopped giving a shit. Don’t worry, you’ll get your Kahlua and top shelf vodka because they can’t wait to charge $15 for you drink.

Directions: Shaken, not stirred. Serve in a chilled glass. Fill to within 5mm of the top (the remaining 5mm to be foam). Garnish with 3 half coffee beans. Place 1 short straw diagonally across the middle of the glass. Are you kidding me? Now the bartender has to go get a freakin’ metric ruler to make sure he leaves 5 millimeters for foam? And where is this foam coming from, because espresso does not make foam. Does the bartender have to go back to the cappuccino machine and steam some milk to create the foam? Or is it alright if, instead of milk, the foam is a creative mixture of bile and saliva? As for the 3 half coffee beans, have you ever tried to cut a coffee bean in half? I doubt it. Neither have I and neither will any bartender who ever gets this card because that is just too much damn trouble for something so stupid. And by the way, if you place a straw across a round glass, it goes without saying that it will be diagonal.

No substitutions: No gin, tequila, rum, Frangelico, Triple Sec, Bailey’s, coffee flavoured liqueur, or any other ingredient, no matter how much you think I will be surprised and delighted by elegant variations. Okay, any bartender who would put gin in a Espresso Martini might, in fact, need this card, because that ain’t right.

Gratitude: Thank you so much for taking the time to read all this. As you can see, it can be quite an ordeal for a girl to get the right drink. I can’t.

One Last Thing: When you serve me, please say “There you go, Thrill Seeker!” so I know you read this all the way to the end. This last sentence takes the crappy cappuccino cake. “Thrill seeker?” You ordered an Espresso Martini, you didn’t zip line off a cliff, eat at Guy Fieri’s restaurant or wrestle an alligator, lady. I hope who ever got this card served your drink and said, “There you go…ummm…what was it? Shrill Shrieker? Pill Peeker? Lil’ Sneaker? Oh wait, I remember: here you go, picky bitch.”

In closing, Thrill Seeker/Picky Bitch, enough with the card. It’s not charming, adorable, unique or anything else you might think it is. It’s pretentious and stupid and I can assure you that anyone you give this card to thinks the same thing. If you want a certain drink prepared a certain way, just ask for it. If it needs to be this specific for you to enjoy the cocktail, maybe it’s best that you make your own Espresso Martinis from now on and seek your thrills in the comfort of your own home.

Mustard and mayo,
The Bitchy Waiter

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Tips, Tip Pools and Gratuities

I get a lot of questions about the legality of various tipping situations and, quite honestly, I don’t have very many answers. This blog post was written by an honest to goodness labor and employment lawyer and he has answers, my friends. I hope you will find this useful and I also hope you will share it so everyone who works in a restaurant will know what can and cannot be done when it comes to their tips.  -BW

Seriously: Can My Employer Legally Do That?

If the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, then how do some employers (specifically, restaurants) get away with paying employees less – in some cases as little as $2.13 per hour? You may be thinking, well I earn more than $7.25 after accounting for the tips I receive. This is probably true; however, your employer is still paying you less than $7.25 per hour. Those tips aren’t coming from your employer’s pocket, but are earned by you for the service you provided to your customers. However, there is a section within the minimum wage law that allows an employer to take a “credit” for the tips an employee receives against the $7.25 per hour minimum wage.

This law – known as the “tip credit – is rather complex and rigid in application. If an employer violates – accidentally or intentionally – the tip credit, then the employer is disavowed from using the tip credit and must pay the employee back wages at the full minimum wage, which can be a significant sum, especially for servers who are often paid as little as $2.13 per hour. There are countless ways that employers violate the tip-credit, thereby depriving employees of a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

I am now going to list of what I call “illegal tipping practices” that I frequently see being employed by restaurants.

Whose Tip is it?

First and foremost, any tip that an employee receives from a customer, belongs to the employee and the employer is prohibited from sharing in these tips, with a single exception. The one exception being, an employer may deduct the actual cost to process a credit card tip, but nothing more. To illustrate, I recently obtained a sizable settlement for a group of servers working at a restaurant that was deducting a 5% credit card processing fee for tips; however, as it turns out, the restaurant’s credit card processing fee was only 3%. This extra deduction resulted in a large settlement to my clients. The important thing to keep in mind here, is tips belong solely to the server, and the employer may not share or skim from a server’s tips, save an except the actual cost of the credit processing fee.

Are Mandatory Tip Pools Legal?

I am also often asked about mandatory tip pools. An employer can require employees to share their tips; however, not all tip pools are legal. In this context, there are heaps of legal issues that an employee should look out for. First, an employee cannot be forced to share tips or contribute to a tip pool where the owners, the chef, dishwasher, or managers are sharing in the tip pool. Yes, if you are required to share your tips with the chef, dishwasher, or a manager, then this is an illegal tip pool; your employer is violating the federal wage laws.

One issue that often arises is employees aren’t sure who is sharing in the tip-out of a tip pool. I recently obtained a settlement from a restaurant where the servers discovered the employer was skimming the tip pool by talking to the hosts and bartenders, wherein they were tipped-off (excuse the pun) that the tip-out was too low, meaning some of the tipped pool was going elsewhere.  As it turns out in that case, the owners and managers were skimming funds from the tip pool for themselves. The practice of owners or managers skimming money from tip pool or failing to redistribute the entire amount of tip pool is illegal.

Can My Employer Make Deductions from My Wages or Tips?

I also get lots of questions about deductions or whether an employer can require employees to pay for certain items. As a general matter, if you are paid less than $7.25 per hour (i.e. a tipped employee), an employer is probably violating the law if he or she makes any deductions from your wages or tips other than deductions for taxes or credit card fees. For instance, if an employer requires tipped employees to pay for broken glasses (glass breakage fee), returned food items, uniforms, etc., then the employer is violating the federal wage laws.

Can My Employer Keep Gratuities?

Last, there is often a lot of confusion by employers and employees alike regarding the payment of gratuities versus tips. Yes, there is a difference between a gratuity and a tip. A “gratuity” is something that is mandatory and is not subject to negotiation. The principal example of a gratuity is a required charge of 20% for tables of six or more people. Whereas a “tip” is something that is completely left up to the discretion of the customer; the obvious example being cash left on the table or money voluntarily added to the bill by the customer.

The difference between a tip and a gratuity is important because a tip (see above) belongs to the employee. However, a gratuity legally belongs to the employer-restaurant. In other words, if you work a banquet, and the customer is paying your employer a mandatory, fixed amount service charge as part of the cost of the banquet, this gratuity does not have to be redistributed to the employees. However, if you are not earning “tips” during the time you worked the banquet, then your employer cannot use the tip-credit and must be paying you at least the full minimum wage for the hours your worked.  This remains true even if your employer elects to distribute the gratuities to you – you still must be paid the full minimum wage before accounting for any gratuities received.

Conclusion

In sum, servers are often the most taken advantage of group in terms of wages. However, the good news is that there are strict laws protecting servers. If you are receiving tips as part of your pay and you have questions about your employer’s policies, you should reach out to an attorney to discuss. I find that restaurants are some of the most common violators of the wage laws. You can also look at my blog, where you may find the answer to your questions http://paycheckcollector.com/blog/

Article By:

 

Drew N. Herrmann

Herrmann Law, PLLC

777 Main Street, Suite 600

Fort Worth, Texas 76102

Phone: 817-479-9229

www.paycheckcollector.com

 

*Drew N. Herrmann is a labor and employment lawyer licensed to practice in Texas. Mr. Herrmann’s labor and employment law practice is devoted to representing aggrieved employees in workplace disputes.  If you have any questions or want to consult with Mr. Herrmann, he can be reached by calling 817-479-9229, or emailing drew@herrmannlaw.com or check out his website www.paycheckcollector.com

 

This article is not legal advice. The information contained in this article is informational and you should not rely on it instead of legal advice specific to your situation. Drew N. Herrmann is licensed to practice law in Texas. The law in your state may be different than what is discussed in this article. Further, the law in your state may change the analysis or outcome of the f described in this article.

The information on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any information submitted through the website does not create an attorney-client relationship with Herrmann Law, PLLC. Further, Herrmann Law, PLLC does not guarantee the accuracy of any article published on this website.

This Restaurant Manager Does Not Care That You’re Sick

Today’s post is brought to you by a restaurant manager who has had it with employees who have the audacity to get sick and need a day off. The above screenshot, which was shared by someone who shall remain nameless, came from a private Facebook group for a restaurant. Manager Heather has decreed that if you miss a shift because you are ill, that shift will be permanently removed from your schedule. No matter that you may have worked every Friday night for eight months; if you get sick one Thursday evening and cannot make it to work the next day, she thinks that means the shift will never ever be needed by that employee again. She also requires that you go see a doctor.

When can restaurants understand that we are allowed to get sick? I’m not talking about someone who went out and did shots all night long and woke up with a hangover. I’m talking about honest to goodness sick, like runny nose, fever and coughing up big globs of split pea soup-looking phlegm. It happens because servers are human beings with immune systems. Until restaurants are fully staffed with robots and iPads kiosks, expect a server to get ill every once in a while. And since we aren’t a cable box or a laptop that can be unplugged to reboot, we have no choice but to suffer through the sickness for a day or so.

Also, telling us to go to the doctor every time we get sick is an unfair expectation. First off, what if we don’t have any insurance? A visit to the doctor without insurance isn’t exactly free. In fact, it’s fucking expensive because this country is overrun with greedy doctors and even greedier insurance companies that have jacked up the cost of a doctor visit so it lines the pockets of the already well-off. And for some people who do have insurance, maybe they don’t want to pay a $30 co-pay just for a nurse practitioner to tell them, “Yeah, you’ve got a cold. Nothing we can do about that, so just rest and drink plenty of fluids. Bye.” You’re better off spending that $30 at Rite-Aid for some NyQuil, Ricolas and a bottle of aspirin. Enough with the stupid “you must get a doctor’s note” bullshit. How about bosses just accept that we sometimes get sick and we need to stay home? Besides, would they rather we show up to work with a fever and a cough so we can infect everyone else at the restaurant too? Would that be better?

Heather also is “more than happy” to accept day off requests, so if you know you are going to be sick sometime in late February, make sure you let her know now so she can schedule you off. However, she can’t guarantee that you will get that day off either, so be sure to have a back up plan.

Restaurants need to respect their employees more. Most of us don’t want to miss shifts because we know we aren’t going to get paid for a sick day and we will just be making less money. If we need to call out because we have bronchitis or diarrhea or a sore throat, it would be nice if the manager said, “Take care of yourself. We will get this covered for you and just call us back tomorrow to let us know how you are feeling.” How wonderful would it be for a server if, when we were sick, we would be able to focus on getting better than having to worry about getting our shift covered? We can dream, can’t we?

I know that Heather will eventually see this and I don’t care. Maybe by seeing it written out so clearly, she will realize how callous and uncaring her Facebook post to her employees came across. It might not change anything, but it will let the servers at the restaurant know that they are not alone. Restaurant workers across the country are all dealing with their own version of Heather.

Heather, if you’re reading this I ask two things of you:

  1. Try to learn some fucking empathy.
  2. Try to learn some fucking punctuation.