Category Archives: tipping

An Open Letter to the Girls Who Can’t Tip

Dear Grace, Sophie and Sophia,

I am writing this letter on behalf of your awesome waiter (Rachel). You remember Rachel, don’t you? She’s the one who served you guys and then in return you left her a little note and an origami lotus flower. The reason I am writing this instead of her is because Rachel’s job probably prohibits her from discussing on social media about what goes on at her restaurant. Or maybe Rachel is simply a mature human being who doesn’t bother sinking to your depths. Lucky for you, I am not prohibited from speaking about it and I am also 100% immature.

Allow me to refresh your memory as to what you wrote in your note:

Dear Awesome Waiter, (Rachel!)

We couldn’t leave a good tip because we don’t have enough money. Please except (sic) this origami lotus as our condolences.

♥️, Grace, Sophie, Sophia

I will ignore the fact that you don’t know the difference between “accept and “except” and just chalk that up to good ol’ fashioned stupidity. I also question your use of the word “condolences.” I don’t think it means exactly what you think it does. In addition, I would like to point out that you added the word “good” to your note when describing the tip which clearly implies that you know a folded up piece of paper with a tiny heart drawn on top of it is anything but a good tip.

Girls, what the hell was the note and origami for? You know it isn’t going to help Rachel pay a bill and she certainly isn’t going to be able to tip out a portion of it to her busser. The only reason you left the note was to make yourselves feel better about stiffing a server who you claimed was “awesome.” Rachel doesn’t want your note. In fact, I venture to say that 99.9% of servers don’t want it.

Here is what we do want: a tip. Something that spends. And if you go into a restaurant knowing you don’t have enough money to leave a tip, then please do your server a favor as soon as you sit down. Tell your server you don’t plan on tipping. I know, I know, it takes a lot of courage to be this open and honest with your server, but isn’t it more fair? Maybe Rachel could have spent her time getting more lemon wedges for another table instead of for your cheap asses. Servers live on tips and if you’re not going to leave one, we should have the option to ignore the hell out of you. Sure, we’ll still bring your food and fill your water (one time) and bring the check, but we’d rather do that for someone who might appreciate the service. Leaving an apologetic note at the end of your meal is cowardly and you know it, girls.

Grace, Sophie and Sophia, I hope you see this. And I hope that someone you know sees it too so they can tell all of your friends how cheap you are. No amount of folder paper flowers or little drawn hearts is going to change the fact that the three of you are exactly the kind of customer that so many servers dislike. Grow up and tip. Or at least be honest with your server. We don’t have time for this bullshit.

Mustard and mayo,

The Bitchy Waiter

What To Tip When the Service Sucks

What to tip?

What to tip?

As a full time professional food whore slinger of the hash, I am always willing to give a bad server the benefit of the doubt. “Maybe she’s new” or “He’s probably having a bad day” are phrases that drop out of my mouth when my server forgets to bring me something or fails to make himself available. I realize that at times, even a full time professional food whore slinger of the hash, like myself, can hit some bumps in the road that keeps my service from being stellar. Just last week, I totally forgot about one of my tables because I had picked it up even though it wasn’t in my section. I took their order and rang it in but then realized that I was out of Chardonnay. I went to the bar to refill my coffee cup and then the bartender shared a story about how he had gone to a water park the day before. This made me think of a time I was at Blizzard Beach in Disney World. We saw this woman carrying her sleeping baby under arm as she was standing in line for a water slide. The baby looked totally out of it. “Is that baby alive?” asked my friend Van? “I dunno,” I replied, “but I wonder if she’ll let me use it as a floaty for the Lazy River because I can’t find any more inner tubes.” I took a swallow of my wine so the bartender could top it off and then I went on to check on my tables completely forgetting about the one that wasn’t in my section. So, I know bad service sometimes happens to good people. But when it happens to me, I never know what to to tip.

The following is an actual text message conversation I had with my brother a few days ago:

Coby: Help. We’ve just had the worst waitress/service ever. What do I tip? 9:21 pm

BW: What’s the check? 9:21 pm

Coby: Getting it now. 9:22 pm

BW: I’d probably still tip 15% if I thought she was trying. If she was straight up bitch, 10% or less. 9:22 pm

Coby: Man, she SUCKED. 9:25 pm

BW: Was she rude and uncaring? If so, fuck it. Stiff her but tell the manager as you’re leaving. 9:25 pm

Coby: Not bitch. CLUELESS. We sat with our food in front of us for 5-7 minutes without silverware. I had to go get it. 9:27 pm

BW:10%. Fuck it. 9:27 pm

Coby: Still waiting on check. 9:29 pm

BW: 5%. 9:29 pm

Coby: Got the check. No pen. 9:33 pm

BW: 5%. Fuck that shit. This will be a blog post by the way. 9:33 pm

BW: What was the verdict? 10:45 pm

Coby: Gave her 5 on 48. 11:02 pm

Was my advice wrong? What do we do when we have bad service? We maybe expect the bar to be raised a little bit since we all do it for a living, but if someone is woefully inadequate at their job, it’s hard to tip them the same as I would for someone who was spectacular. I always start at 20% and go from there. To get less than that, you kinda have to go out of your way. Even for bad service, I will give 15%. But my brother gave 10% and I stand behind it. He asked for the check at 9:22 and did not get it until 9:33. Does it really take eleven minutes to hit “print”on a computer and drop a check? If you’re that far behind, you can always ask someone to drop the check for you. And to sit for over five minutes with hot food in front of you and no silverware is unacceptable. Why wasn’t there silver there when they were sat?  If the food is overcooked and the server fixes the situation there is no reason to stiff them. But what happened in my brother’s case seemed like it was all the responsibility of the server. This waitress was lucky to get the 10%.

What do you do when you have extraordinarily bad service in a restaurant? Do you still tip well? Or do you tip less than you normally would but explain why? And if you explain your actions, how do you do it? A note on the check or a discussion with the manager? Discuss, please.

 
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To Tip or Not To Tip


A national debate is rearing its ugly head amongst us and I must confront it. It seems that some people need to know if there are times when it is okay to completely stiff a server. And my answer may come as quite a shock to some of you, but I say: yes. On the rare occasion, it is okay to stiff a server. A reader named Dee writes:

Only once was it so bad that I decided a tip wasn’t deserved. When the waitperson came to pick up the signed credit card receipt, I took the opportunity to tell him that there was no tip included for his service. I told him that since he waited until clearing from the appetizer to tell me that they’d run out of Prime Rib, that I never received the hot tea I’d ordered, that I got baked potato as a side when I’d ordered rice pilaf, and that my dining partner’s entree arrived 15 minutes before my second choice was served… for all those reasons, I told him I didn’t feel he deserved a tip.

I think Dee was right to refuse a tip and she was also right in explaining to the server why he wasn’t getting one. Forgetting to get the hot tea was his fault. Of course, things slip our mind and we can fuck up. And sometimes at work you can have only four mistakes happen all week but all four of them happen to be at the same table. It’s like the perfect storm of bad service. Maybe the kitchen didn’t tell him they were out of Prime Rib until it was too late. Shitty, yes. But maybe he should have accepted the blame and try to make up for it by bringing another app that was comped while she waited. He certainly should not have brought out her friend’s food when her order wasn’t ready to come out with it. That was dumb. And maybe the kitchen sent out the wrong side, but if a table has already been slighted, it’s the server’s responsibility to make sure everything else is right. I would have been hovering in that kitchen to ensure that it came out quickly and correctly. I have found too that it helps if you just are completely honest to a table when this shit happens. Tell them: I Screwed up. I am sorry. What can I do to make it better? Customers like it when we accept responsibility for mistakes. They hate it when you blame the kitchen or the the runner or the host or whoever the fuck. They aren’t dealing with any of them, they are dealing with the waiter, so therefore everything is the responsibility of the waiter. Period.

Of course, I think it’s better to leave at least 10% so that there is enough to cover the taxes and tipping out. And if you are really unhappy with the service and you feel it was the waiters fault, let a manager know or just don’t go back. I stiffed someone once. It was at The Black Eyed Pea in Houston. The waiter was an idiot and kept fucking up our order. And then at the end when we mentioned something about going back home, he said, “oh to your trailer park?” What the fuck? Did he just call me trailer trash? Now I may have spent my formative years living in a mobile home (trailers are for horses and mobile homes are for people, just so you know) but he cannot insult me like that. He should have had the decency to go to the sidestand and then do it like all self-respecting waiters. That was the final nail in his coffin and I picked up his 20% and put it right back in my pocket.

Yes, Dee, it is okay. Choosing to leave no tip is alright if there is justification. We know when we are doing a shitty job and sometimes it just happens. When it happens to me, I am not surprised with a stiff. What we don’t like is when we know we gave great service and don’t a tip. Or when we realize we fucked up, we tried to fix the problem and they say they are satisfied and then they still don’t tip. Fear not, sweet, Dee. You were okay in your actions. We love that you tip above 18% when it is deserved. For that, you rock.

What are your thoughts, fellow servers?

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