After waiting nearly an hour for a table at your favorite restaurant, you’re hungry, impatient and above all else you need a drink or two.
After what feels like an eternity, your server finally arrives and begins to tell you that evening’s dinner specials.
Out of pure frustration you belt out, “We are ready to order!”
Service trudges on for over an hour and you barely see your server. You had to request a refill three times before actually getting the waiter’s attention and receiving one.
The food was overcooked, but you didn’t complain, and the sauce clinging to your brand new shirt was a result of the table not being wiped up after your entrée was cleared.
When you glance at the check, which arrived without a whisper of coffee or dessert from the absent server, there is a smiley face next to the scribbled “thank you” on your receipt.
Suddenly your server is readily available and very friendly. It must be tip time.
Gratuities, like many things in life, should not be expected; they should be earned.
The expectation when going out for food is to receive a dining experience. However, many servers miss the “experience” part.
They arrive at the table, take your order and disappear until the meal is over.
They rely on the food runners and bussers to complete everything in between and take care of any needs that may arise.
That does not qualify as a dining experience. That doesn’t satisfy your dining needs.
We understand food runners bring the food and bussers clear plates, but service… that’s the server’s responsibility.
When a server fails to check back on a guest after the food arrives at the table, they miss a crucial step in the experience.
This step is a huge opportunity for the server to make sure the food came out exactly as it was ordered, make sure it was cooked to the right temperature and above all else make sure we are enjoying ourselves at the restaurant.
If one of the dishes was missing or the food was cold, the opportunity to fix the problem disappears if the server was out on a smoke-break or texting in the kitchen.
They might miss the opportunity to fix a problem, and as a result will only receive 10 percent gratuity at best.
We understand the kitchen can make mistakes sometimes, but we rely on our servers to catch those problems and make a reasonable attempt to fix them.
When dining out, many people want to be engaged, they need attention and they expect the server to recognize their needs and to make any reasonable accommodations for them.
According to Restaurant Hospitality Magazine, many people work full time and go out to dine because they are too tired to cook or don’t have the time to prepare a meal. People want efficiencies.
They want to get in and get out. They don’t want to search for or request someone to find their server. They want an experience streamlined to their specific needs.
Servers who make great tips need to recognize individual needs. They hear the baby crying and automatically bring crackers, while offering the mom a strong drink.
They see the couple out on a first date and keep a casual eye on them from a distance without interrupting their conversation. Servers who go above and beyond guest needs should be tipped 25 percent or more.
They are worth every penny.
The servers that are just an order taker and check dropper miss what goes on in between and deserve a standard 15 percent or less.
People don’t expect great service when they go out to eat, but when a server or bartender remembers their name or the drink they had last time, it makes the experience much more special. These types of actions bring a customer coming back for a meal in the future.
If this happens, we might be more willing to throw a couple extra bucks in their direction.