It is becoming more and more clear to me every day that people simply do not have a grasp on good restaurant etiquette, so I have decided to outline it in hopes that this might enlighten even a few people who genuinely don't get it.  Here are some good rules to follow (written from a somewhat personal perspective):

1.  NO OUTSIDE FOOD/DRINKS

Do not bring your own food/drink items into a restaurant.  The smell may be unappetizing to other diners (or to me), and it is not the job of the waitstaff to clean up food that you did not purchase from them.  Leave your birthday cakes at home unless you plan to tip for the services (keeping the cake during mealtime, bringing the cake to the table, providing any utensils or plates, etc) that allow you to enjoy your little public party.

2.  CONTROL YOUR CHILDREN

I am not a babysitter.  It isn't my job to worry that your kid will slip and fall while racing across a slippery floor.  It also is not my job to scrape his macaroni off of the floor.  I don't allow my child to trash your workplace.  Don't allow yours to destroy mine.

3.  WHEN YOU ARE FINISHED, PLEASE LEAVE

This is a restaurant.  It isn't a convention center, a coffee shop, a hotel lobby, or an airport terminal.  Restaurants are for eating- not visiting.  When you have finished eating, drinking, and paying, kindly leave.  When you sit at my table for an hour, you are costing me an entire other tip from the people who didn't sit there because you were STILL there.  Unless you plan to tip for two parties, get up and get a move on.  You are officially delaying productivity.

4.  TIPPING

If you can't afford to tip, you cannot afford to eat out!  Period.  Tipping is not optional.  It is not a bonus.  Oh my goodness!  Surprise!  I don't make minimum wage.  I don't make half of minimum wage.  I make a whopping two bucks an hour.  Do you know why?  Because you are supposed to tip me- and well.

Speaking of tipping well, here is a news flash!  15% is no longer the standard rate of tipping.  18% is the standard rate and 20% is, obviously, better.  10% is a slap in the face.  If you don't like percentages, then here is an easy way to do it (For you Tennesseans).  In our great state, sales tax is 9.5%. If you look at your ticket and double the tax, you are leaving a nice tip.  If the service was excellent, throw in a couple of extra dollars.

A pat on the back, applause, or verbal compliment does not pay my bills or feed my children.  Do not tell me that I provided you with great service and then leave an average tip.  Not only did you just contradict yourself, you also just wasted more of my time.

5.  DON'T ASSUME

Don't assume that you know me.  I have a life outside of these four walls.  I have friends.  I have a family.  I might have kids.  I might not.  You don't know.  If I seem like I am in a bad mood, then guess what?  I probably am.  I am human.  Aren't you?  Don't take it personally.  Have a heart.  Who knows, you being nice could turn my day around.  Karma, my friend.

 

I hate to quote the movie "Waiting" because that movie paints all servers to be nasty and ill-spirited, but they said it best:

"Don't f*** with the people who handle your food!"

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Comments:

alexi...
Aug. 28, 2008 at 12:38 AM

I can see why you don't get tipped very well....and tipping is optional. It is only not optional if the menu or rules state that tipping is mandatory, and that usually only happens for parties of 8 or more. If I have bad service, I don't tip. In Europe, it if offensive to the waiter if you tip, no matter how much your bill is. I would only leave an 18% tip if my service was beyond excellent. And when I go out to eat, I bring my daughter's food separately as she is only 10 months old and who knows what she will be able to eat from any given menu, and...gasp...I always ask the server to warm her food up for me. Never have I been given a hard time for that, in fact, most of the time the waiter is GLAD to do it (that's how you get tips....good service..take notes.) When a waiter follows me to my table, high chair in hand before I even ask...one point for him! OR, when my daughter drops pieces of food on the floor, as any 10 month old will, At the end of my meal, when I go to clean it up (and I always do) and the waiter comes up and says "oh don't worry about that ma'am, we'll clean it up after you leave!" Another point for him! And when the waiting does NOT rush me through my meal, but instead makes me feel welcome by asking If I'd like coffee or dessert and gives me adequite time to decide on my order and to eat and VISIT with the people I am dining out with, Heck, another point for him! You earn your tips. I work at a restaurant too, but not as a waiter...I'm just a cashier....and I EARN my tips. Never, do I expect them.

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LuLuT...
Aug. 28, 2008 at 12:47 AM

Obviously you make more than $2 per hour.  Don't all cashiers?  I don't really know.  The place I work isn't the cashier kind of joint.

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alexi...
Aug. 28, 2008 at 12:52 AM

Out of everything I said..that's the only thing you can come up with? I don't get tips hardly ever, but when I do, it's because I provide good service. Yes, I make more that $2 an hour, but the things I was talking about before that were experiences of my personal dining out. Meaning waiters were serving me. Maybe they made more than $2, maybe they didn't. I don't know. But the point is, they only get tipped if they provide good service. A little extra if it's spectacular service.

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nikki...
Aug. 28, 2008 at 12:52 AM

i always bring food and drink for my son he is 17months and may have a gluten allergy. plus sitting at a table for lord knows how long before we get any food he'd go crazy with boredom. i do always clean up after him, but isn't that apart of your job? i do it out of respect for the servers and patrons. i always leave a nice tip if the service was fair. a better tip if the serves was great. and a not so great tip if you where being a bitch. when you walk into work you gotta put all you "life outside of these four walls" aside. don't take your bad day out on me. how hard is to throw a smile on that cute face and be nice even if you are pretending? no job is perfect i guess we all just have to learn to deal....

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LuLuT...
Aug. 28, 2008 at 1:12 AM

I am not at all talking about bringing food for your child.  I was referencing tables with adults who bring their own food or drinks.  I see it almost daily and it still blows my mind.  If you don't like the food here, then don't come.  That is how I see it.

Nikki, I agree with what you said completely.  I don't by any means bring my outside life to work.  But people have less than perfect days.  It is only natural.  That is all I was saying.

As for you, alexismommy, I could not disagree with you more.  No restaurant server (and I am talking about in a sitdown restaurant- not a fastfood place or a cafe) makes half of the state minimum wage because tipping is not extra.  It is expected.  Bringing your child's food is one thing.  But truthfully, I was totally in awe when I read that you actually ask them to heat it for you.  That has never happened to me, thank goodness.  It wouldn't matter because just as we don't have cashiers, we also don't have microwaves.  But I think that I would be so shocked that I wouldn't know what to say.  I can tell by your disappointment that I had nothing more to say that you came back here looking for an arguement.  I didn't post this for a debate.  I posted it because there are actually people out there who act the way that you seem to in public.

By the way, I am not asking for advice from anyone on how to make better tips.  I know how to do my job and I do it well.  Other people's actions are out of my control, and that is what bothers me... The fact that I have to smile and nod at people who weren't taught better manners.

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Brook...
Aug. 28, 2008 at 1:18 AM

I was a server once.  I agree with a lot of what you said, but feel it could have come across a bit nicer.

Tipping actually IS optional, but it's very appreciated.  If a server does their job, tip them.  If they go over and above, tip them very well.  I never really had much of a problem with tipping.

And the visiting thing... well, that depends.  At a nice restaurant people want to enjoy their meal, not eat and run.  So I suppose it depends on the restaurant.  If we're talking Denny's or something, sure, don't visit for hours at a time as that isn't fair to the server.  When I was a server, I only got a set amount of tables at a time, so if someone sat there for hours, I couldn't make anymore money.

And the wage is not $2.  I made $2.65 an hour years ago, it has to have gone up a tiny bit?  Still though, you are right on there.  People assume servers make more, and that is just not true.

Because I was a server, I'm a good customer.  I tip REALLY well.  I "pre-bus" my table when we're done eating (clean things up, pick up any trash, pick up after my son) because I know it's the nice (and helpful) thing to do.  I don't send our server for a million different things, and if I do ask for extra, I tip accordingly.  I did bring food/drink for my son when he was a baby, but he's 2 now and usually we just order for him at the restaurant. 

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LuLuT...
Aug. 28, 2008 at 1:23 AM

It was me ranting in my journal... I wasn't trying to "be nice".  I chuckled a bit when you said pre-bus because it made it crystal clear that you have worked in a restaurant.

I have to tell you, though, my wage is 2.13 per hour.  I didn't make that up.  It really is the wage.  Not years ago.  It is what I made today. :)

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Brook...
Aug. 28, 2008 at 1:55 AM

No I know you were ranting, but the journals are all public and I was just saying....

Anyway, that's crazy.  I've never heard that low for a server!  Obviously different areas have different wages, but that's just insanely low.  It was at least 5 years ago when I made $2.65 an hour here.  And still, it's not enough.  Because the paychecks themselves just paid the taxes.  LOL.  I was lucky to get a $15 check.  I survived on my tips!

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eyoun...
Aug. 28, 2008 at 3:08 AM

I can see both sides of what you are saying, but I have to say, things happen, people are going to bring in outside food, people are going to be rude, people are not going to tip, and more...that's life.

No job is perfect, no people are perfect. When working with the general public everyday is a bad day (in my experience, and I consider myself a people person)..

I have to say if it really truly erks you to no end, find another job.

also, my last waitressing job paid well OVER min wage (13.50 when min was 7.50), and the tips were good *it was a expensive place*, so the good jobs are out there, you just need to build up the experience and confidence and find a way to deal with people...and yes those patrons were always drunk, messy, and grabby...no job is perfect.

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alexi...
Aug. 28, 2008 at 8:25 AM

I've been to places that don't have microwaves....they bring me a dish of hot water to put the food in until it's warm. Those are the waiters that get good tips. And what I was trying to say was.....tips ARE optional, whether you think they should be or not, they are. You get a tip based on the service you provide. If you come to my table and you're a jerk, and I feel rushed, and you're not being helpful, or I have to wait 25 minutes before you even take my drink order, etc....then you are not getting a very good tip, if any. If you come to my table and you fullfil the necessary requirements of YOUR JOB in a timely manner all while being a pleasant person, then you will get a decent tip. But, if you come to my table and are super helpful, answering any questions I may have, wamring my daughter's food without a problem (because I have a right to go out to eat too, and I can't very well leave my daughter home a lone, and she can't very well eat cold spaghetti, or chicken and mashed potatoes...gross) and give me time to order, while not making me wait for long periods of time and provide me with superb service, then the tip will reflect on that, and you'll be quite pleased. And to say that people can't bring in birthday cakes....most restaurants HAVE birthday cakes....it's not that much harder to use a personal one rather than the one the restaurant carries.

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