The Insane Waiter

Running wild on customers, chefs, owners and managers since 1997. I bring to you, The Insane Waiter. What do bring to your table? A crisp bottle of San Pellegrino ? Perhaps a lovely seared Sashimi Tuna? Start off with a wonderful bottle from Tuscany perhaps? Why I'll be more than happy to bring you your White Zinfandel and Chicken Caesar. No you can't order the mac and cheese off the kids menu and sorry no, we don't serve cheese sticks....

Friday, December 23, 2005

Holiday Shopping

"So guys get out there and push the gift card promotion!"

Quote the manager...

"This is your future business, get them sold!"

I look around to the other servers in our shift meeting as management continues blabbing about the team and rolling silverware.

I see eyes rolling and audible groans.

Gift cards.

I shudder as well.

Its not like I don't want business.

I just hate gift cards.

Who are the people who get them more often than not?

Those who don't go out to eat.

They come in, eat their dinner, and use the remainder of the balance as a tip.


I don't know, usually its something like a $46.87 bill and a $50 card.

"Oh, can I leave the tip on here?" They ask.

So ya, guess who doesn't tip beyond the $3.13, or $2.56...

I suppose coupons are the same way, glad I don't work for a place that has them.

There's just nothing like the feeling at the end of the meal for the server than when someone whips out their gift from Aunt Dot or newspaper clipping for a two for one entree.

Nine times out of ten, 10% or less, guaranteed.

Remember to tip on the total bill before discounts or gift deductions, just because your meal is paid for doesn't mean your waiter is taken care of.

A gift card is no excuse for a shitty tip, only shitty service is.


At 6:19 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nephew Dude:

When I was a waiter, we didn't get paid for the time spent at shift meetings, or at mandatory meetings, or at any sort of meeting.

Have things changed?


Uncle R.

At 10:00 PM , Anonymous Ms. Cherie said...

Very funny that you brought this subject up at this time. I had received a $50.00 complimentary dinner for two from a local establishment. (Due to no fault of their own... the building lost it's electricity while we were dining & sent us the gift certificate for our troubles). We decided to use our G.C last week. Before the bill was brought to our table I had given the certificate to our server. I am quite certain that our bill had well exceeded the aloted $50.00 amount. However, our server came back and said the manager had taken care of everything and to have a nice evening. I asked if she was sure & if we could see the amount and make up any difference. She said not to worry about it. My concern was actually to see the amount so my server could be tipped accordingly. We left her $10.00 for a tip. My question is, if we had NOT used the entire $50.00 would the difference go to the server or the house? And do you think the $10.00 tip was a fair amount under the circumstances? ALSO, as customers I believe we should have been able to see the bill, even under these circumstances.
What are your thoughts, Insane?
Happy Holidays to you & your family.
I know you are working your ass off right now....may it be the most prosperous for you!!!

At 12:17 AM , Anonymous Curious said...

See...I don't get people using percentages to figure tips. Ok, yes I do, but I know most products of the American schools can't figure them out, so it's pointless.

If I had a $50 gift card and used up $46.75, yeah, I'd prolly ask to use the rest towards a tip, simply because that last $3.25 isn't gonna get me far in most restuarants. But I'd still leave a ten on the table too, if the service was good.

The card was a gift, so nothing out of my pocket. Might as well make sure that my server gets what they deserve. Spending $13.25 on a $46.75 meal is a bargain in my opinion.

But even when I don't have gift cards I still tip generously when the server is doing their job (and espeically if I'm being a pain in the ass)

At 3:08 AM , Anonymous WyldWaitress said...

A decent amount of the time where I work, "can I leave the tip on here" leaves enough that it's more than a 10% tip if they choose to leave it, so I'm OK with those people.

The problem I have is with people who come in with gift cards and spend over the cards--very often, someone will come in with 6 $10 gift cards toward a $70 meal and leave what they figure is a very generous tip on the $10 they're actually spending--that barely covers my tip-out on the $70.

At 5:52 AM , Anonymous susan said...

For the last couple of years, my family has been giving the GCs instead of something else to dust, and look at it as a way to try new places. We also do dine out regularly, and know to tip on the entire bill, and also are sure to have cash for the tip.

One of the local chains has printed on their cards that the card cannot be used for tips. I thought it odd at first, but the "leave the remainder" mentality 'splains it for me.

At 10:50 AM , Blogger Brad #1 said...

This is mainly the reason that on our gift certificates, I print out on the bottom, "A 20% Gratuity Will Be Added Before Discount." This covers my servers from getting virtually "stiffed", and they will stay with us longer. I pride myself in having a low turnover.

At 4:08 PM , Anonymous pokervixxen said...

For those of you getting screwed on giftcerts, coupons, and partial payments, try this, write the transaction on the credit card reciept or on the bill if the balance is paid with cash, for example:
Partial Payment 1 of 2/partial payment,coupon,gcert,ect...originaltotal($95.80)
That way the customer cannot question the charge/change total and they see the original total before deductions. The accountants also love that especially with multiple partial payments.

At 5:30 PM , Anonymous Eustacia Vye said...

The biggest thing that frustrates me is when people use a gift card to pay for a portion of their meal... And then tip on whatever portion they're paying out of pocket.

That and the half-off coupons we have on occasion. Right on the coupon, it says "Excludes alcohol and gratuity," but EVERY SINGLE PERSON tips on the total AFTER the coupon.

At 1:18 PM , Blogger Segue said...

These are the same people that don't tip the pizza guy for delivering their "free" pizza that they got for complaining to the manager how cold their last pizza was.

I'm thinking perhaps the people who don't think to tip well on gift cards are either unaccustomed to eating out (as you mentioned), or they're not used to eating at restaurants that NICE.

After all, $3.25 on the table at Waffle House is normal, right?

At 11:43 AM , Anonymous Just Curious said...

I have a question, is a tip expected on the actual gift card sale? Say you eat at the restaurant, and during the meal, order the cert? Do you tip on that, or not?

At 2:22 AM , Anonymous pokervixxen said...

No, but it sucks for the server because it goes on taxable sales, so the server still has to pay taxes and tip out. Next time, buy them from the hosts and keep the dinner check seperate from the gc sale.

At 7:51 AM , Anonymous Just Curious said...

Thanks for the info Poker, will do that in the future.

This year I've bought them in two places, in one, the gift card purchase was rung in separately and dealt with before the check, (restaurant policy) so maybe in that instance it didn't go as taxable/tipout, I hope. In that case I threw a couple extra $$ in on the tip, but not an appreciable percentage of the sale.

In the other, it was part of the total check at the end of the meal, and I tipped 20% on the meal portion, rounded up to next even $5 increment, and threw in 10% on the gift card portion.

I hope in neither case the waiter was out due to the gift sales and will leave them out of the mess in the future. I will also pass the word on to anyone I know who's planning on purchasing them.

As a customer, I try to be considerate, but obviously still need some education.

At 11:53 AM , Blogger Brad #1 said...

actually, no, the gift card is not on taxable sales for the server. The gift card/certificate is not taxed when purchaced, since noone is actually purchasing a product. The only time the card is taxed is when it's brought in to redeem it, so you shouldn't tip on the purchase of the card, unless you've got a big heart.

At 11:36 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two-for-one coupons are a great way to supplement your income...nothing eases the sting of that $2 tip better than pocketing an extra $12.99! You can actually look those cheap fucks in the eye and tell them "Thank you, have a good evening." and mean it!

At 11:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our chain had a gift cert. sales promotion one year, with $100 prize for each asst mgr and $300 for the GM. Our GM was an evil genius - we had several large parties that Xmas, and he figured out that we could use their deposits to buy gift certificates, then apply them to the balance when they paid up...corporate never caught on, that's how we won the contest - feel free to use this trick!


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