Ok Cyburbanites you now have the chance to design the perfect planner. What attributes, education, life and career experience would you give your ideal planner as this person passed through their career?
Prior experience with waiting tables, so one can still smile and be polite when dealing with total assholes. Waiting tables also cultivates an ability to size up people's character in the first 30 seconds of contact.
Sit at my knee, my children and learn the wisdom of a waitress....
Usually, within the time it takes to drop off menus and grab a quick drink order, you can pretty much tell whether or not these people are going to be good customers or pains in the ass. Eventually, good waitstaff can usually tell about how people will tip - but that's usually a much murkier science. I waited tables all through college, a lot of breakfast. The best tippers were students - surprisingly fraternities and sororities yielded the most. The worst were the people who came for breakfast after church - Catholic got out at 10:30, baptists at 11. Baptists were the worst. The waitresses used to fight over who got the Baptist table each week. And that whole thing about judging a person by how they treat their waitress is TOTALLY true, in my opinion. I can honestly say that I was a pretty good waitress - refilled drinks without being asked, let the table know if the kitchen was running late or slow, always remembered what my regulars ate for breakfast. I did pretty well - it paid my bills and my bar tab, what else can you ask for?
Now...I have always wanted to have the waitress' opinion on tipping. Tell us what is proper, and how to gently tell a waitress/waiter she or he is screwing up. Yield these secrets of Tipping from the wait staff's point of view. Pretty Please.
Ok, here are my guidelines: If the waitress is ok (polite, refills drinks in a timely manner when asked, clears table efficiently, etc) I go with the standard 15%. If she rocks - as in is not only polite, but goes above and beyond the waitressing call of duty such as anticipating drink refills, plate clearing, has a sparkling personality, I'll bump up accordingly.
Ok, if the waitstaff isn't good, it depends. If they cause me to have to leave less than 15%, I'll write them a note on the bill to tell them. Because, honestly, if you leave less than 15%, or stiff them, the waitstaff is going to assume the problem is YOU and you are just a crappy tipper, not that it is anything they've done. So on their copy of the receipt or bill, i'll jot a note and just say something like "My food was good, but the waitstaff didn't offer refills/serve in a timely manner/ wasn't polite - whatever"
If there is a serious problem, such as dinner came out before appetizers, drinks NEVER got refilled, it takes 45 minutes for them to clear plates and give you a dessert menu, let alone deliver a bill, etc, then it is manager time. there is absolutely no excuse for that.
On bad tippers: I don't think that because someone is a bad tipper, it means they are a bad person. My grampa was the WORST tipper ever, because he didn't think he should have to tip, but didn't understand that most waitresses only make $2 or less an hour without their tips and have no benefits. But he was the sweetest man.
I don't think people who have never waited tables really understand how hard it is. For me, it was much harder than being a planner (which is why I went to college). And my brother and sister, who also waited tables through college agree that the job will make you hate humankind because it is surprising how many people treat their servers like crap. it is rough physically and i have no idea how those 40 and 50 year old ladies do it.
Ok, ONE LAST THING and i'm done - there are things that are not your waitperson's fault, such as food taking a long time to come out, or even food being cold. the guys in the kitchen are in control of that (Unless everyone at the table has cold food, then it is your waitress's fault that she let everything sit). BUT your waitperson SHOULD let you know if the kitchen is overloaded or slow and apologize for it, so you're not sitting there wondering what the hell is going on - they're only making a sandwich and a burger for christ's sake. so keep that in mind. OH, and if your waitress is really overloaded with tables, then she should tell you and apologize if she isn't getting to you as quickly as you think she should.
sorry so long, but just wanted you to understand what's going on on the other side of the table. does that help E.G.?
I just want to make sure I get it right. Even the Great El Guapo once had to work for a living - that is before I discovered the Gold Mine that is Planning! And I learned a few things about proper tipping. Thanks Kelly.