non, CA

Female, 22

Many people at some point in their lives will be a server, and all people interact with servers. I started serving in college to earn some extra cash, and anyone will tell you that your viewpoint on restaurants and waitresses completely changes once you've served yourself. Dealing with customers is not always fun, but for the most part the job is a good time and the money you will make doesn't even compare to other part-time jobs. I've served in all types of restaurants! Ask me anything!

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31 Questions


Last Answer on May 17, 2012

Best Rated

What types of customers are the worst tippers? When you get stiffed or tipped poorly, do you ever say anything to the customer?

Asked by j.s.d. about 12 years ago

The worst is the young high school students who don't know any better, or the cheap coupon clippers and people who just look for things to complain about to get discounts and refunds. Unfortunately you have to smile and be nice. If you aren't tipped at all, or tipped poorly there is nothing you can really do, but if you are not paid at all for a meal, or not paid enough to cover it you are more than welcome to chase them down and let them know they must have forgotten to pay. That's stealing and therefore illegal. Many people don't realize when this happens the meal comes out of the waitress' pocket directly and not the restaurant. I've had a group of people drinking before with a high bill that snuck out without paying, and even though it was not my fault I had to pay for their entire bill, which basically depleted all the tips I made that night.

Have you ever dated customers?

Asked by Thor Jr. about 12 years ago

My fiancé used to come in and eat when I worked before we started dating , but I knew him a little before that. I'm not sure if that counts. I know a lot of waitress' that started dating managers or other workers. That's more common.

Why do servers seem to get so annoyed when people ask to split bills on credit cards? Is it really that much of a hassle?

Asked by Yuri about 12 years ago

Its only annoying when they decide later on they want bills split. usually i ask before just to avoid that mess. but it is a huge pain to try and remember what everyone ate and drank and try to figure out who goes on who's bill etc. I've had a huge party before say they wanted one bill and then decide at the end they all wanted it split, but they had all be up and moving around and drinking all sorts of different things, there was no way i could have figured out how to accurately split the bill. As long as i know before hand its no big deal.

Have you or anyone you've worked with ever spit in the food if the customer is just a total a-hole?

Asked by milynn about 12 years ago

Although there has been times when I want to I would never do that. But pretending I "accidentally" left their food under the heat lamp too long, or intentionally taking a long time to grab a refill, sure!

What's the largest tip you ever received? Had you done anything extra special, or was it just a super-generous customer?

Asked by joetownphilly about 12 years ago

Sometimes people are just feeling generous and over-tip, but I would say the best tip I ever received was when I was working at a family owned pizza place, right before I was about to get off work a huge group of people came in directly from a funeral. The party knew the owners of the restaurant and were regular customers. I had to to work my butt off to serve them all on time because the place was about to close and they knew I was the only server on the clock still. Since the group was so big the bill was high and they tipped me 100% (meaning they gave me the whole amount of the bill as a tip) . This is a rare occasion, and I am sure it was partially because they knew the owners and the inconvenience their late arrival caused. Luckily for them this establishment did not add gratuity to large party's. People need to be careful because most places automatically add an 18% gratuity to party's over 6 people. Sometimes people don't notice this on the bill and end up tipping the waitress, which allows her to go home with both the gratuity and the extra tip. It is customary however to tip a little over the 18% added if your party was large or difficult to wait on.

Are you ever instructed to push certain menu items when the kitchen's overstocked with them?

Asked by mongo about 12 years ago

absolutely ! WE will even make a special out of something if we have too much. The whole week after st.patricks day was had some sort of special made out of the extra corned beef. Its essential to saving money .

If you see that someone didn't realize gratuity was already on the bill and double tipped, are you obligated to tell the person? Rules aside, DO you tell the person?

Asked by M Z H about 12 years ago

Technically you should, and it is labeled on both the menu and the bill they are presented with, but sometimes people miss it. I always say something, but there are times when people sign the check, leave a tip and leave before you get the opportunity. Many waitress' might not say anything, but if you find you have double tipped later on you can call the restaurant and the waitress is then obligated to refund you (from my experience anyways).

Since you're a waitress yourself, does that make you (a) extra compassionate when you're being waited on, or (b) the opposite - extra scrutinizing?

Asked by Flo about 12 years ago

It depends. I understand their situation, so if i go to a place that's really busy on a friday/saturday night and the service isn't top notch, i understand because i've been in those situations before where the place is so busy, that top notch service isn't even an option and the server is just focused on getting the tables what they need. On the other hand if the place isn't busy and there is no reason for bad service I have no sympathy. i try to always give the benefit of the doubt.

As a young woman, are you harassed frequently by customers?

Asked by beenthere about 12 years ago

it depends on the type or restaurant, a bar scene will always have those types of people and it is part of the job and getting tips.

Do you get annoyed when customers use Groupons?

Asked by ShellyShelAZ about 12 years ago

Only when people tip on the discounted amount instead of what the whole amount would have been. just because your bill is only $5 with a coupon does not mean you can tip me a dollar. I did the same amount of work as i would have if you paid the full amount of the meal, so that's what you should tip on. besides if your getting such a cheap dinner deal, you can spare a little for a tip.

What was your biggest spill, drop, mishap on the job? (I was a server years ago, and I once dumped a whole tray of sodas on a family -- I was so apologetic that I ironically wound up getting my highest tip that month from them!)

Asked by M Z H about 12 years ago

Every server spills at some point. It is an inevitable and part of the job. By far my worst would be when I dropped an entire cup of Pepsi on a girl that was mentally disabled. This startled her and she became VERY upset and it took a lot for her family to calm her down. They knew it was an accident and were very nice but I was BEYOND embarrassed and apologetic.

I've def heard the high school students being bad tippers thing - totally sucks. Why not have a policy where like 15-18% gratuity is automaticaly tacked onto the bill for customers under age 18?

Asked by slowgrind about 12 years ago

That would be a dream come true. Unfortunately that's not reality. It should be the parents responsibility to teach their kids what a good tip is. I think all servers would agree that the world would be a much more wonderful place if we could add gratuity to anyone we thought might stiff us, or to anyone that gives us a hard time, but that's just part of the job. You win some you lose some.

Do you get annoyed when customers address you as "hun", "dear", "sweetheart", as opposed to "ma'am" or "miss?" I could understand the former if it's a regular customer who you're friendly with, but seems obnoxious and a bit disrespectful otherwise.

Asked by All4manners about 12 years ago

Its not bad unless they are saying it in a condescending way. When your being flagged down and someone is yelling "miss! miss!" that's a little aggravating, but I'm used to it.

If your restaurant has some crappy repeat customers that no one likes dealing with, do you give them to the newer servers?

Asked by milynn about 12 years ago

It depends. If they are particularly hard to deal with it might be easier to just take them yourself to make sure the newbies don't have a mental break down and quit. Although it is also good experience to have to learn to wait on someone like this.

Did you see this story: http://tinyurl.com/88f98fr ? Do you think you'd have called the cops to report the cash like she did?

Asked by elle1 about 12 years ago

It would be very tempting not to just take the money, But that is very strange. The money should be rightfully hers even if it is drug money.

If I order something and just flat-out don't like it and only take a couple of bites, am I entitled to get something else without being charged for the thing I didn't like?

Asked by matt about 12 years ago

It depends. that is usually us to a manger to decide. if there is something wrong with it like it is under/overcooked or something along those lines, then you will usually be able to get something else free of charge. if you just decide you don't like it the manger will try to figure out why and decide whether or not to give you a new meal for free. usually people don't order something if they are unsure if it will be good, so it is really rare that food gets sent back just based on taste. The fact is we are spending time and money on the supplied used to make the meal, so just giving you something new because you don't like it if there is nothing wrong with how it was prepared is a loss for the company. One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone eats the majority of the meal (or the whole thing) and then decides to tell us they didn't like it and want a new one... not going to happen. although i've worked with mangers that would rather just give the meal for free then deal with difficult customers complain.

Do all servers pool their tips or do you get to keep 100% of what your tables leave you?

Asked by erica about 12 years ago

I've never worked at a place where we pool our tips. But i've worked at many places where we have to tip out the bar and bar backs and even places where we tipped out bussers and dish washers.

Will you serve booze to a customer who's visibly loaded?

Asked by Leigh about 12 years ago

Yes. Its not my call to cut someone off. if i think they need cut off i will tell a manager and let them make that decision. I can offer to call a cab for them, but its really not my choice. Plus i have no way of knowing how that person usually acts when they are drunk and how they can handle their alcohol. The hardest is when there is a family with kids who is getting bombed right in front of the kids and you know they are more than likely driving...

Why do some restaurants have servers memorize and recite the specials? As the customer, it's hard to remember everything they just rallied off. Why not just post the specials on the wall, even if that's a little less elegant?

Asked by mmccoy22 about 12 years ago

We usually have the specials posted, and we memorize them. the reason is that those items aren't on the menu so we need to know how to describe them really well. They are usually things we have weekly, or on a pretty frequent basis, so while it seems impressive to the customers to hear us describe the dish, chances are we have described the same thing a million times already. For instance "Our soup today is a tomato bisque with smoked Gouda topped with fresh parsley" ... well that's are soup every Thursday, so its not too hard to remember if we know what day it is.

Do you think the $2.13/hr+tips system is better than just a straight hourly wage? I ask because it's kind of annoying when a server is obviously just trying to rack up the bill with nonstop offers of drinks desserts and what not. Wouldn't straight hourly wage just be less stress for everyone involved?

Asked by saysaysay about 12 years ago

I think it is better because it allows up to get paid based on how well we do the job. It wouldn't be fair to have us serving two large parties and a bunch of other small tables, and running around like crazy and only make the same amount as we would if the place was dead and we were standing around doing nothing. Customers are able to control how much they give you based on your service so it ensures them a good experience .

What do you think about people who are still serving in their 40s and 50s? Do you respect them for sticking with an unglamorous job, or do you look at them and hope that's never you at their age?

Asked by simon about 12 years ago

For some people its just a way of life. others sincerely enjoy it. I am in graduate school, so I hope to have an actual career soon, but I wouldn't mind serving a night or two a week for the rest of my life because its easy money and i honestly enjoy it.

What's one thing that customers do that annoys the hell out of you that might not be obvious to most people?

Asked by MinnyMarjorie about 12 years ago

If you follow my Twitter @waitressprobs you will see a whole slew of them! One of the most aggravating things is when people sit around talking forever after they eat and wait forever to pay. Waitress' can't go home until all their tables have paid. We don't care if you sit there for 4 days, but just pay us when your done needing our services. Its also very annoying when people as questions like "What comes on the ___" when it says right on the menu. We don't all have that memorized so its a pain if we have to try and recite that to you. Follow me on twitter to see more :)

Do you ever serve regular coffee to customers requesting decaf (or vice versa)?

Asked by mellowyello about 12 years ago

the place I work at now doesn't offer decaf as an option, but in my other jobs you always give them what they want, even if it is a pain.

What kind of restaurant (e.g. chain, mom-and-pop diner, 5-star, etc) can a server pull in the most money overall?

Asked by M Hunt about 12 years ago

The most money i have ever made was at a family owned (yet very popular) pizza place. It was easy to have many tables at once because usually the table would just share pitchers and pizzas, so the work for each tables wasn't difficult and the place was ALWAYS packed so there was a lot of turnover. the worst is chain places. those places will kill you with having tip tip out everyone and your sections wont be very big. Upscale is good if its a busy place, but otherwise its not always great.

Describe the rudest customer you ever dealt with. Did you take it with a smile, or did they get the boot?

Asked by TamtamNY about 12 years ago

There have been some really bad ones. there are some regulars that are horrible and the waitress' usually fight over who is going to take them, but you cant refuse service unless they are being completely unruly. I've had other servers or mangers take over the table for me if i really couldn't handle them, but when I get someone difficult I usually smile and am nice but i don't give them much priority. I'm not going to kill myself trying to make them happy and could care less about their tip. Be nice to your server and you will get good service. Be an ass, and you will get ignored. Simple as that.

What's the greatest number of tables you can wait on simultaneously and still provide good service?

Asked by mr blue almost 12 years ago


While I know you never have have you ever witnessed someone spit or do something nasty to food?

Asked by Sandy over 4 years ago


Why do some servers try memorizing your order and not writing it down? It's kinda impressive I guess, but is it worth it given the high likelihood of making a mistake? Do you ever do this?

Asked by Hannah about 12 years ago


Leaving either really nice or really nasty notes on receipts seems to be all the rage right now. Have you ever received any "surprise messages", good or bad, from customers on your receipts?

Asked by RedRobin over 11 years ago


Have you ever had a customer who was so creepy you felt unsafe, like they were going to stalk you and try to find your house? What did you do? Did it stay with you for a while emotionally?

Asked by Axlrose13 almost 11 years ago


Has anyone ever left you an insultingly small tip - like a penny?

Asked by starla about 12 years ago