Pre-preface: Our food is bomb. Come visit me and eat at our restaurant. Thai pizza with peanut sauce, y’all.
Original preface: I really freaking enjoy my job. I enjoy the people I work with, I’ve already made some fabulous friends, and I like the food, location, and the customers (more on that later…I have cute kid stories!!)
But I am a server. I essentially depend on the kindness of others to make my living.
I know the argument out there is, “Why don’t you get a real job?” Guess what…it IS a real job. Let me tell you, you’d much rather have my 24 year old competent friendly face over an apathetic 16 year old who is still getting used to their first job and they don’t give a shit. I have my days I don’t want to be there, and I have my days that I am a jaded bitch. But overall, I like the restaurant industry, and I understand that I need hours to actually make money.
Let’s do some quick math:
Monthly Bills: $575 for rent/water/sewage, $40 for internet, $120 for car payment, $15 for electricity = $750
(Plus probably $250 for groceries…I can get by on about $45-50/wk if I need to, though)
Total = $1000
That’s not even including gas, eating out, or any of that fun stuff. Bare bones.
If I were to work 40 hours a week at a non-serving minimum wage job, I would make $1446.40 before taxes. $1205.98 after WA state taxes.
That shit is crazy. I don’t know how people do that. Hence the reason most people work two jobs.
But the thing is, I actually enjoy life and I don’t want to be stuck at work for 80 hours a week. THAT’S WHY I PICKED SERVING. I know the money is fast, and it’s the type of customer service I’m good at it. And I love pizza, so I don’t have a problem selling it.
So yes. I depend on tips. I understand if I do a sub-par job, I don’t deserve a 20% tip (and believe me, I know when I’ve done a sub-par job). But the fact of the matter is, we aren’t salaried like they are in Europe. Employers expect us to make tips, so they can pay us minimum wage (or less than…Idaho, I’m looking at you). It’s socially expected here.
But to be honest, my vent today probably isn’t about you. Most of my friends know how to tip.
What my vent is about today is parents who haven’t taught their KIDS to tip.
I’m sorry, hold up. I am going to assume in this situation that all you had in your bank account was $8.39, right, high school senior? Because apparently my service was not worth a $.75 tip (STILL not even 10%) even though I kept your water full, didn’t screw up your order, and was super friendly. Dude, even your friends tipped $2 & $3. Thank goodness for them, because the tip still came out to $5.45 on a $30 tab. Not terrible. Their parents must have taught them to tip.
And the two sweet little boys that came in…probably 6 and 10. Looking for slices, but we don’t do them on weekends anymore. “Will $20 cover a small pizza and a fountain drink for him?” said big brother. “Yup…” I said. Sigh. It will come up to $19.66. Which means $.34 for me, if they even leave the change. Which they didn’t.
Parents. It’s easy.
Move the decimal point one to the left.
Round to make the math a little easier if you need. (So $1.96 = $2, $1.53 = $1.50, etc.)
(5th graders should get this stuff…decimals and rounding)
Decide how you felt the service was.
10% for not good service. Super messed up order, unfriendly service, impatience, eye rolling, etc. If I get a 10% tip, I generally wonder what I did wrong if nothing super big happened.
15% for average service. Nothing was really messed up, but it just wasn’t memorable.
20% for great service. Friendly server, recommendations, kept you apprised of the kitchen situation if there was a delay.
25-30% for above and beyond service. If you have allergies, you’re super picky, you have super messy children, you didn’t like your food and your server fixed the situation with a smile. We have those tables that we will go above and beyond for, trust me. If you’re nice, we’ll do our best to accommodate. If we do it well and don’t roll our eyes, please let us know on the tip line of your credit card slip. We’ll appreciate it, and we’ll remember you next time.
So on the $19.66 bill:
A kickass tip would be $5.
Parents. It’s not hard. Please teach this to your kids!!!! Show your kids how you do it EVERY TIME you eat out so it becomes an ingrained habit. If you’re going to send them on their own to a restaurant with cash, tell them they can spend $20 of $23, and leave the rest for the waitress! Teenagers, if your bank account is running low, get water with your half price appetizers, and use the money you were going to use for soda for the tip! (Water is better for you anyway!)
The last thing to keep in mind…at the end of the night, we are required to tip out to the kitchen and hosts. At my place of work, it’s 4% of our total SALES. So if I sold $400 worth of pizza, I’m required to tip out $16, regardless of if I made 10% in tips ($40) or 20% in tips ($80). Know that even if your service is bad, you should still leave at least 10% so the kitchen doesn’t get stiffed, too. If you had really bad service, ASK TO SPEAK TO A MANAGER. Don’t be passive aggressive with your ZERO in the tip line. If the server is just having a bad night, they won’t get fired, just talked to. If the bad service is something that is becoming consistent, the manager needs to know from customers. Trust me, the coworkers will thank you. We hate those bitches as much as you do. Just don’t stiff the kitchen. It makes them sad.
I won’t even go into pre-discount price tipping, or complaining about your messy kid ala Bitchy Waiter. I love your kids (for the most part…see below). Bring ’em in.
Done with rant.
So here are some of my raves about my job:
CUTE ADORABLE CHILDREN!!!
-This was from Ava and Mya, a couple adorable girls that come in occasionally. So sweet. (Dad helped them write my name, but seriously made my day!)
-The adorable boy who was in for his dad’s birthday. He told me his name and I forgot!!! Terrible. But he is 5 and 3/4. And here was our conversation:
Him: I have a secret.
Me: What is it? Oh wait, you probably can’t tell me if it’s a secret.
Him: No, I can tell some people, just not the billion people. (walks across booth bench to talk to me, motions me to come close, and whispers in my ear:) I’m a super hero! (Looks at mom and dad, who are looking confused) Don’t worry guys, you already know. I’ll tell you later. (Walks back to his spot on bench)
Me: That’s so awesome!!!
Him: But I have another secret that I’m not going to tell you…except I’m going to tell you (walks back across bench, motions, and whispers:) I’m a super hero WIZARD!
-And my Saturday shining star, Henry. He and his dad come in Saturday mornings for ADVENTURE DAY! He plays soccer in the morning, and then they come in for pizza for lunch. Some of my favorite Henry-isms (mind you, this kid is also four years old and has trouble pronouncing is “r’s” which makes it that much more adorable):
Henry: Today is Saturday which is adventure day! Sunday comes after Saturday and it is also adventure day! Friday comes before Saturday though and sometimes I have to go to school even if I don’t want to.
Me: So you must be going into like 2nd grade, yeah?
Henry: (nods head)
Dad: (gives Henry a look) You skipped a couple grades there, Henry…
Henry: (smiles big)
Henry: I like bands. I like playing in bands.
Me: Really? What instrument do you play?
Henry: I play CDs.
(The computer is not opening the cash register…Henry needs quarters)
Me: It’s gonna be just a sec, the computer is broken.
Henry: It probably just needs more batteries.
Me: Do you have any siblings?
Dad: He has a baby sister, she’s one.
Me: Henry, do you like being a big brother?
Henry: (Looks at dad)
Dad: He’s still undecided.
Henry: My friend Gabe lives to far away…he lives in Seattle like me.
Me: Does he live on the opposite side of Seattle?
Henry: He lives in Europe. Which is in London, which is where the London Bridge is. And the Olympic Rings. And color.
Seriously love this kid. Kids in general, but Henry is just pure brilliance.
And last rave:
-Coworkers who play BINGO with me!!!!!!! I made up Bingo sheets for things that were ordered, customer traits, people that came in asking for slices…pretty much I’m just awesome. Love it.