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Jun 28, 2012 10:56 PM

Hurry Up Already

We hit dinner at 5 pm which you all know is early. So, our server had two tables - period.

She looked pained to be working and asked for our orders when she brought drinks in under 5 minutes. I said we needed a bit more time to look at menu - thanks. We are looking at our menus reading clearly, and she comes back in about 2 minutes to see if we will order. I thank her and say we need a little more time. Yes. Two more minutes and back. So, we just "what the heck" ordered.

Meals came and were OK but close to cold. OK. It's 5 pm and not prime time. Food is fine but not great. Not a server problem.

Server checks ONCE on drinks at mid meal. Fine then . . . but could have used refills later. Oh well. Whatever. Can get drinks at home.

"Have a nice day," says server when plunking check on table with empty glasses (phrase sounds fine - tone was hurry up). Probably should have said something about needing drinks then but kind of caught off guard (and she was gone really just that fast). Son wanted dessert and there was our check. Plus, she walked off so fast . . . no time to ask for dessert.

OK. That was it. Pushed to order. Food kind of cold but not asked. One chance for refills. Check and no chance to order dessert. It really was that fast and server gone and with only the two tables.

I did a 10% tip, so she did not have to eat any cost. But, I'd do around 30% for decent service even with food not as warm as it should have been. If the server had been swamped or needed to turn tables, I could have related. This was not the case (two tables and slacking the other one too). She was like a robot checking the boxes and not at the right time or with any consideration. Didn't even ask about dessert.

I sure wish we had the server at the next table. She managed to smile when saing hello and did real checks to see if everything was fine or if anything else was needed/wanted. She didn't waste time or anything, but she did relate to her table.

Maybe someone died in the family of our server's family. I wish she had taken a leave day if so. She really did not deserve more than $1 tip tops, but we hit the low point of 10% in case she might have to make up a difference if lower.

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  1. So what did the Manager have to say about these issues?

    I am also confused by what you mean "She really did not deserve more than $1 tip tops, but we hit the low point of 10% in case she might have to make up a difference if lower"

    Make up *what* difference? Commission? I cannot even think what difference you may possibly mean.

    Did the manager give you the idea that tips must be a certain percentage of the check? That would be federally illegal, beside whatever state laws were broken.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Quine

      I am the only female in the family, and the guys would rather pay, leave, and never go back than say something. It was bad enough that the one paying asked me what the tip should be. Yes. That means the sevice was BAD. I said go 10% in case she is taxed at that and/or if it's pooled. We did get food and drinks (once). Not worth the 10% but oh well.

      We all see what could/might happen in the kitchen with complaints.

      So - we just won't be going back.

      1. re: CyndiA

        I am, So confused by your answer! What does being female have to do about talking to the manager or not? You address issues to the manager before you pay and leave.
        Men, that I have known, struggle to figure tips. I see tip cards and the tip calculator on phones working. Asking me to figure, never has any other meaning then, they cannot figure it and want to pass the buck. That would never cross my mind, it meant the service was so bad they were too boggled to tip, when all other times, they tip without issues.

        The waitress taxed at what? I am now more confused then before by your answers.

        Does this pertain to a USA place?

        "So - we just won't be going back." OK. So why come here to complain? Get sympathy? Justification?

        1. re: Quine

          Yes. This is a U.S. chain - sit down.

          In the U.S., I believe that servers can go "in the hole" or have to pay taxes on a table that does not tip. This is due to the fact that servers are not paid a decent wage and tips are estimated. So, I would hate for her to pay for us to have been sitting at the table.

          I was not paying for the meal. One of the males treated tonight. So, it really was not my business, although he asked what I thought on the tip. He usually does not ask, so I know that he knew that it was BAD.

          I do happen to be more outspoken, and I do happen to be the only female in the family. That's just the reality. The guys would rather just ignore it and move on. So, if they are treating, then I do not fell that it is my place to call it out. Now, if I am treating, then . . . yes . . . I will. But, they guys will shoot out the door before I tell a manager something like the above. I think it might help the business; they think it's better to just find another place to eat next time.

          1. re: CyndiA

            Federal law mandates a *Minimum wage*. In states that have "servers" wages, what this means that a server is paid a *very* below the minimum wage per hour. Say, as I know it in my state $2.15. The difference between that amount, and the minimum wage, is tips. If the server does not make, enough tips, so that the "server's" hour rate plus tips, does not meet Federal minimum wage, the employer, must paid the difference, so the server makes minimum wage. Normal payroll taxes are in affect, and accounted for and paid via employer. Tips over minimum wage, by law must be declared and taxed accordingly, by the server.

            For an employer to make any system that by steps this, and somehow makes a serve pay to the employer to make minimum is illegal as all hell. It is also illegal for a manager/owner to get a percentage of any tips.

            1. re: Quine

              From what I know of the issue regarding a server having to pay taxes on tips higher than actually earned......... it CAN happen in cases where the employees work under a Tip Rate Determination Agreement by which they agree to pay taxes on a predetermined percentage of sales. BUT everything I've heard about those agreements are that they are usually set at a safe rate below what is normal tipping. Minimum wage ;makeup' is a different matter, and not what I think the OP was referring to.

            2. re: CyndiA

              "In the U.S., I believe that servers can go "in the hole" or have to pay taxes on a table that does not tip. This is due to the fact that servers are not paid a decent wage and tips are estimated."

              Is it really the responsibility of the diner to ensure this doesn't happen? I am baffled at the number of people on these boards who seem to have misplaced sympathy for people who don't seem to pull their weight, be it, bad attitude, lack of attention, mind elsewhere etc.
              “Food and service was crap honey but I better leave 15% or they will think we are cheap or the server can’t pay her bills/feed the kids, snort a line this week.”

              Whilst I do understand the culture I am still unable to separate food from service, if I walk into a restaurant and the food is poor why do I want to spend even more money on somebody employed by the very same restaurant/owner just because they brought it over to me?

              It is not the servers fault the food was poor but it is the fault of the restaurant and its owner (owners) and that is who I have a contract with when I order food and drink.

              1. re: CyndiA

                Seriously still not getting what your genders have to do with it.

        2. Pacing of service is a tough call. There are few pat answers to it.

          I like to talk with our guests, or if it is just the two of us, reflect on the wine list, and the menu.

          However, many are trained to "turn tables," regardless of the dining load that night.

          When hosting, I almost always pull the head server aside, and discuss thing, like pacing, and wine service, with them. They almost always "get it."

          I have had to pull a few others aside, and explain how things will go, in a quiet way, as I hate to be rushed.

          If I am dining at an "adult fast food restaurant," I expect tow things - having to wait for 45 mins., though there are dozens of empty tables, and then, the rush to turn the table, though no one is waiting. That is a "corporate policy," with too many such establishments - good, or bad - just a fact of life, and a good enough reason to NOT dine at such.

          Not THAT long ago, we were dining at a North Shore "semi-fine-dining" restaurant on O`ahu. Our server was in a great rush. I checked the hostess stand, and no one was there, plus more than half of the tables were occupied. I stood up, and asked him to join me, off to the side. I pointed out that we were NOT going to be rushed, and that his tip would be predicated on all aspects of his service, including the pacing, so he'd better get with MY program. I think that he understood, and no one else heard my instructions.

          In most situations, that takes care of things. In the few, where it does not, then the tip on service reflects it.


          1. Definitely some words to the manager would be in order. After all, one learns more from dis-satisfied customers than happy ones.

            1. This seems to look like a lunchtime closing server who was cut/closed and trying to finish out tables and the new shift had not started yet so when you guys got sat, you were in the black hole of the end of her service but no dinner servers had started taking tables yet. The closing servers get all the late lunch stragglers before the dinner servers start and it can really drag on and be exhausting as they have to approve everyone's side work and wait on however many tables come in at the same time. Evening servers may have been getting a prep meeting or still getting ready or whatever. As a result of getting sat when everyone else was gone/closed, she had to stay an extra hour or 1.5 hours or whatever before she could start her own side work and silverware rolling, which is another hour to 2 hours of work depending on how quickly things are going through the dish, so this really put her off her game and in a foul humor, because she is now just that much farther away from leaving, when she probably was there early.

              That being said, it's not your fault at all and you should have received polite and good service no matter when you come in, and she was in the wrong. But that's my guess as to why things went the way they did.

              1 Reply
              1. re: rockandroller1

                As soon as I realized the food was cold, I would have flagged her down and made sure she knew about it. That would have established that you weren't a "turn and burn" customer; it might have made the rest of the meal better (or worse!) No checking back to see if everything is ok? She probably knew the food was cold. Its not unusual for customers to be ready to order their meal by the time the drinks arrive. But if your menus are still open, that's a clue that not everyone is ready. Im surprised she didn't suggest an appetizer to get the ball rolling. No refills or dessert even offered? Yeah ,,, you were rushed.

                I got this type of treatment once at a birthday lunch (yes, it was MY birthday). I think it was a TGI Friday/Bennigans kind of place near my office - somewhere that the servers are notoriously chipper and the upsell is persistent. But not for us. My mom and a couple of her friends were there too. My mom (all 103 lbs of her) does NOT take bad service lightly, and after asking the server for something simple, twice, and waiting too long, she was not shy at all about calling over the manager and insisting we have a different server. Management was apologetic, and our meals comped. This is how it was done back in the pre-Yelp days, when we didnt have the internet and Chow to enable us to complain to anyone except those who could actually fix the problem.