HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


Do you ever order less because of obnoxious upselling?


Personally it bothers me when waitstaff upsells, especially with alcohol. There is a waterfront restaurant in the area where the servers always greet you by asking, "Can I start your meal with a cocktail or some wine?" It must run in my family because at brunch there one day my father responded, "My favorite cocktail is water"

While my dad doesn't really drink, I declined a cocktail or wine as well and opted for water. I probably would have ordered a soda or something though if the waitstaff had just asked what we wanted to drink. Does anyone else do this? I find I react the same way when waitstaff upsells appetizers. I just hate the idea of someone trying to "squeeze" as much money out of me as possible, on the assumption that I won't simply order something on my own accord...

  1. Upselling to offer a cocktail or wine? For many people it is customary to start their brunch off with a mimosa or bloody mary. Or for dinner to start with an aperitif or cocktail. Just because you don't doesn't mean it's upselling.

    Boy you showed them though by not ordering the beverage you really wanted!

    Not every server is out to get you.

    2 Replies
    1. re: thegforceny

      I don't know how badly I wanted a soda lol, it's just that when eating out I usually order one. At home though I drink water with my meals, not soda. Also, not everyone drinks alcohol and it can deter from the dining experience to be upsold on booze.

      1. re: olyolyy

        You're missing the point. It is not upselling. It is a normal offer within the dining experience. Did you read the other posters? No one agrees with you.

        How does it "deter from the dining experience?" All you have to say is "No thanks, soda please" Wow, your entire meal really is ruined by that utterance?

    2. First, the wait staff is at the mercy of management when upselling. It is mandated and if they don't do it, they can be reprimanded and eventually fired if they do not do it. If you have a problem with upselling, speak to management, but please do not take it out on the wait staff.

      Second, your example is not upselling at all; it is asking if someone would like "a cocktail or some wine." Upselling would be if the waiter asked you if you would like a Bacardi mojito or a glass of Robert Mondavi 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon.

      To answer your question, upselling does not bother me. If I want something I order it; if I don't want something I say "no thank you" with a smile. Being snarky to wait staff is rude.

      4 Replies
        1. re: rockandroller1

          some restaurants have secret shoppers. if the waiters don't offer you a wine, cocktail, alcohol or bottled beverage of some sort, they lose points.

        2. re: ttoommyy

          I happen to know that Robert Mondavi 2009 Cab Sauvignon runs $135 a bottle, retail - so that's a heck of an upsell.

          1. re: jeanmarieok

            Hey, I was an EXCELLENT waiter in my day! lol

        3. I order what I want and politely decline anything I don't want.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Harters

            So simple and yet so easy.

            If I'm staying overnight, I order a bottle. If I'm driving, I order a glass. If I'm just thirsty, I order water. Gawd, we're all so jaded ;)

          2. I really don't find the offer of a cocktail obnoxious, so no, I guess not.

            1. I can't stand upselling, but what you describe is not upselling. It is as much upselling as asking what main course you'd like to have.

              1. I'm with you, olyolyy. How dare they offer me a drink or an app! And it is downright treasonous the way they read me the daily specials. How dare they try to steer me toward me toward a dish that's not on the menu. I'm naturally suspicious of something sold "under the table" so to speak. And don't get me started about the dessert cart...I don't know how anyone puts up with such rudeness.

                1. While I don't find your example particularly obnoxious, I know where you are coming from. It's not the offering, it's how it's offered.
                  I expect a server to offer such things like a cocktail, apps, etc. It's part of the job. Only if the server persists and offers the same item I've just (politely) declined do I feel it passes into the realm of obnoxiousness.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: iluvcookies

                    It's just presumptuous, the proper way to take a drink order would not be to recommend an alcoholic beverage...just as the proper way to take a food order would not be to ask what appetizer a patron would like to start with.

                      1. re: olyolyy

                        Do servers normally "recommend" a cocktail for you? Or just ask if you would like one? There's a difference, you know. Is it "presumptious" for a server to tell you the appetizer special if you aren't planning on ordering a first course? How about a fish special if you're a vegetarian?

                        And for the record, in most places, if you order a soda you are getting something "from the bar".

                        1. re: LeoLioness

                          There is certainly a line between telling the specials and up-selling.. A soda as I see it is not a cocktail.

                          1. re: olyolyy

                            So it's just the suggestion of booze you object to, then? Hope the next special isn't coq au vin!

                            Also, do servers really "recommend" a cocktail? Which drink is it? What do they say to you?

                    1. The offer of a cocktail or other alcoholic beverage before a meal is absolutely not upselling. I find it absolutely customary and can't think of a restaurant where this is not standard operating procedure other than at places that do not serve any alcohol. I, like many friends and family, order an alcoholic beverage before every meal (most of the time before even before opening the menu) when dining out.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: MonMauler

                        This is the only place I've ever noticed to take a drink order this way other than a bar.

                        1. re: olyolyy

                          What nearly everyone here is telling you olyolyy, is that it is standard procedure in a place that offers a full bar. It isn't upselling any mor ethan asking if you would like to see a dessert menu after dinner is upselling.

                          For people that like a cocktail or apertif before dinner they usually want it right away, while they are deciding on the menu. Why get yourself all upset over something where you are so far outside the norm? Why be snarky with someone for doing their job?

                          It is better to be offered something you don't want than to not be offered something you do want.

                      2. It's funny, I don't mind when they ask if I'd like a cocktail to start, but I do get a tiny bit annoyed when they ask if we'd like to start with appetizers. I feel like that is an attempt to pad the bill. Never really thought about it before.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Kat

                          I know what you mean about the apps. However, when we have planned to order apps, and the server asks this, it is usually followed by the sentence, "Fine, I'll put those in for you now, and you can order your entrees later." I like that, as I know the meal will be paced, not rushed.

                        2. Short of simply asking if you are ready to order or if you have any questions, everything else is upselling. My daughter works in a popular chain where they are "rated" on their upselling abilities. Computerized systems easily break down how many drinks, app's, and desserts each server "sold". We've become so accustomed to some techniques that we are unaware of it being an upsell. The drinks at the beginning of a meal especially can be the most profitable part of the meal percentage wise for the restaurant. Maybe it's also good customer service but it's also an upsell. You might be very surprised how much difference there can be in average ticket receipts from one server to the next (all other things being equal) based on upselling. Especially with the better servers, the customer doesn't realize they've been upserved.
                          If you really hate the upsale try this at your next McDonald's drivethrough.
                          "I'd like 3 big Macs, 4 large fries, 2 fish sandwiches an 2 double cheeseburgers".
                          *Would you like an apple pie with that?"
                          "You know, that sounds great. Cancel the rest of the order and give me one apple pie instead."

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: bobbert

                            If you really hate the upsale try this at your next McDonald's drivethrough.
                            "I'd like 3 big Macs, 4 large fries, 2 fish sandwiches an 2 double cheeseburgers".
                            *Would you like an apple pie with that?"
                            "You know, that sounds great. Cancel the rest of the order and give me one apple pie instead."

                            Why would you suggest doing this to the poor clerk who is taking your order when it is McDonald's corporate mandating that they ask this question? Would you want a customer taking out their frustrations on your daughter?

                            1. re: ttoommyy

                              It was meant as a humorous aside that you (and probably others) did not find funny. There happen to be many on this site who "take out" their frustrations on those who have little to do with the issue at hand. My daughter would probably get a good laugh at a clever good natured comeback from a customer as opposed to some of the more rude and condescending remarks that have become all too commonplace.
                              The vast amount of CHers are pretty civilized compared to the unwashed masses who frequent the chains and believe their server is their servant. One would be amazed at what they have to put up with.

                              1. re: bobbert

                                I worked for years at chains so maybe I was being a bit more sensitive than I should have been. Sorry about that, bobbert.

                          2. I don't know the statistics on drinking an alcoholic beverage with your meal, but it seems that LOTS of people do it when they are out. So, the server asking if you want a cocktail or a glass of wine does not seem unusual at all to me. Nor does it seem to be an upsell. As someone up-thread said, an up sell would be asking if you want top-shelf alcohol in your beverage instead of the standard.

                            1. 'Can I start your meal with a cocktail or some wine'
                              I don't find it 'upselling' what the waiter is doing at all..

                              Now, when they ask on the water, 'still' or 'gas' and I want tap, then I feel that is the upsell..
                              Targeting specific drinks is a form of suggestive marketing, which can be effective but its all in how its presented.

                              Some are smooth and don't realize your being upsold but when its clunky and not sincere, it can be a real pain in the ass and I shut it down..

                              1. I guess you can call it upselling but I think of it as standard procedure for a restaurant. Yes, the restaurant wants the bill to be bigger but no one is making you order anything you don't want. You're eating out so that means you are not doing what you would typically do at home for a meal. We have wine with dinner regularly at home, but cocktails, appetizers and dessert would be rare. Not at all unusual to have all of the above if I'm having dinner out. You're going out to enjoy yourself. Relax and have a good time and stop worrying about what the restaurant is trying to squeeze from you. If that's you're primary concern, why are you dining out in the first place? If its all about feeding yourself at the lowest cost, stay home and cook.

                                1. As a former server I learned that most people want their beverage served quickly. Many non-alcoholic beverages must be ordered through the bar. Bar orders get backed up, so the faster the order is processed the faster the beverages arrive. IME the majority of people know what they want to drink or at least what they want to start off with. I imagine it differs at trendier places that have unusual/specialty cocktail menus.

                                  As others have said, management often dictates a vary specific spiel. A server can be fired for not following the script. If you don't like the script tell management or go elsewhere. Or better yet, ignore it. All that needs to be said is " We would like a few minutes to look over the menu before we place our drink orders, but we would like to get water for now."

                                  1. Haven't yet, but on vacation we had a gal so determined to upsell, that she made several mistakes on our order, and it was obnoxious. Even my husband commented on it.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Nanzi

                                      "on vacation we had a gal so determined to upsell, that she made several mistakes on our order"

                                      I'm not sure how one thing has to do with the other. A bad server is a bad server.

                                    2. How dare people run a business like a business and try to make a profit!

                                      1. I don't get why servers are victimized for this when every retail business does it, from car sales (rustproofing, extended warranty, higher trim line than you intended to buy), to the chair massage place in the mall that asks you if you want another 10 minutes after your 20 minute massage, down to the local Walgreens where they point out something next to the register and say, like, "King size candy bars are two for a dollar, would you like any?" It's ALL upselling and yes, it increases profitability. There are very few places you can go where they don't have something by the register and ask if you want to add it on or describe a special they're having, the same as a restaurant asking if you would like to start with a Texas T'Onion and a Jumbo Margartita. Specifically suggesting products statistically increases the likelihood they will be sold, and everyone in retail does it. It is not victimization of you and yes, companies want to get as much money out of you as possible.

                                        As has already been noted by other posters, servers (and the aforementioned retail help, and sales people) are required to say these things or else they get in trouble. They are rated on their job based on how many of these extras they get (How many people opened a Dillards store card on your shift?) as part of their job, and many are secret shopped by 3rd party companies to be sure they are saying and doing everything they are supposed to in the "script." Please don't take it out on the employee; express your displeasure to management.

                                        1. I prefer the server just read my mind about what I want. No upsell!

                                          1. Interesting strong replies.

                                            I understand the OPs frustration. The specific mention of cocktails or wine is of course upselling, let's be real. It is meant to be graciously subtle, but it is intentional. It's an effective strategy employed by business owners who are trying to maximize profit. The simple question, without upselling, is "What would you like to drink?" That question isn't generally effective in fine dining situations, though, where patrons often want to be guided through a leisurely, but relatively adventurous, experience.

                                            The ony time upselling bothers me is when the server gets visibly annoyed after the "cocktails or wine" is declined and becomes ambivalent for the rest of the meal. That rarely happens but when it does, we move along to another establishment for our after-dinner drinks and dessert.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: tokyo

                                              Absolutely agreed! It is upselling, just because it is common practice doesn't make it not upselling. But like many other posters said, if you don't want it just say no. If the "no" affects your service, well now that's a reason to get vexed.

                                              Many people become more sympathetic to the service industry after having worked in it. It had the opposite effect on me. Did it while I was in university (i've been a hostess, busgirl, cook, waitress, bartender, you name it) and quite frankly it's not rocket science, it does not take a lot to provide good service. But I've worked only in bars and restaurants where management are pretty relaxed (I was never given a mandate to upsell) so perhaps that's the reason for my attitude. There are alot of undeserved criticism that are directed towards servers, but let's be honest, a lot of them are well deserved.

                                              I often want to eat everything on a menu anyway so really it's not very hard to upsell when I'm your diner :)

                                            2. I don't usually bite off my nose to spite my face. I'll order what I want. It is rare that I am upsold anything I don't want to try. Most restaurants are scripted these days, so the server is just doing their job.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                Agreed. I don't get the fuss.

                                                Not ordering something of your own accord because someone suggested you order something not of your own accord... My head spins.

                                                I think I need a cocktail.

                                                1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                  I don't mind if the server is working from a script. But it's like a movie: if the script is bad, or if the lines are poorly delivered, I might decide to leave in the middle. I wouldn't have had the OP's reaction right from the start of the meal, but if the server kept coming to the table with fake-friendly, obviously corporate-scripted lines throughout the meal, I might get tired of it and skip coffee/dessert/drinks just to get out of there.

                                                2. I suppose it doesn't bother me because although they are partly doing it to make more money, they are also doing it because they know you are there to have a luxury evening and not a moderately nice evening; I like to be asked if I want any sides with my main course because often I just forget to think about whether I would like to have a salad or some veg to round out my meal, just as I like to be given the dessert menu without them asking if you want to see it because it's assumed that you are there to have a good time and indulge a little. That would include having a cocktail or a starter too, I guess :)

                                                  Think about it like having a temporary butler - you don't want to have to go and find him to ask him to get you your warmed-up slippers, it's just lovely when he shuffles over to you in the evening and offers you them to make you more comfortable. You don't have to wear the slippers if you don't feel like it. ;)

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Elster

                                                    BEAUTIFUL response, thank you Elster!!!

                                                  2. I am not sure I understand your beef. If the server asked "Can I start your meal with a soda or iced tea?" would that be objectionable to you?

                                                    11 Replies
                                                      1. re: olyolyy

                                                        Ok, so usually servers ask, "Would you like something from the bar?" Is that upselling by you? I think they phrase it like that because the server doesn't make the cocktails or pull a draft beer. The server may be the person to get the non alcoholic drinks.
                                                        You do state in your op that this is your personal beef. and I think it can be a valid beef. I just think you may want to review your stance, as it seems to give you a negative vibe, when you're out to have a good time with friends / family.

                                                        1. re: olyolyy

                                                          I am still confused.

                                                          If the server asks you, "May I get you a beverage?" is that objectionable if you already have water on the table (because it presumes that you might want to order a non-complimentary beverage) but not objectionable if you don't already have water on the table (because you can still order a complimentary water)?

                                                          If the server asks "What may I get you?" is that ok? Or are they being presumptuous because maybe you didn't want anything and just planned to watch others eat/drink? Should the server ask "May I get you something?" to leave open the possibility that you would just decline to have them bring you anything at all? Should the server just wait until you initiate contact and call him/her over and start ordering, if you choose to order at all?

                                                          1. re: akq

                                                            This made me laugh out loud as it is a perfectly appropriate scenario given the OP's odd objections.

                                                            1. re: akq

                                                              I honestly never thought it about it too much....Maybe the example I gave was not on par with "obnoxious" up-selling and I think that caused some confusion in the responses

                                                              But -there are a lot of people who do not drink alcohol and get offended (not myself particularly about alcohol though I don't like up-selling as a standard practice in general). As far as proper etiquette goes, unless you've had or served an alcoholic beverage with/to someone previously, it is in poor taste to offer one. Many here seem to think otherwise but posters on chowhound rarely seem in sync with popular opinion.

                                                              1. re: olyolyy

                                                                True, such a varied assortment of posters will rarely agree fully.

                                                                However... Where do you get that offering alcohol runs contrary to "proper etiquette?" As many posters have noted, it's widely known that restaurants make more money from alcohol than from food. If you frequent restaurants, maybe it's incumbent on YOU, as the guest, to recognize this and adjust your expectations accordingly?

                                                                Nothing about such an offer in a restaurant is personal - it's about making money, period. Restaurants will offer alcohol, because it makes them the most money. The offer isn't any kind of moral barometer, on either side. Why make it so? Why choose to make it personal and take offense? I think, no matter how you reword, your approach is waaay hypersensitive.

                                                                1. re: lagne

                                                                  Or just go to restaurants that don't serve alcohol, if it bothers you (or those people you know) that much. I have to say, proper etiquette in my personal group of acquaintances (and this is outside of Chowhound) is the polar opposite of being offended when offered a cocktail. It would be rude NOT to offer one...except for the people that I already know have an issue, of course.

                                                                2. re: olyolyy

                                                                  With that logic, no one could ever drink at restaurants. The waiter isn't your friend, he's there to bring you stuff you bought. It's not up to him to ask about your sobriety/ethical/religious/eating preferences- it's up to you to simply not order those things. I agree, though, that that etiquette should be followed between friends. I don't offer alcohol to recovering alcoholics any more than I would offer steak to a vegetarian. But then, a restaurant has many choices; my house does not, so it behooves me to learn my friends preferences.

                                                                  1. re: olyolyy

                                                                    If someone is actually "offended" by someone suggesting an alcoholic beverage to them, why are they in a place that serves them in the first place?

                                                                    1. re: olyolyy

                                                                      I'd be quite interested to see a reference to the restaurant etiquette you mention.

                                                                      Your comments lead me to feel that you expect a restaurant experience to echo the style of hospitality you are used to in home entertaining. Unless you have arranged a set menu ahead of time it's just not going to play out in that manner.

                                                                      A server is not a mind reader. They try to adjust the service by what they can determine from your cues. Part of their job is to be sure you have the opportunity to obtain the items which will make your meal pleasant.

                                                                      Ex: You're table has been happily chatting and the order is taken. You request steak. The server inquires if you would like to add the Bearnaise sauce. You might be offended at the "up-sell" - another diner might be quite happy to learn of that option since they had not noticed it on the menu. If the server didn't mention the sauce add-on and the diner noticed it being served to a nearby table they could be annoyed that they weren't given the option. The server is kind of damned if they do, damned if they don't.

                                                                      The key to remember is this is not a personal relationship and questions have no bearing on any opinion/assessment of you or your habits. It is all part of the business of serving you a meal and allowing you whatever choice makes you happy. And you ultimately have the power to accept, decline and inquire. You also have the choice to dine elsewhere.

                                                                      1. re: olyolyy

                                                                        "As far as proper etiquette goes, unless you've had or served an alcoholic beverage with/to someone previously, it is in poor taste to offer one. Many here seem to think otherwise but posters on chowhound rarely seem in sync with popular opinion."

                                                                        There is so much about your thread here that doesn't make sense nor "add up".
                                                                        Please cite the source of the "proper etiquette".
                                                                        Then the " posters on chowhound rarely seem in sync with popular opinion." Is just such a head shaking "say what?". Given that this is a food site and has a large number of posters, I'd say we are a pretty accurate source of popular opinion. I really need the source and stats of the "popular opinion" comment.

                                                                        I think you are fishing for people to agree with you, and you just are not getting the feedback you want. So you are making up these "facts" to convince the readers otherwise.
                                                                        It is like a Vegan going to a steakhouse and complaining about the upsell of meat.

                                                                3. "obnoxious: highly objectionable or offensive; odious"
                                                                  No, I do not find your example, obnoxious. In fact I would really have to place a number of imagined conditions in place, to even find these an upsell.
                                                                  As pointed out by many in this thread, the servers maybe required to use the phrase. I am sure you have conditions placed on you in your work.
                                                                  Do you also find it obnoxious when people try to upsell you a "good day"? I am frequently told to "Have a good day", and it does meet the conditions that you stated. And it is rage inducting to be upsold a "please come back again" or a "Hope to see you soon".

                                                                  1. About a year ago a group of eight of us went to a place for brunch. Overall service was fairly slow and inattentive. After we had left we started to critique the restaurant. It was only then that we realized that the server had never even asked us if we would like to have something to drink (alcohol). As a group we were all pretty much involved in conversations and it was only outside on the street that we realize that we would have all ordered at least a Bloody Mary had we been offered (this would have added about $60 to our tab). Coincidently or not so coincidently this restaurant went out of business soon after. As mentioned already the upsell for the restaurant often does double as customer service for the patron.

                                                                    1. <someone trying to "squeeze" as much money out of me as possible>

                                                                      Nobody can squeeze you unless you allow them to.
                                                                      Restaurants make more money on alcohol sales than they do on food sales. Selling liquor at a restaurant, and what is allowed to be sold, varies from state to state. The state liquor board regulates and pays close attention according to their own laws.
                                                                      "Upselling"? Call it whatever you want...to me it's just a restaurant/business wanting to make money and I choose whether to purchase a drink or not.

                                                                      1. I can see the plus and minus of selling and upselling,opinions and point of view,all of us have them.
                                                                        What I don't see is "obnoxious" in the OP,his particular outing.
                                                                        Using the word cocktail doesn't seem such a red cape to me.I have heard many a waiter or waitress use it when speaking to,taking the order of a child,tween.An attentive,respectful,no angst way to handle the Virgin Mary,Arnold Palmer,cherry coke etc order from a child.

                                                                        1. My husband and I don't drink and rarely get dessert. Somehow, it's never occurred to me to be annoyed about getting offered those things. The server can offer me anything- if I don't want it, I decline. No big deal.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: Hobbert

                                                                            +1. I don't drink for a personal health reason, but I'm not annoyed at all that it's typically the first question a server will ask when we're seated. If I want another beverage, I'll order my iced tea or whatever and my bf almost always has an IPA, so there you go. It would never cross my mind to not order something to drink as if that's punishing the server. I like to think I'm pretty good at standing in someone else's shoes, but I can't figure out OP's position here as far as beverages go.

                                                                            Having said that, there are chain restaurants (e.g. Red Lobster, Chili's) I'm dragged to for one reason or another by family where the app or dessert upsell can be fairly insistent, even if it's offered with a smile. However, I understand the server's doing their job, and it's just one more reason I don't care for those types of chains. No, I don't want your five million calorie alcoholic milkshake bar drink (blurgh), the yellow cheese covered app or Sysco dessert. But the upsell certainly doesn't ruin the overall experience of dining with family. I'll let my family ruin that themselves... ;P

                                                                          2. Would be funny to sit down at the table and refuse to order anything at all, just say "We'll have four glasses of water. From the tap. No ice."

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: redfish62

                                                                              It is perfectly acceptable (in US) to ask for ice water and not to buy any drinks. That's why "would you like a cocktail or some beer or wine, or maybe a soft drink or ice tea or juice or milk?" is a (slightly) leading question, in a way that "Did you leave room for dessert?" is not. The most neutral way to take the drink order is "what would you like to drink?" but it's easy to understand why servers are instructed not to say that. But it's no big deal; no matter what they ask, if you just want water, just say "just water, thanks". And hope that your server is not an a*hole.

                                                                              1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                                I'm talking about not buying any food either. No drinks, no food, just four glasses of tap water with no ice.

                                                                                1. re: redfish62

                                                                                  Yeah, that would be hi-larious.

                                                                            2. If this was already mentioned I apologize, but what I thought when I read this is that this was the waiters way of letting customers know they had a full service bar and not just beer and wine. I remember going out to dinner at a nice place and was looking forward to a martini, deciding on my appetizer based upon that drink. When the waiter finally came around, we discovered it only had a beer and wine license...a disappointment but nothing major. So now if I'm making reservations I always ask so I can let the others know whether or not they can get a martini, margarita or mojito.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: escondido123

                                                                                Servers in many restauramts are, by their very position, salespeople. Offering someone an alcoholic beverage at the beginning of a meal isn't really "upselling". However, when the server comes bouncing over, enthusiastically gives you his name and starts describing all the specialty drinks before you've even mentioned you want one, THAT is upselling. This same server will also suggest specific appetizers that you might want to start with; that, too, is upselling. Those upsellers are required to do this as a condition of their employment. Their corporate management thinks it will increase the bill (yes, restaurants ARE a business). If you don't like it, don't penalize the server; they're just trying to do their job. This preliminary discourse also reveals to a savvy server just how much or how little "service" they will need to offer you. They really do want you to be happy on every level, because your gratuity is based not only on the total $ of the food, but also on how much you enjoyed your meal.

                                                                                1. re: Cheflambo

                                                                                  I do not endorse the "it's their job" concept with up-selling, or the "don't blame the waitstaff for bad food" in regards to tipping. Sometimes, you have to put your money where your mouth is. If you are a server and work at a place with terrible food and/or unfavorable practices, then you probably won't make as much in tips. That's life, if you don't like it- find a better place to work. Last I checked, no one who ever waited on me was sporting shackles.

                                                                                  1. re: olyolyy

                                                                                    You are fortunate to have a job without micromanaged requirements.

                                                                                    A server serves. A server has very little control over how a kitchen prepares the food. Your bill is about the food order. Your tip is about the service. "Terrible food" is a subjective issue. Unfavorable practices is the reality of a great many low or under paid positions. I find people who have spent a little time working in those conditions seem better able to be realistic in their expectations.

                                                                              2. I am a lifelong non drinker. I've never been offended by the waitstaff's question about an alcoholic beverage. I simply ask for something else.

                                                                                Same is true about appetizers. If I don't want one I politely refuse. This really isn't a major issue. Honestly, it is nothing to be upset about.

                                                                                If the service and the food is good, then I'd say the meal was a success. If the server were to make a fuss about your not ordering alcohol, then I'd say you have a beef. I've never had that happen to me, though.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                  OP should only dine at places that don't serve alcohol.

                                                                                2. Well, here's the reverse (inverse?). Many years ago, I was at a bar with a friend and we both ordered Cognac. (Remy? I don't remember.) Our snippy waitress informed our kind-of scruffy selves that that ran $xx per. My lovely friend said, "In that case, make it a double." Hah!

                                                                                  1. Folks, as these threads often do, this one is going badly. We're going to lock it now.