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My Experiences Working Easter Brunch

I have been in the food industry for 10 years, which is about how long I’ve been working. I started in a quasi-fast food place when I was 18 and moved to fine(r) dining when I was 20. I have been doing it on and off as a second job ever since, though more on than off.

I love the food industry. I love interacting with people I’ve never met and trying to give them exactly what they want. It’s like a game for me. Of course, you have people who aren’t so nice, but for the most part I’ve loved it and looked forward to going to work.

Until now.

I’ll be quitting my second job (as a server (aka waitress)) end of April / beginning of May. I won’t need to work two jobs now that I’ll be married. Yay! But in the meantime, I’m suffering through some pretty frustrating stuff.

Currently I’m working at a local country club, and of course there’s the requisite Easter Brunch with an egg hunt for the kids and the Easter Bunny is there blah blah blah. Today was particularly busy with 400 people having reservations for the brunch.

My first table is the chef’s family. They came at 10:00am and as I didn’t have any other tables until 10:30am, they were well taken care of. They got brunch, mimosas, bloody marys, coffee…it was a very nice opportunity for them, considering that they don’t belong to the club. My boss told me that he would be comping the meal, which means they got everything. for. free. They finally got up and left, and I went over to the table, sure that since they had a $400 meal FOR FREE that they would leave me a small tip. $20 would have been fine. I look over the table and see nothing. Not even a hint that they thought about leaving a tip.

I vented my righteous indignation to my co-workers, all who suggested I say something to the chef. But I told them that the point is not that I want money, it’s what the money represents. A tip to a server is a thank you for the job that they did. The amount you leave can indicate to the server how much you appreciate and how good of a job you think they did. I would go so far to say that it’s a way of communicating non-verbally how good the server is at their job. To not leave a tip is the height of rudeness.

At the end of the day, the chef approached me (after he talked to his wife on the phone and she mentioned she didn’t leave a tip) about his wife not leaving a tip. He said he would take care of me, but he didn’t have the money right now. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it really wasn’t the money that I care about. It’s the ingratitude and the fact that someone would even think that not leaving a tip is okay. If you pay for a meal, you tip. What makes you think that when you get a meal FOR FREE that you now don’t have to tip? Did less work go into serving you? Did less work go into the making of the food or checking to make sure you like what you got or that your drinks have been replinished to your satisfaction?

To top off the day and enforce the love that I have of customers, a co-worker of mine showed me a dirty diaper that had been left on her table. Being the very considerate customer that the person obviously considers themself to be, the diaper wasn’t just open; it was wrapped up, ready to be thrown away.

After today, I’m wondering if I should reconsider giving my notice after all. Heck, who doesn’t like getting no tips and finding dirty diapers on a table?

| Tags: , , , , , 11 comments »

11 Responses to “My Experiences Working Easter Brunch”

  1. wendyrobards

    Trish, You have all my understanding…as someone who waitressed and bartended for years as I put myself through school, I fully appreciate what a difficult job it is. I ALWAYS leave generous tips for servers – at least 25% of the total. If I was getting a comped meal, I’d probably leave more, not nothing! And the dirty diaper thing – wow…all I can say is that is one rude person who would do that. Hope you have a better evening!

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  2. Will Entrekin

    I’m with Wendy; I’ve only ever left less than 20% if I was particularly dissatisfied. Mostly, I do at least that (because it’s easy math for my writer brain); for particularly good service, though, I might leave double. Because there are some few servers who accomplish something rare; making you feel not as though you’re a customer but a guest. Especially when the restaurant is spectacularly busy.

    I remember an old Third Rock episode where John Lithgow (who played an alien, for anyone not familiar) put a stack of twenty dollar bills on the table, and throughout the meal made a spectacle of adding to (or taking away from) the stack, one bill at a time.

    Lithgow, of course, made it simply hysterical, because he’s brilliant.

    Happy Easter; hope you finish it with some good spring rituals, at least.

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  3. Heather

    I worked in food all through high school and college, totaling almost 9 years (6 of them waiting tables, the first 3 working at a carry-out place). The stories I have about the awfulness of some people could fill volumes, no joke. Especially since when I went to college I worked 2 jobs at a time in a total of 4 different restaurants, in a small town in central Illinois (let’s just say the people in this particular town were not the MOST respectable, if you know what I mean…) … man can people be shitty. So I definitely, definitely feel you, and I’m sorry you had to spend your Easter with those jerks. 🙁
    Now I work as a Personal Banker… turns out people are not any less rude when they’re doing their banking than when they’re dining out….

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  4. jenefur

    Wow! How rude! We get gift certs for Christmas a lot and even though our meal is free to us, we ALWAYS leave a tip based on what the bill is (and more if the service was great!)

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  5. lisamm

    I think everyone should have to work in food service at least once in their lives. It’s such hard work, and what an education you get in human nature! I’m sorry you had to spend Easter with rude customers. Hope your evening was better.

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  6. Literary Feline

    I’m so sorry, Trish! I have never worked in the food industry, I admit, but a good friend of mine did, including as a cocktail waitress, and she shared enough of her stories with me that I always tip at least 20% and more if the service was extra good. And that goes for other service professions too, not just food servers. On holidays, especially like today, I always go the extra mile–who wants to work the holidays? Well, maybe some people, but still . . . I give them extra credit for putting up with my laziness on the holidays. 🙂

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  7. Jessica

    Wow… I’d have to say those two experiences sound equally crappy! People can be shocking sometimes.

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  8. bkclubcare

    AH, yes. People can be awful. I’m sure you are a terrific server! People also don’t realize that one should tip on take out service, as well. Servers are taxed on the dollar amts they serve regardless of in house or out. And your point about the appreciation is important just as much if not more than the money – right on! Respect, consideration, and kindness go a long way.

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  9. Heather (errantdreams)

    Wow. I’m so sorry to hear about that.

    When I was growing up, many of my relatives always felt that the 15% was what you gave for outstanding service, and that anything less than that and you gave less.

    Then I spent a summer or two as a waitress in a cruddy cafe, and learned all about things like the fact that many servers make less than minimum wage because their tips are counted as part of what they’re supposed to make. So if I really, really hate the service (and boy does a server have to go out of his way to piss me off—he has to pretty much be a deliberate jackass), I’ll just give exactly 15% and not a penny more. I almost always give 20%, and rarely have been known to give 25% when the server really went out of his way to be nice and helpful.

    And I always, ALWAYS, tip based on the full value of the meal, not what I paid for it. When we go to my favorite restaurant we often have a coupon for a free dessert, or we have a gift card from my mother for dinner. But that doesn’t change how much work went into serving us.

    I’m amazed you could keep an upbeat view of the industry for so long, and I hope that things get easier now that you’re getting married. Congratulations, by the way!

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  10. curlywurlygurly

    i read an interesting book on a woman’s life as a waitress–called ‘waiting’ and it gave me a bird’s eye view to life in the service industry–it is shocking how rude people can be to waitresses and waiters. anyone who can do the job has my respect.

    [Edited by trish: That was a pretty good book. The first few pages probably had the best description of what it’s like to be a server.]

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  11. Amy

    Trish,

    I am shocked … how could THE CHEF’s FAMILY…NOT leave a tip? That is just plain RUDE.

    I too worked in the food industry on and off while I was working other jobs. I could just about tell who would and wouldn’t leave a tip, just by the way the acted, and sometimes, I was left standing with nothing to show for my very HARD and DEDICATED work…

    Because of this, I too am a very generous tipper, only because I know what goes into being a server. (that must be it…people can’t really be THAT clueless, could they)?

    I was hoping you had a wonderful Easter…I’m so sorry…

    Hugs,
    Amy

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