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.
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?