50+ Secrets Your Waiter Won’t Tell You

I recently stumbled upon this Reader’s Digest article that lists some of the tips/secrets that “servers” have brought to light. Some of these secrets were actually quite helpful, however some were downright crazy!

What We Lie About
If you’re a vegetarian and you ask if we use vegetable stock, I’m going to say yes, even if we don’t. You’ll never know the difference.

Um really??!! Where do these people work! Not knowing if something is actually vegetarian or not and “just saying yes” is seriously NOT COOL! I’m not a vegetarian or anything but, get your ass to the back and ask the Chef, I would never mess with anyone’s personal belief system like that. Not cool bro, not cool!

What We Want You to Know
In many restaurants, the tips are pooled, so if you have a bad experience with the server, you’re stiffing the bartender who made your drinks, the water boy who poured your water, sometimes the hostess, the food runners, and maybe the other waiters.

The tips are always pooled, in every restaurant I have ever worked in we tip out on our sales. So a bad tip definitely has the trickle down effect, everyone feels it when someone decides they want to leave a sub-par tip even if the workers did not have direct contact with your table they had a part in creating your dining experience. If your dining experience if not up to snuff then fine tip badly or not at all, but if it is just a personal preference that you tip bad/less than norm then think about all the people you are affecting financially with that sub-par tip.

What We Want You to Know
People think that just because your food took a long time, it’s the server’s fault. Nine times out of ten, it’s the kitchen. Or it’s the fact that you ordered a well-done burger.

Now this one rings true for me in so many ways, I work in a restaurant in a large city where during construction they did not make the kitchen large enough to accommodate the whole restaurant when it is fully seated. (Great idea guys) So most of the time we have no problem, but during our lunch rush and weekend brunch we are screwed. When the restaurant is not fully seated our food takes anywhere from 10-17 mins depending on the order, but during lunch because our kitchen is so small the orders can take up to 35 mins. I don’t want you to wait that long for your food, I feel really, really, bad when people wait that long..hell, I even get pissed at my kitchen for you!! Please don’t take it out on me verbally because my kitchen, based on my owners decisions cannot serve you your food in a timely manner.

How to Be a Good Customer
If the restaurant is busy and your child is shy, please order for him. Kids can sit there forever trying to decide, or they whisper and you can’t hear them. Meanwhile, the people at the next table are yelling at you to come over.

OMG YES!!! If your kid can’t get it together and order a freakin kid’s pizza don’t waste my time. I do not have the time to wait for Jr. to overcome his childhood shyness, my other tables need me and I have shit to do! I’ve had people literally not even awknowledge their kid at the table, I’ll have to remind them to order for their 5 year old. One instance I tried to get their attention after they had placed all their orders, so they could order for their child and they ignored me so I assumed the kid was sharing. When the food came out the mother goes. “Hey! Jr. where is your food!?” She realized that he hadn’t ordered anything for himself and immediately was pissed at me! The kid was like 4 or 5! She left it up to a four year old to order his food without supervision really!!??

What You Don’t Want to Know

When I was at one bakery restaurant, they used to make this really yummy peach cobbler in a big tray. A lot of times, servers don’t have time to eat. So we all kept a fork in our aprons, and as we cruised through the kitchen, we’d stick our fork in the cobbler and take a bite. We’d use the same fork each time.

Again, REALLY??!! Where do you people work? Disgusting! I can tell you that the kitchen I work in is so clean! Yes, we try the food because we have to sell it, but our chef makes us tasters it is never straight from the guest’s plate!

What Drives Us Crazy
The single greatest way to get your waiter to hate you? Ask for hot tea. For some reason, an industry that’s managed to streamline everything else hasn’t been able to streamline that. You’ve got to get a pot, boil the water, get the lemons, get the honey, bring a cup and spoon. It’s a lot of work for little reward.

Ahhh, the hot tea controversy! It’s not that I’ll hate you when you order hot tea, but I swear people who order hot tea have a 6th sense for knowing the WORST time to order it. I’ll be triple sat, have two orders to ring in, need to make like 700 drinks, and as I’m taking a drink order at the last table on the last person, it never fails, “I’ll have a hot tea!” FML

These are just a few of the 50 tips/secrets, here is the link for the article in full…50+ Secrets Your Waiter Won’t Tell You


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  • Made my day

    February 6, 2013

    I don’t know if it was the “fact proving” by anecdotes. Or the pure lack of knowledge for the restaurant industry.
    A few tips.
    If you have so many issue with lack of menu knowledge at the regular standard of restaurants you dine at. Try fine dining or local trending eateries and experience the difference. Servers at places like tgifs, Applebee’s Ect. tend to be new to the industry. Those types of restaurants also tend to have more of a rotating door when it comes to staff (constant new staff = constant new training). Fine dining establishments hire experienced servers who already have the skills and focus on food and beverage knowledge. You are not simply paying more for the food, but also the service that goes with it.

    Having something taken care of on your bill does not necessarily mean you were correct. It could simply mean that it is easier to take something off the bill, then deal with you complaining or trying to make you understand the situation. Which someone like you would likely either stick to thinking that your correct regardless of anything that is said. Or being angry that you now feel embarrassed.
    In some instances switching items or condiments CAN cost more. Some cheese’s have a higher hard cost then others. Some sauces cost more to make then others. This may not have been the case for you (again judging by the places you eat I presume your getting dishes that are mass produced and reheated. So a cheap food cost). But if the kitchen decides something does cost more that’s the way it goes. If you want to Frankenstein a dish, consider that it may in some circumstances cost more.
    Servers do not purposely hold orders. We serve more then one table at a time. The other table getting its order taken right after yours may have been there just aslong as you have and would also like their order taken. Even if they aren’t “flagging” the server over or being so classless that they would call a server over or snap their fingers. Chances are something has put your server behind. Perhaps a table taking along time to order through tons of questions and then tons of modifications. Most restaurants also tend to have a policy on immediately clearing tables. So if its on the way back clear it. Most of a good servers ability comes from multitasking. But perhaps you don’t care if the tables around you are dirty. Perhaps the only experience you want is fast food.
    I really don’t get why people, bloggers, news groups try to define what the restaurant industry is. They almost seem stuck with an impression of 10 years ago. But I guess that’s why so many people think they can open up a place without any experience and are then baffled that its dead and gone after its year honeymoon popularity.

  • Made my day

    February 6, 2013

    As an afterthought to better explain cost of switching items or condiments I will use the cheese example. If a restaurant uses regular cheddar on most of the dishes. They are likely bringing in a larger quantity of it. Ordering something in a larger or bulk quantity will make it cheaper per unit then something ordered in a smaller quantity. And from whatever company you order said cheese from, they also likely sell more something as widely used as cheddar. Thus they order it in a larger quantity making it once again cheaper. That is purely how any business in any industry works. Regardless of the fact that a plain cheddar is likely already cheaper then say a pepper jack would be.
    As a standard most restaurants do not have a high profit margin. Most sit around 4% which is far lower then let’s say a retail store. It’s why most places tend not to do as much for free as they did 10 years ago. Something’s wrong with your food? Some one will generally have to verify it. The kitchen if they are replacing it. Or a manager if for some reason you don’t want it re done.

  • Chef/Waiter

    February 8, 2013

    I had to reply.
    Springs no disrespect, but calm down. No one has said that your experiences didn’t happen.
    I do have to disagree when you say things like most servers are Lazy. I personally go out if my when time allows to help achieve a smile from my customers.
    In respects to you complaining and saying that servers should ignore there managers to serve a refill or give a check, I would gladly sacrifice a tip to keep my job. That isn’t laziness its just the world I and many others live in.
    I personally double check my orders before sending them through. Having worked in a kitchen I know how frustrating it can be if something with special prep is it in wrong and have to remake it. I then triple check reading out the order as it is served.
    I work in a restaurant where, most evenings you not only have to cater to your section but also other peoples and resent being labeled lazy because as company policy I have to take all orders within 5-7 mins being sat down, I do not get the chance to put each order instraight after I have taken it because, at peak times I get 5-6 tables all at once, I do however get round this by asking if people need extra time those who are in a hurry get served faster. I can then put orders in the system quicker. To nullify your argument about dirty tables not being a priority, If we don’t buss some tables and get some pots clean you can’t eat your “highly modified” order as there’s nothing to serve it on or a table to sit you at. So get off the high horse and don’t eat at peak tims.
    Waitresses and waiters serveon average 30-40 tables on any given weekday in a6 hour shift not including the refils and payments to be room from other sections, the last thing they need is customers complaining they are lazy because they forgot one dip or a salad which can be easily rectified in 2-3 mins including the time you’ve taken to bollock them for it.

  • Kyle

    February 15, 2013

    Holy shit, I am going through these old posts (just found this site) and I almost never comment online but springs1 is nuts, like actually mentally unhinged what a whack job!

  • Sophie

    March 5, 2013

    Omg most of those are spot-on!
    Although, I’ve never eaten from a customer’s food or dropped or spit into anything I’ve ever served in my 9+ years in the industry, that’s disgusting and gives honest servers a bad name.
    My biggest problem with hot tea is not so much that it’s time consuming and, therefore, a pain during a dinner rush, it was that people frequently wanted to know all the flavors herbal tea that we carried. I’m sorry, but my brain is full of salad dressings, menu options, side dishes and common substitutions. It never failed that I would list a few and then draw a blank. After I went to check in the back we never had the specific flavor they wanted. And the sports bar/family restaurant I worked at ONLY carried Lipton black tea, which made a few little old ladies crabby and was obviously my fault.

  • Bahahaha

    May 1, 2013

    I think Springs1 should stop eating out so much LOL!

  • springs1isnutso

    July 15, 2013

    I just came back to this blog after many months….what a hoot! She just needs to expect that not everyone is perfect, we are human and make mistakes.

    But really springs, if you have such Hugh standards and are not willing to consider thus, then you should stay at home. “Good day….*blank stare* I said good day!”

  • springs1isnutso

    July 15, 2013

    I clearly meant high standards….I’m on mobile sorry folks.

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