That Waiting Thing I Do…

Waitressing is not something that I ever thought I’d have to do. Having spent five years of my life slaving away at university and a year and a half abroad working in my field, I didn’t think that finding a job in my given profession would be very hard.
I was, of course, very very wrong. And, I’ll be the first admit it. (Take that all of you who says that I can’t do so…)
So, for the past three months I’ve been spending my nights walking the better part of 10km in a Café/Restaurant, learning all sorts of new things from life. It’s a job in which you learn to be very grateful. You’re grateful when your food comes out of the kitchen on time, you’re grateful when you don’t spill anything on the way to your table, you’re grateful if you get duty number 4 and you’re very VERY grateful for the tips that come your way.

Of course, sometimes… They don’t.

If you as a waiter/waitress give bad service, then you deserve the little blank space in the ‘Gravity’ column. If however, you as the customer complimented your waiter/waitress on his/her good service and still didn’t bother leaving anything, you seem to have misunderstood one of the basic fundamental rules of going to a restaurant.
It’s because of this lack of understanding – (and me wanting to vent my frustration before I start my next shift), that I’ve decided to compile this little list of things to remember when you are in a restaurant.

Read them, laugh about them (laugh at them) and perhaps even take them to heart.
It can never hurt.

Alyss’s Tipping Tips 1-20.

1) Tipping 10% of your bill is almost all but compulsory. 10% is the norm, 15% is starting to become the general accepted guideline. Count yourself lucky, in America it’s already 20%.
2) Most waiters/waitresses don’t get commission on sales. That’s why tipping is there. Don’t assume that you can forgo your tip because your waiter/waitress might be earning commission. Most of them don’t and those who do earn a very very small amount of commission.
3) Most waiters/waitresses only get transport money to work their shift. The rest is all tips. Remember the 10% rule? Can you see why it’s important now?
4) If you don’t have enough money to tip a waiter/waitress, don’t go to a restaurant. And don’t think that your waiter/waitress will feel sorry for you when you say: “I’m sorry – this is all I have, I don’t have the money to tip you…” The general feeling will be: Then why are you here?
Another more nagging feeling might also be: ‘And I gave you a clean spoon because…’ or ‘And I put up with your demanding orders because…’
5) Tipping, as you can see is important. Take note.
6) A restaurant, in a strange kind of way, sometimes become like a waiter/waitress’s home. We have our family there, we have our little corners, we have our kitchen. You are a guest in our home. You might be paying us to be that guest, but you are a guest none the less. Please, please – don’t do anything that you wouldn’t want a guest to do in your own home.
7) We’re back on tipping. If you walk into a restaurant, seconds before the door closes and beg to be allowed in for one drink and maybe a light snack (despite the fact that the kitchen is technically closed…) be kind enough to… Tip your waiter/waitress. Remember that that waiter was most probably just on his/her way home and had no other tables until you walked in. And, don’t think you can get away with a rand or two here. R5 is expected, R10 is deserved…
8) Kids. Little kids. You gave birth to them, it is there for your responsibility to keep them in order and keep them AWAY from the fish pond. Preferably away from everybody else as well, but we’ll start slow. Focus on the fishpond…
9) Don’t throw the sugar sachets into the oil lamps. It’s not funny.
10) Don’t leave a half opened sachet of sugar in the sugar bowl… Nobody wants it.
11) Rain and White Shirts. If your waitress happens to be wearing a white shirt when it rains, don’t you dare ask her to run in the rain for an additional amount of money.
12) Don’t touch your waiter/waitresses ass.
13) Don’t touch your waiter/waitress at all unless it’s to get their attention.
14) Don’t whistle, it might bring the dogs running.
15) When the manager calls last rounds, it’s a hint to start thinking of leaving. You don’t have to go immediately; just don’t stay for three hours more.
16) Don’t ask a waiter/waitress any personal questions.
17) Don’t get upset if a waiter/waitress forgets your water – just remind them again gently. You don’t pay for it, it’s a gift. We could charge you for it, but we chose not to.
18) Don’t tug your waiter/waitresses braid. And don’t threaten to hang them up by it in jest. They might just return the favour.
19) Sigh. Tipping. 10%. Please.
20) Remember, inevitably – your waiter/waitress is a human being who is trying his/her best to give you the best service possible. The problem is sometimes that he/she tries to give you and about 10 other customers’ good service at the same time. So, if the waiter is a little distracted or mechanical when the shop is busy, don’t take it personally.

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