|Messy table. Photo: Jason Rosenberg, flickr|
Hanna Raskin's first waitressing job was at a small Greek diner in Michigan. In the 15 years since, she's worked at a chop suey joint in Mississippi, an exclusive Arizonan country club, a vegetarian eatery and an Irish pub. She currently picks up odd shifts at a seafood eatery in the North Carolina mountains, where she cracks crab legs for helpless tourists. This is the tenth in a series of posts.
As a server, I should have boundless patience with my fellow overworked, undertipped brethren. But as anyone who's dined out with servers knows, food industry pros are often the harshest critics of front-of-the-house shenanigans.
Since servers know how restaurants work, they know exactly who to blame for the mishaps that spoil their eating-out experience. The French onion soup's taking too long? That's so not the fault of the server (many of whom would probably be thrilled to pack all three courses in to-go containers and send their table on its way). The halibut doesn't taste good? That's likely the reason the server skips the employee meal.
Diners should never discount their tips for things beyond the server's control: A corked bottle of wine, too long of a wait at the host stand and dirty bathrooms are comment card fodder, not tip-lowering offenses. But there are certain server behaviors for which I'll almost always knock down a gratuity a few percentage points.