Do It Tonight! Be Kind to the Waitstaff

waiterphoto by independentman

On a dinner date, always be courteous to the waitstaff. Never snap, clap, cry “Waiter,” or worse, “Garcon!” to get your attendant’s attention; wait until you catch your server’s eye, then simply nod, gently raise your eyebrows, or, as a last resort, raise your hand. Say please and thank you — never say “Give me the steak frites…” If the food’s taking a long time, consider it an opportunity to get to know your date without worrying whether you have spinach in your teeth. And if you must complain about something — perhaps you’re vegan and the waiter brings you steak tartare, or perhaps there really is a fly in your soup — then do it nicely. It’s probably not the waiter’s fault, after all. Finally, if you’re responsible for the tip, make it 20%. We don’t care if your standard policy is 10% (or “whatever change is in my pocket”); on a date, you make it 20, you cheap bastard. Why? Well, if human decency isn’t enough to compel you, then consider this: If you are in any way rude and obnoxious to the service industry professionals, it will suggest to your date that you have the potential to be rude and obnoxious to anyone. And that, our friend, does not get you laid.


  1. I go out to eat a lot and I always make sure I am polite to the waitstaff and leave a decent tip. In the UK tipping isn’t really that much of a big deal because as far as I’m aware all waitstaff are paid the national minimum wage. I do take issue that in the US waistaff’s wages are the responsibility of customers whilst the owners of the restaurant are creaming the profit off the top. It seems completely out of line. Service tips should not be used to supplement a wage they should be there on top of that. If I’m paying £15 for pasta you could at least pay your staff a decent salary!

  2. ^ Yeah, really… if common courtesy and decency isn’t reason for you to be nice to waitstaff, how bout self-preservation? You really want to piss off someone who handles your food where you can’t see it?

    Same thing with the mail man. Don’t piss him off either, even if he does a crappy job.

  3. My mom taught me never to be mean to people giving you food. I really do not get how people can be mean to waitstaff.

    I tip better now that my child has been a waitstaff. People tend to say the worse thing when they are hungry. In my state Waitstaff gets 2 something an hour.

  4. If you put the meal and tip on your credit card your date should not know how much the tip was. This advice sounds like a sure way to attract opportunistic golddiggers.

  5. I don’t go out to each much anymore because of the recession and I don’t make a lot of money, so hence, I give what I can afford for a tip when served even by the best waitstaff. I give 15% and if that makes me a jerk so be it. The money I earn comes hard to me too. I enjoy the cuisine, the polite waitstaff, and treat them with respect, caring attitude. So stop preaching and do what you can afford so go and have a happy life!

  6. I’ve heard this argument that Dennis is making before and it is nonsense. Yes, restaurants would have to raise prices. This would not effectively increase the amount a consumer pays when dining out because the difference is reflected in the lack of tip. Further, waitstaff would probably be paid a low starting wage, true, but with regular pay raises for jobs well done. (I worked for the same restaurant chain for 5 years and actually took a pay cut when transferring to NJ from MI because they weren’t willing to give me even that 50 cents extra.) The current tipping system is set up so that a waitress must serve two masters: her “boss” the manager or owner of the restaurant, and her customers, who actually pay her wages. This is a bad set up for obvious reasons.

    But hey, you don’t need to take my word for *any* of this. Ask a waitress in Australia how it works, if she’s happy. Ask a restaurant owner in Australia, or someplace outside the US.

    And, Dennis, hostesses are not waitstaff and are not tipped. If you’re paying them $2.17 an hour you’re getting away with paying even less than minimum wage, and that’s horrible.

  7. I would just like to point out what would happen to the restaurant industry IF the wait staff would be paid only buy the hour, the wait staff would probably be paid less then the cooks which in most restaurants would be a pay cut for the wait staff the restaurant it’s self would have to do a combination of three things raise menu prices, cut back on food quality and cut back on wait staff which will do two things to the consumer higher prices low quality of service and food. which you can say well if they where paid more then we wouldn’t have to tip them which yes that is true but look at it in a servers perspective, my top performers in my wait staff make 25-30 dollars an hour (thats more then twice that of my lead cook) on a busy weekend night, I have 6 very skilled cooks, 3 utility crew and 20 people on the wait staff which includes servers, hosts, bartenders and food runners (all of the positions that are paid a base of 2.17 plus tips) even if they where paid what the cooks are being paid my labor cost would almost triple so keep in mind that no favors would be done to a waiter, restaurant owner, or even the consumer if laws were passed to make all wait staff positions paid by the hour

  8. Yes, be nice to the waitstaff. I once went on a date that went all right – no sparks, but maybe I would have gone out with him again – until we went to a coffee shop. My date (whose behavior toward the waitress in the Thai restaurant earlier was fine) was quite rude to the barista with regards to whether or not certain items were decaf. He may have thought he was being funny, but she was annoyed and so was I.

  9. Geebus-nothing is wrong with that, but see the comment above regarding actual salaries for waitstaff.

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