I have two pet peeves: being asked to repeat myself, and having to listen to people who complain about their pay.
The first pet peeve might just be a personality flaw; the second one, I feel, is a legitimate complaint.
I don’t want to make blanket statements about a collective based on a few people, BUT you people who work in food service are the whiniest people on the planet. There are a two reasons why I don’t like hearing about how little you earn:
- You are not enslaved to your job. You made the decision to take it knowing what you might earn for your time.
- I tip well; I mean, really well. You have to screw up so bad that my co-pilot, my girlfriend, has to say, “Hey, you better not tip him or her well.” She’s pretty forgiving herself. By default, you’re probably going to get 20%. If I drink, you’ll probably get 25%.
Don’t blame me…fool me!
Humans are interesting things. We respond heavily to really weak stimuli, and often to no tangible stimuli at all.
In my amateur opinion, most of this looks to be pretty solid advice. There are a few things I’d never think of, such as being mindful to wait for a tea drinker to drink a whole glass before refilling. You don’t want to mess up their sweetener-to-tea ratio. Freaking genius!
But I’m not totally down with the next suggestion: “Don’t write down orders.” The site says it impresses people. Maybe it does, I don’t know, but it definitely doesn’t impress me. I see a waitress or waiter who refuses to write down an order as an excessive risk-taker.
Either the waiter or waitress who refuses to write down my order:
- Remembers the order and delivers my food like a champ, but I still think he or she is a moron for not writing it down.
- Screws it up, in which case I attribute the error to his or her inability to calculate a basic risk-to-reward ratio. He or she gambled for the opportunity to gain nothing and lost something.
Plus, I don’t like to sit around the dinner table pondering the probability of how likely you were to goof my order up. My mind goes crazy:
“Did I order something special?”
“Was my special order common?”
“What’s the chance that my special order wasn’t special, but instead an already built-in corporate process?”
“How should I weight that in my risk management…by 50%?”
“No, surely 50% of restaurants don’t do that…do they?”
“Hmm, if the cost of a messed up order is $1,000 over the life of the customer and the cost of a ketchup cup is .10, assuming equal future value variables, then…hmm, it would have to save only 1/10,000 orders to be a net positive.”
“Duh, of course it’s already built in.”
“But this is an independent restaurant, they probably don’t have good data-records, or analysts…50% it is!”
“Good lord, I’m hungry—and anxious…”
Yeah, see, you make me work too hard. I don’t like that. My anxiety really doesn’t like it, and I’m tired by the time dinner rolls around.
Mathematically Proven Methods for Increasing Your Tips
I like math. Actually, no I don’t; I respect math. Numbers prove truths, and I like truth, so here’s a tested method to boosting your end of the night collection of tips: give customers two pieces of chocolate.
A 2002 study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology notes that a server who offers two pieces of chocolate to their customers gets a fatter tip.
To maximize the tip differential, you can’t just offer them two at one time; no, you have to offer them 1 piece of chocolate, then, while acting like you had a sudden stroke of generosity, you should offer up another piece of chocolate. Offering up 2 pieces will get you a slightly smaller tip than offering up 1 and then 1 more later.
- Providing all customers with 2 pieces of chocolate will net you an 18% increase in tips.
- Providing all customers with 2 pieces of chocolate at two different times—the survey calls this 1+1—will net you a 21% increase in tips.
The study was conducted with assorted Hershey’s Miniatures. I found 56 ounces of these delightful little things online for $24 shipped.
Okay, so that’s roughly $.133 each. To give each person two would cost $.266, per person. Thus, you need to earn, on average, $1.47+ per person in tips to make this trick worth your cost, assuming you’re too bad of an actor to do the 1+1 trick.
Otherwise, for those willing to put in more effort, the 1+1 trick requires that you earn more than $1.27 per customer in tips to make it worth your while.
There you go, food service workers! I put it all there, in plain language (numbers.) If you complain about your tips but make more than $1.47 in tips per person, then clearly you’re not working as hard as you should be.
P.S. If you earn less than that, I don’t care to hear it.
P.P.S. I’m grumpy, I know. But really, complaining about tips won’t alienate the people who bring down your hourly average wage. It will, however, alienate those who bring it up.
Full Disclosure: I’m probably biased. I’ve never worked in food service, and I’ve only managed to hold down a job for 3 full weeks of my long, twenty-one year existence on this planet. Still I worked for minimum wage once, so I’m an expert on how much it sucks to work for minimum wage.
Hooter girl image by BemDevassa.
Math image by attercop311.