As the warmer weather slowly approaches, young professionals (YPs) are making their way to more happy hour soirees, meals out, and more weekend getaways. If there is one thing we love to do in the spring and summer months, it’s enjoy good company, great food and bevvies, and, of course, exceptional service. While top quality service is normally expected from our fave YP hot spots, we’ve learned from service industry insiders that there are actually things we patrons can do (and not do) to ensure the best care this upcoming patio season. Is it all about money and tipping? Does wearing expensive clothes equal better service? We chatted with both current and former long-time service industry professionals who anonymously divulged very honest and candid insights regarding just how you can enjoy the highest quality service. Here is what they had to say:
The Almighty Tip
We’ve all heard that old-school story, that the word “tips” was originally an acronym for “To Insure Prompt Service.” Whether or not this is actually true (probably isn’t, since it should be “ensure,” for one), when it comes to receiving good and quick service most YPs believe that tipping is king. Surprisingly, however, in chatting with our anonymous service industry pros, it seems that while it is obviously important, the art of tipping is not so simple.
As part of the more traditional thought, one former hostess tells us, “if someone leaves a very bad tip, next time that person goes back to the restaurant, the server will remember and not give their best.” But according to another former long-time bartender, “if a person leaves a poor tip, I’m annoyed, but they have a second chance.” If on that second time around they leave yet another bad tip, this bartender admits, “they will probably be the last person at the bar that I’m going to serve.”
Speaking of tipping at a bar, one bartender tells us that while receiving tips is always nice, there are certain ways not to do it: “Tipping 20% is great, but don’t hold the money out or wave it in my face. Don’t yell about it. Don’t act entitled. Don’t pretend you’re celebrities.”
And what about that bold move of tipping upfront? While one long-time server tells us, “definitely don’t tip up front; for me anyhow, I would think you’re a douche,” on the other hand one resto-owner says, “tips in advance, especially if they’re big, are welcome and appreciated. I’d be lying if I said the opposite.” While the opinion on upfront tipping may be split, we wonder if those patrons who do it are then entitled to more high-maintenance treatment? “You can be a demanding customer,” says the resto owner, “as long as respect, kindness and empathy are a part of you too.”
Be a Good Human
And so we come to our next tip: be a good human. Our resto owner makes a point that seems to be a theme among all the service pros we talked with: “We are servers, not servants.” In other words, being a kind and decent customer takes top precedence if you want top service. “When you walk into a restaurant and, without even saying ‘hi’ or looking at the server or the hostess, you just raise two or three fingers in the air to indicate the number of people,” he says, “it doesn’t make a good impression. That can turn a server off and not push them to go out of his/her way, but rather offer you minimal service.” For one bartender, it’s those customers who simply “give off a normal vibe and treat you like a normal person, who don’t kiss ass and who aren’t rude,” that get the best service from him. Another former barkeep says that if a customer is “laid back and asks me questions, I would definitely be more willing to serve them over a jerk with big money who just says ‘yo, two X.O.’s on my tab.’” For those customers who are rude or arrogant, one server admits, “I straight up ignore them.”
When it comes to service in the skies, it’s eye contact and personal recognition that will get you better service from one flight attendant we spoke with. “I stand at the front of the plane and welcome hundreds of people on board daily,” she says. “I say good morning, good afternoon, good evening to all of them, and the majority of the time I am ignored. I sincerely appreciate when an individual stops, looks me in the eyes, and says ‘hello’ back. Also, because I wear a name tag and mention my name when making my announcements, I appreciate when someone acknowledges me by name.” Overall, she says, “when I am treated kindly and with respect I will always bend over backwards for that individual. If I am treated poorly, I will likely go out of my way (and ensure the rest of my crew follows suit) to do nothing but the bare minimum for that person.”
Smile and Engage
If top-notch service is what you’re after, “a smile is everything!” says our former long-time bartender. “If a person comes to you with a great smile before stating ‘two vodka sodas please’, it really makes us smile too and starts us on a better note.” Customers who also try to get to know their server “make friends a bit” says the former hostess, “will get a better service for sure, and the server is more likely to also remember and care about that client at their next visit.”
Finally, for one popular YP resto manager, it’s all about creating a connection: “By asking servers about their day, or what they like about the restaurant, your experience will turn into a more personal one and will be more enjoyable for both customer and server.” And really, for YPs trying to take advantage of their precious social time, and for servers trying to give you their best work, isn’t that what it’s really about? So smile, engage, order up, and enjoy!
#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)
Cover image from: www.equipmentcare.com