I noticed that today is “National Waitstaff Day” in which we allegedly celebrate those who make dining out pleasurable.  Of course I would guess 99% of those in the business have no idea there is a day named after them but since there is let’s talk about waiters and waitresses. 

They are a huge part of the going out to eat experience and can make or break a meal and for me it all starts with the beginning.  There is nothing worse than being sat by a hostess and then waiting for someone to come over and at the very least acknowledge they know you are there and will get to you in a minute.

Sometimes you sit as servers stream past your table like you are invisible and then when someone finally comes over instead of apologizing for the delay the first words out of their mouth are “do you know what you want?”  That’s tough for me to overcome and often sets the tone for the evening although I will give that server another chance to make up for the slow start.

Of course the one thing a waiter or waitress can’t do anything about is bad food and it should never be reflected in the tip they receive.  Rarely if ever do I complain about food because if it’s bad you just chalk that place off your list for the future.  But sometimes you have no choice and all you want is for the server to at least show concern and do what they can….either send the food back, offer a replacement or something else to make up for what is not their fault.  If they blow you off like it’s no big deal then you can blow them off a bit when it comes tip time.

However a good server can make the entire dining out experience an absolute pleasure even if the food itself is just average or okay.  Those who are professional and throw in a nice personality and positive attitude are good for the customer, business owner and themselves because it usually reflects in the tip they receive.

As for that age-old issue of tipping well I buy into the theory that if you don’t want to leave a fair tip then don’t go out to eat.  15% should be the absolute minimum and if the server is that good then move it up to 20%.  Of course if you feel strongly that the service was poor and your waiter or waitress did a bad job then it’s up to your discretion to penalize them with less than 15%.

Most work very hard to earn their money including long hours on their feet and being the middle person between demanding customers and a kitchen staff that can be difficult to deal with.  So today show your appreciation and leave an extra buck or two.