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Thursday, September 15, 2011

How To Make Good Tips

How to Make Good Tips Being a Waiter

This is an article I wrote for Wikihow. It will probably get edited and have all the snark removed from it, but we shall see. These articles are really fun to write and I think I am providing a real service to the Internets by submitting them. Yeah, right, uh huh.

The best thing about being a waiter is walking out of work each day with cash in your pocket. Tips can be a wonderful thing, but they're not always easy to come by. Here is how to get the best tips possible while waiting tables.


  1. As a server, in order to get big fat tips the first thing that we must remember is that we are there to serve. Let the needs of the customer guide you through your table service. Do what they need and ask and you will be rewarded handsomely.
  2. Speed is essential to get good tips. The faster we can fulfill the wish of a guest, the happier they will be, and that's what it's all about isn't it? Making our guests happy? Yes it is! If they ask for something, do it immediately. Drop whatever it is you are doing and reply to the request. Do not worry that your bladder is full to aching and you have not had time to go to the restroom for six hours. If table seven demands more bread, do it right away! Your wallet will thank you later.
  3. Always smile. Customers need to think you are enjoying waiting on them. It is important that you hide any disdain you may have for them because it will surely affect your tip. Plaster a big fake smile on your face and keep it there the whole time you are wearing your apron. You might want to try putting Vaseline on your teeth because it will remind you to keep that happy expression. Hey, if it works for Miss America, it can work for you, so smile darn ya, smile!
  4. Always write down your order. Customers tend to think that we severs are ignorant and incapable of doing anything else with our lives, despite many of us having advanced college degrees. If you write down the order, the guest will have confidence that their order will come out the way they wanted it. Even if they only ask for a house salad with ranch dressing, at least pretend to write it down on your pad. Simply scribble a note or a doodle or maybe even something like, "Oh man, this guy thinks I'm stupid." The customer will see you diligently writing in your pad and take note of it.
  5. Never disagree with your customer. The customer is always right in every single possible situtation known to mankind and cannot ever under any circumstances ever in a million years be wrong. It just is not possible. If they tell you that their food took 45 minutes to get to them and you know that it only took 18 because you can look at the computer to see when you rang it in, just nod your head, smile and agree. Apologize for being such a poor wretch of a human being and then offer them a complimentary dessert.
  6. You should never touch your guest. Even though there are studies that have shown that by gently touching a customer on the shoulder when giving them their change and thanking them they will give you a slightly higher tip, do not do it. in this day and age, someone can easily misconstrue that touch as something inappropriate.
  7. On the other hand, if a customer touches you, let them. Whether it is a tap on the shoulder, a poke in the ribs or a grabbing of your buttocks, simply laugh and say "what can I get you?" If you show that you did not like a perfect stranger getting into your personal space, they may find that reason enough to give you less of a tip and we do not want that.
  8. If you follow all of these steps, there should be no reason that you won't receive a 20% from your table. Tipping is subjective though, so don't be surprised if instead of a monetary tip you receive a verbal one like, "You were the best waiter I have ever had!" or "I want to write a letter to your manager about how great you were!" Although these are not tips that will help you pay your bills or rent, they are just as valuable. Embrace them! Sometimes you may receive what looks like a twenty dollar bill only to realize it is a piece of parer with a Bible quote on it made to look like money. (This usually happens in the South.) If you receive this tip, smile and put it in your pocket. It may come in handy later when you have dark cloud over your life and you need the spirit of Jesus to lift you up.


  • No one knows for sure that "tips" stands for "To Insure Prompt Service." Customers will swear up and down that it's truth, but it may or may not be. Just accept it as truth and be prompt.
  • If you get a penny as a tip, this is the customers way of saying that you did not deserve any tip at all. Take the penny and put it in your loafer for good luck!
  • If you have people from Europe in your station, consider adding the gratuity for them as a convenience since in their country they are not accustomed to tipping. It would be doing them (and yourself) a favor!


  • Never complain to a customer about a bad tip. It is grounds for firing at most restaurants. Rest assured that karma will come around get that cheap customer eventually. It isn't worth losing your job over.
  • If you have more than four women who appear to work in an office and they all want separate checks, prepare yourself for a bad tip no matter how wonderful the service. It's just the way they are.

Sources and Citations

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Make Good Tips Being a Waiter. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.


SkippyMom said...

Deliciously sarcastic. And yet - so true.

I hope they leave it this way. It's perfect.

Derby Wallus said...

I work in coffee, so my tips are really aren't anything special. Nickels dimes and pennies, the occasional loonie or toonie (Yay for Canadian Coins!) But I have this one guy that comes in, and every time he gives me a penny.
Just a penny.
But you're right! I should just put it in my loafer for good luck.
Maybe eventually my shoes will be so full of pennies that I will actually be able to buy something with them.
Great Post again, Bitchy. :)

ChiTown Girl said...

You are brilliant!

@Derby - I think that guy need to start getting caramel hocker-chinos. Assbag!

ChiTown Girl said...


the well being said...

love your work.

Coffey said...

I've only commented here a couple of times, in the past. But I am a long time fan of The Bitchy Waiter. Gosh I love this blog! I hope Wikihow keeps the snark.

Emmylee said...

If TIPS was an acronym it would be TEPS instead... To Ensure Prompt Service, instead of insure--like insurance?--which doesn't make sense.

I like the way you write--having never been a server, I can still feel your pain!! said...

Love your blog! I’m a big tipper that has always had an issue with number 4. Please write down my order! As wonderful and fantastic as most waiters and waitresses can be, none of them are super geniuses with photographic memories … and mine is not the only order that they need to remember. Please don’t make me sit and wonder if the food that you’ll be bringing me is the food that I want to eat. Humor me or you tip gets smaller
I couldn’t agree more with number 6. I live in the South and when I get a “Honey/Darlin’” waitress that touches me every chance she gets, I can’t wait to finish my meal and grab some Purell. You don’t know me … do not touch me. End of story. Great post! (Wish I could subscribe to get emails when you post!)

Justme said...

Very good article, I think you got the idea from the comment I posted a few days But you were absolutely right. If I get the treatment you specified I leave way over 20 % If not, my tip equals the level of service I received.

Even if we are annoying which usually I'm really not, because I totally understand your job sucks on a good day and is intollerable on a bad ; I expect prompt service served at least with a half smile.

Jasmine said...

Write the article on Squidoo. It's yours, won't get edited, and you can earn money for your margarita fund. :)

Jasmine said...

Oh, and if you want to see what Squidoo is all about and what a "lens" is, you can check out mine.

Modest Goddess said...

Bwa hah hah. Funny as all hell and I say save the pennies in a bag so eventually you can beat them senseless for being cheap assholes. Perhaps you can get a sweet old lady with Home Economics skills to embroider the words "Bag o'pennies to beat cheap asses' on it. Tie it to the front of your apron so that it dangles in front your crotch as a warning to would-be stiffers. Jingle your crotch abit if they give you any trouble.

Vicki said...

Great post--it made me laugh, as usual. =)

Derby--the guy who is leaving you a penny might be trying to give you a compliment--a lot of coffee shops don't let their employees accept tips so look at it as his way of trying to say thanks without getting you in any trouble. =D (That's how I would look at it ;-).)

Ugh! I used to absolutely HATE getting the "Jesus cards". I'm glad you liked me enough to save my soul but not enough to help me pay my rent. I worked at Denny's on the late night shift when I was 19-21 years old and they used to have "Born Again" conventions and that's what we would get for tips. =( We used to hate that time of year.

Anonymous said...

They kept most of the snark :p

Brittany Clark said...

Love the article I agree with all of it but one. Yes, some women are crappy tippers but I have noticed over time that if four business women are eating lunch and all want separate checks..most of them tend to leave around 3 to 4 dollars each which adds up to 12 to 16 dollars. Of course there is always that one woman who doesn't tip or leaves about 2 dollars but in the end it all adds up...and if its still crappy, always remember your other tables will take care of you. I once had a lady and her daughter run me back and forth to the kitchen over and over again...I was highly annoyed but still stayed positive. Her tab was 50 dollars..the tip she left me was 50 dollars.(this was a lunch shift) Not all women are bad tippers and id rather have split checks with small tips then one check with a crappy tip. Treat every table like it is your last and upsell upsell upsell...I never leave a shift with less than 100 dollars. Just my personal opinion. Great article.