Archive for Monday, February 2, 2009


Bad behavior: Servers dish about customers

February 2, 2009


Tim Hosler, currently a bartender at Teller’s, 746 Mass., has been serving customers for 15 years and still enjoys his job despite the occasional bad customer.

Tim Hosler, currently a bartender at Teller’s, 746 Mass., has been serving customers for 15 years and still enjoys his job despite the occasional bad customer.

Erica Krause is a server and bartender at 23rd St. Brewery, 3512 Clinton Parkway. She says she can get frustrated with impatient customers and those who cross the line when it comes to flirting.

Erica Krause is a server and bartender at 23rd St. Brewery, 3512 Clinton Parkway. She says she can get frustrated with impatient customers and those who cross the line when it comes to flirting.

David Noffsinger serves a hot meal to Kansas University students Cade Brummer, left, Casey Bryon, center, and Matt Becker.

David Noffsinger serves a hot meal to Kansas University students Cade Brummer, left, Casey Bryon, center, and Matt Becker.

Tips for customers


• Greg Low, Teller’s: Demanding something that’s already there.

• David Noffsinger, Milton’s: Refusing to pay for food they didn’t like.

• Brooke Dacunha, Milton’s: Talking on the cell phone while ordering.


• Andrew German, 23rd St. Brewery: Ask for things like sugar and cream for your coffee all at once.

• Katy Wade, Mirth Café: Tell your server what you want in a friendly way.

• Erica Krause, 23rd St. Brewery: Be patient when the restaurant is busy.

Teller’s bartender and server Tim Hosler has been waiting tables for 15 years. He enjoys the job.

“At the end of the day, you know you did something good, made someone happy,” Hosler says.

In those 15 years, however, he’s seen his share of bad behavior from customers.

“I’ve seen some pretty rude things,” says Hosler, adding that despite how a customer acts, he has to be in a good mood, grit his teeth and be polite.

But Hosler, along with some other area waiters and waitresses, have a lot to say about customers’ bad behavior, pet peeves and misconceptions about being a server.

And they’ve all got that one story about the rudest customer they’ve dealt with.

Milton’s server Brooke Dacunha has been a waitress for 12 years, and while she’s seen just about everything in the line of duty, one story sticks out. Dacunha says that once, after informing a customer his waffles had been burned in the kitchen, replied, “You’d better get me something to eat fast or I’m going to bite your face off.”

Katy Wade, manager and server at Mirth Café, says she once had an intoxicated customer come up to the counter and spit water, like a fountain, in front of her.

And while those are extreme examples of bad customer behavior, there are also some less severe customer behaviors that get under some local servers’ skin.

For Wade, it’s the customers who fail to notice signs, or worse, those who fail to notice her. Wade says she will sometimes go up to a table, greet a customer and receive absolutely no response in return.

Erica Krause, server and bartender at 23rd St. Brewery, gets frustrated by the impatient customer, those “who don’t realize they’re not the only person in the restaurant.”

Krause and fellow 23rd St. Brewery co-worker Andrew German also have the occasional problem with an extra flirty customer.

“Some people do cross the line,” says Krause of male customers who try to get her phone number while she’s working.

But Krause has it easy, according to German.

“The women are worse than the men,” German says when it comes to flirty customers.


It’s not certain behaviors, however, that get to some servers, but rather various misconceptions about those who work in the field. Milton’s server David Noffsinger, who waits tables to supplement the income from his first passion, music, says he feels customers often don’t realize that servers have dreams and aspirations outside of waiting tables.

Dacunha, who is attending Baker University to become a nurse, says that she frequently sees a lack of respect for the serving profession. Dacunha says that while serving is often a stepping stone for people attending college, serving is a profession with a skill set not everyone has.

“It’s a craft we’ve worked hard at,” Dacunha says.

But waiting tables is an easy job. You take an order and bring out the food. Pretty simple, right?

Not so, according to German, who says the job requires a lot of multitasking and running around.

“Its very high, short-term stress,” German says.

Advice to customers

And while certain things just go with the job, servers have some friendly suggestions for customers that can make the job a little more enjoyable.

Wade says the key to a good server/customer relationship is simple: friendly communication.

“We’re not mind readers,” Wade says.

Dacunha’s advice to customers is to try and put themselves in a server’s shoes.

“Try to understand what it’s like to be us,” Dacunha says.


honestone 9 years, 2 months ago

STUPID things servers do:1. When picking up your check and payment the server asks, "Would you like your change?"

geekin_topekan 9 years, 2 months ago

Best servers,Breimer's.Worst servers,First Watch.My experience.

allateup 9 years, 2 months ago

honestone...I agree. If I am asked if I want my change back I always say yes and they never get as big as a tip as they were orginally going to get. I hate that!

Maddy Griffin 9 years, 2 months ago

I always try to be as polite and friendly with the wait staff as I can. I had to wait tables back when my kids were little and it can be a grueling job.Always leave a tip, if the service was good, leave a bigger tip. Wait staff usually make only half the minimum wage(or less) and you never know what that person has going on outside the job. I tried raising 2 kids on $2.00 an hour plus tips for a while and couldn't pay the babysitter.

jafs 9 years, 2 months ago

I'm sure there are some rude customers.However, I've had many experiences with poor waiters/waitresses in this town.While I try to be polite, and don't like the idea of punishing them by tipping less, I wonder how they're ever going to improve?And I'm not talking about "high-end" service, just basic common sense. My wife and I have waited for long times without being acknowledged at all by servers - is it really that hard to say "I'll be with you in a moment"?In fact, we've left several restaurants after being seated for that exact reason.

feeble 9 years, 2 months ago

Some posters need to learn to pronounce "no one cares."

Dixie Jones 9 years, 2 months ago

salty iguana has some rude staff. i too dislike when they say do you want your change back, and i wont leave as large of a tip as i was going to. we have had wait staff at salty come to the table to get the order and to bring our check never to see them between times i have gotten up and got my own water . thoes are the ones who end up with the penny tip. and we no longer to to the salty because 3 times of getting crappy service is 2 times too many i could see it is the place was busy but they werent.

Phil Minkin 9 years, 2 months ago

How about "Are you still workin' on that?" It's not really work, I kind of enjoy eating.

Chris Ogle 9 years, 2 months ago

I have never been a server, but here are my thoughts.Tipping is just that. It should only be expected if the server did his/her job.Don't get mad at the server if your food is food doesn't meet your expectations. If the server is preparing your food, you went to a very, very small place.

d_prowess 9 years, 2 months ago

Here is my pet peeve, people that leave a penny as a tip! I am fine with people tipping less because of bad service or more for good service. But to just tip a penny is a jerk move and usually says more about your character than the level of service you received.

hawklet21 9 years, 2 months ago

Dont: • David Noffsinger, Milton’s: Refusing to pay for food they didn’t like.I disagree. I don't think you should have to pay full price for something you don't like. I sent a sandwich back at 75th Street Brewery because it was disgusting (they put guacamole in it, NOT sliced avocado as advertised.) I asked if I could possibly just pay for the fries, since I didn't like anything else on the menu and I wanted a little something to munch on. They comped my entire meal. Did that have anything to do with my attitude? Probably. I try to be sweet and apologetic when something like that happens, because it really isn't your server's fault if you don't have a taste for something. I just took the money I would have spent on that nasty sandwich and gave it to the waiter instead.

Hoots 9 years, 2 months ago

The would you like your change question is my biggest peave as well. I gave them 2 $20 bills, my check was $22 and they ask me id I need change. Oh, come you really think I'm going to tip you almost 100% of my bill. For me that's a fast way to reduce your tip.

badger 9 years, 2 months ago

I try to be nice to my servers, partly because it's really stupid to upset someone who has access to your food when you can't see it, and partly because there's no real reason not to be nice.My take on tipping is that if there's a reason I feel that a 15% tip (my personal basic for decent service) wasn't earned, then I need to talk to a manager about my concerns. If I leave a penny or no tip at all, the server just thinks I'm a cheapskate jerk. But if I politely explain to a manager, "I waited half an hour to give my drink order, another twenty minutes to give my food order, and almost an hour for my food, which was cold and the order was wrong, and in all that time I only saw my server twice," then the manager can either talk to the server in question if it's an individual problem or schedule more people for busy times because the staff can't keep up.Had an incident at a restaurant on the Plaza about ten years ago. A group of about 20 of us regularly stopped in to eat there every Sunday night and the tab ran into hundreds of dollars. One night, a friend found that she'd mistaken a one for a ten and couldn't pay her bill, so another couple said, "Hey, we still owe you for lunch the other day, so we'll just cover you." The money they were using to cover her was their tip money, so everyone else kicked down an extra fifty cents or so onto their tip so we didn't short the waitress. The husband told her to keep the change, but she came back out, SLAMMED a dollar and a quarter down on the table, and said loudly, "No, you take your change back because I'm SURE you need it more than me."All around the table, every single one of us pulled at least a dollar out of what we'd been putting down, as she stood there and told them that she had been 'nice' and hadn't put the mandatory 18% gratuity on our table, and it was really awful of us to make her run like that and then stiff her on the tip. Eventually, one of our guys went to get the bartender/manager, who hauled her back to the kitchen for a talking-to, but it was the strangest thing I've seen a waitress do. If she'd just waited and counted her money, she'd have found something like a 25% tip on a $300 bill there on the table. We drank a lot of beer and we knew it kept our servers running, so we tended to tip pretty generously.When we went back the next week, she came over and apologized, but she still looked pretty sullen about it. I didn't see her again after that, but I can't imagine she had that job very long. It was the only bad service we ever got there, too. Everyone else figured out, "Hey, that group that comes in here every Sunday eats a lot of food, drinks a lot of beer, and tips really well as a whole."

Dixie Jones 9 years, 2 months ago

ahh prowess you have been one to receive my penny tip... maybe because you were too interested in a game that was on the tv in the bar, the table of boys/girls at another table, maybe your friends were there to talk toor you were just plain mad cause you had to work that night... keeo up the bad service you will get the penny tip. gets the point accross that your a bad waiter or waitress

jonmagic 9 years, 2 months ago

Anyone else getting an insane number of pop-up/pop-under ads all of the sudden on ljworld?

Thinking_Out_Loud 9 years, 2 months ago

Hoots wrote "The would you like your change question is my biggest peave as well[sic]", a sentiment repeated often through this thread. Which, if that's one's biggest peeve, is pretty small potatoes IMO.badger wrote "...if there's a reason I feel that a 15% tip (my personal basic for decent service) wasn't earned, then I need to talk to a manager...." Ladies and gents, we have a winner. I'm not the service-person's manager or employer, and shaping the service-person's behavior is not my job. When I experience unacceptable service, I always both provide a full tip and explain to the manager on duty what happened, why it disappointed me, and especially if I think I won't be back. Then I let the manager shape the server's behavior--which is his or her job. d_prowess is giving us the voice of experience: although I have never been wait staff, I have enough friends who have to know that penny-tipping not only fails to "get my point across," but angers staff.I dislike tipping as a custom. I believe the employer should bear the burden of adequately paying staff. If a waiter/waitress brings in customers and profits for a restaurant, the employer should compensate him/her adequately. However, that's not the economic culture in which we live. So I tip (generally starting at 18%; often more, up to 25%; and on a couple of occasions I have tipped 100%). And I tell the manager when my server needs to improve, or when my server is exceptional.I've watched a lot of servers in this town over the years, and I've watched a lot of customers. Generally speaking, the servers are better behaved than the customers. The poorly behaved servers don't seem to last. And the winner for "worst ever behavior I've seen in a Lawrence restaurant" goes to a customer. Worst behavior I have seen from a server doesn't even come close....

coolmarv 9 years, 2 months ago

Milton’s server Brooke Dacunha has been a waitress for 12 years, and while she’s seen just about everything in the line of duty, one story sticks out. Dacunha says that once, after informing a customer his waffles had been burned in the kitchen, replied, “You’d better get me something to eat fast or I’m going to bite your face off.”Hannibal, is this about you?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 2 months ago

I really don't mind the "do you need any change" question, especially if the restaurant is really busy. If I do want change, I just say so (it's not hard to do,) and if not, there's really no point in making the server needlessly run after and make the change.

mom_of_three 9 years, 2 months ago

Tom, you are a numnut for that comment.

mom_of_three 9 years, 2 months ago

I don't mind the "do you need change" question. That doesn't change my mind about the service I received or the tip I leave. And the majority of the time, my answer is no. Why make them run back to the table with change when it is meant for them anyway, especially if they are busy? i always figure 15% (and sometimes even have to figure it to make sure I don't cheat anyway), and if the service is good, we will leave more. Sometimes I leave another dollar or change on top of the tip the hubby leaves on the charge slip.

trinity 9 years, 2 months ago

hawklet you've ALWAYS been able to flutter your pretty lil' eyes and get free food! not fair! :) and in some pretty dadgum ritzy establishments! :)good service=great tip. plain&simple. and being a pain, talking to me like i'm an old friend or a long lost relative, ignoring me, etc do not rate as good service in my opinion.

snoozey 9 years, 2 months ago

Dining out should be enjoyable, relaxing, and fun. It is an easy and exemplary opportunity for one's kids to polish manners, develop social skills and perhaps most importantly to learn to treat everybody with the dignity and respect they deserve. I cooked, waited tables, delivered and oftentimes mopped up afterwards as a college student working in the industry. Restaurant staff work hard and are not overpaid. Tips make a huge difference and are well deserved with few exceptions. Step up to the plate and show some class when you dine out.

tolawdjk 9 years, 2 months ago

Here's my major annoyance.You haven't had time to get out of your coat, get the kids situated and down, and the damn waiter is there asking what you want to drink and anything for apetizers. Then, when its time to leave, they are never around to give the check, or when they do, it takes half an hour for them to get back to you with your card.I find myself more often frequenting the locations that have an actual human standing next to the cash register to take the waiter wondering time out of the equation.

mom_of_three 9 years, 2 months ago

tolawdjk - And if the waiter wasn't there immediately after you are sitting, would you be upset you were being ignored?And I have never waited half an hour for a card to be returned. Not sure where you have been....

mom_of_three 9 years, 2 months ago

When hubby and I were dating, in college, we went to a nice restaurant. Never been there before, but had enjoyed the service. Hubby wanted to leave a large tip, like 40% or so. But the waiter, who was about our age, wouldn't let him leave anything that large. The waiter picked what he thought was fair and made us take the rest of our change with us.

Ceallach 9 years, 2 months ago

A question for the wait staff, why does the plate need to be removed the moment a person either eats the last bite or hesitates too long before taking another bite? That has always puzzled me. My water glass gets little notice when it needs to be refilled but WHAM gotta get that plate off of the table.

d_prowess 9 years, 2 months ago

Quick comment, I have never been a waiter. I just eat out a lot. But I will stand by my comment that anyone that thinks they get bad service is a jerk for then leaving a penny. As someone else mentioned, if it was that bad, you should talk to a manager. Or even just leave nothing. But to deliberately leave a penny is crappy and I think it says a lot about the person leaving the tip. Life is too short to be a jerk...

Compy 9 years, 2 months ago

Liberty One: where do you work, so I can go there and leave you a penny.

noonehas2 9 years, 2 months ago

worst service ever story:was at the Mass Street Deli before it went under. it was freezing but the hostess seated us in the little room with all of the windows. when we asked to move she just moved us one table over and was coppin major attitude so we were like "screw it".the waitress definitely didn't need the money from the job so it was a wonder why she was working at all. slammed plate down on table. we left a %10 tip and called to complain to manager later, just to have him accuse me of lying. he said it was "hearsay". what are you a lawyer? no you are the manager of a crappy restaurant that isn't getting my business any more! no wonder it sunk, decent food but crappy service every time

Ceallach 9 years, 2 months ago

Ceallach (Anonymous) says…“A question for the wait staff, why does the plate need to be removed the moment a person either eats the last bite or hesitates too long before taking another bite?”1. If it is busy, the kitchen might be running low on plates and so they ask the waitstaff to collect some.they should buy more plates2. It might take two or even three trips to clear an entire table, so the more that gets done before they leave, the less you'll have to do later, and that way you can quickly seat some more customers.weak3. Maybe they just want you to leave. Could be they don't like you, could be you aren't likely to leave a big tip (small party, everyone ordered waters, old people), could be that they are busy and have a line of people.not possible, I am totally loveable4. I tend to think people don't want empty plates covered in used napkins and ketchup cluttering up the ya now?

hawklet21 9 years, 2 months ago

I also get annoyed when a server asks "Would you like change?", but I thought of something while I was reading those posts. Sometimes, people just don't articulate correctly. To a server, "Would you like change?" and "I'll get you your change" pretty much mean the same thing when they're running over to your table and running around everywhere else. Also, most restaurants have those handy-dandy little books to put the bill and the payment in, so a server usually can't tell how much money is in there. Thus, "Do you need change?" would be a completely legitimate and unselfish question. Of course this doesn't apply if your server picks up the money and counts in front of you, but I have yet to see that happen.

hawklet21 9 years, 2 months ago

My point is, go easy on the servers. If you don't, at least tip them well for putting up with you.

callisto1013 9 years, 2 months ago

Seriously people- has anyone ever worked in a restaurant? -Servers ask if you would like change because they are not mind readers. They cannot see that there is two twenty dollar bills for your $22 check- and don't want you to scream at them if they return with change when it was meant to be their tip. You would be surprised at how many people bark at servers for that.- Places like Applebees are turnover restaurants. It's how they make their money- fast food and service-so of course they are rushing you out the door. A good idea would be to let the server know you would like to take your time or that you are going to sit for awhile. And if you are- make sure you compensate them, because you are taking up a table that they could be turning over for more tips. - Plates are removed right away for two reasons: coffee/desert, and so that you don't have dirty plates sitting in front of you.- Your server did not make your food. If you don't like it, let them know. Most servers want you to be happy because it increases their tip. Don't take it out on them if the food wasn't prepared properly, speak to the kitchen manager.- For those of you who leave the "standard" 10-15%, remember this: Servers have to give 3-5% of their daily sales to bussers, bartenders, and hosts. If you leave 10%, that means they are really only getting 5-7%. If service was average, go 15%, pretty good, go 20%, and oustanding, well give a little extra. -When service is really bad, inform a manager. And don't just assume that the service is always like that. I recently had a gentleman curse out a server for being slow- and I mean he really gave it to her- but what he didn't know was that her brother had passed away two weeks ago. The thing that boggles my mind is that normal, good-natured people seem to treat servers like crap. Restaurant staffs are there to serve you- not be your servant.

jenner 9 years, 2 months ago

Oh you silly people who have never worked in a restaurant...I know that some people think restaurant workers don't do much. Well you are incorrect. They are not only taking orders, delivering food/drinks, and schmoozing with customers. They are also doing running sidework(i.e. sweeping the floor, filling the ice, getting more dressing, blah blah blah), cleaning, clearing off tables, and handling money. When the restaurant is full, or even nearly full, your server is more than likely a very busy person. They are doing a whole lot of work for $2.13/hr. Granted, some servers aren't very good at their jobs. They usually either quit or eventually get fired, only to be replaced by someone else who is terrible.Being a rather good server for the last 7 years, I can tell you that it's very frustrating to wait on someone who doesn't tip well, or is very rude. It happens more often than you would think. Note:being nice and telling us what a great server we are does NOT pay the electric bill. ALSO, a card telling me that I need to accept Jesus as my saviour does not help me make the rent.There are a couple of people that come into the restaurant I work in that I simply refuse to wait on. One family comes in, yells at each other almost the entire time, mutters under their breath how stupid you are and how much they hate the servers, then leaves a $2 tip on a $70 check. They do it every time, no matter who their server is, or how great of service they receive. It's just them. What are you suppose to do? You can't refuse them service. You just have to grin and bear it. Then there's the quintessential regulars who always come in, are very nice, but just tip very poorly. Those people aren't quite as terrible to wait on, because at least they're pleasant.To those of you who don't tip at all, or only leave a penny, a previous poster was correct, we servers have to tip out 3% to the hosts and bartenders, no matter what. If you don't tip, we just paid to serve you. We just paid money out of our pockets for you to sit at our table, be rude to us, and take up table space from someone else who would appreciate us. Remember that.

Hoots 9 years, 2 months ago

My little sister waits tables and has for several years so I can relate. Yes, I have waited 30 minutes for a ticket and then another 30 for change in this town many times. In fact it happened to a group of 20 of us just 2 weeks ago. All of us were pissed. We also had to wait forever to get a drink, order our food, etc. It took us 21/2 hours to eat in a place that should take no longer then one hour. All of us wanted to be someplace else sooner. Mom of three must not get out much.

Thinking_Out_Loud 9 years, 2 months ago

callisto1013 wrote "The thing that boggles my mind is that normal, good-natured people seem to treat servers like crap."I have to disagree, though, that these are "normal, good-natured people." I believe people who treat servers poorly are unfortunate and pathetic excuses for human beings. It seems they often are taking out their frustrations, insecurities, and inadequacies on people they think can't do anything about it. I've stopped associating with more than one person who thought it was acceptable to treat servers like serfs. I don't care how similar the words look; the fact that a person is paid to take my order and bring me food and drink does not give me free reign to treat that person poorly.

jaywalker 9 years, 2 months ago

If you wanna see bad service go to Italy. Their level of enthusiasm and attentiveness declines swiftly from the moment you sit down. Had a couple exceptions and only one bad meal. But don't expect good service.Waited tables and tended bar for many years in Lawrence. Worst tipping and behavior invariably came from the Greek crowd, particularly the frat boys. And I think it should be mandatory for everyone to have to work as a server for a week or two just to see what it's like. Ya'd treat your server alot better, I guarantee.

jafs 9 years, 2 months ago

jenner,There may be things that servers do that customers don't realize, but I've seen a lot of waiters/waitresses standing around and talking. Some don't even look around the room to see if anyone's trying to get their attention.Also, how service folks split tips is the restaurant's policy - if you don't like the policy, discuss it with management. I shouldn't have to tip 20% for just decent service.The whole tipping thing is somewhat strange anyway - tipping as a percentage of a meal's cost doesn't make a lot of sense. Meals that cost more don't necessarily require more work from waitstaff - if tips are to reflect actual work done.

jafs 9 years, 2 months ago

And, I agree with the comment that restaurants should simply pay their staff an adequate wage - Ingredient does that, and it seems to work well.

Ceallach 9 years, 2 months ago

Ceallach (Anonymous) says…“1. If it is busy, the kitchen might be running low on plates and so they ask the waitstaff to collect some.they should buy more plates”The waiters should spend their money to buy more plates?****That's exactly what I meant! In high school I worked as a waitress in the Blue Mill Cafe and was required to bring stack upon stack of plates each day to keep the kitchen going without bothering the owners:POn a more serious note . . .does anyone out there remember the Blue Mill Cafe?

Thinking_Out_Loud 9 years, 2 months ago

Ceallach wrote "The waiters should spend their money to buy more plates?*That's exactly what I meant!"You must be joking. The only places I know of where "employees" are expected to provide work materials are some that use contract employees. And then the employees don't provide the essential materials the company needs to conduct its basic business, they only provide their own tools. The analogy here would be if the server were hired as a "service contractor" and were required to provide his or her own tickets and pens. My comment yesterday that "your servers are not your serfs" applies to the employers as well as the customers. Employers have obligations to provide their own materials!!

Ceallach 9 years, 2 months ago

I was joking TOL. Life is too short to spend so much of it being serious :) However, I did work at the Blue Mill Cafe. It was located across from the Granada Theater.

jenner 9 years, 2 months ago

Jafs-I will agree, and like I said in my post, some servers just don't do their job very well. Yes, a lot of them stand around when there's no business, and there's no excuse for them messing something up, or not paying attention to you when it's not busy.Tip outs ARE the restaurant's policy, and we are all fine with that from the get go. HOWEVER, when we give good service, and get a terrible tip or no tip at all, THAT is when we get angry, seeing as how we just just paid to serve you. I completely agree that some servers don't deserve much of a tip, however, unless you notify a manager, the behaviour will continue, and that person will continue to give terrible service. They may eventually quit because they aren't making enough money, or they may just habitually whine every shift until the manager gives them MORE shifts to screw up.I am only trying to give all of you outsiders an insider's point of view. Depending on where you work, you can make pretty good money pretty quickly, which is the draw to the business. Otherwise, most of us completely dislike it.

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