Nolan Dalla Rant: A Guide to Restaurant Tipping
NOLAN’S GUIDE TO RESTAURANT TIPPING
1. Food Service
Start with 20 percent of full bill (tax included) and work way either up or down, based on the following events.
If server approaches my table within the first two minutes, maintain 20 percent tip. Then, deduct one percent for every minute the server is tardy. If server shows up 2 to 3 minutes late and then profusely apologizes, reset meter to 20 percent. Moreover, if server stops by and asks for more time, allow one reset. But no more than one reset permitted.
If no waiter shows up within five minutes, bolt for the door. No questions asked.
If I am alone or dining with Marieta, we ALWAYS order everything IMMEDIATELY. I do not want to fuck around and have multiple visits from some college kid asking what I want on each course — drinks, appetizers, and main course. Let’s get to the point, I am here to E-A-T. Not listen to someone’s life story.
Furthermore, I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW THE WAITER’S NAME! I am ordering a meal from you, not buying a fucking house.
If waiter tells me his/her name, deduct 5 percent. If waiter tells me his/her name and is actually WEARING A NAME TAG (utter madness), belittle the establishment with the opening remark, “how the fuck can you work in a place that makes you tell the customer your name? I want a burger, I don’t fucking want to be your chat friend.” Sorry, but ordering one meal from you is not going to get me to accept your Facebook friend invite.
If waiter shows any attitude about my order whatsoever — the way I order it, the way I want the food prepared — deduct 5 percent. Note: I usually come loaded with my stock comment that “We are trying to catch a movie” (dinner) or “we have a doctors appointment in an hour” (lunch) to get their asses moving. Use one of these stock verbal cattle prods in advance if it looks like you drew a slow waiter. They almost always work
In order to keep all of my glasses completely full, tell waiter “I need to take some medicine and need to be hydrated.” This will ensure they keep the glasses topped off. Slip the busboy a few bucks on the side, if necessary.
If waiter does not bring *ME* my San Pellegrino mineral water and tries to SHARE IT with the rest of the table, immediately seize command of the situation and lambaste the waiter for not fucking listening. Deduct 5 percent. They can order heir own fucking drinks. Bring me mine. I do not grab someone’s margarita and start gulping it down when they order. So, why do they fucking ASSUME the sparkling water I FUCKING ORDERED is for *everyone.* It’s not. It’s for me. Some people order a soda. I order Pellegrino. Bring it, pop the cap, and then keep your hands OFF my bottle.
If waiter brings me a cold glass, multiple limes, and sets me my own Pellegrino in front of me, especially serving me first before the rest of the party, ADD 5 percent.
SPECIAL COMMENTS ABOUT WINE:
Do not get fucking snooty with me that I do not order a $100 bottle of wine. I drink a bottle every day at home and I pay one-quarter the price that you charge for your jacked up grape juice. I MIGHT order a bottle of wine on a special occasion and if I do, don’t fucking upsell me on the $42 bottle of Zinfandel to a $74 bottle of whatever, so you can shake me down for $7 more on the tip.
Furthermore, do not EVER touch my wine bottle. EVER! You let me pour it. I know your fucking game. Trying to top off all the glasses so we might blast through the first bottle and order a second. You aren’t fooling anyone. I know how to pour the fucking wine. Just keep my other glasses full, my guests happy, and make sure they are moving it along in the kitchen. You take care of the fucking food. I’ll handle the wine.
Now onto the food…..
If I ask to hear about the daily specials, that’s fine. But do not read me “War and Peace” with the ornate descriptions and preposterous options. You are serving a meal, not auditioning for a movie role. I may have my mind completely set on the rainbow trout. I do not want to hear about how tasty the fucking Talapia is, because I know if you are pushing it, it’s about to turn bad. So, when I order, keep your trap shut, write if down, and start running off to the kitchen when I have completed my order.
Waiter is not to be blamed for late orders or condition of food, UNLESS they get the order wrong. For instance, if my steak if undercooked, I am not taking it out on the waiter. But if the waiter DOES NOT FUCKING LISTEN and brings me the baked potato with sour cream or some other shit I do not like when I MADE IT CLEAR I wanted “butter only,” then they must pay a price. Deduct 5 percent. If they get 3+ things wrong then call for manager (dessert is probably going to be free).
If waiter keeps my glass full (water, ice tea), add 2-3 percent. If waiter does not at least glance at me each time he passes by my table, then deduct 5 percent.
Do not come up and interrupt me just as I am delivering the punch line on a joke that took me two courses to set up. If I am in mid-sentence, keep on walking as long as I am talking. I will SUMMON YOU if I need something. Be sure and watch Marlon Brando in The Godfather as a training exercise on how I expect to be treated. When I raise my right hand slowly and make a waving gesture while looking around, it means I need attention. Immediately drop what you are doing and come service me. But watch my hand carefully. If I wave you off, do not disturb me or my guests.
When my dishes are finished, I want them off the fucking table. Period. For every minute an unsightly plate remains on the table, deduct half a percent. If it’s a fancy place, then deduct .75 percent, because there is more staff.
A SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT BUTTER:
I expect to get REAL butter. Not margarine. Not some fucking honey whip. REAL FUCKING BUTTER.
And, if there are four people in my party, we expect at least six tin foil segments PER PERSON. Better yet, bring a whole stick. When I get four slivers of tin-foiled butter and there are four guests, I am going to run your ass back to the kitchen like you are galloping in The Preakness. So, save yourself the fatigue and the embarrassment of making multiple trips and BRING ME MY BUTTER, and plenty of it.
And one more thing — keep the bread basket full.
If waiter REMEMBERS I was in a hurry and asks if he/she can bring the check, or asks for a dessert order in advance while I am having the meal, ADD 5 PERCENT. This shows common sense. If waiter is a foreigner, void this step.
If waiter brings me anything complimentary during the course of the meal, and it’s not customary, add 5 percent.
If waiter asks me any personal questions during my meal, deduct 2-5 percent depending on situation. I do not want a stranger knowing my business. I am there to fucking eat the food, not engage in time-wasting dialogue.
If I see waiter/waitress goofing off while I need something, deduct 5 percent. If I see waiter walk by my table when I have my hand up, and he does not see me, deduct 5-10 percent. The server’s eyes should always be focused on the field of play, and that means me at all times.
Finally, when I am paying cash and server asks me ‘DO YOU NEED CHANGE?” automatically reset anything above 15 percent back to 15 percent. “Yes, sweetheart. The fucking bill is $43. I gave you three $20s. The other $17 was NOT for you. You just dicked yourself out of two bucks.”
Also, when bringing me my change, give me extra ONES and FIVES. You want to gamble that I am going to leave a ten-spot on a $39 check? Bzzzzzt, You fucking lose. Nothing more irritating than flagging down the waiter, finally getting your change, and the motherfucker leaves you hanging with a dick in your hand having to flag his ass down against and try to break a fiver.
II. Bar Service
See above about greet times. I better have a cocktail in my hand within about three minutes, or you are getting STIFFED.
If bartender knows what I am drinking, that’s an automatic $2 (single drink).
If bartender asks me what ball game I want on TV, that’s an automatic $3. If bartender hands me the remote control, that’s an automatic $5.
If bartender knows the proper way to make a drink (shakers, ice, glasswear, etc.) that’s an automatic $2 per drink.
If bartender is female and shows cleavage, she gets no fucking breaks. I am there to drink and watch he ball game, honey. Not to look at your rack stuffed into an undersized banana sack. If I wanted to see tits and ass, I would be at a strip club (which I do not frequent — EVER). I’m a totally equal opportunity tipper. But don’t think laziness or indifference will be covered up by a nice set of double DDs. Just bring me my god damned drink and keep my glass full. That’s your job.
If bartender makes me pay for each drink as I go like I’m some kind of checkrunning mook, $1 max. That’s it. If he lets me run a tab, usually tip 25-30 percent of tab. If my team covers the spread, then automatically tip 30 percent. If my team takes it in the ass and does not cover, automatically tip 20 percent.
A final word on seating and hosts.
When I walk in your restaurant I expect to be seated IMMEDIATELY. Chances are, I made a reservation and am on time. I kept up my end of the bargain, now keep yours.
Do not try to seat me either:
(1) Next to the kitchen — I do not want to hear the kitchen door slamming every 15 seconds, the cooks cursing in Spanish, or the waitresses gabbing about their cycles. I am there to enjoy myself and entertain my guests. You locate the best real estate in the room and you SIT ME THERE. Now!
(2) Next to the bathroom — I do not want to hear the sound of a flushing toilet every 30 seconds while I am savoring my chateaubriand. Moreover, I do not want to be annoyed by odd odors and then try to decipher if it’s coming from the kitchen or the bathroom.
(2) Next to any infants — look at me….do I look like I want to be seated next to a fucking toddler? I demand to not have ANY person younger than 16-years-old within 30 feet of me while I am present.
If the owner or host comes by my table I shall compliment all that I see that is positive. Since I am very easy to please and have such a laid-back attitude about dining, I am appreciate of hosts and owners taking the time to ask about my experience.
These guidelines should serve you well.
— Nolan Dalla