Waiters rely on your tips to pay their bills. Instead of restaurants paying their servers a livable wage, they are dependent on the customer to do the math and pay a tip for each bill. It makes more sense, at least to me, for restaurants to pay their servers more and then just pass the expense on to customers in higher fees – since you’ll have to pay for it anyway. Some restaurants are doing this. And it helps provide better service to all tables rather than just the big ones or the “big spenders.”
But it is a fact of American culture that servers need to work for tips. And their tips are tied to how much money you spend at the restaurant. If you’re giving 20 percent, the number gets bigger and bigger depending on the bill. That’s why most waiters use tricks to get you to spend more money – even when you’re not hungry.
A few tricks will force you to spend more money. For example, many servers won’t tell customers there is a small size for a juice or coffee unless it is specifically asked for. They’ll also offer samples of wine as this encourages the table to buy alcohol and “lubes” up the customer’s willingness to spend.
But if you’re on a budget, you can best the servers at their tricks. It will save you money.
One worker at a café revealed that when a server asks, “Would you like a medium or large?” when someone is ordering a drink, they’re not mentioning the most affordable size.
A waiter at Olive Garden offers wine samples to encourage people to buy booze. But he also had a trick for dessert:
“Dessert is a hard sell most of the time. People are full at this point, especially at the Olive Garden. You have to be creative. Sometimes you bring actual desserts to the table so they can see what they look like. Other times you offer to split them up in the kitchen so it’s not too much. You can also offer alcoholic dessert drinks or drinks to compliment dessert choices. Even if no dessert is ordered you might get another round of alcohol.”
Some waiters even trick customers to spend more. For example, one waiter knows a trick that when someone buys a coffee dessert drink, the waiter might ask if they want ice cream or chocolate syrup with it. But little does the customer know that stuff gets charged extra and they don’t bother telling you that.
Some bars pour cheap alcohol into the premium bottles but this is illegal.
Another trick is that when people ask for recommendations, the server suggests that second most expensive thing on the menu. If they encourage the customer to buy the most expensive thing, it is too obvious that they’re trying to take their money from them.
When you go to restaurants, do you watch out for servers’ tricks? Now that you know a few of them, you can save money when you go out to eat. Then you can go out more often.
Will you watch out and beat them at their own game?