Why Do It This Way?

Last night at work I have this party to share with another waiter for 22 people. Feeling still a bit tired from a wedding I attended on Friday night and working a busy Saturday night I was not looking forward to doing any party of 22 especially of the cheap variety then having to split the tip.

But this is the way it is done in the corporate restaurant scheme of things. So generally when this takes place where I work the manager will give us a couple of tables on the side so as to boost up our chances for making any money in case the party is really cheap. You see there is no tip added onto big parties automatically like in most establishments so you are playing with fire and hoping for the best when it comes time to presenting the final bill.

Well the party arrives just about the same time as our other two tables get seated so aside from trying to get free to take the big party’s food order and drinks we have to wait for each other to be free so we can take the order together and punch it in the same time.

Andrew the other waiter and myself are going back and forth like this,

Andrew : ” I just have to get this order and I will be right with you.”
Me : ” Okay.
Andrew : ” I am ready now.”
Me : ” I just gotta get a drink for this table and then I will ready.”

And it goes back and forth like that. Does anybody really think it is easier to share a party of 22 and have to coordinate all their activity for that table while trying to do their own tables at the same time?

Finally we get to the party and start taking the order and while I am doing this my two tables need their table cleared so I stop taking the order and clear both tables and give them dessert menues. I mean why should they suffer. I know full well the money I will be making tonight will come from what I do with the smaller tables than what happens with the big party.

I head back to the party and finish taking the order. Now I have to find Andrew and we have to punch in the apps at the same time. Then hustle for the drinks and bread. They hardly order any appetizers but we do not want to punch in their entrees yet as we still have things to do with our other tables.

The appetizers come out and now we have to get together to punch our entrees. By seat number of course as this will be separate bills. Meanwhile we are being sat again in our own section. I felt like I was working for 22 tables , not 22 people! And I was splitting the table with someone else at that. I am sure Andrew felt the same way.

Bottom line is give one person the party and let them take care of it 100%. The service will be smoother and with what they ordered or lack of what they ordered it would have taken no time to expedite the meal in a smooth orderly fashion. They even brought their own cake with them for dessert. No charge to them of course. I think because of my attention being diverted away with my own section I missed a main course with the big party. I felt like a rookie. Stupid to miss it but the manager says anyway that I hardly ever make a mistake and not to fret. But I am now feeling like an idiot. I hate it when that happens.

Running around trying to find the other waiter whom you are working with and having to coordinate everything is ridiculous. And trying to give good service to the other tables is a formidable task as there is always drinks to refill or steak sauce to run for.

But you know what? Based on the tip we received from this cheap party and had to split up it is no wonder the manager wanted us to take more tables on the side because the rush had died by the time this party was done and in all after tip out to the house we made $33 each. Even if everything was perfect this party would not have tipped a dime more.

So if one person did it alone they would have made $66 for a party of 22. Are you kidding me!

Well I ended up with $97 at the end of the night because of those other tables. So it really is beneficial doing a party with someone else even though it is a big runaround because if you didn’t the night would be a disaster.

Unless the chain changes it’s ways and starts running pre-arranged set menues for parties of a big size and automatically adds the gratuity at the end this will always be the way it has to be done.

Or else the waiters who work these parties will always be screwed. And we wouldn’t want that would we???



  1. personally I would let the server most comfortable(and capable ) run the big party and the other back them up while handling the other tables and the other server backing up the small table’s service.It eliminates the timing hassle and gives one person who should know whats going on with the large table esp if they end up splitting checks.I also have been noticing when dining out places charging a 20% grat for split checks. Last place is a 6 location home cooking place. Menu mentions parties of 8 or more 20% grat then as separate phrase split checks charged 20% too. Maybe its for 2 tops even -we can wish right?

  2. Food Service Ninja…that would be a better way of doing it for sure.Unfortunately it is what it is at our place and that is the way they like to do it. As well no automatic add on grat where I am so…… well you know what that means.Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

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