Tuesday, December 20, 2005


We all live in worlds with stereotypes and "waiter world" is more rife with them than many.

Last night on a rockin' pre Christmas Monday my second seating on table 16 was a 3 top, two male suits and a female suit. They arrived from a short wait at the bar with one martini in front of them, not one each, I joked about sharing a drink as a good plan at this time of year and they responded with "well of course - HE'S SCOTS", indicating the man with wine list in hand. Sure enough he quickly ordered "Big Californian Chardonnay @ $150" with an accent straight out of the Highlands.

They were an easy table and Highlander followed up the Chardonnay with a well chosen Red for $175 before finishing with a round of vintage ports. Come time for the bill and Highlander asks for 2 bills one with just the food and 1 with just the alcohol........ my spidey senses go off. One of the enduring cliches in my business is the "only tip 10% on the wine" the theory being that the waiter only had to open the bottle and pour, add in the nationality of the gentleman making the request and I'm smelling cooked goose well before Christmas..

There is some validity to the "10% on wine theory", I suppose, but when waiters have to tip out 5-6% that 10% bite is a bit hard to swallow, but I console myself that it will still be $20 in my pocket.

I drop off the 2 bills and sure enough Highlander grabs the beverage bill while female suit picks up the food tab. I run the cards, drop them off and wish them a "Happy Holiday". Five minutes later they stop on the way out to thank me for the service - another cliched "kiss of death" aka "The Golden Handshake". I drop off dessert menus on table 9 and help Ed clear a bit of his large party before returning to 16 for the billfold pick-up and ......... the wine/port bill was $435 after tax and Highlander left me $85, the food bill was $148 and female suit left me $15 - go figure.

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