Big Tips

Going out to eat means dealing with waiters and waitresses. Or, more accurately, going out means waiters and waitresses have to deal with you.

To get that perspective on eating out, we talked to Bridgett and Violetta (not their real names). For the past few months, they've been working as waitresses at Five Crowns in Corona del Mar. They are both in their early 20s and love going out.

OC Weekly: So where do you like to go eat?Violetta: The Yard House. The food's okay, but I really like the atmosphere. Bridgett: Yeah, but only on certain nights. Thursday night is a real meat market. They also have really big portions. The other night, we split nachos that were so big. Muldoon's has really good food, too. They have these special nachos that have potato chips and regular nacho chips. They're called Irish Nachos. Violetta: I also like Tuna Town because they have a lot of hot guys working there. The sushi there is really fresh. I love the rainbow roll, the salmon and the shrimp. They also have really nice silverware. So sushi is your favorite food?Violetta: No, pizza is. Pizza is my comfort food. When I'm drunk or hung over, I'll have a pepperoni pizza the next day. Haus of Pizza is really good. Bridgett: I love grilled-cheese sandwiches. Violetta: This, from a girl who is a vegetarian. Bridgett: I am a vegetarian! I don't eat fish or meat, and I don't eat milk or eggs. Violetta: Hello! Cheese comes from milk! Bridgett: I know that! I don't eat milk or eggs because I'm a vegetarian, but because I just don't like them. But grilled-cheese sandwiches are easy to make, and I can get them anywhere, even if they're not on the menu. How do you treat food servers and waitresses when you two go out?Violetta: At the minimum, we tip 15 percent. Even if the server does a mediocre job, we still give 15 percent. But if the server is being attentive, always checking to see if our drinks are filled, then they'll get 50 percent. Bridgett: We've tipped 50 percent at Denny's. Why is tipping so important?Bridgett: People are going out to have an experience. We're simply providing quality service. Violetta: People also need to remember that, no matter what, we're giving 30 percent of our tips to the busboy, bartender and wine captain. Usually, we'll tip more, like if they went beyond their job. Bridgett: Some nights, no one is ordering drinks, but we still have to tip out. What about the tips you get as waitresses?Bridgett: If we take all the good tips we get and all the bad tips we get, it averages out to about 15 percent. But it should average out to 20 percent. Violetta: What also sucks are "verbal tips"—customers who say we've been great, but then tip you just 8 percent. That's horrible. And someone needs to educate older people—the standard tip today is 20 percent. Fifteen percent tips were okay five years ago, but not now. But the worst are people that come in with discounts who tip off the discounted bill and not the original bill. Bridgett: That's simply not appropriate. Even though the bill is discounted, we're still bringing the customer the original amount of food and drinks. And we get taxed on the total amount that we sell, not the discounted amount. Violetta: We have to deal with this every night. On the whole, I'd say only 25 percent of our customers tip well. I mean, you'd think most people would tip us well considering the costumes we have to wear. It's a low-cut wench's uniform, like an English maid's. The cap looks like a mushroom, and the shorts are really short. Maybe if we showed more cleavage, we'd get better tips. Five Crowns, 3801 E. Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar, (949) 760-0331; Yard House, 1875 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa, (949) 642-0090; Muldoon's Irish Pub, 202 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 640-4110; Tuna Town, 221 Main St., Ste. A, Huntington Beach, (714) 536-3194; Haus of Pizza, 1500 Adams St., Costa Mesa, (714) 751-8777.

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