It's no secret that this week is Orange County Restaurant Week, when restaurants put on prix fixe menus for lunch and dinner as they introduce (or re-introduce) themselves to the OC dining public. Edwin gave us his suggestions last week.
It's a hard week to be a server, or harder than usual, and it's made just that much worse by people failing to tip enough. This seems, from anecdotal evidence gathered from servers who will remain anonymous, to be a problem during Restaurant Week.
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Tipping is not optional. It's just not. Regardless of its original purpose, it's the American equivalent of the service charge on European restaurant bills. The amount actually paid needs to be about 25% higher than the price on the menu: 8.75% for the government and the rest to your server. (Here's where the armchair libertarians on vacation from the Register's comment section go crazy.)
If you have a problem with the service, please say something, and say it when it's a problem. Please give the staff the chance to salvage your dining experience. If you're uncomfortable talking to your sever (there are some bad apples out there), excuse yourself from the table and go to the host desk and ask for the manager.
Think of it this way: if a diner leaves a bad tip and talks to the management, there's a non-zero chance that the management will correct the server, thus improving the dining experience. If the diner leaves a crappy tip and just walks out, the message received is not, "You have bad service," but, "I'm a lousy tipper."
In the meantime, enjoy the specials while they last!