If you’re going out to eat this weekend, do yourself a favor and pay attention to your waiter as much as they’re paying attention to you. If you’ve got an experienced food service worker, they’ve most likely got some psychological tricks they like to play to get a better tip. Here are a few to watch out for.
The Staredown. It’s amazing what a little eye contact will do to you. Waitress Kirsten Bailey says “if someone orders a Long Island Iced Tea, I ask ‘Do you want top shelf or……’ and stare at them without blinking.” She says nine out of 10 customers will order the good stuff if she stares long enough.
They’ll never look too busy. Obviously, they know the better service they provide, the better the tip should be. So no matter how slammed they are, the smart waiters know to make themselves appear available. Zoie Shook used to work at Olive Garden and says she’d always make sure it seemed like her tables had her full attention even if it wasn’t true. “The tables that I took my time on, always appreciated it and showed it generously in their tips.”
They’ll give out freebies. Nothing gets servers out of a fight with an upset customer faster than free food. Gabriela Martinez works at a Mexican restaurant and says some food like sopapillas cost them basically nothing to make but “throwing these in to make an upset customer feel special was something we did to give the impression that we were giving more than we actually were.”
They’ll put higher-price items on display. Alison Bourke who worked at Sheraton hotels says she’d “make up an expensive, brightly colored cocktail and just put it on a tray and walk around the restaurant a few times.” Other guests would see it and then tell their waiter something like ‘I’ll have what she’s having.’