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Old 12-02-2008, 11:50 AM
 
9,238 posts, read 20,085,119 times
Reputation: 22355

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Attention all waiters/waitresses: When you get a table of one, don't just assume it'll be a crappy tip and give the person low priority. Those of us who go out to eat alone might be your biggest tipper of the week if you treat us well!

I go out to lunch several times a week, and I like to go to sit-down restaurants with servers, where I can sit, do some paperwork or read, while having lunch. I like eating alone; it's the only time I can get away from 50 people coming to my office and asking me questions.

Whenever I go to a place where I'm not a "regular," I encounter problems like this:
  • I say "table for one please," and the hostess exhales loudly and says "One? Hold on...." and then takes the party of four waiting behind me.
  • I sit at my table for 5-10 minutes, ready to order and no server comes. When they finally do they say "Oh, you're ready to order? I thought you were waiting for someone else."
  • I don't get the basket of bread or basket or tortilla chips put on my table automatically, like all of the larger parties get.
  • Tables around me with 2,3,4 people who came in AFTER me get their food and later, their check, before I get mine.
  • I sit there thirsty, wanting my drink refilled, but can't get the server's attention as they banter with the larger parties.
  • The small tables for 1-2 people are crammed in the corner by the door to the kitchen, when others get big comfy booths.
  • In some places (like diners) when you are dining alone, they tell you so go to a counter rather than seat you at a table.
Sheesh! I am dressed nicely, in business or business-casual attire, so they aren't making judgements based on that. I guess they just think that one person means not much of a tip, and therefore not worth putting out any effort for. Little do they know, I'm a very generous tipper!

Has anyone else experienced this? Lone diners unite!!!

Last edited by Tracysherm; 12-02-2008 at 11:56 AM.. Reason: typo
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Old 12-02-2008, 11:57 AM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
714 posts, read 2,097,836 times
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You know, I have honestly not experienced this but I don't dine out alone very often. Usually just on business trips, or maybe once every couple of months at home.

And while I haven't personally experienced this, I have heard about it. I've also heard that it's worse for females (which I am) so I actually expect the bad service, and end up being surprised when I don't get it.

Re: sitting at the bar, I actually do prefer this when I'm on business trips. I like watching the television, and usually (not always) bar means faster service since you're always near the person serving you.
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Old 12-02-2008, 12:06 PM
 
Location: Florida
7,437 posts, read 13,311,036 times
Reputation: 9826
I have experienced alot of what has been mentioned. I don't eat out nearly as much as I use to, but I use to be a frequent diner and sometimes it would be on my own. My biggest pet peeve if I dine alone is, the location of the table and the general lack of service I get. I don't ask for much in a restaurant, but I really don't want to sit next to that little cubicle area where the dirty dishes are being put. The wait staff running back and forth from that doorway carrying trays over my head as they skirt by me. I will sit at the table and notice tables with groups of people being served and waited on with alot more courtesy than I am getting. I have been in some restaurants where after the meal was served I never heard from the server again, even to the point of having to find my own bill. I have also walked out of some restaurants when the server never showed up at the table period. Yes there is definitely some lousy service around if your eating alone.
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Old 12-02-2008, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Arlington Virginia
4,538 posts, read 8,403,247 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimrob1 View Post
I have experienced alot of what has been mentioned ...
Thanks for this. I used to be a road warrior, and you have described the experiences very well.
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Old 12-02-2008, 12:27 PM
 
Location: anywhere
1,730 posts, read 4,260,681 times
Reputation: 1860
My advice is be a great tipper lol. After a few times eating alone out and leaving a good tip the servers now fight over me lol. I get the best tables and great service all around. Might be a bit pricey in this economy but it does work.
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Old 12-02-2008, 12:31 PM
 
Location: Fairfax
2,879 posts, read 6,361,334 times
Reputation: 1254
Great point. I was a server a while ago and some of my best customers/tippers were by themselves. As long as you're not sitting at a booth that can hold more people I never minded at all.
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Old 12-02-2008, 12:38 PM
 
Location: Florida
21,069 posts, read 21,684,791 times
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How does one avoid sitting at a table/booth that would seat more when, quite often 4 settings are the norm?
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Old 12-02-2008, 12:40 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
714 posts, read 2,097,836 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old_cold View Post
How does one avoid sitting at a table/booth that would seat more when, quite often 4 settings are the norm?
Here sir, you may have a plate, a fork, a knife, a napkin, and here's a 5 gallon bucket for you to sit upon.

I am disappointed to read about so much bad service. I was a waitress at one point, and I know it's a tough job, but when my tables got bad service it's because I was a lousy waitress, not because I profiled them in any way as good or bad tippers. And I was, too... a really bad, bad, terrible, waitress.
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Old 12-02-2008, 12:57 PM
 
Location: Arlington Virginia
4,538 posts, read 8,403,247 times
Reputation: 9717
I know it's not always the wait staff that determines the table where you will sit so I don't "shoot the messenger." And some of my most memorable enjoyable meals have been ones where there was a friendly face and good service when I was alone . And these had all received generous tips. A pleasant meal can mean a lot to a traveler who is alone and under pressure on a business trip.
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Old 12-02-2008, 01:03 PM
bjh
 
Location: Memphis - home of the king
36,633 posts, read 25,257,687 times
Reputation: 126213
Quote:
Originally Posted by diertac View Post
And while I haven't personally experienced this, I have heard about it. I've also heard that it's worse for females (which I am) so I actually expect the bad service, and end up being surprised when I don't get it.
I've heard that that is a further bias, one: being alone, two: being female.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathleen1971 View Post
My advice is be a great tipper lol. After a few times eating alone out and leaving a good tip the servers now fight over me lol. I get the best tables and great service all around. Might be a bit pricey in this economy but it does work.
I don't think it is fair to people who might not be able to afford to be a big tipper. Mind you, I am certainly not blaming/criticizing you for your post.

It is ridiculous that a single diner, who if they live alone already has the added expenses of that, should have to become known as a big tipper to get good service.


---
When I dine alone I give a good tip, as usual, and many times get a surprised response in the form of an exagerated thank you from the server.

I once dined at an Ihop and was given very shoddy service from the waiter. Had to wait 10 minutes to get silverware even after the food had come, had to trip the waiter, so to speak, to get a refill.

There was a couple with a young child at teh next table that just ran the guy like a dog: Will you bring us this? Can we have another thing-a-ma-***? They even asked him his name and chatted with him. It was ridiculous.

They left and stiffed him - nothing. Due to his bad service to me, I gave him a standard tip (15%) because that is what I do for all but the worst service, and he was so obviously surprised and apologetic to me. Maybe it taught him a lesson, maybe not. I should have told him I often tip 20%+ for good service. Oh well, the things you think to say after the fact.

Last edited by bjh; 12-02-2008 at 01:12 PM..
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