Edited to add: I feel like I need to clarify this post because, for whatever reason (which is no one’s fault but my own), my tone here has been taken by many to be demanding and entitled. Please know I never intended that to come through. I could list a million excuses about why I wrote it the way I did, and I feel like most of my regular readers who are used to my sarcastic writing style get it, but I know not everyone who’s reading this now “knows” me, and I can understand the confusion.
I have a ton of respect for servers and the food service industry. I worked as a server for years. I always try to be a great customer, especially when my kids are with me. This list of “tips” was simply that. Just some suggestions, some ways that could help me make the server’s job AND mine as a parent easier when we take our kids out. I’m in no way saying all of these things HAVE to be done. I’m not demanding them to happen. I’m just saying if they did happen, even just a few, that would really rock, I’d totally appreciate it. But if they don’t? I am not saying I will leave a big mess, be an asshole to you or not tip you. I’m not condoning letting kids run wild in restaurants or asking servers to “babysit” my kids.
I’m truly sorry if this offended anyone. I swear, that was never, ever my intention.
Let me start this post by saying that this isn’t about how to get A tip from me when I take my kids out to eat. I tip fairly when fair service is provided, whether or not my kids are with me. This post is how to get a really good tip from me when I take my kids out to eat. Because if you can make my life a little easier when I’m dining out with them, and get my food to me hot and fast, then I’m probably going to throw some extra dollars at you.
One of my favorite pictures with Kendall, back when I only had one kid to deal with at restaurants. Now I just drink margaritas straight from the pitcher…. when I’m not pregnant.
1. Take my kids’ order fast. We don’t need time to look at the menu for the kids. Stand there for 30 seconds while we glance over the kids menu and decide between chicken nuggets or pizza. Then get their order in quickly. We have approximately 5-10 minutes of “Hey, this place is cool! Look at all the shiny fun things! Yes, I’ll be very good, mommy,” before they start whining and wanting to climb under the table. Please help me get food in front of them by the time that window is up.
2. Don’t forget the grown ups! If I’m not ready with my order when I place the kids’ order, please come back and check on me shortly after. Quick delivery of the kids’ food does me no good if they’re done eating it by the time I get mine.
3. Always bring me extra napkins. Yes, we will always need them.
4. Always put my kids’ drinks in cups with lids. You’ll thank me for this.
5. Don’t place hot (oven or spicy) items within arm’s reach of my grabby infant or toddler. Because duh.
6. Give me clean highchairs or booster seats. If you notice it’s grimy and crusty from the kid before, take a minute to wipe it down. I’m aware it’s not going to be sanitized, but it would be nice to not have to peel the food off with my fingernails before putting my own kid in it, you know? This is probably easier if you take a few minutes after clearing a table to wipe down used highchairs and booster seats before putting them away.
7. Clean our table as we go. Please know that the more that’s left on our table as we eat (empty plates, unnecessary silverware, dirty napkins), the more will likely end up on the floor. I do my best to keep that from happening, but it’s a million times easier if it’s just not there to begin with.
8. Acknowledge my children. Listen, you don’t have to sing nursery rhymes with them or do any magic tricks, but if they say hi to you? Say hi back. If they ask you a question, at least acknowledge them. They are your customers, too. You would never ignore an adult at your table, so please don’t ignore a child.
9. Don’t write me off. I worked my way through college as a waitress, and then kept at it for a couple years after I graduated. I’m very familiar with the food service scene. I think it’s why I’m quick to tip really well when someone does a fantastic job. But if I can tell you’ve written me off as a “table with kids” the minute you seat us, I’m going to write you off. I will work to make your job easier if you work to make mine easier, too.
10. Help me help you get us out of there. Don’t make me chase you down for the check. And once you drop it off, please don’t make me find you to give you my credit card. In fact, chances are I’ll have it ready for you to swipe before you even bring us the bill. Please take it, run it, bring me the receipt. I want to leave. I want to take my kids out of there. I want for you to turn this table over. Help me help you.