Friday, January 23, 2009

Male vs. Female servers

This is an epic battle as old as time. This will not be settled in this blog, nor in my lifetime I imagine. No it is not the argument of abortion, race, politics, or UNK parking! It is males vs. females in the service industry! Who makes more money and why? Who does a better job and why? Who is more detail-oriented, and who is more friendly to customers?
I worked at an "upscale" restaurant for about a year, and would constantly compete with one of our male servers. We would compete to see who could make more money in a night or weekend, who would get more requests for their service, and even who would get more verbal compliments(which is pretty much a way of people justifying the fact that they are leaving you a 5% tip when you both know damn well that you deserved 20%.) Typically, I would win these little competitions, but not always. As frustrating as it was for him, we tried to dissect the reasoning behind this and here's what we came up with.
1) Black pants.
Really? Need I say more? Men put on black pants, and they look professional (especially if they are pressed.) Women wear tight black pants, and they look everything but. Well, they may look professional, but it is not the profession that most women want to be perceived as having.

2) Who is picking up the tab?
Typically men pay for more expensive meals. Typically men tip cute girls more than they tip for good service. I only say typically because there are men out there, like my father, who believes everybody deserves 20% no matter what! Funny that this is the same man who has constantly tried to teach me a hard work ethic, and who opposes any type of re-distribution, or any presidential candidate who would ever be accused of idealizing re-distribution of any kind, hmmmm...
3) What type of restaurant is it, and what type of meal is it?
If it is 6 men at a sports bar watching a game, you can bet your $2.13 an hour that they are gonna want a flirty, ditsy, jersey, lip gloss, and eyeshadow-wearing, girl. Not woman. Not man. Girl. (Now just for clarification, most of these men get frustrated with females who have been serving for more than 6 months, because after that initial 'i don't wanna screw up so I'll just smile' stage, we don't put up with you. Sorry, that quarter you give us per round of Busch Lights you and your buddies are sucking down isn't helping me more than me repeating some random thing I heard on Sports Center a month ago to try to sound knowledgeable is helping you.
Now, on second thought, if this group of 6 men are at an upscale restaurant discussing business matters, they want one of their own. A smart, promising, young man who will eventually rub elbows with these schmoes, and since those are so prevalent in the service industry, they can have their pick. One frustrating thing about men is that while women spend their time competing and hating one another, men form this bond, a bond that typically ends with one guy picking up the tab and the friend who wanted to pay slipping the waitER a $50.

4) Wanna chat?
Women like to talk. In the service industry, this can be a great gift, but it can also be a curse. If a customer enjoys talking with their little entrepreneur who also happens to wait tables, they may bypass the fact that she forgot their salad, and topped off their Absolut and Tonic with water. On the other hand, if they just want to read, talk amongst themselves, or watch a sports game, then a Chatty Kathy is not what they need. This is one of the few occasions that a male server actually comes in handy.
5) Hearts, swirls, and signatures.
Ever get a bill that says 'Thank You...heart your server name here?' Odds are that as delicate as that looks, man hands couldn't have done it. Sweet girls do sweet things, and in-turn they make pretty sweet money. Although this is a minute detail, it does pay off, I have tested it. Men who do the very same thing though, could actually be hurting their tips. No, I do not understand it. Yes, I take advantage of it.

None of these things prove or disprove who does better. No flirting, chatting, black pants, or sweet note on the back of a ticket can make up for good service, and customers will tip according to great service, not according to cup size. Hahaha! Yeah, and Anna Kournikova was a phenomenal tennis player.


  1. Haha! Great read and very interesting - I never thought about this before!