Sunday, February 27, 2011


As an In-Room-Dining server, we earn less than the national minimum hourly wage. So we depend heavily on the generosity of guests with regards to additional gratuities. I say additional because there is a 20% gratuity included in each check. That gratuity is actually divided among the staff working that day (servers, captain, order takers, etc.).

The additional gratuity written on the check by the guest actually goes directly to the server who delivered the order. This usually leads to some healthy competition among the servers. They each have their own way to encourage guests to give them an additional tip (whether it's written on the check and given directly to the server in cash form).

I work with a guy who is obsessed with money. This unhealthy obsession has led him to stealing orders from his co-workers, bad mouthing his co-workers to the regular guests and many many other despicable acts. He is so busy trying to sabotage his co-workers that his own performance level has declined.

Now, he has resorted to actually writting in his own gratuity on any check where the guest did not total up. If the guest simply signs the check but does not total it, he just writes in an additional tip for himself.

Friday, February 25, 2011


As an In-Room-Dining server, you have the opportunity to meet a lot of celebrities up close. The subject of celebrities, be they singers, actors, athletes, etc., is very interesting. You have celebrities who are very very nice & friendly (not to mention generous tippers). There are also some celebrities who aren't as friendly or as generous.

Many celebrities make certain demands or requests upon staying at certain hotels. I remember once, while I worked at a 5 star hotel on Miami Beach, a very famous actor/director/producer came to stay at the hotel. Being height challenged, this celebrity's only request was that absolutely no one make any comments or smart ass remarks with regards to his height. The managers were so adamant about making sure that everyone watch what they said in the presence of this star that they had everyone frazzled.

The star called In-Room-Dining and ordered a burger. It was my turn to deliver an order, so I set up the tray, picked up the burger in the kitchen and headed for the star's hotel room. I arrived at the room, knocked and waited for the star (or an assistant) to answer the door. When the star himself answered the door, I was very startled at exactly how very short he was! I did not stare and was doing very well, if I say so myself, at keeping my composure.

I uncovered the plate to show him the burger he had ordered. He asked me for extra ketchup. I answered: "Sure Mr. _______, I'll be back in a short while." Oh my God, why did I use the word short. I really did not say it in reference to his height or anything. He looked at me like he wanted to strangle me (if he could reach my neck). I just hurried out of his room to go for the extra ketchup.

By the time I reached the In-Room-Dining department, my manager was waiting for me. He said Mr. "celebrity" had called him and was ranting and raving about how disrespectful I had been with him. So, my manager asks, "What the hell did you say to him?!" I explained to him what I had said. All of a sudden my manager starts laughing uncontrollably! Talk about breaking the tension in the room. By this time, the order taker, the other servers and I start laughing uncontrollably as well.

The manager ended up delivering the extra ketchup to the celebrity and reassured him that he had "reprimanded" me. He actually lied to the celebrity and managed to calm him down enough to keep him from filing a formal complaint with the hotel's general manager.

Another time, there was a huge female singing superstar who demanded that upon delivering an order to her room, no one was to look at her straight to her face. What do I do upon entering her room? Look at her straight to her face (eye to eye). I did it deliberately because I could not believe that someone who claimed to be so "heart warming", "humble" and dedicated to her fans would actually be such a bitch! I was fortunate that, despite being such a nasty diva, the superstar did not complain about me.

For the record though, I still buy this superstar's music. She may be a bitch but talent is talent.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


At the hotel where I am currently employed (as in most if not all in South Florida) there is a 20% gratuity included in every in-room-dining check as well as in every restaurant check. There is also a space encouraging guests to write in an additional tip for the service rendered. There are many generous and grateful guests who do include an additional tip. For them, we are very grateful.

There are many other guests, however, that tend not to tip extra. I'm sure they have their reasons. Many guests are under the assumption that the 20% gratuity included in the check goes directly to the server (or waiter) who serviced or delivered their meal. That is most certainly not the case. Guests don't realize that the 20% gratuity is divided among all the employees on that shift: the servers, the captain, the busser/runner and the order taker.

I suppose that the 20% gratuity is added to each check to ensure that the staff receives some type of compensation for their work since their hourly wage is way below the national hourly minimum wage. There are cheap guests that, even if there was no gratuity included in the check, would still not tip. Thankfully, those types of guests are not the majority.