When I first started working at the Grand Marnier Cafe, I was easily the worst server ever. I was constantly bumping into people, fucking up orders and was one of those unfortunate souls who couldn’t carry more than one thing in each hand. Essentially, I sucked. And when you suck at working in a restaurant, you are put into the worst section in the house. For me, that section was D4.
Ugh, D4…even thinking about it now gives me the shivers. Every restaurant has a D4 – servers don’t want to work there, customers don’t want to sit there – it’s where tips go to DIE. To better help you understand just how bad D4 was, I’ve decided to draw you a diagram:
D4 was a section that consisted of four two-top tables, located directly in front of the kitchen. Not only that, but as you can see, the server’s computers were also situated right on top of the section. In addition, the computer area served as a social gathering location for servers to have conversations. Clearly, not where you want to be sitting on your night out.
The other drawback to D4, other than it sucking major dick, was that these tables were part of a longer middle section. Thus, when larger parties came in to dine, my tables would be pushed together to accommodate them. And so, my battle with the autograt was inevitable.
During training, one of the most important things that they tried to ingrain into your memory was the concept of the autograt. Autogratuities were applied to parties of six or more…and it was a procedure. Firstly, you could not apply the autograt yourself – you had to get a manager to do it for you. Anyone in the restaurant business knowns this is easier said than done.
In addition, you were required to verbally communicate to the table that an autogratuity had been applied to their check. Not only that, but you also had to stamp the bottom of the check that said the same thing. This way, they can’t say shit if they “over tip” (if there is such a thing).
But, as all servers know, rules can’t protect you from the stupidity of the human race.
And, the worst and final rule of the autograt is this: in most cases, it is not binding. But, we’ll get to that 🙂