Author Topic: Only ordering water when out for dinner?  (Read 14373 times)

shelivesthedream

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #50 on: November 28, 2016, 12:13:48 PM »
Having been a waiter I can feel uncomfortable ordering water because I know that lower than average table bills can really kill a waiter's earnings. Remember that a waiter typically only has 3-6 tables and you are taking one up and not ordering anything, they lose the opportunity to serve other diners. Easy to make up for by tipping well, but the waiter is going to assume the worst from you until they see the tip. It's just a fact that people who are cheap ("frugal") in one way tend to be on the tip as well.

I do appreciate this, but at the end of the day it's a restaurant selling me a nice time, not a charity. So I'll order what *I* want.

Spitfire

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #51 on: November 28, 2016, 02:52:01 PM »
I don't feel pressure/bad about getting only water. I usually say "just water for now," they have never followed up with me. I even just get water during corporate dinners at expensive steakhouses.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #52 on: November 29, 2016, 10:34:41 AM »
Having been a waiter I can feel uncomfortable ordering water because I know that lower than average table bills can really kill a waiter's earnings. Remember that a waiter typically only has 3-6 tables and you are taking one up and not ordering anything, they lose the opportunity to serve other diners. Easy to make up for by tipping well, but the waiter is going to assume the worst from you until they see the tip. It's just a fact that people who are cheap ("frugal") in one way tend to be on the tip as well.

I do appreciate this, but at the end of the day it's a restaurant selling me a nice time, not a charity. So I'll order what *I* want.

There is a difference when you live in a state/country that requires the restaurant pays a minimum wage in addition to tips.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #53 on: November 29, 2016, 11:00:51 AM »
Having been a waiter I can feel uncomfortable ordering water because I know that lower than average table bills can really kill a waiter's earnings. Remember that a waiter typically only has 3-6 tables and you are taking one up and not ordering anything, they lose the opportunity to serve other diners. Easy to make up for by tipping well, but the waiter is going to assume the worst from you until they see the tip. It's just a fact that people who are cheap ("frugal") in one way tend to be on the tip as well.

I do appreciate this, but at the end of the day it's a restaurant selling me a nice time, not a charity. So I'll order what *I* want.

There is a difference when you live in a state/country that requires the restaurant pays a minimum wage in addition to tips.

I've worked as a waiter. I was paid well below minimum wage, and then made tips, which had to be tipped out to bar and back of house. Even though I was at a pretty low end restaurant, I still made better money than working a minimum wage job, quite a bit more.

I STILL order water with my meal.  It is not my responsibility as a diner to meet a minimum bill. I order what I want to eat when I go out. I don't order things I don't want. I don't linger at a table when I'm done so they can turn it over. The turn over for a table who isn't enjoying drinks is also typically quicker. It evens out.

If the waiter is unhappy with the compensation they make based on the average check (some of which will include drinks, entrees, desserts; some of which may just be apps) they should consider working at a higher end restaurant or finding a different job.


Dave1442397

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #54 on: November 30, 2016, 05:30:28 AM »
I usually only order water. I don't drink alcohol, and never have, so I may order a Diet Coke (no, Pepsi is not ok!) now and then. I have noticed waiters looking sad when they realize we're not going to double the price of a meal by ordering drinks/wine, but hey, that's life.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 05:56:37 AM by Dave1442397 »

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #55 on: November 30, 2016, 05:32:16 AM »
I may order a Diet Coke (no, Pepsi is not ok!)

This, 100% this.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #56 on: November 30, 2016, 07:51:03 AM »
I usually only order water. I don't drink alcohol, and never have, so I may order a Diet Coke (no, Pepsi is not ok!) now and then. I have noticed waiters looking sad when they realize we're not going to double the price of a meal by ordering drinks/wine, but hey, that's life.

When I do want a Diet Coke (extremely rare, and usually means I'm on expense account...) I usually say "Do you have Coke or Pepsi products?" and when they say Pepsi I say "Oh, just water, thanks"

ChipmunkSavings

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #57 on: November 30, 2016, 08:18:47 AM »
I've always ordered water, even when I was a kid. I don't like soda, juice, coffee, and tea is usually not as good as the one I have at home. I don't drink much, and don't feel the need to order it when going out. To me, ordering water is not saying ''I'm ordering this because it's less expensive'', but simply because it's my drink of choice, all prices being equal. I don't see why you should feel pressured to order something more.

FiguringItOut

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #58 on: November 30, 2016, 08:26:24 AM »
I don't drink soda, juices, lemonades, milk shakes, or alcohol.  So it's water for me; with a slice of lemon.  I may order coffee if I want one, but that's rare. Never had any issues or pressure. 

englishteacheralex

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #59 on: November 30, 2016, 08:37:32 AM »
I do a lot of mystery shopping at restaurants and the waitstaff gets dinged if they don't make a specific suggestion for drinks. You might be surprised at how much of what waitstaff say to you is scripted/required by the management, especially in large, national chains. Waitstaff trying to sell drinks at a restaurant is pretty much the same idea as Macy's cashiers trying to sell you a credit card. It's nothing personal--they have to do it, and they are incentivized if you bite.

From a management/waitstaff perspective, the ideal restaurant patron is suggestible and just wants to have a good time. He can be talked into drinks, appetizers, and dessert. Mustachians are not really the ideal.

It's just the way the world works. I actually appreciate when waitstaff offer drink suggestions because it tells me they are well-trained and conscientious. Doesn't mean I ever order anything except water!

AZDude

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #60 on: November 30, 2016, 08:45:09 AM »
I have no idea why you would feel pressure to order a drink at dinner. Unless you are there and just eating the free bread/chips/whatever, ordering water, and then leaving its not a big deal.

This is totally in your own head.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #61 on: November 30, 2016, 09:23:21 AM »
I do a lot of mystery shopping at restaurants and the waitstaff gets dinged if they don't make a specific suggestion for drinks.

Yes, I learnt a lot about things that annoy me in stores and restaurants doing mystery shopping!

691175002

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #62 on: November 30, 2016, 10:15:26 AM »
I've always drunk primarily water.  I'm not a huge fan of alcohol, and after you drink water for a while most other beverages are just too strong.  I have to dilute juice/pop or I just don't enjoy it.

Never felt awkward about it, and I've been to Europe where they will bring you a $3 bottle unless you specify tap-water.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 10:18:30 AM by 691175002 »

BlueHouse

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #63 on: November 30, 2016, 10:21:24 AM »
I have no idea why you would feel pressure to order a drink at dinner. Unless you are there and just eating the free bread/chips/whatever, ordering water, and then leaving its not a big deal.

This is totally in your own head.

Not in the OP's head.  Servers sometimes give attitude for a number of reasons. 

I grew up in an era when it was the standard that every restaurant brought water to every diner whether or not they drank it.  Then I waited tables during a time when laws were passed where it was illegal to provide water to diners UNLESS they asked for it. 

When I worked as a server, it was a PITA to provide water.  my station was far from the kitchen.  The drink station was halfway between me and the kitchen.  The drink station had soda, an ice-maker, coffee, and hot water for tea.  In order to serve a glass of water, we had to use a full pitcher of ice and then pour boiling water into it.  There simply was no place in that restaurant that was designed for pouring water for drinking.  I wasn't a very good server, so I'm sure people could sense it when I was annoyed that their very reasonable request was going to scald my hands when I poured tea water into a bucket of ice. 

Kitsunegari

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #64 on: November 30, 2016, 01:43:37 PM »
I do a lot of mystery shopping at restaurants and the waitstaff gets dinged if they don't make a specific suggestion for drinks.

Yes, I learnt a lot about things that annoy me in stores and restaurants doing mystery shopping!

Mystery shopping for restaurants? That sounds like a nice side hustle! How do I apply?!

englishteacheralex

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #65 on: November 30, 2016, 01:54:46 PM »
I do a lot of mystery shopping at restaurants and the waitstaff gets dinged if they don't make a specific suggestion for drinks.

Yes, I learnt a lot about things that annoy me in stores and restaurants doing mystery shopping!

Mystery shopping for restaurants? That sounds like a nice side hustle! How do I apply?!

It IS a nice side hustle, although we don't make much money off it. We get a lot of free food, though. There are several national mystery shopping companies; it takes some googling but they are legit. The company I work for is a locally owned small business on Oahu, which has specialized needs as far as mystery shopping goes. I found the job while combing for writing/editing jobs on craigslist.

It is actually not that easy and took me a few months to get it down to where I could still have fun on a dinner out and do a mystery shop at the same time. There is a ton of writing involved; it usually takes me 45 minutes to an hour to complete the survey/narrative after the meal. It is NOT like writing a Yelp review. You have to include a lot of very specific information, and you have to memorize everything that happens during the course of the meal, as well as all the staff names/physical descriptions. The pay is usually $25-$40 per meal, plus a set amount for the meal that is comped (depends on the restaurant, anywhere from $25-$100+). If you don't include all the detail they are looking for, they don't comp you the money and you're just out whatever you spent on the meal. That has never happened to me, though.

My husband loves it! He's not the one writing the reports (wink). He usually helps me with the staff names/time stamps/food pictures. The gig works best for people with some spare time, good writing skills, good attention to detail, and a built in date (most of the shops require that you bring a second person and it's not like a normal restaurant meal where you can keep up a good conversation--I'm mentally preparing my checklist the whole time, so I'm not the best company. And it helps a lot to have someone who can contribute memorizing all the details. You can't visibly take notes or they'll figure out you're a mystery shopper.)

galliver

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #66 on: November 30, 2016, 03:18:29 PM »
I'm not someone who never orders drinks, but plenty of time I just want water and can't say I've ever felt pressured; I just go by what I feel like. If I'm at a bar, I like to dress up my water with a citrus fruit but mostly to make myself feel fancier (and I like the flavor). It could make your water choice seem more intentional/dietary and less cheap if you're at a fancy place? They don't usually charge for the fruit, btw.

If in Europe I would probably go with bottled/mineral water because my impression is that's what people drink there. When in Rome as they say (heh). If I was with a local or relocating at least semi-permanently I'd research the water policy of [country] and go from there. My family's from Russia and it's inadvisable to drink tap water there unless it's been boiled, so you should really go with tap water at restaurants.

SnackDog

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #67 on: December 01, 2016, 06:24:19 AM »
You might be surprised at how many restaurants just break even on food - all their profit margin comes from drink sales.  If you really like a place, you can throw them a bone by ordering a drink.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #68 on: December 01, 2016, 06:56:51 AM »
You might be surprised at how many restaurants just break even on food - all their profit margin comes from drink sales.  If you really like a place, you can throw them a bone by ordering a drink.

But where does that end? If I decide to stay in instead of going out should I send them money to cover the lost income?

They are a business. If they are losing money on food put up the food price. If enough people are buying drinks to keep them in business then bring me my water.

Am I obligated to go to Starbucks everyday because it's a convenient to my station and I like to buy a coffee a couple of times a year?

PoutineLover

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #69 on: December 01, 2016, 08:45:50 AM »
I almost always just order water because going out to eat is a little luxury, and ordering drinks on top of that makes it too expensive. I haven't really felt any pressure to order anything else, except maybe from a friend who will say something like "it's only brunch if it comes with a mimosa!". But to me, the food is the important part so I don't really care. Drinks can pretty much double the cost of the meal and if I did that every time I'd have to eat out less (and I already don't do it often).

MgoSam

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #70 on: December 01, 2016, 12:25:07 PM »
It's been a while since I've ordered a drink at a restaurant. I rarely, if ever, feel pressured to order anything other than water, though sometimes I might order a pop to indulge myself. I do tip well, though because I respect the waitstaff's time.

TheDeclutterer

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #71 on: December 03, 2016, 10:56:58 AM »
I am of the mindset when it is time to eat I eat and time to drink then drink. 99% it is water with the meal. If hanging out post meal I will have a drink or 2. If not then I will tip decently, I suppose on a % basis the same as if I had 3 or 4 drinks.

MrsTuxedocat

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #72 on: December 05, 2016, 01:23:33 PM »
Thanks again for all your answers. I was at a restaurant for a birthday party last night and only ordered water. I did it! I did feel slightly bad for not ordering a drink but many of my friends ordered a drink (or two).

 I will now only order a drink when I actually want one, so probably like a quarter of the time.