Author Topic: Only ordering water when out for dinner?  (Read 14344 times)

MrsTuxedocat

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Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« on: November 24, 2016, 08:52:18 PM »
It's weird, but when I am going out for a meal, especially dinner. I feel so much pressure by servers to order a drink with dinner. Most of the time, I don't even want the drink.

I live in a very HCOL and a drink is usually between (7-12) at a mid-range place. Do you feel the pressure by waitstaff? How do you handle it?

mxt0133

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2016, 09:09:45 PM »
No pressure for me.  Before it was to save money but now it's for health reasons, so I fell no guilt whatsoever.  I even go out to bars to hang out with friends and only get a club soda.  Most of
The time they don't even charge me for it but I still give them a tip. 

doneby35

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2016, 09:10:43 PM »
I've never felt any pressure and I always just ask for water.
They do ask what kind of drink would I like, I say just water for me, that's all, I don't think they really care, and if they for some reason did care that i'm only getting water then I wouldn't care :)

Cpa Cat

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2016, 09:13:59 PM »
I do not have this issue.

"What would you like to drink?"
"Water, please."

"Would you like anything other than water?"
"No thanks, water is good."

What does this pressure sound like? I'm curious what they say?

It feels like it would be awkward if they responded with, "Are you SURE???" or "BUT WE HAVE COKE PRODUCTS!!!"

Two instances of pressure:

1. We used to frequent a Chinese restaurant and they were always trying to get us to order Boba tea before our meal, which I found peculiar, because it seemed very filling and also more like a dessert drink. But the asian patrons liked it.

2. There was a new restaurant who hired a sommelier. He seemed pretty keen to get us to buy wine. But I think it was because he had nothing else to do.

snogirl

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2016, 09:21:29 PM »
I don't drink booze, juice or soda. Its water for me. Always. I don't care what they think about my choices. No. Water only please. Thank you. Repeat as necessary.

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MsPeacock

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2016, 09:22:17 PM »
Hmmm... I've never felt pressured to order anything other than water.

What happens that causes you to feel pressured?

geekette

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2016, 09:22:42 PM »
Even when coffee/tea is included with the meal, I drink water.  Pressure?  What pressure?

Penny McSave

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2016, 09:32:47 PM »
Just remember it's nothing personal. Part of a server's job is to up sell; you spend more, they (potentially) make more. The drink is only the first obstacle, kind of sets the bar to what the customer is open to buying.

I wouldn't think too much of it. Instead of feeling pressure, have fun watching the staff use all their sales tricks on you. ;)

Frankies Girl

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2016, 09:48:08 PM »
Good grief - no pressure ever. I order water as my only drink 99.9% of the time.

They make suggestions because most folks do order drinks, and they like you to buy more things. Do you feel guilty if you don't order an appetizer? Cause most places I go do make suggestions for those too. And then they ask if you want dessert after the meal. It's all to get you to buy more food/drink and that's all the suggestions are. They only care in that the more stuff you pay for, the better the tip.

Drinks are easy money for the restaurant and server since they're so cheap to offer and yet can mark up 6X minimum over what it costs them. I used to be a waitress when I was in college, and I remember they told us that the sodas were dirt cheap and they didn't care how much the staff drank, but they were a minimum of $4 a glass for the diners.

I also remember a restaurant manager I knew said the easy way to placate upset diners was to offer a pitcher of soda or "house" beer. It cost them pennies, but the pitchers were expensive to the patrons, so if they started complaining about something - offer pitcher of drink and they think they got something valuable - so everybody is happy. ;)

If you are really getting crap about what you do or do not order, is it the same place every time? Is it a "drink minimum" type of bar or something? Because that's the only thing I'd think was even remotely acceptable. Any place where the waitstaff consistently made you feel bad about what you order (or don't) I'd stop going to. That's how I'd deal. There are plenty of restaurants out there that have good staff and good food and drink.



FIRE_at_45

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2016, 10:57:09 PM »
Same.  I sometimes order hot water with a lemon.  They don't charge for that but somehow it feels more 'right' in a bar setting.  Usually it's just water and that's what I like to drink.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2016, 03:53:01 AM »
I ask for a jug of water for the table while we look at the drinks menu as we are sitting down. Not for awkwardness but because I dislike the places that bring you a glass of water the size of a thimble and I drink a LOT. Would that help you OP?

Also, focus on the question they ask you: 'what would YOU LIKE to drink?' If you feel like you're being pressured just remind them that they've asked you a specific question and they have the answer. If they pressure you again admire the tenacity!

I know what you mean about the pressure. I often find that they'll forget the water from a round of drinks so you have to ask for it again or set out wine glasses on the table and pointedly take them away if you order water or other soft drinks.If you're properly anxious or find it difficult to say no; give your partner or trusted friend five $10 bills as you get to the restaurant. Ask them to give you one every time you order water. It might lift the pressure you feel.

If it's any consolation, these places are just as snooty if you order the second most expensive bottle of wine or say no to the fourth bottle! I give no fucks about this either.

StetsTerhune

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2016, 03:55:42 AM »
I'm an introvert-type who is very sensitive to "pressure" like this. But you get over it. I order water about 90% of the time in restaurants, and I split a meal with my wife about 80% of the time. If there an awkward pause every time. "Just water.........." "that's all..........." Do I care? Not any more. 

LaineyAZ

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2016, 05:20:22 AM »
Another point of view:  yes, these places do make money from drinks, so if it's a small non-chain restaurant than they'll be depending on that to make their place profitable.  So if you'd like to see them continue in business, it doesn't hurt to order an iced tea or lemonade or coffee once in a while.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2016, 06:48:55 AM »
The OP is a woman. Are you at an age that you could still be pregnant? Perhaps you could use that as an excuse to the waiter, if that would make you fell more comfortable.

Otherwise there are many reasons why a person wouldn't want to order alcoholic drinks. I get the impression that at least here in Norway it is pretty acceptable not to drink alcohol, as we are not allowed to drive with alcohol in our blood.

When I was working as a waitress in my early twenties and people would order water, I would just poor them a glas of water. No hard feelings, although I didn't let the tap run for a long time to get cold water. My boss had instructed us to just serve water for the people who asked for it. It was seldom more than one person per evening.

WackyTomato

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2016, 06:57:29 AM »
Guys, do not ever feel pressured to buy something else than water if you don't want to.  Restaurant owners ought to realize that they cannot simply control what their diners are ordering.  In fact, GOOD managers and restaurant owners will factor that in their budgets.  People only ordering water are hardly a new thing or rare...

If you get some attitude from the waiter / waitress, I suggest you complain to the manager, or simply do not tip.

Customers really have to stand for themselves.  The whole god damn service industry out there make a shitload of money off people being either meek, lazy, ignorant, stupid, or a combination of these...

Giro

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2016, 07:24:21 AM »
Please don't ever go into a car dealership or talk to a realtor.  Servers are hardly high pressure compared to other salespeople. 


GuitarStv

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2016, 08:24:17 AM »
I don't think I've ordered a drink other than water while dining out in more than fifteen years.  The problem with ordering water is that you don't get enough refills at most places.

goatmom

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2016, 08:36:39 AM »
As a former waitress, I always liked the people that ordered drinks.  They tended to order apps and dessert too!  More tip money.  I would not have been thrilled to have a table that just drank water and then split the entree.  Now - I pretty much exclusively drink water when I go out.  I have no issue doing that and I think most waitstaff are ok with it.  I have never felt pressured to do otherwise. My in-laws always like to split an entree and then don't like to pay the additional fee for splitting a plate.  I would not feel comfortable ordering water and splitting an entree at a nice restaurant.  Maybe at a diner type place.  Unless we ordered the other stuff too or were part of a larger party. 

Spork

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2016, 09:02:28 AM »

I must say: I am likely a little "on the spectrum" and don't always get other people's feelings.  Therefore, I have NEVER felt any pressure.  Assuming it isn't some sort of celebration where we're ordering a bottle/glass of wine (2-3x a year maybe) ... I always order water.  It's what I'd drink with a meal at home.  If there was pressure intended by the wait staff, I totally missed it.

Cassie

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2016, 12:27:46 PM »
If I only want water I order it with no problem. If the meal is really cheap yet they refilled my water glass etc then I tip more then 20%. A friend of mine and I used to eat at a place that had senior specials and the meals ranged between 3-6 each. So I would leave a 3.00 tip because we just had water. My friend would just leave 20% even though we had great service. 

lizzzi

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #20 on: November 25, 2016, 12:36:04 PM »
If all I want to drink is water, then I just ask for water. Sometimes I want something else to drink; sometimes I don't. I don't worry about it. Of course, I am also ordering a meal. I wouldn't walk into a restaurant, sit down, and have nothing But a glass of water. I don't think that's appropriate. But I don't think that's what the OP meant.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #21 on: November 25, 2016, 12:42:43 PM »
I haven't had something other than water out to eat in ages. This is at local restaurants, chain restaurants, even trendy NYC ones.  Tap water with ice. It's what I want to drink, I'm not ordering anything else. I've never noticed any attitude from a waiter. I don't drink alcohol anyway, and I don't want a soda

Kitsunegari

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #22 on: November 25, 2016, 01:13:34 PM »
I felt the pressure in some places, but I don't care. They're just trying to upsell, and I'm not gonna fall for it.

SeaEhm

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #23 on: November 25, 2016, 05:46:16 PM »
The fancier the place, the more direct I am about wanting "tap water"

I don't want to get stuck with a huge bottled water bill, haha

Retire-Canada

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #24 on: November 25, 2016, 06:37:53 PM »
I order water most of the time and it doesn't bother me at all. Most of the other options involve sugar water, which I don't typically want. Not my fault.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2016, 09:17:36 PM by Retire-Canada »

MrsTuxedocat

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #25 on: November 25, 2016, 07:16:43 PM »
Thanks for all your thoughtful answers. I think I feel more pressures at the trendier restaurants; I don't feel pressure at hole in the wall places. When I do order water it is rarely re-filled though, and I find that slightly annoying. Sigh.

MBot

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #26 on: November 25, 2016, 07:18:25 PM »
As a server, I found that those ordering water were generally poor tippers.

So I order water... and tip well.

MrsPete

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #27 on: November 25, 2016, 07:41:50 PM »
Pressure to order a drink?  No, I can't relate at all.

Little Aussie Battler

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #28 on: November 25, 2016, 08:05:34 PM »
I drink water when I'm eating at home, so I generally have no intention of changing just because I'm eating somewhere else.

I will sometimes drink beer or wine if it's a work-related meal.

Hey It's Me

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #29 on: November 25, 2016, 08:50:57 PM »
I feel more pressure from friends than the actual restaurant, but that's because most of my friends are in their early-/mid-20s...

stashgrower

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #30 on: November 25, 2016, 10:26:56 PM »
No pressure. Nothing personal. Just...water. Sometimes (depending on the specific place) have to specify *tap* water to avoid bottled water along with a charge.

libertarian4321

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #31 on: November 26, 2016, 12:39:13 AM »
I order water probably 97% of the time, and don't feel even a little bit bad about it.  Occasionally, for dinner, I'll get a beer or wine.

Over the past 30 years, I've probably saved thousands of dollars, plus the money that I made by investing that money rather than tossing it away on flavored sugar water (tea, soda, whatever).

SnackDog

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #32 on: November 26, 2016, 01:26:38 AM »
The great thing about water is that it really is a great beverage. Maybe the best! It goes with everything. It is great for your health. Once you have it you have no regret or desire for anything else.

Don't stare at your feet and mumble "just water" as if you are making excuses or apologizing. Say "water please!" With a smile. Maybe you like ice in it or a twist of lime or bubbles. Demand refills. ("Excuse me sir, Could I bother you for another tall glass of cool, clear water, please?") Compliment the server on the water quality. For heavens sakes, you are Dining Out! Enjoy the treat.

spicykissa

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #33 on: November 26, 2016, 07:22:03 AM »
I've never had issues getting "just water" in the U.S., no matter how trendy the restaurant is. Maybe people assume I'm pregnant, or the designated driver, or on a diet, etc . . . they can fill in the blanks however they like. Asking for water in Europe was a whole different ballgame, though.

MicroRN

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #34 on: November 26, 2016, 08:28:44 AM »
I just order water, unless MrMicro and I go out for a date meal, in which case I'll get wine or a mixed drink.  I also order water for the kids.  I don't think I've ever run into pressure over it.

Laserjet3051

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #35 on: November 26, 2016, 08:56:15 AM »
OPs comment speaks to the much larger issue of feeling pressured to buy from a salesman. As a mustachian, it is imperative we let such salesmanship roll off our backs like water on a duck.

It's your hard earned money. Why should you let some stranger guilt you into giving it away on anything? Conscious spending only!

HAPPYINAZ

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #36 on: November 26, 2016, 09:05:40 AM »
They ask you want you want to drink, you tell them....and you get a nice glass of water hand delivered to you and they will refill it without even asking.  Pressure?  If you really consider that "so much pressure", then I wonder how you deal with larger issues.  I am guessing you are fairly young and still worried about what other people think of you.  I never feel pressure when ordering water, that's almost always what I order.  My guess is the "pressure" comes from yourself not so much the waitstaff. 

SeaEhm

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #37 on: November 26, 2016, 09:13:14 AM »
Update:

The only time I do not order water is if they have a specialty drink that I would like to try that I have never seen before.

I do not drink alcohol so when I am at restaurants that are popular alcoholic "drink" spots, I just say "I don't drink alcohol. I am only 19. I'll just have water"  Then, I smile because I am obviously not 19. 

There are also some restaurants that serve refills on certain drinks that are typically non refillable so I will indulge in those and drink about 5-6 of them until I get a huge stomach ache.  NORAGRETS!


Davids

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #38 on: November 26, 2016, 09:41:17 AM »
If they start high pressuring you into a drink then just leave.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #39 on: November 26, 2016, 10:09:09 AM »
The great thing about water is that it really is a great beverage. Maybe the best! It goes with everything. It is great for your health. Once you have it you have no regret or desire for anything else.

Don't stare at your feet and mumble "just water" as if you are making excuses or apologizing. Say "water please!" With a smile. Maybe you like ice in it or a twist of lime or bubbles. Demand refills. ("Excuse me sir, Could I bother you for another tall glass of cool, clear water, please?") Compliment the server on the water quality. For heavens sakes, you are Dining Out! Enjoy the treat.

Since the OP is clearly uncomfortable asking for water, can I strongly suggest not -actually- using the "tall glass of cool, clear water" wording...

I do agree though, if the waiters aren't refilling it (in the US, I rarely have this problem)- do just ask for more!!

MandalayVA

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #40 on: November 26, 2016, 10:38:11 AM »
I noticed in both England and France was I almost had to beg for a glass of water with meals, let alone a glass of water with ice in it.  The first time I asked for ice water in London I was asked "what flavor" because the girl behind the counter thought that I meant Ice brand water.  In Paris the server, who up until that point spoke great English, suddenly forgot how when I asked for ice water and kept saying "Perrier?  Perrier?"  In the end I did get Perrier because my French sucks and I was thirsty.  We went to the same cafe in London for breakfast pretty much every day, and by the middle of the trip the owner would see me, smile and bring me a glass of proper ice water with an accompanying pitcher.  She also guessed (correctly) that I was American, as we're apparently the only people on earth who like lots of ice in our drinks.

But here's the twist--I only like ice in water.  On the rare occasion I get a fountain soda I have to repeat "no ice" to the server ... and more often than not, it comes with ice.  :(

Dicey

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #41 on: November 26, 2016, 08:14:57 PM »
We rarely eat out. When we do, when asked one of us will say "Let's start with water" or "Water for now, please". Then we tip very generously, primarily out of gratitude that neither of us ever had to keep body and soul together by working as a waiter. When now-DH and I started dating, I noticed that he tipped very generously, which made me happy. We've been married four years now and I'm still ridiculously happy.

BuffaloStache

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #42 on: November 26, 2016, 08:31:19 PM »
The fancier the place, the more direct I am about wanting "tap water"

I don't want to get stuck with a huge bottled water bill, haha

Ditto- I've been on the wrong end of a ~$10 bottle of water (only 500 mL!) bill before.

icemodeled

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #43 on: November 26, 2016, 08:52:05 PM »
I have definitely never ever felt pressured to order drinks when dining out and in 4 years we only did ONCE and it was root beer because it was made their on site. I actually love and prefer ice water with lemon. Even for free I would prefer just water.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #44 on: November 28, 2016, 12:50:54 AM »
I noticed in both England and France was I almost had to beg for a glass of water with meals, let alone a glass of water with ice in it.  The first time I asked for ice water in London I was asked "what flavor" because the girl behind the counter thought that I meant Ice brand water.  In Paris the server, who up until that point spoke great English, suddenly forgot how when I asked for ice water and kept saying "Perrier?  Perrier?"  In the end I did get Perrier because my French sucks and I was thirsty.  We went to the same cafe in London for breakfast pretty much every day, and by the middle of the trip the owner would see me, smile and bring me a glass of proper ice water with an accompanying pitcher.  She also guessed (correctly) that I was American, as we're apparently the only people on earth who like lots of ice in our drinks.

The French server was playing you.

In British English, we don't say 'ice water' we say 'water with ice' and if a fancy place then 'tap water with ice'. It is (currently and generally) very straightforward to get water in England if you know what to ask for.


shelivesthedream

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #45 on: November 28, 2016, 01:32:51 AM »
I noticed in both England and France was I almost had to beg for a glass of water with meals, let alone a glass of water with ice in it.  The first time I asked for ice water in London I was asked "what flavor" because the girl behind the counter thought that I meant Ice brand water.  In Paris the server, who up until that point spoke great English, suddenly forgot how when I asked for ice water and kept saying "Perrier?  Perrier?"  In the end I did get Perrier because my French sucks and I was thirsty.  We went to the same cafe in London for breakfast pretty much every day, and by the middle of the trip the owner would see me, smile and bring me a glass of proper ice water with an accompanying pitcher.  She also guessed (correctly) that I was American, as we're apparently the only people on earth who like lots of ice in our drinks.

The French server was playing you.

In British English, we don't say 'ice water' we say 'water with ice' and if a fancy place then 'tap water with ice'. It is (currently and generally) very straightforward to get water in England if you know what to ask for.

+1 "Ice water" does make it sound like some brand of water. We would definitely say "water with ice". You could get away with "iced water" if the place is quiet enough for the "d" to be heard clearly.

I always ask for a jug of tap water for the table when we sit down. Makes sure it doesn't get forgotten in the general melee and means I can decide whether or not to order a drink later (which I do about half the time) but means I'll only order one drink for the taste as I have the water anyway to quench my thirst. The way I then deal with the drink order if I only want water is to look the waiter clearly in the eye, say "Nothing for me, thanks", and then break eye contact and don't look back, even if they try to get you to order a soft drink. It signals "I am saying this thing to you and then the discussion is closed".

travelawyer

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #46 on: November 28, 2016, 07:19:21 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.

jamesbond007

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #47 on: November 28, 2016, 10:49:18 AM »
Water, no ice please!

ketchup

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #48 on: November 28, 2016, 11:01:50 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.
This is what I tend to do when we go out.  We'll order two entrees and nothing else, and then tip 20-30%.  I'd rather give a server an extra buck or two than get a big glass of diabeetus anyway.

I've never felt "pressured" to order anything besides water, even at a bar.

JJsfr

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Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
« Reply #49 on: November 28, 2016, 12:13:03 PM »
It can be weird, socially...

"Water's fine for me, thanks." pulls it off for me.