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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: MrsTuxedocat on November 24, 2016, 08:52:18 PM

Title: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: MrsTuxedocat 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?
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: mxt0133 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. 
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: doneby35 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 :)
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: Cpa Cat 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: snogirl 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.

Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: MsPeacock 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?
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: geekette on November 24, 2016, 09:22:42 PM
Even when coffee/tea is included with the meal, I drink water.  Pressure?  What pressure?
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: Penny McSave 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. ;)
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: Frankies Girl 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.


Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: Playing with Fire UK 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: StetsTerhune 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. 
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: LaineyAZ 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: Linea_Norway 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: WackyTomato 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...
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: Giro 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. 

Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: GuitarStv 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: goatmom 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. 
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: Spork 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: Cassie 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. 
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: lizzzi 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: I'm a red panda 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
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: Kitsunegari 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: SeaEhm 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
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: Retire-Canada 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: MrsTuxedocat 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: MBot 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: MrsPete on November 25, 2016, 07:41:50 PM
Pressure to order a drink?  No, I can't relate at all.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: Little Aussie Battler 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: minority_finance_mo 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...
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: stashgrower 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: libertarian4321 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).
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: SnackDog 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: spicykissa 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: MicroRN 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: Laserjet3051 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!
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: HAPPYINAZ 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. 
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: SeaEhm 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!

(http://33.media.tumblr.com/15652e624c8ec2f9f1f79f7206416db2/tumblr_nedmuuRVIU1sa9pj8o2_r1_400.gif)
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: Davids on November 26, 2016, 09:41:17 AM
If they start high pressuring you into a drink then just leave.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: I'm a red panda 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!!
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: MandalayVA 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.  :(
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: Dicey 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: BuffaloStache 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: icemodeled 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: Playing with Fire UK 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.

Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: shelivesthedream 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".
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: travelawyer 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: jamesbond007 on November 28, 2016, 10:49:18 AM
Water, no ice please!
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: ketchup 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: JJ- on November 28, 2016, 12:13:03 PM
It can be weird, socially...

"Water's fine for me, thanks." pulls it off for me.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: shelivesthedream 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: Spitfire 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: Playing with Fire UK 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: I'm a red panda 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.

Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: Dave1442397 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: Playing with Fire UK on November 30, 2016, 05:32:16 AM
I may order a Diet Coke (no, Pepsi is not ok!)

This, 100% this.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: I'm a red panda 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"
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: ChipmunkSavings 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: FiguringItOut 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. 
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: englishteacheralex 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!
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: AZDude 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: Playing with Fire UK 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!
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: 691175002 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: BlueHouse 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. 
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: Kitsunegari 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?!
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: englishteacheralex 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.)
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: galliver 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: SnackDog 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: Playing with Fire UK 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?
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: PoutineLover 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).
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: MgoSam 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: TheDeclutterer 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.
Title: Re: Only ordering water when out for dinner?
Post by: MrsTuxedocat 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.