TODAY   |  August 07, 2013

Ask the waiter: What you should know about dining out

Darron Cardosa, a waiter and creator of the blog, shares tips all restaurant customers should know, from how to order correctly to why asking your server for recommendations may not be a great idea.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back on a wednesday morning. this morning we're starting a three part series called ask the expert to give consumers information they really need to know .

>> we'll start today with waiters. shall we sit down at our little cafe and get started.

>> yes.

>> thank you. where's the food around here. oh, there's darren. he's our waiter.

>> hello.

>> mock surprise.

>> also the creator of the blog. i think we know where you're coming from.

>> i'm nicer than you might think.

>> let's get to it. what's the one thing that drives you and every waiter crazy.

>> when you come in, there's a few things you don't want to do. if you have some allergies when you sit down at your table you need to be aware of your allergies. if you're allergic to onions and you order the philly cheese stake that has it on it, it says it on the menu.

>> but there are people that are professional waiters.

>> there are and that bothers us when people ask us what's your real job. this is a real job. i make real money and pay real bills with it. so it's a real job so when somebody asks me what my real job is i'm offended and there's a lot of people that make the decision to be a server as their life and you can make a good living doing it.

>> part of the thing that i server does is know the menu. sometimes people sit down and they say what's good here. what should i have. that gets on your last nerve? i would think you might enjoy the interchange.

>> it's not so bad. if somebody asks me what my favorite thing is. i'm going to tell them that. but i don't like seafood. maybe their favorite thing is salmon. give me a couple of the things you like and i'll tell you which one is better.

>> but you don't mind a customer asking for input. no but if it's already on the menu i'm going to get irritated. you shall read it.

>> so spaghetti or pizza and you'll give an opinion.

>> so i'll say, sir, can you tell me what the specials are tonight. what do i need to know about the specials.

>> the thing about the specials is sometimes they're not so special. if you have maybe an overstock, maybe a little bit too much salmon maybe that special of the day is going to be something that we needed to get the salmon out of there before it turns. so special sometimes not always so great.

>> this surprised me because i thought the specials were things that came in that day and we're highlighting them. at some restaurants, absolutely.

>> but apparently not at the restaurant where you work.

>> not at the restaurant i work at.

>> do people come in and announce they're great tippers.

>> yes they do.

>> really?

>> it's really tacky or sometimes they'll give you the $5 bill and the attitude like there's more where that came from. just do it at the end of prove to us. every time somebody says they're a greater tipper nine times out of ten they're just average.

>> just be a good tipper.

>> 20% is the basic guideline. what's appropriate in your mind?

>> i am satisfied with 15%. i like 20%. but 20% is easier to figure out than 15%. why not make it easier than yourself with math and do 20% tips. it's like an a. 15 is like a b plus , 10% is c. anything below that is failing.

>> can we disspell something right now, any truth to the urban legend that if the waiter doesn't like the customer he or she spits in your food?

>> i think it's a big urban legend . waiters talk about it more than it ever happens and customers worry about it more than they should. i have been waiting tables 23 years and i've never seen it happen.

>> don't shoot the messenger. if the food is bad it's not your fought.

>> all i did was type in medium well. if it came out rare, that's the kitchen's fault. tell me what the problem is and i'll fix it. but don't yell at me. all i did was carry the plate.

>> thank you very much.

>> i appreciate it.

>> tomorrow on ask the expert we'll talk to a professional dry cleaner coming clean about all the dirt.