Would You Like Change Back?

April 30, 2008

in Non-Stories

Hey Dev,

Is it rude for a server to ask a guest if they need change, or should they just assume that change is required everytime?

– Jessica

Dear Jessica,

Many diners take offense when asked if they’d like change back. They assume that the server is asking for a tip, and consequently might leave less of a gratuity than they would have otherwise. A server’s best response is, “I’ll be right back with your change.”

Dev the Dining Devil

[Note: Dev the Dining Devil mysteriously disappeared into parts unknown and therefore we’re no longer able to continue this feature.]

ky207 September 9, 2008 at 10:38 am

If a waiter ask me if I want my change, I say no, and that is all the tip they will get. If they bring me back my change without asking, then they will get the proper tip. Why would they assume that I don't want my change back?

Rob April 2, 2009 at 5:30 pm

The proper response is, THANK YOU, and then to assume nothing. Return with the change. Say nothing.

A lot of the servers here seem to think that there is a conversation between themselves and the patrons. There isn't.

The patrons are having a conversation amongst themselves and aren't really concerned with the server.

The more professional and the less intrusive the server, the larger the tip, generally.

These people didn't go out to meet you. They went out together, as part of a different social group that you know nothing about.

masquerade June 9, 2009 at 2:34 am

Uh, sorry, but the servers' JOB is to make you feel welcome and comfortable, and we're going to try some chitchat to help you relax. If you're short and seem like you don't want to talk, of course we'll limit the conversation, but you need not be rude. I'm glad I've not had to serve you, person-posting-before-me.

That being said, yes, I've found the best way to approach it is 'I'll be right back with your change'. That gives them the opportunity to either say 'Ok, thanks' or 'Nope, you're all set.' I used to have a manager that actually trained all her servers to ask this, and I've used it ever since.

mensa58 August 25, 2009 at 12:05 pm

I"m with Dev and Masquerade on this one. One time I had a server ask if I wanted change — I'd given him/her a $20 for a $12 tab, of course I wanted change!

I like the response "I'll be right back with your change." As others have pointed out, that gives me, as the customer, the opportunity to say "no change."

nicole December 21, 2009 at 2:10 pm

I never looked to find out what was in the book at the table (that just seemed tacky) so I would always say 'I'll be right back with the change', or 'I'll be right back with that.' It could be exact change in the book, or my tip could be in there. I just left it be.

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