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The Waiter Rule

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Occasionally in the business world, I've heard people refer to something called "The Waiter Rule." Simply put, how you treat a waiter or a waitress reveals a lot about your character. It may sound insignificant, but over the years I've found respect to play a significant role in wealth creation.

You would be amazed at how poorly some people treat waiters and waitresses. They yell at them if they forget an order or spill a drink. They threaten to have them fired, or even demand to speak to a supervisor. Their actions speak volumes and reveal more about their character than anything they could say or do in the most impressive business meetings or boardrooms.

On the flip side are those who take everything in stride. They treat service people -- waiters, bellmen, security guards, secretaries -- with the same respect they would give the CEO of a huge corporation. Those are the kind of people I respond to because that's the kind of person I am.

How you treat a waiter demonstrates how you would most likely treat your actual employees. It shows the true makeup of your personality and your true disposition. You might be a demanding boss, but it doesn't mean you have to be a demeaning and nasty one.

So think twice the next time you sit down at a table and get ready to order. And don't forget to leave a big tip.

Donald J. Trump is Chairman of The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative.

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32 Comments

[-] Posted by SP on 04/28/2006 2:02 PM
Well put, Mr. Trump. Bravo.
[-] Posted by sarah on 04/28/2006 3:07 PM
I couldn't have agreed with you more! :O) Btw, I enjoy watching The Apprentice very much! Each season has its own flavor! Well done show, Mr. Trump!
[-] Posted by CEO on 04/28/2006 3:41 PM
mister trump, these people are kissing your ass, i hope u know that
[-] Posted by Chohatsu Densetsu on 04/28/2006 4:00 PM
I had to fire a guy pretending to be my boss, manager, and agent. I can relate. Do not reward bad performance. It is a liability and not an asset.
[-] Posted by Chohatsu Densetsu on 04/28/2006 4:00 PM
I had to fire a guy pretending to be my boss, manager, and agent. I can relate. Do not reward bad performance. It is a liability and not an asset.
[-] Posted by Victor on 04/28/2006 7:24 PM
I agree with you that how you treat a waiter or a waitress reveal how you treat your employees.
[-] Posted by Jacob Michel on 04/29/2006 12:48 AM
It's true what you say Mr. Trump, in fact how we treat others not just "the help" is a real reflection on our person, our charecter. What I'd like to know is how a wealthy person like yourself pays attention to those details? It's been my experience with the few wealthy people I know that the more they have the more they expect for free and the worse they treat others. Have you dodged that syndrom among your peers? "Love others as you yourself would be loved" , a good point Mr T but hardly original. I appreciate your work though, and your show The Apprentice.
[-] Posted by David G on 04/29/2006 8:59 AM
i totally agree with you Mr.Trump. Ithink people should try to treat people the way they want to be treated and i believe most people with power and influence forget this.
[-] Posted by Jerilynn on 04/30/2006 7:07 AM
Excellent Sir.
[-] Posted by Scott Darpel on 04/30/2006 10:16 PM
I take it one step further; I believe everyone, no matter what station in life providence has afforded them
[-] Posted by Brodie on 05/01/2006 5:54 AM
You are right, Trump, about the water rule. I live my life
[-] Posted by Glenn Davies on 05/01/2006 10:32 AM
What does it say in the leather bound good book, "do unto others as you would have them do to you"? I think it was the journalist/author George Plimpton who used to take on a specific job (airline pilot, hockey goalie, waiter etc.) for a period of time so that he could better write on that subject or position. It would do all the rude and obnoxious people good, to spend a little time as either waiters or waitresses, so that they might be more respectful of others.
[-] Posted by Randy on 05/01/2006 2:03 PM
I work in the food service industry so I know first hand what it is like to be looked down upon and treated like a lover-class person. I know how to treat and respect those types of individuals who have to face those other inconciderate people out there.
One thing that shows respect is a nice tip. Even if you feel you were a jerk but are embarassed to apologize, a good tip sometimes makes it understood.
[-] Posted by Hibiki on 05/01/2006 5:18 PM
I agree you shouldn't treat people like they are a lower class because they don't have a credit card or an expense account. Nor should you assume because they wait on you they are stupid or uneducated. They are doing what they have to and if they are happy doing it, more power to them.
[-] Posted by Walter Paul Bebirian on 05/02/2006 7:20 AM
The interaction between two individual and unique human beings is never a good basis for any generalizations -

thank you!

Walter
[-] Posted by Patrick Janow on 05/02/2006 1:55 PM
I agree with all you said Trump. I have to say that my wife was most put off
[-] Posted by Panu Hamari on 05/02/2006 2:09 PM
I am impressed! Most of the things I read here, are worth reading and open some very valuable new thoughts, but the fact that someone like Mr. Trump, being a well known business leader in the world, shows appreciation toward all people the same way makes me feel there is hope among human being anyway! I hope many people read your comments and act based on them!
[-] Posted by Lisa Marie Heitman-Bruce on 05/03/2006 4:12 AM
Makes me want to take everyone I know to lunch... =)
[-] Posted by Adeline Ong on 05/04/2006 11:14 AM
That is so true. I heard it being applied in dating tips but I never thought to see it from a business point of view. Thank you for the lesson, Mr Trump
[-] Posted by Nic Gonzales on 05/04/2006 11:44 AM
Dear Mr. Trump,

You are absolutely correct. I beleive everyone should be treated the same. Even if it is the janitor in the restroom in my office, I still treat him the same way I would treat another person.

I have a great idea for you next season of The Apprentice, perhaps having celebrities like Paris Hilton, and other stars on the show to see how well they can come up with ideas and marketing campaigns. I would bet that your show would get double the viewers.
[-] Posted by Vivek Darji on 05/06/2006 2:16 PM
ref: " Those are the kind of people I respond to because that's the kind of person I am." But then why is Mark Cuban, in his blogs, inclided on proving that you are not that kind of person?
[-] Posted by Mary Rose Murrin on 05/07/2006 8:29 AM
When I was a small child, a member of my class was given the 'Student of the Year' award because she always smiled and said hello to everyone that she met- including the janitors. I wanted that award and was angry- but it was a lesson that I never forgot. Forty-five years later, I am a person who smiles and says hello to everyone- and it has made a difference in my life. Remember that the slightest thing that you do for one another can have the greatest impact. And a smile is a great thing.
[-] Posted by Anastacia Washer on 05/08/2006 12:02 AM
Dear Mr. Trump,

I'm so glad you have put this subject matter in your blog.
I am a ten year veteran of Hospitality, and I now treat waiters and waitresses with utterly grand respect, adulation, and calm. When they come to the table, Bug-Eyed' with that Deer In Headlights look, with that ever tight smile forced upon their face, as if they are a mechanical toy, forced to smile… I tell them the following:
Go ahead, and catch up with your other tables. Fill their waters, get their drinks, take their orders, or deliver their food. When you've gotten them all caught up, come on back, and we'll be ready to order.
They can't believe it.
They are stunned, and I'm persistent. I smile, give them support, and reassure them, its really okay, and we're happy to get a table to be served
[-] Posted by Shannon Lavenia on 05/21/2006 1:38 PM
Although I grew up with great adversity, I have always worn a smile on my face. I realized early that you get more with kindness, gratitude and appreciation than you do with negativity or a lack of respect for others. I have lived
[-] Posted by member1694107 on 12/06/2007 10:44 PM
I always feel great when I read stories such as these...

Tonight when I went to get something for dinner from the basement freezer for my husbands dinner (after an unsuccessful Elk hunt today) I found that our freezer had been off for an estimated 2 weeks, about 6 months worth of meat and our Xmas Turkey's wasted.
Already depressed for other reasons (meat aside)....I couldn't help but wipe the tears from my eyes when I came across this story. Donald....you made someones day, year....life with your kindness.... I'm not religious, an Aussie living in Utah( non LDS!!!!)...I have had a ****ty life but it's people like you...that make me happy. as a human to a human...thank you for your kindness :)

Leenie = http://angelbabiau.deviantart.com/
[-] Posted by member1694222 on 12/07/2007 11:48 AM
I agree 110% on the rule..wish it would apply to secretaries also. I am a secretary and you would not believe how terrible I get treated from the public.(I work for a states attorney) . Yet I have to smile and be pleasant to everyone..yes I get it from boss and public and make less than $18,000. a year..maybe they ought to tip us...I am glad you are a kind and loving man to share your wealth with those who are in need...you are sure to make it to heaven...
[-] Posted by member1694221 on 12/07/2007 12:43 PM
Mr. Trump,

Hopefully you started this practice recently, either that or waiters rank way above cameramen. Hopefully, this is a recent revelation because the past you sure haven’t practiced what you preach. Oh, and unlike most here, I’ve actually met you…many times.

I'm a videographer with 25+ years experience shooting and work for one of the two MAJOR network entertainment news shows. I've shot many things with you, at events, award shows, your show's announcements, upfronts, at hotel rooms (recently at villa near the restaurant at the BH Hotel) and even on a our tour bus.

Speaking of that bus shoot, you were incredibly rude and condescending toward me, and my abilities as a professional videographer/DP, claiming that I should not be using a wide-angle lens for that particular shoot. You might know about big real estate, but you know absolutely NOTHING about wide-angle lenses and how they can be used and how they can or cannot affect the image they are lensing.

You lambasted me about my poor choice of lenses and that I must not know what I'm doing. It was a display of very poor taste I must say, and I was shocked and taken aback at how surly and rude you were. There were only a few people in the bus, so I must assume this is your true private nature and not your public persona we see here on the blog. Seeing as you would have just walked off the shoot if I'd of said anything, I decided that out of respect to our production I would not dress you down like I should have, but instead stood my ground and did my job professionally.

Oh by the way, I've shot you many time since that encounter (award shows etc.) and have specifically used the wide angle to see if you'd comment. Of course, true to form you were oblivious. Too bad someone in the past made a wrong lens choice and made your big head look even bigger. I'm sorry they did that to you....it's a hard burden to carry, I know.

I look forward to seeing and shooting you in the future....with a wide angle of course :-)
[-] Posted by member1694632 on 12/09/2007 7:49 AM
I concur.
I waited tables to put myself through college, and continued to wait tables part time while teaching in public schools afterwards, and during summers.
Eventually I left teaching and waiting tables and started a linguistics services/translation agency, Baldwin Linguas.
I generally tip between 25 and 30% of my check.
I know how hard waiters work. I know the multi-tasking hustle and superb people skills that the job requires.
I have people working for me now on a freelance basis in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, and in the US, and I try to treat them the same. I treat my freelance providers with the same respect I afford my clients. I need both of them for my company to grow, and it is growing. I reward great effort and excellent performance with bonuses. I always treat those who work for me with respect. It pays off. People like to work for me and they give me their best efforts because they know I will notice and appreciate them.
People who work for me recommend my company to their colleagues.
I receive dozens of resumes every day from more people who want to work for me.
I get the best from those who work for me, I give the best to my clients.
My company's income has doubled over the past year.
[-] Posted by Joanna Vahlsing on 12/31/2007 11:33 PM
As a former waitress, I completely agree. Whenever I have lunch or dinner with someone new, I pay close attention to how they treat not only the waiter/waitress, but also the coat check person and host/hostess - it shows so much about their character. I also pay close attention to how they tip. It's a fine line with me because if a person tips way too much, say 200% for adequate (but not steller performance), then I see the person as a showboat and wasteful, or that they are trying to impress me too much; especially if they show me how much they tipped or if they make a big fuss about it.

For steller performance (and I'm pretty easy to please), I'll tip 100% or more.

Joanna L. Vahlsing, PMP
www.joannavahlsing.com
[-] Posted by Rachael Sutton #1253595 on 11/30/2008 10:13 AM
Every person has value and should be treated with respect, but if someone isn't doing his or her job, or they are not showing you respect, as the customer, I believe it is your responsibility to get the person's name and report it to the manager. They need some re-education in customer service. You aren't bullying or pulling a power play - you are providing necessary feed back and hopefully helping to bring about positive change.
[-] Posted by Rachael Sutton #1253595 on 11/30/2008 2:07 PM
People rarely recall much of what has been said. People frequently forget what's been done. But, people almost always remember how you make them feel.
[-] Posted by member1974558 on 05/06/2009 1:04 PM
I feel that over all, the way you treat your waiter/waitress, shows who you really are. If you are rude to your server, you most likley will not make it very far in life. Have you visited www.86BadTips.com yet? The have a "Top Ten rules for customers". I would not say that i agree with all of them, but never the less they are interesting. Check em out.
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