30 Servers Open Up About The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Of Serving Celebrities
Going the extra mile is not always compensated for; however, sometimes, employees can be additionally rewarded for a job well done. Take tipping, for instance. Anyone who’s ever worked as waiting staff would likely agree that it can be a strong motivating force to keep up the good work and aim to provide the best possible service.
Yet some customers are more keen on tipping than others; and celebrities are no exception. Redditors on the ‘Tales From Your Server’ subreddit shared stories about the time they encountered a famous person at work, covering how well they tipped. It started when one of the members asked the community what celebrities were a good or bad experience to deal with, and quite a few people were willing to share. Scroll down to find their answers on the list below.
I served Gordon Ramsay once. I was very nervous because of his TV persona, but he was actually very polite — probably the most polite customer I've ever had. He didn't even tell anyone to f*ck off! At the end of the night, he requested to see the head chef and shook his hand in appreciation and tipped us £100.
My cousin had Drew Carey come into his bar one night after a gig. He said he came in and bought a round for everyone in the bar. Cousin said he was a real classy guy and extremely friendly. At the end of the night, he called my cousin over and asked how many staff were working that night. He then pulled out a check and wrote it for an amount that ended up giving each staffer a $100 tip that night.
A friend of mine used to be a waitress at a brunch place near Atlanta that Tyler Perry used to frequent. One day around the holidays, another waitress had only two tables: one being Tyler Perry, and the other being some random patron. Apparently this patron was a complete a**hole — extremely rude, complained about everything, and left little to no tip. Meanwhile, Tyler was very nice and polite while eating his brunch, reading a book, and chatting with the waitress from time to time. When it came time for him to leave, he decided to leave her a nice $1,200 tip and wished her a Merry Christmas and apologized for the other random a**hole.
I worked at a pretty popular, moderately upscale spot in Philly for a while so we got a lot of celebs. I had the pleasure of waiting on a good deal of them because I’m not a starf**ker and my boss knew I wouldn’t embarrass the establishment by asking for autographs or c**p like that. This was over the course of about 8 years so the list might not be quite as impressive as it appears to be.
Got stiffed by Rachel Ray and she was a total b***h. Just the worst.
Robert Downey Sr & Jr. Jr was the absolute most charming man I’ve ever met.
Wanda Sykes is da bomb.
Mark Sommers from Double Dare was very cool and laughed when I clapped and repeated “Physical Challenge” over and over (he was friends with my boss so it’s less weird than it sounds.)
Chrissy T & John Legend we’re really nice and super down to earth.
Patti Labelle is really demanding and not the best tipper.
Greg Kinnear was unbelievably friendly.
Ryan Howard & Shane Victorino are unsurpassed when it comes to treating waitstaff like gold (Go Phils!)
Harrison Ford likes seared Salmon MR but doesn’t pitch a fit when the kitchen overcooks it and will gladly have a burger instead. He’s the only person we had to “smuggle” out the back kitchen door because of fans waiting out front. That was kind of awesome.
Charlie & the Waitress from Always Sunny we’re so damn cool. I honestly thought I knew them from somewhere when I said hello. It was a minute before I realized I knew them from TV and they were highly amused.
Danny. F*****g. DeVito. That was beyond awesome.
I once waited on Martha Stewart and she was extremely warm and gracious. Out of all the wealthy VIP’s I waited on at that restaurant she stood out as being the only down-to-earth one.
I was a cocktail waitress at a nightclub in Vegas in the mid 2000s. Rihanna came in to perform one night and she smoked a blunt with the entire staff and tipped us really well
Tony Hawk like 20 years ago when I was I was in college. One of the kindest humans out there. Good tipper too!
One time I was at an event in Little Rock and I was in the restroom and this nice blonde young girl was talking with me about the event and how it was hot out. She was very polite and then when she left people started talking about omg did you see who that was. It was Taylor Swift lol I had no idea what she had looked like prior to that.
I used to manage a cocktail bar on the west side of LA so we got a lot of celebrities, most of which were super cool. Some notable and very nice people: Owen Wilson, basically all of the original Avengers plus Anthony Mackie, Michael B. Jordan, Travis Fimmel, Adam Scott. All were super nice and tipped really well as far as I remember. Owen Wilson used to hang out after the bar was closed and do shots with us pretty regularly for a while. Fun times.
Worked at a few high profile places in LA. I’ve served Kanye West, Will Ferrel, Dana Carvey, Halle Berry, Keanu Reeves, Ray Liotta, Kobe Bryant, couple of the Kardashians, Sebastian Stan, Jon Hamm, the Green Day dudes, bunch of others.
Most everybody was normal, chill, just wanna have dinner and be left alone. Kanye is the most intense about his privacy. He would roll in without a reservation wearing those full ski mask type things. In an out, he would just leave seemingly in the middle of his meal, check was always taken care of by his security guys. “20%” written in the tip line.
Kobe Bryant tipped like 60 bucks on an $800 check. Not a friendly guy.
Most insane was Nicolas Cage. He was a parody of himself. Drank gin martinis, screamed at the staff for more this, more that, where’s my lobster, I wanna buy that lady’s dinner, whatever she wants. WHATEVER SHE WANTS. He was blackout drunk by the end of the meal, cheesecake hanging out of his mouth, alternating between a thousand yard stare and screaming “I’m the biggest movie star in the world, I’m Nic f****n Cage!” He left with his newest wife in the biggest limo I’ve ever seen. It was a Tuesday night, absolutely nothing going on in the area. That’s just how he was rolling around. Totally bizarre experience, hated every minute of it.
I’ve served maybe a few dozen over the years. Half I didn’t know who they were until someone pointed it out.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar though. So so nice. His wife was super nice. His son was super nice. He was super nice. He was one of the few that I was like “holy s**t I get to serve this guy”. And they were just so pleasant.
Robert Plant. Very chill, he had a Philly cheesesteak with no bread and tipped 20%. He was messing with the bartender, younger girl.. he told her he was in a band and she asked “is it a band I might have heard of?” And he’s like “no, probably not, we never hit it that big.”
Anthony Kiedis. He was chill. Tipped well.
Jim Belushi. Also chill, not surprising considering his entrepreneurial endeavors. Tipped well.
Sir Mix-a-Lot. He was kinda upset his girl ordered a salad instead of like, a pasta, and covertly asked to bring that salad loaded with dressing. Tipped well.
Jeff Goldblum. Exceptionally nice, very funny, great tipper.
Laura Dern. Kinda entitled and not a great tipper. $9 tip on $371, so it actually cost several dollars to wait on her.
Didn’t wait on but ran food to Dustin Hoffman. Heard he was kinda snobbish but it’s hearsay. Could have been in character. Actually I suspect that about laura dern as well.
Guy I worked with said he waited on Guy Fieri and he was a total prick, but my girlfriend’s sister hangs out with him and every story she tells makes it sound like he’s a really cool guy so I’m inclined to think maybe it was the server’s problem.
One year ago to the day I was supposed to serve the Houston rockets at a private function even though the city was on lockdown as far as dining in.. but 5 of them tested positive for covid lol
A friend waited on Morgan Freeman, John Goodman, and Steve Carell. At one point, Goodman pulled out a cigar, and without hesitation, she (the waitress) had a lit lighter waiting for him. He reached into his wallet and gave her $100 for that.
Shaq got so mad at being ID’ed by our door guy that he threw a snowball into his face after he left, but otherwise was great and tipped well! He sucks at beer pong, though.
Carey Hart was just the sweetest guy, and his entourage was super cool and friendly as well.
I bartended at Dave Chappelle's private birthday party. He kicked everyone out at the end of the night and came back in to have a drink away from his sycophants and assistants. He was the coolest, except he spoiled the third to last Breaking Bad episode for me by acting it out word for word and dissecting every minute detail. But then he bought a Stella and gave us a $100 dollar bill. Actually, he took the bill out of his pocket, lifted it above his head, then slammed it down on the bar and shouted 'BAM!!!' I am happy to still be a fan of his.
If there was a movie/series filming in town, we usually saw them at one point. From Ewan McGregor to Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie (NDA signed for that one, but nothing to tell anyways) to old timers like Robert Duvall, and many others whose names I didn't know, but co-workers did. Musical acts from The Who to Macy Gray (who awesomely yelled from our balcony to two dudes fighting in the street to cut it out in that very distinctive voice). All the NHL teams that came through town. The top sports guy that stand out is Jerome Iginla, looks you in the eye to thank you, smiles and acknowleges you. Worst celebrity was one of the old 90210 guys (Jason Priestly I think) whose group left $20 on a 600$ bill. Funniest one was when The Who showed up with no reso after their show and did not appreciate they had to wait 10 minutes (gasp) while we made room for them. Their manager (?) yelled up to us "Do you know who this is? It's Roger. f*****g. Daltrey!!" while most the younger kitchen guys had no clue who they were. Maybe in your ge-ge-ge-neration Roger.
The only actor that ever threw me off my game with being starstruck was William Shatner because I was such a Trekkie as a kid. Nice guy, but me and my manager were giggling like kids in the BoH. Sooo tempting to tell him when he asked about his meal, "The...duck...done...medium...takes...20....minutes."
Lena Headey was rad AF, we chatted for a while and she actually invited me to hang out at the pool with her at the boutique hotel I worked at but unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to(mostly because I was the only one working at the time running front desk, bar and sales). Super rad chick and SO the opposite of the Cersei character it was actually hilarious. Also got to chat and actually exchange a hug with Brian Baumgartner(Kevin Malone from the Office). He actually officiated a wedding that happened at another hotel I worked at and came in to grab drinks from me for the rest of the night and was just so rad. Super normal voice and demeanor, excellent tipper and overall a stand up guy. I also served Jimmy Buffet and I didn’t realize at the time and after I went to close him out as a “room charge” at the hotel, I realized that the name on the room was “Don Julio”. I joked to my manager about serving the celebrity “Don Julio” and she let me know that they had to give out alias names for celebrities and it was actually Jimmy Buffet. He loved my cappuccino, I’ll take it.
I served Rashida Jones and Adam Scott. They were in town to speak at the local university. Both were SUPER nice. I'm a huge fan of Parks and Rec, so I was really nervous! Adam asked me about the history of one of our side dishes as a joke and I said something like, 'Well, potatoes originally came from Ireland...' and they laughed at my terrible joke, so I felt good. It was them and who I believed to be their publicists/teams, and Rashida and Adam paid and both tipped 30%!
Shaq came into my restaurant to pick up a couple of his buddies who had just ordered drinks. He just said, 'You ready?' to them and then put down $500 on the table for a $28 tab that wasn’t even his. That was a good night.
I regularly served Tobey McGuire at my last job and he was really nice and tipped really well every time he came. He even remembered my name (and a lot of the other long term staff) and would always greet us really kindly and stay out of the way—wouldn’t make a fuss if the kitchen or bar were backed up. I also met Alex Skaarsgard at this same job and he was really nice too!
I’ve had many celebrity encounters. Best one was doing a private 3 hour cooking demo for Usher and his wife/gf (not sure which). They were super chill and nice, and he actually showed up in my kitchen the next morning to cook me breakfast after telling me about his signature morning after breakfast, which he told me about and said he’d show me. I figured I’d never see him again, but sure enough the next morning, one of my cooks came and grabbed me- ‘uh, chef… Usher is in the kitchen and looking for you…?’ Lol. His breakfast was pretty damn good, too.
Mimi from the Drew Carey show is a funny, dry, sarcastic b***h that scared most people, but we got along great, probably because I’m a dry sarcastic a*****e most of the time.
Robin Williams was sweet, funny and unassuming, and spent three weeks at our property. All of the employees who interacted with him loved him
Martha Stewart was pretty cool also. But it was definitely nerve wracking to hear that she was coming to our place for a week over Christmas. Wound up hooking her up with tamales on Christmas as a last minute request
Giuliana (E! channel) and husband Bill (winner of season one of The Apprentice) seemed like two people who would be totally fake pains in the a*s, but were genuine, friendly and down to earth. Good people all the way around
Worst one was a minor celeb known as the Millionaire Matchmaker- what a C U Next Tuesday. Her support staff was awful also.
Edit: fixed an autocorrect word
I was serving at a popular seafood chain that serves crazy good biscuits…. One night Paris Hilton, Nick Carter, Nicole Richie and DJ AM came in. Their body guards sat at another table and we didn’t even realize it was their body guards.
Nick Carter ordered shrimp and lobster linguine. Paris ordered an Ultimate Feast, and ate none of it haha. She also ordered a ginger ale and a diet coke. She asked if the fried clam strips were bad for you.
Nicole Richie asked my friend for a tampon while he j the bathroom at the same time haha
Nick carter paid with a debit card and tipped $30 on $110. They were all super nice and took pics with us.
It was such a weird experience because our restaurant was known for only getting old people, and had no idea why they were in our town or picked our restaurant.
I have waited on Damon John…. He called and asked us to stay past close and wait for him. He was super nice (came in a little intoxicated haha) tipped 20%.
Also on Jon Gruden and his family. His three kids were super polite. He accidentally knocked her his beer with his menu but was super apologetic and tipped 30%.
Wasn't a server but worked at a Kiosk at lax airport came into contact with a lot of celebrities . Rose mcgowan had me the most start struck I was a charmed superfan watched every episode and even recorded some she walked up all by herself . Soon as I saw her I almost passed out I couldn't believe it was her she asked if we had anymore turkey sandwiches I said no we didn't but I went in the back and made her one . She was so kind I asked for a autograph and told her how much of a huge fan I was of charmed she was so sweet "she said aww thank you honey" . I couldn't even think the entire rest of my shift after she left. Jordana Brewster was a sweetheart as well so gorgeous she bought a water and was so nice.
Former Trainer/Server for the Cheesecake Factory here. Not too many celebrities but definitely a lot of athletes.
Best: Howie Mandel and Lil Jon
Howie Mandel- Super down to earth and family-oriented guy. Very friendly with the staff too
Lil Jon- Very nice and funny guy! Super appreciative and hyped up every drink & food item that came to the table. Also took pictures with everyone that asked.
Worst: Toss up between Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak or DeMarcus Cousins. Both were very cold and rude to our staff and other guests. They also both oddly had other people speak on their behalf to their servers.
Other celebs/athletes that I’ve encountered but didn’t directly help include: Daniel Radcliffe, Brian McKnight, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, Khalil Mack, Davante Adams
Edit: For the record, All of the celebs were fairly good tippers.
Charlie Sheen came in to the cafe I work in with one of his daughters. Super polite, tipped extremely well. 10/10 celebrity experience!
Some guy in my section was a big YouTube personality. I didn't know him, but many of my coworkers recognized him and his new girlfriend.
They all insisted he's rich so I'll get a good tip.
He left me 0. So they all said they'll blast him in the comments for not tipping his server. Lmao.
Joanne Worley of Laugh In fame is a b***h. Came in unannounced on a Saturday night during season. I was bussing and GM moved people to accommodate her 10-12 people. I was clearing and rewatering the table. One guy made a joke that I thought was funny and said something to him. Worley yelled from head of the table “you don’t talk to us, you serve”
Looked right at her, handed the water pitcher to another busser and ignored the table for the rest of there time. Any demand was relayed to someone else
Not quite the same but when in high school, I worked at a pharmacy. I was on front register and some lady came in and tried to write a check. Those had to be approved by pharmacist in the back. I couldn’t leave the front cause kids came in and tried to steal candy.
When I explained she would have to bring the purchase to the back, I got “Don’t you know who I am?”. Ummm….no I don’t and the pharmacist approves all checks. How the hell would a 16 year old know wtf Nina Simone was and what the hell is she doing in Groton, CT on a Wednesday back in 1977?
A long time ago I worked at a place that was frequented by celebrities. I could tell 100 stories, but here is one that sticks with me.
Kathy Lee Gifford came in with her daughter and daughters BF (I think they were meeting for the first time). They were nice enough, no issue when greeting them. I later heard when going to their table a full conversation about how gay people choose to be gay and are going to hell because of it.
F**k that table and all their b******t.
I have served several celebs most good, a few bad. Tommy Lee Jones was an absolute a*s. Lance Berkman was a horrible tipper. Gale Sayers was the nicest man imaginable. Same for Tim Duncan. He just wanted to be left alone to enjoy his meal which I absolutely respect. Nolan Ryan was completely unassuming. Tiffany Amber Thiessen and Hilary Swank were both so kind. It's nice to see they are mostly just nice, normal people.
Catered the "wedding in MD" in Wedding Crashers. Fed some of the cast.
Christopher Walken- Fantastic guy, actually talks like that. Jane Seymour- Way more beautiful in person, didn't talk to her, heard she was polite though. Owen Wilson- Saw him, but didn't meet him. We were told not to approach or look at him. He looked angry the whole time, wasn't surprised he had a breakdown soon after that movie. Anyone that had any interactions with him said he's a Diva, and completely unreasonable. (Didn't see anyone else on the set, but wish I met Vince Vaughn and Bradley Cooper, but no luck)
Clint Eastwood- Nicest, most down to Earth guy.
Peyton Manning- Very nice, but prefers private entrance and private dining room (we sneak him in the back), doesn't like to be bothered, understandable.
Laurence Fishburn- He's strange, has gained a lot of weight, gets bigger every time we see him. He is friendly and engaging with black staff, but blatantly ignores all white staff. I dunno, he comes off as possibly racist.
I met 2 local news casters, Marty Bass and Richard Sher when I was a kid. Both nice, and both were pretty drunk. Lol
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