20 Things your server doesn't tell you

20 Secrets Your Waiter Won't Tell You from a 'Readers Digest' survey of servers

1.We put sugar in your kids' meals so kids will like them more. We even put extra sugar in the dough for the kids' pizzas.

2. If you're a vegetarian and you ask if we use vegetable stock, I’m going to say yes even if we don’t. You’ll never know the difference.

3.At a lot of restaurants, the special is whatever they need to sell before it goes bad. Especially watch out for the soup of the day. If it contains fish or if it’s some kind of gumbo, it's probably the stuff they're trying to get rid of.

4.Now that I’ve worked in a restaurant, I never ask for lemon in a drink. Everybody touches them, nobody washes them. We just peel the stickers off, cut them up, and throw them in your iced tea.

5.If you ask me how many calories are in a particular dish, I'm not allowed to tell you even if I know. I'm supposed to say, 'All that information is available online.'

6. I've never seen anybody do anything to your food, but I have seen servers mess with your credit card. If a server doesn’t like you, he might try to embarrass you in front of your business associate or date by bringing your credit card back and saying, 'Do you have another card, this one didn’t go through.'

7. Skim milk is almost never skim milk. Very few restaurants outside Starbucks carry whole milk, 2 percent milk, skim milk, and half-and-half; it's just not practical.

8. Some places buy salad dressings in one-gallon jars, then add a few ingredients, like a blue cheese crumble or fresh herbs, and call it homemade on the menu.

9. The single greatest way to get your waiter to hate you, ask for hot tea. For some reason, an industry that’s managed to streamline everything else hasn’t been able to streamline that. You've got to get a pot, boil the water, get the lemons, get the honey, bring a cup and spoon. It’s a lot of work for little reward.

10. In many restaurants, the tips are pooled, so if you have a bad experience with the server, you’re stiffing the bartender who made your drinks, the water boy who poured your water, sometimes the hostess, the food runners, and maybe the other waiters.

11. Even at the best breakfast buffet in the world, 99 times out of 100, the big pan of scrambled eggs is made from a powder.

12. People think that just because your food took a long time, it's the server's fault. Nine times out of ten, it's the kitchen. Or it's the fact that you ordered a well-done burger.

13. When you’re with the woman who's not your wife, you’re a lot nicer to us, probably because you know that we know it’s not your wife.

14. It’s much easier to be recognized as a regular on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays. Once you’re recognized as a regular, good things start to happen. You’ll find your wineglass gets filled without being put on your bill, or the chef might bring you a sample.

15. Avoid Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day like the black plague. It’s crazy busy, so they’re not going to be able to pay as much attention to quality. Plus, they bring out a special menu where everything is overpriced.

16. If the restaurant is busy and your child is shy, please order for him. Kids can sit there forever trying to decide, or they whisper and you can’t hear them. Meanwhile the people at the next table are yelling at you to come over.

17. The best tippers tend to be middle-class or people who have worked for everything they have, not the really wealthy or the kid who inherited the trust fund. Which is not to say that we mind if you use coupons. But when you do, tip on the amount the bill would have been without them.

18. First dates, especially blind Internet dates, are great for tips. You know he’ll probably order a bottle of wine and leave a 20 to 25 percent tip because he's showing off.

19. Don’t order fish on Sunday or Monday. The fish deliveries are usually twice a week, so Tuesday through Friday are great days. Or ask the restaurant when they get theirs.

20. In most restaurants, after 8 p.m. or so, all the coffee is decaf because no one wants to clean two different coffeepots. I’ll bring out a tray with 12 coffees on it and give some to the customers who ordered regular, others to the ones who ordered decaf. But they're all decaf.