This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
It is said that the Bouillon-Duval restaurants of Paris employ about 8,000 women, of whom over 5,000 are waiters in the many different establishments belonging to that company. We have seen in a previous page that these women waiters received tips, the two or three-cent tips customary in that country. But the fact that they received about $12 a month regular wages besides is significant, when the men waiters do not get any wages, for it shows the same there as in the thousands of hotels that employ girl waiters in this country, that women never get as many tips nor as large ones as men. If it were really an object to abolish tips altogether, it could be done easily by employing girl waiters only. People will not give to girls as they will to boys. Girls do not know how or have-not the boldness to extort tips from unwilling customers, or punish those who do not give with neglect and lofty disdain. They do not generally know how to get the hardest and toughest steaks and the oldest and driest biscuits and shoot them down on the table with their faces turned another way, not to see whether the non-tipping offender can reach them or not Some of the girl waiters get along a good way towards learning these things, but they lack thoroughness at it; they are timid, their dreadful revenges are all small and the culprits laugh at them, when they would not dare to laugh at the boy waiters, and go off without tipping the girls just the same.
But the great majority of girl waiters never expect tips and never try to extort them. They have their favorites to whom they show partiality at the table, but it is not often that the prospect of tips is at the bottom of this partiality. Nevertheless girl waiters do in some places make a good deal in the way of tips. They get their regular old bachelors, judges or doctors, permanent boarders, who put down a dollar or two for their waiter by the side of their plate punctually every week, and their harvest is at Christmas, when, if nobody gives the girl waiters tips at other times, there is sure to be a shower of Christmas gifts for them. Occasionally there will be rivalry between two or more favorite girls, each one has her partisans among the boarders; and those at her table after subscribing themselves will gather all they can from others trying to make up the biggest purse for their favorite waitress. At such times the presents run up to fifty, eighty or even a hundred dollars for each one.
Among the recommendations of girl waiters, which causes them to be employed all over the North in the quieter and smaller-sized hotels, one Is that they can generally be hired for lower wages than boys. Another very important one is that they change about less and seldom or never go on strikes, though instances of the girls striking have been recorded where they were persuaded into it by men.
It is a common thing in England for female waiters in hotels to serve high-class dinners, so far as the several courses go, but at the same time a butler attends to the serving of the wines. In this country "Phyllis" never reaches a very high or dignified position as a waiter. But they seek her for places where drilled and uniformed waiters cannot be afforded, because "Phyllis" is neat and cleanly without a uniform. Says one: " Everybody knows the greasy-handed, grimy-cuffed and grimy shirt-fronted individual who pants and 'blows among the chops and steaks,' and everybody as a rule avoids him. Better far a neat-handed 'Phyllis' than a male waiter redolent of mutton fat and insensible to the charms of soap and water".