There comes a point in everyone’s life when enough is enough, and for many of us in the hospitality industry, we are at that breaking point. We all know what we are getting into when we sign up for these jobs- it’s a high volume business of needy, hungry, thirsty patrons who are out to enjoy their night off. We need to be fast, we need to be accurate, we need to be knowledgeable on all things with the menu both food and drinks, and we need to be happy…all the time. With that being said, we are all willing to push ourselves to the limit in order to make sure your dining experience is pleasurable so that you want to return to our establishment in the future, but also, so that you tip us accordingly.
I cannot express how many people sit down to dinner and DO NOT know the proper way to treat people in this industry. YOU PEOPLE SHOULD BE ASHAMED. We are called “servers” or “bartenders”, not “servants” here to take your abuse and mistreatment. There are plenty of websites and articles about nightmarish customers written about this issue, but here comes another one since some of you must have missed those. Let’s get a few things straight now once and for all so that you can actually go out and act like a proper human being that doesn’t deserve to have someone spit in your food:
1) The American federal government requires a wage of at least $2.13 per hour be paid to employees that receive at least $30 per month in tips. In various states, service industry employees are paid anywhere between $2.13 (i.e.: North Carolina, Indiana, Kansas, and Virginia)-$7.32/hr (for bartenders in Connecticut only). WE TRULY WORK FOR TIPS. If you decide that you can only go out and afford to pay the check but can’t afford to tip- STAY HOME. It’s not fair to make us bend over backwards to make your evening enjoyable (and also, take away attention to other more generous tables), and then you don’t even compensate us for it. People work these jobs for the tips- with hourly wages as low as $2.13 an hour, we don’t even get a pay check because it all goes towards taxes. By stiffing us on the check you are actually COSTING us money. How is that, you may ask? Because every server has someone they also have to tip out- a hostess, busser, or bartender. By you coming into a restaurant and not tipping, you actually have now cost us money out of the tips we may actually make.
2) If you decide to pay with a gift card, that does NOT mean that you tip off of whatever your bill might magically go down to. Here’s an easy example- if your bill was $100 and you had a $50 gift card, your bill is now $50, however, you should still be tipping accordingly off of the original bill price of $100. Just because you have gift card doesn’t change the fact that you just received a great dinner and outstanding service. In fact, you should be MORE than generous because you just lucked out and had someone else pay half of your check! You should be tipping anywhere between 18-20% on that check, not 10% which is what you would be doing if you tipped off of the new $50 check.
3) Mistakes do happen and sometimes your food arrives incorrectly. There is a 50% chance this was not the server’s fault. Please remember- we are the messenger in this scenario. We can talk with you, make you laugh, explain the menu, and place your order but we are not the one cooking your food. Sure, some servers make mistakes and like to blame it on the kitchen, however, if you asked for a medium rare steak and it comes out well done, chances are that was the kitchens fault. In these cases, we understand you are unhappy but you should not be taking that out on the messenger. Accommodations will be made to try and alleviate that situation but, again, do not penalize the person standing before you when you have to pay the bill.
4) Just as an FYI- it is customary to tip anywhere between 15-20%. Generally speaking, some like to say to double the sales tax because most states have a tax of about 8%, however, if you receive great service and you truly enjoyed your meal, you should be leaving between 18-20%. Also, because all credit card tips are taxed, cash tips are ALWAYS more than welcome. If you aren’t good at math and don’t want to be embarrassed because you added wrong, there are plenty of apps on smartphones such as “EZ Tip Calculator” that you can download to do the work for you.
We all understand times are tough, but that is no reason to treat a fellow human being like a lesser being. Some of us in this industry are doing this as a second job to help support a household. Some of us are doing this to put ourselves through school because we couldn’t afford it otherwise. Some of us are doing this job because the job market is so bad we can’t get a job doing anything else and that doesn’t make the bills stop coming or the college loans disappear. Even though you may not be one of the people in this category, we are all still fighting the same fight. We all need money, we all have bills to pay and mouths to feed, and we are all just trying to make it, so why make someone else’s life a living hell? Just remember, you GET to have the night off while we are all working (sometimes) seven days a week just to make the bare minimum that doesn’t even come close to certain people’s full time salaries (and don’t even get me started on healthcare options). It’s time to start “walking a mile in someone’s shoes” before you walk into that dining room.
Please listen when I say- SOCIETY, YOU NEED TO BE NICER TO EACH OTHER. There are absolutely instances where the person doing this job doesn’t deserve the aforementioned tip percentage, however, if you are given exceptional service- please tip accordingly- that’s all we ask from you. If this can change, I could almost guarantee service everywhere would certainly have a smile permanently on his/her face.