Date night, girls night, family night.. Whatever the occasion may be, you know you’re going out to eat somewhere. You know it’s going to be a great night because of the great company. And though we don’t really realize it, having a great server makes our night just that much better.
I have worked in restaurants since I was 18-years-old. I have experienced every single personality you can think of, in fellow coworkers and customers alike. Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes, we all have bad days. Leaving a server a bad tip, though, pretty much ruins their day.
Now, some of you may be unaware of the tipping standard here in America, which is completely understandable, as it has changed quite immensely in the 8 years that I have worked in the restaurant industry. If I can remember correctly, the typical tipping percentage when I was 18 was somewhere around 10-12%. Recently, it went up from 15% to 20%. It sounds astronomical, but if your bill is small it is usually not a large number. And, quite honestly, if you went out to eat, you consciously chose to avoid the muss and fuss of picking a recipe, cooking it, and then cleaning it up. You actively chose to go out and pay someone else to do all of that for you. So, at the end of the day, don’t you think that the person that brings you your food, keeps your glass full, laughs at your dumb drunk jokes, and takes your flack when your food doesn’t come out EXACTLY as you wanted deserves a nice, big tip for it? I know I speak for the entire restaurant industry when I say that YES, they do.
I will be the first to admit that there are some terrible servers out there. How can someone with absolutely NO personality have a customer service job? It really boggles my mind. These select individuals (as few and far between as they are) probably don’t deserve a full 20% tip. But the ones who do are the ones who work their asses off. We tend to forget when we’re out to eat that servers always have multiple tables. So not only are they dealing with YOUR table, but they’re dealing with at least three others as well; juggling all four groups, every single order from each table, keeping drinks filled, entertaining everyone – it’s exhausting, and it’s a lot of work. And they are working for crap wages – minimum wage to be exact. So when you don’t leave a nice tip, they are relying on $8 an hour (or whatever minimum wage is in your area) to survive. People don’t have jobs for fun, people have jobs because they have bills to pay and they need to survive. Now do you see why a nice tip from you can easily be the cherry on top to someone’s day?
If you are a person who is snobby and you feel some sort of entitlement when you go out to eat, you should probably see a doctor – chances are you’ve had gallons of spit in your food, and chances are it did not come from the cleanest employee in the restaurant.
There is an Australian exchange student in one of my classes, who recently showed me an article about how Australian’s are the worst tippers in the world. (To read the article, click here). So don’t go feeling all bad about yourselves just yet. Turns out, we are one of the only countries in which servers tips are not included in their hourly wages. You can just think of yourself as a recent immigrant, just learning the crazy American ways.
So here’s a tip: leave a tip!