Servers rely on tips to put food on their own tables


By McKenzie Richardson

According to a CNN study, while visiting a restaurant, you should tip “15% of your bill for adequate service; 20% for very good service; no less than 10% for poor service.”

No less than 10% for poor service?

It is ringing in my head over and over again. For someone who has experienced being “stiffed” by customers for “poor” service or even for pretty damn good service, it irks me to see this quote.

What a lot of people fail to realize is that servers are paid less than minimum wage and rely on tips to make a living. What lacks in hourly wage, they hope for customers to make up for in tips.

In Florida, servers are paid $5.04. Why, you ask? The restaurant industry does its best to bring customers in and will do whatever it takes to do so, including lowering the prices of meals. In order to have lower meal prices, other budgets must be cut, such as server salary.

This is put in place to not only save money for everyone involved, but also to let the guest decide how much the server should be rewarded for their job instead of paying every type of server the same pay grade. Not tipping your server does not tell them they did a bad job; it tells them you just don’t care.

Tipping comprises about 85-100 percent of a server’s salary. Tips are reported at the end of the night which, gets “added” into the normal paycheck, and ALL of it gets taxed.

I picked up a paycheck last week for 38 hours of work, and the amount was $63.26 after taxes. After the tips you gave me were put in the system, 15% was taken for the bartenders and another 15% was given to the bus boys and hosts.

Then, it was all taxed, including my hourly wage. I may leave with $50 after a long night of work, but little do I realize in the moment that I am being taxed for every penny in my pocket.

Waiting tables is not an easy job. Servers spend the time that they are supposed to be eating themselves serving food to others and making sure their experience at the restaurant is great. They are also forced to remain pleasant and ready to serve no matter what is going on around them, bad day or good.

Serving is a hard job; reward it.

So the next time you’re out to eat, remember these words: Enjoy your meal, don’t be rude, and tip well.


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