My oldest daughter worked at a very popular fish restaurant — expensive, well known. She made amazing tips.
From some people.
Other people were demanding, ran her ragged, complained, asked for freebies, and then left without tipping. Or left a ridiculous, almost insultingly low tip.
My daughter was an excellent server. She had regulars who asked for her section. Customers regularly told the manager how much they loved her. And she was good at it for the same reason she wants to go into health care: She enjoys helping people. She likes to make people happy.
When she first began serving, she would come home really sad when someone stiffed her. She would dissect her service — did she forget something? She was sure she gave good service.
But she eventually realized that some people old enough to know better, people who have great jobs and plenty of money — certainly enough to go to a nice restaurant, order $6 drinks and $10 appetizers and $5 desserts — are more than willing to cheat an 18-year-old kid saving for college out of $10. Some people think that’s okay.
So here’s the deal to all you stupid non-tippers:
— SERVERS DON’T GET MINIMUM WAGE. They get $2.13 an hour. Their salary is the tips.
— You always tip in a sit-down restaurant. If you don’t have enough money for dinner and a tip, go to McDonald’s.
— 10% if service was not up to par.
— 15% if service was just okay. This tells the server he could have done better.
— 20% if service was good.
— 25% if service was excellent.
I realize a lot of older people think 10% is a good tip, because it used to be. Times have changed, folks, and that’s not true anymore. Little thing called inflation. In fact, a lot of servers dread when older people sit at their tables, not because they don’t like older people — they’re usually a pleasure to serve — but because they tip low. Time to up it to 18%. You’ll get better service.
Some people don’t realize that the tip is the server’s salary. If tips for the day average more than minimum wage, THE RESTAURANT DOESN’T PAY A SALARY AT ALL. It’s like the servers are independent contractors, given a place to work in the restaurant but not actually employed by the restaurant. I think it’s stupid — I think the price of the meal should be the price of the meal, and the restaurants shouldn’t get free help, but that’s not the way it is.
Plus, servers have to share their tips. They tip out the bus boys, the bar tenders, the hostesses. If you don’t tip, the server still has to pay them. So they LOST MONEY waiting on you.
Some people think eating out has just gotten too expensive, but if you don’t tip well, you’re not punishing the restaurant, you’re just punishing some kid. Restaurants try to keep their prices as low as possible, knowing the servers are the ones who are going to get stiffed, not them.
Another thing that amazes me is that people will make stuff up — not kidding here — just to get a meal or drink comped. They are actually willing to get a server fired so they can save $15 on a meal. If someone gets a meal comped in a restaurant, suddenly there will be a flurry of complaints around them as other people try to get their meals comped too. And if the kitchen makes a mistake and the meal is comped, they don’t tip the server. Who then worked for them for nothing, even though the fault wasn’t the server’s.
Finally, please, remember that servers are not servants. Talk to them like people, look them in the eye, don’t interuppt them and dismiss them, thank them, say please, don’t run them hither and yon — you’re not their only table.
And tip them!