I wrote a column for school about tipping. It's a non-issue for so many. For others though, I think it's a lot more about them not understanding the system than it is hating the service.
Maybe I'm wrong, but I set out to rectify that a little, anyway.
Here it is:
When I set out to write this column I knew what I was going to say; tip your server, it’s that simple.
I hadn’t realized how controversial that statement would be.
As a server/bartender in the industry for more than seven years, the issue seemed straightforward. Servers work for tips. Gratuities are an expected expense when dining out. Tipping is common etiquette.
I asked around at local chain restaurants for some quotes and insights on tipping. I was specifically looking for statements about tipping trends with college students, because, let’s face it, you’re my target audience.
They didn’t want to go on record talking about tipping, especially about their college patrons. During our conversation though I was led to believe, in general, that tipping trends vary across the board. College students, families, business professionals; tipping practices are hit-or-miss. You can’t tell what kind of tipper someone will be until you open that billfold.
“It has created heated discussion by foodies, some holding that servers should be compensated fairly by their employers, others saying that diners should determine the tip based on service.”
“Servers are not necessarily friendly, and they aren’t likely to go the extra mile. In short, it sucks. And having worked on the other side, it’s a minimum wage job that is a pain in the ass; you get none of the financial benefits. I quit my serving jobs in New Zealand and England after one week. It was not worth it to put up with the bologna.
“Even the worst servers know on some level they are working for tips and have to do a good job or they’ll make no money.”
In an industry where employees earn $8.90 an hour, less than the general minimum wage of $10.25, tips are crucial, and encourage servers to go that extra mile.
Servers tip-out on their total sales for the shift. That means for every dollar you spend, your server is paying out three, five, 10 per cent to kitchen staff, breakage and other expenses. It’s essentially costing your server to wait on you when you leave nothing.
“I’m also not ashamed to leave nothing if the service was terrible. It’s like anything, if you’re bad at your job you will not make that commission, or quarterly bonus, or maybe even keep your job.”
I go by the mantra, “If you can’t afford to tip, you can’t afford to dine out.”
How much to tip is your call.
Article was originally published by Niagara News,
the community paper of Niagara College.