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Customers, remember that servers rely on your tips

By Staff | Mar 26, 2010

As a server in various restaurants in the Martinsburg area for the past six years, I am starting to lose my patience with some of the customers that I deal with on a daily basis, and I would like to voice some of the frustrations that I encounter more and more frequently at my job.

I would like to make it known, first of all, that the standard rate for tipping these days is at least 15 percent, when the service is average, and should be raised accordingly from 18-20 percent when service exceeds regular standards, such as when a server goes out of his or her way to make customers happy with their dining experience. I understand that the economy is in rough shape right now, and a lot of people are having money problems, but if you cannot afford to tip your server according to the total of your bill, then you should either not go out to eat or spend less money on alcoholic drinks and expensive appetizers so that you can leave the appropriate tip for your server.

Besides dealing with customers that don’t tip the appropriate amount, I have also encountered quite a few customers who think it’s okay to “stiff” their server by leaving them no tip at all. Leaving no tip for your server is not only disrespectful, but also downright mean and unfair. I am providing you a service; don’t I deserve a reward for doing a good job? It’s one thing if a server genuinely does not provide adequate service, but as an experienced server, I know when I have provided quality service to a customer, and to have that customer leave me no tip is like a slap in the face. How would you feel if you provided someone a service only to have he or she decide after the fact that they don’t feel like paying you? Would you want to work for free?

What many people don’t realize is that servers in most restaurants have to tip out food runners, hosts, and other co-workers based on what their total sales were for the night. This means that when you don’t leave a tip your server is actually losing money by waiting on you because he or she has to tip out co-workers based on the total of your bill. Do you really think that it is fair that a server should have to pay to wait on you?

Many people reading this might think, “Why should I care whether or not I leave servers a decent tip? It’s not my responsibility to pay their salary.” I agree, restaurants should have to pay servers more, but the fact is that servers make only $2.13 an hour. We depend on tips for our salaries. We have families to support, rent and mortgages to pay, groceries to buy, and school tuition to pay just like everyone else does. Don’t we deserve to make a living too? Don’t we deserve a little respect?

Melissa Sheehan

Falling Waters