I’ve worked in the food service industry since I was 17 years old. I was an employee at Cold Stone Creamery during high school, I was a server at the on-campus bar at UMiami, and I was a server at a tourist restaurant/popular bar on my summers back home during college. Just for funsies, here is my staff profile from Duffy’s –
I’m a big believer in karma so I always tip at least 20%. My father (who is a 2nd grade teacher) worked as a waiter when I was a little kid so I grew up with parents who knew how to tip, and how to treat the wait staff with respect! I realize that not everyone has worked in the service industry, or even knows someone who has, so I wanted to compile a quick post on an important part of the dining out process: tipping.
- In most states, serves do not make minimum wage. According to the US Department of Labor the minimum wage in New York is $7.25/hour. The minimum wage for food service workers is $4.65/hour. Restaurant owners are supposed to make up the difference if tips don’t bring workers up to minimum wage, but if that was actually happening restaurants would also have to raise their prices which affects you as a consumer.
- The standard % for tipping on food and drinks is 18% (I typical get more than 20%). I don’t believe that you should tip 15% unless your service is pretty bad. 10% is for service that is terrible.
- Servers do not control your entire dining experience – don’t stiff them because you are unhappy about things outside of their control. Servers cannot control: how quickly your order comes, how strong your drink is, whether or not your food tastes good, if the restaurant is too cold, too hot, or too loud…
- …However, it is the server’s responsibility to be helpful if you are unhappy about any of those things. Servers can control their attitudes.
- If your server actually is awful, talk to the manager. Managers and owners can only fix problems that they know about!
- If you can’t afford the tip, you can’t afford the meal.
- If you are using a gift certificate or Groupon you tip on the original amount before the credit.
- Servers often tip out bus boys, the bar, etc based on their sales and not their actual tips; if you stiff a server in this situation then your meal may actually cost them money.
- If you are in a party of 6 or larger, check the bill to make sure gratuity wasn’t added automatically. If it was you can just pay the bill and leave, although it’s always nice to tip a little extra.
- If you order drinks at the bar before you are seated it’s good practice to close out your tab with the bar before you move. You drinks bill can be transferred to your server, but the bartender may end up not receiving a tip for serving you.
Have you ever worked in the food service industry? Do you have anything to add to my list?