April 13, 2024

By Karen Haynes

Everyone should work in the food service industry at least once in their life.
Nearly everyone goes out for dinner or periodically has a drink at their neighbourhood restaurant. It is reasonable to wish the general public understood the clockwork that is meant to happen on the other side of the restaurant table or bar top.

It is not my intention to say you as a restaurant guest should accept poor service or unacceptable food quality, however, those who have an understanding of the industry can appreciate that their cold vegetables or flat diet Pepsi has a fast solution and does not constitute not tipping your server.

As it pertains to the restaurant industry, TIPS is an acronym meaning To Ensure Prompt Service. For most people the quality of guest service provided to them naturally affects the tip they leave. Generally 15 per cent is considered proper etiquette while 20 per cent or more reflects a greater appreciation for excellent service.

The majority of restaurants implement a tip out or tip pool system. This is how the kitchen and support staff, including hosts, dishwashers and kitchen expeditors, receive tips. The name tip pool is deceiving. In some cases serving staff submit to their managers a percentage of their sales, not their tips, from that day. It is then appropriately distributed between the kitchen and support staff.

So, say that table of four that I’ve been looking after for the last hour and a half has a bill of $100. If they do not leave a tip, the system does not care and I tip out $2.25, which is 2.25 per cent of the $100. Since I wasn’t left a tip, I actually have to take money from my own pocket to pay the system.

It shouldn’t cost your server money to serve you. And do not forget their hourly pay is $8.90, far below minimum wage.

I have been a server for five years, long enough to be considered a veteran in the restaurant industry. In my experience there are stereotypical tables who will not tip, this includes students.

 Although this accusation is a generalization and there are always exceptions, students are for the most part terrible tippers.

Your server probably inwardly cringes when she hears you talking about mid-terms and realizes you are students. She likely thinks you are going to leave a bad tip, or worse, no tip.

Over the years I have heard every excuse as to why students are bad tippers. The No. 1 reason is always “students have no money.” Well, students have enough money to pay for that extra pint that costs $7 and they have enough money to splurge on dessert, costing $6.

Then the bill comes and the bank is closed. With a lack of generosity and any understanding of the restaurant industry, some students even have the audacity to say, “Your service was great, but I don’t have any money to tip you.”

My smile feels awkwardly tacked onto my face and I say nothing.

 If that last pint truly tapped you out, maybe you should have ordered water and skipped dessert. If you cannot afford to tip, don’t eat in a restaurant where gratuities are proper etiquette.
Be a mindful adult. Respect the server and the excellent service that is being provided to you.

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