Working For Tips (A Server’s Struggle)

Working As A Server Is Not Easy, And They Truly Earn All The Tips They Make

I spent some time in the food industry as a waitress working for tips when I was younger. Luckily, I was eventually able to move on and get a job that made me feel like more than somebody’s servant. But, there are actually people who work their way up in the restaurant business because they love the service they are able to provide (after spending time in the industry, I have much respect).

I have family members as well as friends who have chosen to stay in the food industry even after experiencing everything I had to experience. I remember the last experience I had as a server led to me alone in the back of the restaurant crying and trying to pull myself together. An older couple got seated in my section because they didn’t want a table and chairs, although my section was already full. I had to add an extra two people to my already crazy busy night. But like any other good waitress would do, I hurried myself up and got on top of their drink order! The man put in an order for a seven-n-seven, so I did what I normally would do and told my bartender what I needed and asked if I could be shown how to put the order in correctly. After taking them their waters and getting their bread, I rushed back over to get their alcoholic beverages. I smiled and repeated their drink order back to them as I handed the drinks to them. The man immediately looked at me like I was the biggest piece of scum on earth. He went on to tell me that his wife wanted a mug, along-side her bottle, and he didn’t even know what he had just received! I told him that I told the bartender exactly what he had said, but he told me to take it back and do it “the right way this time”.

I was still okay at this point as I went and explained to my manager what the man had asked for, and she was perfectly okay with helping me sort it out. She personally made me the drink they had requested, and I was off to serve it again. I sat it down, and the man asked me If I was an idiot; yes those words exactly. I couldn’t help but to feel a little bit confused and hurt at the time. So, I walked back to the kitchen after checking on my other 4 tables, and I tried so hard to hold back the tears. But I couldn’t, so I went to the very back of the restaurant until I could get myself together. When my manager saw me she told me she would take care of my table, and that didn’t make me feel any better. They left and paid on a credit card leaving me no tip. I had been working my butt off all night, trying to make sure my customers were happy, only to have it all fall apart. I was working 2 jobs at the time trying to make sure I could afford my rent for the month. I was also only making $2.50 at this job. (Plus Tips)

Since I had a 2nd job, I was able to quit my serving job. It felt good to know that I no longer had to worry about somebody’s $2-$5 dollar tip that I already knew I had busted my ass for, but sometimes I never saw. To be able to sit at a desk, off my feet, and not have to worry about some rude customer, or have to worry about if the chefs were going to cook their steak just right. You couldn’t pay me $20 an hour to go back to waiting tables. Not because I’m better than a server, but because I am not meant to be a server.

If you ask my sister who’s been waiting tables for ten years (who happens to be the smartest out of my other three siblings and could have easily been an Artist or Photographer) she’d tell you that she loves her job, and that she doesn’t ever see herself doing anything other than work in the food industry, hopefully owning a food truck someday. She knows she was meant to serve people, and she’s more than happy to do it.

No, she’s not going to be a millionaire from serving tables, but she’s happy with her job. She doesn’t wake up dreading going in. She actually stays late to make sure things are ready for YOU the next day. My sister has also had terrible customers like I did, but she chooses every single day to get up and do it again. She has bills to pay and things she needs. Think about this next time you go out; most servers only earn $2-$5 an hour plus whatever you give them for their time and service. If you aren’t giving them anything, then they don’t even make minimum wage to do their job.

What if there weren’t anyone to serve you when you went out to eat? What if one day everyone finally listened to their family and friends who tell them to “get a real job” because they didn’t make enough from that treacherous shift that they just got done working? What if you were in their shoes, busting your butt for people who didn’t respect you enough to think your service wasn’t enough for at the very least minimum wage?

Think about it guys, if it weren’t for those people who don’t have “real jobs”? The people that pick up after your family, grab your drinks, and deliver your food? On top of that, they do it all while trying to keep a smile on their face. These people bust their humps for you and I, doing one of the most draining jobs I have ever done…believe me, working for tips ain’t easy. I think the least we can do is show them it’s appreciated. So, tip big and tip often. And remember, they are SERVERS not SERVANTS.

What are your thoughts?

Originally published at on March 24, 2016.

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