When I was 16, I got a part-time job as a hostess to buy myself a car and have some pocket money. Over the years, I have since worked my way around the different roles from being a dishwasher, delivery driver, takeout girl, and eventually to being a waitress. While some factors of working in food service can make your earnings turn into a wild card (such as how many patrons come in and what people order) ultimately I made a decent income. At this point I knew the ins and outs of the entire menu along with every single regular, when they came in, and what they ordered. But despite doing well at my job, I was definitely excited deep down when the coronavirus pandemic forced restaurants to temporarily close dine in services.
With the good times came a cost unfortunately. I had my fair share of dine and dashes, sending food back that had no mistakes, and being yelled at by customers that the prices are too high. Sir, I do not make the prices, nor does my boss, or even his boss. But the worst part of working in food service is relying on tips you may or may not receive, which solely depends on what the customer feels like giving you.
Now that the world is slowly trying to open up again one step at a time, everyone is eager to do the things we once took for granted, such as going out to eat. However, it is important to note the United States is still in a rough spot with the coronavirus, and food service staff are risking their health every day to serve you.
That alone should be why you should tip at least twenty percent.
I want to take the initiative of digging a little deeper into why you should tip a proper amount to your waiter or waitress, starting with the reason you’re going out to eat.
If you’re going out to eat, chances are you have at least some privileges leading you to even be able to make that choice.
Going out in public right now is a risk in and of itself for both you and your loved ones. However, if you’re choosing to go out for a nonessential reason, such as going to bars and restaurants, it can possibly mean two things about you:
- You’re financially stable.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of employed people in May of 2020 has dropped to 52.8%, therefore meaning that now 47.2% of Americans are jobless. While the government has reimbursed independents with unemployment and a stimulus check, it isn’t enough to fully support a household.
That being said, if you have the money to go out to eat, you have the money to tip. However, if you have the money for food but can’t afford a proper tip, then just order takeout.
2. You and your family are not immunocompromised.
I personally am not immunocompromised, but members of my family are. While I can’t control whether or not I go into work, I can control whether or not I go out to restaurants or clubs. Words can’t describe how terrible I would feel if I were to get someone I love sick from doing something that wasn’t necessary.
While you can take steps to protect yourself while you’re out, there is always the risk even with wearing a mask and washing your hands. But if you’re already going out for leisure, chances are you’re not worried about putting someone close to you in danger because it seems as if none of them are immunocompromised.
Service workers do a lot for how little they’re paid. Between serving several tables, restocking supplies, rolling up silverware, cleaning tables, and additional side work, they are overworked. They don’t just appreciate your tip, but they need it.
While it shouldn’t have to take a global pandemic to be kind to restaurant and service staff, they need your kindness now more than ever. Even if it’s just a polite conversation, a nice compliment about their work, or telling them how good your food tastes. Everyone in the service industry right now are the first guinea pigs to test out the “new normal” of society, so please be patient and understanding with them.