Life of a Server: The Tipping Problem


I’m going to start this blog off with the most popular topic when it comes to server struggles: tips. Depending on who you talk to, there’s a certain percentage that is appropriate to tip. 

As a server, I always start at 20 percent. Some might think that’s too high, but you also don’t see my paychecks. In the state of Arizona, minimum wage for servers is $5.05 before tips, so, hourly, servers don’t even make what the state considers a “livable” age.

You should always tip but, depending on how much you’re spending, tossing your server a $5 tip on a $100 tab usually isn’t as generous as you would think. 

See, there’s this thing called tip-out. It's when a server gives a portion of their tips to bartenders, bussers and other hosts. And tip out isn’t a terrible thing, because all of those positions help out the servers and make your experiences at at the restaurant all the more enjoyable. 

When someone doesn't tip, the server is losing money on the table because they’re still giving a portion of their tips at the end of the night. Now it's coming from a smaller amount because someone didn’t tip.

Then there’s the question, what happens if you have a horrible server? I get it. It happens. In all honesty, if they were too busy or they were just a jerk then I totally understand, but you should still tip something

At the end of the day, that is the majority of the money they’re making. You should have mercy on them and hope they have a better day or just find a job better suited for them. There are some days where I am just crabby and don’t want to be at work, but my tables will never know that.

Tips are often the reason people serve for as long as the do. There will be one table who will give you an incredible tip (to all of you, we thank you) and there will be those who will just still you (to you…I have no words.) 

Regardless of whether or not you have ever been a server, try to understand the struggles we face as servers and just tip! If a decent tip is 10 percent to you, then 10 percent is fine. But please do not smile to my face while you leave without tipping. Now that is just an insult. 

Despite the times that I have walked back from my table with a big, fat zero over the tip line and want to cry, I still love my job.