Tipping Matters


“Great service,” he said as he handed me a 10 dollar bill on a 130 dollar check. After running back and forth, talking to the cooks and my managers to make sure their food is prepared and brought out perfectly. After talking to them, and getting to know where they are from and why they are visiting Cincinnati. After being bubbly and an always smiling person to receive a less than 10% tip is unbelievably disappointing. Keep in mind that 4% of the tip goes to the bartenders, busser, and food runners.  I am left with a whopping 4 dollars, that will go towards my parking fee for the night. 

I have been a server for 5 years now, currently in a restaurant in downtown Cincinnati next to the craziness of the football and the Red’s baseball stadium and the sights of the Banks. Safe to say, we stay pretty busy. It is my job that you have a memorable experience. I always ask if we are celebrating anything, a birthday, anniversary, or have good news. I want to make sure my guests feel special and that they are my number one focus. To me that means grabbing refills before asked, giving them a free dessert if they are there for a special occasion, and also finding the perfect beer for them. Working in a place that has 160 beers on draft it is important I stay current on beer flavor and have extensive knowledge on beers. It is part of my job to find that perfect beer tailored for them. This is something I think about and try my best to bring options out that the guest will love. 

After everything, the tip is the deciding factor whether or not you feel your experience was memorable. Servers rely solely on tips. Hourly servers make $4.50 an hour, then add the tax to that, and it is a miracle if I get a “paycheck” higher than 10 dollars a week. So the tip you give matters. The tip goes to rent, hospital bills, children, school loans, and other expenses. 

According to many internet searches and tripadvisor.com, the average percent to tip is 20. That is the percent I hope for at least. It is disappointing to look at the tip line, getting excited, because you know you gave the best service possible, but seeing a 10-13% tip. It is just rude and upsetting. My co-workers and I have had this done to us time and time again for no reason, or at least no reason based on our service. Maybe people do not know to tip 20% or do not have enough money to tip their server the right amount. 

This brings me to my next point; don’t go to a nice restaurant without being prepared to leave an acceptable tip. I and many others have been at a point in life where the money is tight, and I can’t afford to spend it on frivolous things. But if you have enough to pay your bill then you should have enough to tip, just as if it was apart of the bill. That server could be tight on money as well and can’t afford to get stiffed or tipped poorly. It is all about people looking out for one another and respecting what the other person does. 

Lastly, I can make more money in tips on a weekend than I will make in a week working my job that I am getting a degree for, so belittling your server or thinking they don’t have a real job is ridiculous. Servers remember faces and we tell all of our co-workers about it the person who didn’t tip well or was being extremely rude to us. So keep in mind to always be respectful and kind so that other servers will look forward to waiting on you, but overall please, oh please, remember to tip 20%. 

About Cara Calabrese

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