There was a time many moons ago that I was a server. Started at Perkins in Florida and then served at a Red Lobster in Virginia. Restaurant work is in my blood and I’ve been in the business in some form or fashion since I was 16 years old (minus 10 years to raise my kids). I’ve served, supervised, managed and owned. I’ve bussed tables, made cocktails, cooked the food, rang people up, cleaned up throw up, scrapped gum off the bottom of tables, picked up after high chair babies and did most of it with a smile. Serving is in my blood and it’s who I was created to be, through the good and bad.
When I was in my server years (back then I was called a Waitress…not sure when or why that changed), there were certain segments of guests that no one ever wanted. For awhile it was women (I SO hate to say that but back in the day women were notorious for not being great tippers. I am HAPPY to say that this has changed immensely and women are as good if not better than their male counterparts!). Ask a server and they will tell you right away who the good tippers are and who the bad tippers are. There are all types of demographics that fit the bill.
One of those categories that wasn’t so great when I was serving were the Sunday church folk! We always had a full house on Sundays and those who came from church were typically kind, although a bit demanding. And oft times, they had little to no patience, even if you were running around like crazy. There were always those who were so wonderful and made up for the ones that made you feel like a “servant” as opposed to a “server” though and servers are always grateful for that. Only takes one tough table to ruin your day though sadly enough.
One of my favorite movies is Maid in Manhattan. In it, the character Lionel Bloch, played by the amazing and late Bob Hoskins says,
“To serve people takes dignity and intelligence. But remember, they are only people with money. And although we serve them, we are not their servants.”
Always appreciated that line because being in this business, you are sometimes treated like a servant instead of a server. As an owner, I don’t ever want my staff to feel that way. I want them respected for how hard they work and for the fact that they are taking care of others.
Today, one of our servers waited on a table. I wasn’t there so I have no clue who it was. There is a good possibility that I may offend by saying this but it needs to be said. This was left on the table for the server:
Along with this Jesus tract there were a few coins. Coins. Coins and a pamphlet about God’s Word. Coins and a pamphlet about God’s word that is intended to try and bring people to God via the Jehovah Witnesses.
This is a JW tract but know that there are Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran and more tracts available that have shown up on server’s tables in lieu of a tip.
Some things to consider:
Your server makes $2.13 an hour. An 8 hour day brings them $17.04 for the day. Before taxes are removed.
No matter how much you tip them, they are taxed on 8-10% of your total check. So that means that they have to pay the government based on what you ate and drank.
They serve you. They bring your drinks, roll your silverware, make sure the table is clean for you, bring your food, check on you, bring extra mayo, fill your drinks and take away your dirty dishes. Then they clean the table again. And if your children ate with you, well there’s a little bit more cleaning going on as all parents know.
They run their tushes off. If they have a few tables going at the same time and it’s a busy day, they are hustling and trying to take care of you the best way they can.
They don’t cook your food so if the oatmeal isn’t as hot as you like, it’s not because they (or anyone really) wanted to serve you cold food.
They don’t taste your food before bringing it to you so if your fries are cold, they won’t know unless you tell them.
While they are waiting for you to come in and eat, they are cleaning bathrooms, wiping tables, filling salt and pepper shakers, filling sugar bowls, watering plants, cleaning windows, polishing chairs, making coffee, rolling silverware, making bakery boxes and more. And remember..they make $2.13 an hour.
They deserve it. There have been very few times where I didn’t want to leave a great tip, but I still did. Maybe my server was having a horrible day. Maybe their car broke down that morning. Maybe they lost a loved one. Maybe they aren’t completely on their game. But they are trying and they are taking care of you. Of us. Let’s be sure we are taking care of them.
And if you want to leave a Jesus tract, by all means, go for it! But you aren’t going to help your cause for getting people into heaven if you leave them a tract and a lousy tip. Yes, we want to see people know Jesus. But they also need to pay their electric bills, friends! Let’s do right by them. What would Jesus do? Tip well, I’m sure!