The Service Industry PSA

I am 30 years old, and have been in the work force for 15 years. I have quite an array of experiences under my belt. They range from fast food to fashion. I can say that the service industry is probably one of the most difficult industries to work in. And by probably, I mean absolutely.

The hardest part of it all has to be a server or bartender. Our income relies solely on the kindness of strangers. Most of us make $2.65 an hour, and we lose that money to taxes. Since strangers aren’t always kind, we are often abused and overworked. Many of us bear through it though. We just do it so we can collect that tip. If we don’t then bills aren’t getting paid. Luckily for me I only do this part time now.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when a customer takes their anger out on the server. If the kitchen staff did not cook your meal correctly, or is taking longer than usual, do not punish me. There had been several occasions that a guest has reflected their unhappiness through my tip. So even though I had nothing to do with the cooking and preparing of your food, and bent over backwards trying to take care of you and profusely apologizing, I still get stiffed or a reduction in tip? The person who actually cooked your food and messed it up is still getting paid the same hourly rate and is not facing any punishment. Even management frowns upon the server who has to have food comped. I understand that as a server we are the face of the establishment to you, but we are not the establishment!

It seems to me that some people are confused about how tipping in the service industry works. Let me break it down:

Above and beyond – Steller job = 20%+

Great – Good job = 18%+

Okay-Mediocre = 15%+

Terrible job = 10%*

*If the service is really terrible, then you be the judge here. All the other ones are non-negotiable.

These are based off the entire total, not the sub total.

As a bartender, average tips for a drink should be $1 per drink. If you have a really amazing experience with a bartender, then you should definitely reflect that in your tip. Also with bartending, be aware of your surroundings. If the bar is slammed and packed, and your bartender doesn’t stop to shoot the breeze with you, please know that they are trying to get to everyone else like they got you. The longer you hold them, the longer you wait for your next drink.

I am a firm believer that a patron should definitely tip on the service that they receive. As server, that helps us maintain a certain level of excellence when engaging and working with a table. Terrible service does not deserve 20%. There were times when I was left 10%-15% but I accepted that I deserved it because I did not give my best. If you as a guest receive spectacular service and/or you are constantly running your server, you are obligated to tip well. If you cannot afford to include gratuity as part of your total, :in server voice: “Might I recommend to you McDonalds or Sonic? this evening?”

Speaking of tipping, I am not sure why but there are several groups of people notorious for tipping poorly. The most common and stereotypical (not the same thing) offenders are Canadians, elderly people, black people, teenagers, church goers, and Indian people. That is quite a variety of people isn’t it? I am not going to go into this any deeper though. Everyone has varying opinions on this. You can give your opinion and I will happily discuss.

Regardless of who you are, you have been provided with details on how to tip. No one has any excuse t not tip accordingly after reading this. Please remember everything that your server or bartender is doing and juggling. It is a hard business to be in.

A few other tips before I go:

Immediately tell your server/bartender if anything is wrong with anything you ordered. We are there to fix that. We can’t fix it if you do not tell us. Never be afraid to send anything back, unless your server is Ryan Reynolds.

Remember you are not the servers only table. They are trying to juggle 2-3 other tables as well. Figuring out everything you need so the server only has to take one trip will ensure a much better experience for you. Would you want to be the table that has to wait for their server because his/her table is running them? I don’t think so.

We are people too. We have lives and feelings too. Don’t dismiss or ignore like us like we are nothing. Unless you planning on tipping extremely well. Then by all means!

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