Tip Your Servers, It is How We Survive.

#Dedicated to Jerm the Perm and to everyone else on that shift work for tips.

For the last two summers I have worked as a waitress at some point.


Depending on the state in which you live, a restaurant may pay a server between $2 and $4 dollars an hour.

This means that servers and bartenders pay their bills off of the tips they earn because the money the restaurant pays us is essentially taken by the federal government to cover the taxes on our tips.

I honestly try and tip between $18-25% because of this.

This means between $3.60 – $5 for every $20.

Our economy has shifted from one based on the production of goods to one made up of service workers.

I classify service workers as  waitresses, retail clerks, sales people etc.

Tips for bartenders and servers mean cell phone bills, rent, and other necessities get paid.

This past spring my Women in Society students learned about how the jobs that pay the lowest have highest concentrations of women. Cashiers, assistant level Nurses and Servers. They became enraged when they realized that women are concentrated in these jobs AND they are expected to pay for child care and other child rearing expenses without little to any help from local, federal governments or their employers.

So please, if you find yourself out and about this summer. Tip your server and bartender. It is how we survive.

You work as a waiter or waitress recently?

They cash you out?

Do you have positive bartender or server experience to share?

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  1. says

    I’ve been told by friends and significant others that I tip too much..if we spend around $17 bucks on a quick bite at a restaurant and I give a $5 dollar tip to a really good waiter, is that a bad thing? I know how rough the food/restaurant industry can be and I enjoy the tipping process if it’s deserved. I’ve tipped very poorly for having to go up to the actual register/counter area of a restaurant twice to order water and food. They walked right up to the group that came in right behind me and my sweetheart though. I’m a very reasonable but I expect good service or I won’t give a good tip at the end…that shit really pissed me off!

  2. Michelle says

    Question: Is it okay to NOT tip for carry-out? I only tip for carry-out 50 percent of the time and sometimes it’s arbitrary. I fear I may have disrespected those who I did not tip for carry-out.

    For sit-down service, I tip between 15-25 percent depending on the quality of service.

    Looking forward to your response (or reader responses).

  3. msdailey says

    Good post, J always takes care of me and I try my best to always take care of J.

  4. says

    I tip according to service given. I’m a great bartender but truly there are few days when I suck. Those are the days I expect less than 20%.

  5. says

    I’ve had friends who wait tables, so I’ve always tried to tip around 18-20% for average service. I wasn’t aware of the tax thing though, that’s ridiculous.

    Down in the South, though, I’ve been told that I should tip an average of 10%, which I can’t bring myself to do. There’s so much poverty here in New Orleans – yes, the cost of living is lower than where I’m from (Maryland), but the city thrives off of a service industry that caters to tourists, so I try to tip service people well.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve eaten out with people (usually 50+ years old) and made the stank face when I saw how little they were tipping.

  6. msworld says

    I’m an African American woman who is also a good tipper (at least 20% sometimes above 25%) and I usually get flack about my tipping from two of my closest running buddies -one is white and the other is asian-american. They used to get kinda pissed about me tipping a lot because it made them look bad or feel bad but now they are more use to it. I tip decently because I come from a working class background and my mother occasionally worked as a waitress to support us and taught me to tip well. If the service is really bad- my mother would have a little chat with the server and leave them a decent tip. I’m also partial to leaving a healthy tip for people of color, women, or people who really deliver good service.

  7. Renina says

    @Michelle. It depends. One or two bucks on an complicated order or on a large order makes sense. Because someone takes your order, and packages it, and thats time we could spend on the floor working with sitting customers.

    BUT….low tip amounts can skew our daily average. Some restaurants count this average, others don’t. They will then shape the work schedule based on your average. #Ummhmm. Hope this helps.

  8. says

    Oh lord, I fight with my mother every time we eat out over this. I usually tip 20%, 18% if the service was meh and 15% if it was horrible. My mother, thanks to living in countries where tipping is not the norm, gives crap tips.

    I worked as a server, and Lord knows, I know the difference a good tip can make.

  9. Renina says


    What is really interesting here is how tipping is a social experience. Meaning that what one person does, can influence the others.

    I Like the fact that your mother pulled folks aside. It shows an ethic of care.