Restaurant Servers Rely on Your Tip to Pay Their Bills


Many Americans eat their breakfasts, lunches or dinners at restaurants across the country daily, but do we follow the unwritten guidelines of proper tipping?

There are several theories on how to properly tip those who serve your meal to you, but which one is right? Do you double the tax on the receipt? Is leaving 15 percent enough? When is leaving a 20 percent tip the right amount?

According to Atlanta waitress, Stephanie Cervany, 20 percent is always the proper tip when receiving good service.

“I personally tip 20 percent to bad service, because I am in the industry. I tip over if the service is great,” Cervany said. “A lot of people don’t know that we only get paid $2.13 an hour. They think that we make minimum wage. The money that we make from tips is the money to pay our bills. Our checks are eaten up by taxes from our tips that we claim.”

The other question that comes to mind is a scene that played out in the 2004 Oscar-winning movie “Crash” that starred local hip hop artist Ludacris.  Are you receiving bad service based upon the perception that the waiter or waitress has of you as soon as you sit down? A verbal exchange from the movie goes like this:

“That waitress sized us up in two seconds. We are black and black people don’t tip, so she wasn’t going to waste her time. Now somebody like that, there is nothing that you can do to change their mind,” said a black customer from the movie played by Larenze Tate.

 “So what kind of tip did you leave?” Ludacris asks.

 “You expect me to pay for that kind of service?” responded the customer.

So do waiters and waitresses really buy into existing stereotypes about their potential customers? Brass door waiter Ben Daniel explains his theory.

“I have been in this business for over 15 years, and most stereotypes are true, in my opinion,” Daniel said. “That being the case, I still go out of my way to provide excellent service to my customers, because not every person fits every stereotype.”

It is common practice among most people to tip 20 percent.  Regardless of your economic status, remember that this is how many of our fellow Americans pay their bills. They work just as hard for their money, as we do ours.

When making arrangements on what restaurant to visit, make sure you take the tip percentage into account while deciding on how much you are willing to spend.


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