Tipping at Restaurants

I learned something yesterday while reading a blog rant. I learned that many (most?) waitresses and waiters are paid around $3 an hour by the restaurant for which they work.

Three dollars an hour!

Well, I didn’t want to believe it just because I read it on someone’s blog. So this morning I researched the matter a bit.

And at the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ site I found this little gem:

Tipped employees are those who customarily and regularly receive more than $30 a month in tips. The employer may consider tips as part of wages, but the employer must pay at least $2.13 an hour in direct wages.

I had no idea!

Would you take a job with that kind of direct wages?

Especially if you had to rely on tippers like you to make up the difference?

So don’t be stingy!

Especially if you’re a Christian!

When you go into that eating joint that employs servers (aka waitresses and waiters), you are buying the food and hiring the serve staff.

Make sure that server earns a just wage while he’s working for you.

After writing all of the above, I came across the following:

Christian Odyssey: Confessions of a waitress

Unfortunately, the “after-church” Sunday lunch customers are some of the rudest and most demanding people I wait on.


But here’s a tip for you—free of charge: If you go out to eat, remember to leave your server a 20 percent tip. If they made you laugh, smile, or gave exceptional service (even if things didn’t go exactly as planned otherwise), leave them a little extra. Remember the things that are out of their control, and remember that they are still doing their best to serve you in spite of those things.

Jesus’ example of servanthood couldn’t be truer than in a restaurant. Yes, wait-staff are there to serve you. But by treating your wait-staff with dignity and empathy, you’re showing them the respect they deserve. They have feelings, and they are simply trying to earn a living—sometimes two.

Your generosity and politeness is a service to them. Somehow I think if Jesus were a customer at a restaurant, he’d be gracious, polite and generous.

“And, The labourer is worthy of his reward” (1 Timothy 5:18).

“Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven” (Colossians 4:1).

3 thoughts on “Tipping at Restaurants

  1. Indeed it is common practice, but typically only at higher end establishments. Having been in the employment industry for numerous years I have had the opportunity to talk to more than a handful of waitress’ / waiters, and if might surprise you to learn that it is not uncommon for a wait person at such an establishment to make well in excess of $1000 to $1500 a week in tips. But never fear, the wait person at your local greasy spoon is more than likely making minimum wage plus whatever tips the regulars cough up….it is simply market demand that drives this differential.

    But I am with you… if the service is good..20 to 22% should be your standard. If the service is bad, then deduct 10%…but if the food is bad… give the wait person their tip and take your issue up with the management.

    Case in point…I took my wife to dinner one night and the service was great.. the food was uncharacteristically sub par for that particular establishment. I asked to speak with the manager and civilly expressed my disappointment in the quality of the meal. He refunded the price of one of the dinners (aprox $25) and gave me a $25 gift certificate. I was so impressed with the customer service (and the waitpersons service) that I added the refunded $25 to the tip for the waitperson….yes it was a bit over the top and perhaps unnecessary, but I felt it was the right thing to do at the time…I still had the $25 gift cert in my hand and we have had nothing but excellent service and food there since.

  2. My wife’s cousin is a manager at a local franchise of a steak house chain, I asked him what the employees made. He said the servers were only paid 2 or 3 bucks an hour, but after tips they made more than anybody.

  3. I typically tip 18% to 20%, never more than that. But I don’t eat out much anymore, and only on business-deductible meals, or when someone else is paying!

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Above all, love God!
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