Restaurant servers deserve to be tipped fairly by customers


Savannah Bone

Server Christina Conolly taking customers orders at The Sarah Street Grill in Stroudsburg

Savannah Bone, Staff Writer

Imagine you’re getting ready to go home from work and relax when a group of 11 enters the restaurant, and you’re the only server on the clock. You take the table with pleasure as servers; however, this is not what you had in mind.

You’re now running around, grabbing various items, from salt packets to vegan crackers, only to be accused of poor service and a lack of patience. You sigh with relief once the table gets up to go — 45 minutes past when you wanted to go home. The last and most important thing you notice is the 37-cent tip scattered across the table.

Ah, the life of a server.

When people go to eat at a restaurant, they may not realize that there are many employees prepared to serve them in a variety of ways.  There is a hostess to greet them, a server to take care of their drinks and orders, and a food runner to bring out their food.  There are also cooks, bartenders, bussers, and more. 

All these employees are there, in theory, to contribute to one’s dining experience.

Servers, also known as waiters or waitresses, specifically cater to the customer. They must do “whatever it takes” to make their customers’ dining experience as pleasurable as possible.  This is no easy task; in fact, it can be very challenging.

Are servers compensated adequately for their work?  The sad truth is that many are severely underpaid.

The average hourly wages for servers in the state of Pennsylvania can range from $2.83-to $7.25. Clearly, this is not enough money to live on.

With the wages being so low, servers rely on most of their money from the tips they receive from their customers. Despite gratuity not being a mandatory part of dining, it is much appreciated by the servers who do their best to please and serve the diners. 

Servers also have to tip out their service staff from their earned tips, which means they only take home a portion of their hard-earned tips. Depending on the circumstances, servers may be obligated to share their tips with bussing staff, hosts/hostesses, expeditors/food runners, and more. 

“Sometimes I go home with more money than the servers since everyone has to tip me out for my job no matter what they make,” said Emma Cirnigliaro, a hostess/expeditor at Sarah Street Grill in Stroudsburg. 

There is a lot of debate about what is the appropriate amount to tip. On average, tips usually range from 15-20%, depending on the quality of service. This may seem like a pain to figure out, but it can be calculated through a calculator app on a smartphone by simply multiplying the total by 20%, or .20. Some restaurants even include a “tip guide” on their check. With this being said, tipping the correct amount has never been easier. 

Serving may seem simple from the outside looking in; however, it can be physically and mentally draining. Memorizing a full food and drink menu is hard enough, but memorizing orders that are specific to customers’ allergies and accommodations can get to be really difficult at times, especially during a rush. Servers can take care of up to ten or more tables at a single time, while still maintaining a pleasant personality.

“Serving is an incredibly important and demanding job, and those who have never experienced working in the food industry don’t really have an idea of how much work goes into things behind the scenes to make sure that your experience is one that you enjoy,” said server Heather Hendrickson at Sarah Street Grill. 

Servers are people too. They have their bills to pay and they have to provide for their families as well. If a server is clearly trying their best to make a dining experience exceptional, they deserve compensation for their hard work. 

Overall, serving isn’t easy. From the low hourly wages to running around all day without breaks for hours on end, it is important that we thank our servers with tips after our meals. 

Check out the link below to read just a few entertaining restaurant horror stories, and to know what the appropriate amount to tip is.,percent%20of%20the%20pretax%20bill.