There are many times in your life where you will find yourself out to eat. Going out to eat is a luxury, something that is meant to be enjoyable and pleasing. When you go out to eat, it’s usually a treat. You’re spending money to relax and have everything taken care of. Therefore, as waiters and waitresses, we understand that it is our job to meet your needs and wants.
Our job is to make you feel as though your money was well-spent, to leave you feeling satisfied and well-fed, well-waited on and happy.
But, just because going out to eat is a luxury, does not mean you are entitled to treat the servers as though they are peasants and/or inferior to you.
Servers are usually not waiting on tables because they want to – but because they have to. Many of us are students, putting ourselves through college and trying to make a life for ourselves. Others of us are raising families, with numerous jobs that run way over 40 hours a week. Others are retired from their careers but realize that they cannot live on social security anymore, as the country continues to cut funding. The majority of us are making less than minimum wage.
The majority of us are making less than minimum wage. While the minimum wage in several states across the United States has been raised, numerous servers receive paychecks with as little as $3, or, some get a paycheck that reads “$0.00.” Not every restaurant feels the need to pay servers minimum wage – or a decent salary – because, we work for tips. This money is supposed to feed ourselves, clothe ourselves, feed our families, pay our rent, health insurance, and other bills.
There will be days when servers are not up “to par” with the “quality” of service that you think you deserve. There are times when we are struggling through days when we have a lot going on in our minds. Have you ever gone to the office and underperformed because you had a lot going on at home? Had you a bad fight with your significant other? Your kids are home sick and you wonder if they’re okay? You, yourself, are feeling under the weather? Unlike working an office job, servers don’t usually have “sick days,” or “vacation days,” they can cash in. Instead, we’re forced to show up and work out a**ses off, no matter what is going on.
While we plaster a smile on our faces, trying to hide our woes, we may forget to refill your beer the 3rd time, we may forget you asked for extra Ranch dressing on the side and, we’re sorry, we may not say thank you every single time we walk away from the table. But, we are trying. We show up and we try.
In life, there is a thing called empathy. Often times, we all go through the same – or similar – struggles day-to-day, but because we don’t see each other as “equal,” we don’t emotionally allow ourselves to relate to each other. Just because someone has an apron around their waist, doesn’t mean they deserve less empathy than the person in a business suit.
We understand, going out to eat is a luxury. It’s a luxury that not everyone can afford. If you happen to leave your home and step foot into a restaurant, a bar, or any other establishment to eat – remember – servers are employees, just like you. Whether we’re on the floor, running chaotically trying to serve 10 tables at once – getting Table 1 refills on water, Table 4 crayons for their baby, Table 5 another dessert, Table 7 the check and Table 10 another setting – or, we’re in an office sitting at a desk punching away at our keyboards. We are all employees, struggling to make ends meet and make a living for ourselves. The only difference is, we live off of our tips.
If you happen to leave your home and step foot into a restaurant, a bar, or any other establishment to eat – tipping is required. It’s not a suggestion, it’s not an option – tipping is something you always do. No matter what the amount, no matter how much you decide – you should always tip your servers. We could be you, 10-years-ago. We could be your children, looking for money for college. We could be your parents, struggling to raise a family.
Your Neighborhood Waitress