Life for a waitress includes gratuities

By Claudia Curry

To my fellow waiters and waitresses in DeKalb—This one’s for you.

Does this scenario ring a bell? You kindly thank and bid your three dinner guests good night upon their leaving the restaurant. During their meal, they were friendly and talkative to you. The food was on time. When you asked them how everything was, they responded happily and satisfied.

You return to their disheveled table when you get a break from serving your other tables only to find a couple bucks or some dimes and a quarter left inconspicuously beneath the remnants of their four course meal.

Welcome to the world of waitressing. Sure, all jobs have their negative aspects. Overall, waitressing is one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. I couldn’t ask for a better boss, or co-workers for that matter.

Unfortunately, it seems that some diners in DeKalb are either etiquette school drop outs or simply find it too much of a personal burden to figure out the proper waitressing tip and this puts a little damper on the morale, not to mention frustration.

Upon entering a restaurant, guests should feel obligated to, at the very least, leave a substantial tip for their waitress. This is only fair. Since the price of service is not included in the price of the meal, this concept seems logical.

I have to admit though, it’s not rare to meet individuals who believe that any amount they leave as a tip is “extra.” They don’t realize that when they leave anything less than fifteen percent, they’re not being generous—they’re being cheap.

Diners usual view a waitress’ responsibilities (taking the order, serving the food, refilling drinks, etc…) as her job. This is true, but then doesn’t it make sense to pay the waitress accordingly for doing her job?

To clear the air on leaving tips I’ve created a short list of helpful reminders.

1. Remember that minimum wage for waitresses is $2.09 an hour—not $3.80. That’s $1.71 less than the kids flipping burgers.

2. Remember that waitresses do get taxes taken out of their wages—salary and tips included. Many people are under the assumption that the money a waitress makes is tax-free. It is far from tax-free.

3. Remember when using a coupon that you leave your tip according to the total of your meal before the coupon is subtracted. It’s not as if the waitress does less work just because the total is less.

4. Last but not least, remember that the fifteen percent standard minimum for leaving a tip is just that. Use your own judgement to decide what is better than minimum service and tip accordingly.

For those of you who have difficulty figuring out the tip amount just remember to move the decimal over one space to the right and that gives you ten percent. Then, half of ten is five. Add together ten and five and you’ll get fifteen percent.

For those of you who are knowledgeable of how to tip at restaurants and usually leave fifteen percent or more for service, I’m not the only waitperson in DeKalb who’ll thank you for your support.