Restaurant customer says he only tips 10%. Server issues PSA about this new school of thought

@emmarachel37/TikTok New Africa/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘All these servers are getting paid $10, $11 an hour, why would I tip?’: Restaurant customer says he only tips 10%. Server issues PSA about this new school of thought

'7.80 a hour but you still barely get a paycheck'


Jack Alban


Posted on Dec 25, 2023   Updated on Dec 25, 2023, 12:12 pm CST

A server said she had to “bite [her] tongue” after over-hearing a guest at her co-worker’s table brag about not tipping restaurant staff when going out to eat.

Emma Rachel (@emmarachel37) posted a viral TikTok that’s garnered over 13,000 views on the popular social media platform where she set out to dispel some of the notions people have about server pay, and how in some instances, restaurant workers could ultimately lose money on a table.

Her TikTok sparked a debate on tipping culture in general, with numerous folks leaving comments delineating how divided they are on the practice, along with the gripes she has with customers who don’t tip 20%.

Rachel begins her video speaking directly into the camera from what appears to be in the interior of her car: “So I just got off work I’m a server and I just need to make a quick PSA after something that I heard tonight. So tonight there was a group of about, I don’t know, 6, 30-some-year-olds and they…all get their bills it wasn’t my table it was actually one of my co-workers tables and the one dude and I was standing right there at the computer next to this table, and the dude goes ‘Yeah like I don’t even tip anymore and when I do I only tip like 10%.”

“And immediately I’m ringing in this order and I’m like…” she then demonstrates how she slowly looked in the direction of the restaurant customer who “flexed” about leaving a maximum of 10% gratuity on a bill.

“And he proceeds to go on and say ‘Yeah like all these servers they’re getting $10, $11 an hour like why would I even tip?'” she rolls her eyes at this comment. “It took everything, everything in me to bite my tongue because I, here’s the thing, and this is what people do not understand. Sure I’m getting paid $10, $11 an hour but I get taxed on all of that. I don’t actually get that much. You ask any server, bartender, our paycheck…I mean most of the time are zero, not only that but we have to tip out a portion of our liquor sales… you know or beer sales or wine sales to the bartender.”

She says that due to this gratuity payout structure, if a table doesn’t leave any tip on their order, if they were served alcohol, then that means the server is actually losing money on the tablet that they’ve been assigned: “We have to tip out 10% of that so if you’re ordering drinks and you don’t tip 10% we are literally taking money out of our pockets so you can have a good time. And yes if you don’t want to tip that’s your prerogative but move over because there are people that will,” she says before her video ultimately cuts out.

Although different restaurants and different states adopt different payout structures for tipped employees, the Federal Minimum hourly wage for tipped employees is $2.13. If the gratuities that tipped employees don’t equal the non-tipped Federal Minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, then the employee is entitled to that amount of money, but the expectation is that servers will earn at least this amount with their base wage combined with whatever customers leave them on their receipts.

The comments section devolved into a familiar debate whenever the topic of gratuities in the workplace is mentioned, there were some folks, like this TikTok user, who believed that some servers were being unjustly punished by patrons who actively know they’re dining in an establishment staffed by tipped employees, yet still refuse to leave gratuity: “It’s not the servers fault…its every other ‘service’ industry that has started asking for tips that is changing the tip climate.”

Another sarcastically responded to Rachel’s mention of having to pay taxes on her earnings: “U have to pay taxes that’s crazy”

And there were other folks who weren’t so sympathetic to Rachel’s plight, bluntly stating that gratuities are not mandatory to be paid out from the customer under any circumstance: “cry me a river ! Tipping is not required !” one said while someone else wrote: “What you don’t understand is that tipping is not required. You accepted your job knowing. Only you are to blame for your lack of funds.”

Some argued that if folks didn’t want to tip when they went out to eat, then they were more than welcome to cook for themselves at home: “If you don’t want to tip, you need to stay the heck home and cook for yourself!! It’s so infuriating when people choose not to tip”

“If you don’t tip don’t go to bars or restaurants. That simple.” another TikToker who possessed a similar mindset opined.

Tip-out percentages appear to vary from restaurant to restaurant; Monster for Employers writes that servers typically pocket 70% of all tips, with 5% going to the bar, 10% with food runners, and 15% with bussers. However, the outlet states this is a rule of thumb: “One of the more commonly used systems to apply is for the waiter to keep 70 percent, share 15 percent with the bussers, 10 percent with the runners, and 5 percent with the bar. Remember that this is only a general guideline—flexibility and transparency are key.”

@emmarachel37 Dont be this person… educate yourself #server #serverlife #tipyourserver #tipyourbartender #industrylife #restaurant ♬ original sound – Emma Rachel

Restaurant Business Magazine also wrote that the 5% rule for bartenders seems standard, but the writer of the article stated that they spoke with several restaurant managers who implemented alternate tip-out methods as well.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Rachel via TikTok comment for further information.

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*First Published: Dec 25, 2023, 2:00 pm CST