Tipping has become a controversial topic in the UK.
Recently we’ve heard debates of restaurants taking a cut of their employees’ tips, the government taxing tips and now the new discussion to stop employers taking a cut of tips.
But should we still tip our servers?
Tipping is an age-old tradition, and common in the US. We have all heard the stories of wait staff in the States running after tips or complaining about a ridiculous tip given on an expensive bill.
Personally, I have two minds about the tipping process, because low and behold, I work in the hospitality business.
I waited throughout University and now I am a supervisor, so I understand the importance of tips for those with minimal hours and/or a family.
Am I disappointed when I finish the day with minimal tips, despite giving the best service I can give? Of course I am.
Do I get annoyed when large parties – who undoubtedly take liberties – don’t give any tip? Of course.
But the other half of me thinks: “I am doing my job? Why should they tip me?”.
However, I don’t just take orders and bring food to the table, before you question the job I do.
I make your drinks, I count your money and give you the change you wanted, I split your bills when you’ve had it for a long enough time to split it yourself, I manage more than just your table, I take your horrid complaints and relay it to the correct person, usually annoyed chefs.
That list I can guarantee the majority of wait staff around the world will nod at and agree with.
Now is all of that in my job description? Probably not, but I do it, because I’d rather not have angry customers shouting at me and making me cry, or lose my job.
But without tips I can afford to live a decent life, I’m not jetting off on holiday every other week, but I can afford my bills and have a few bob left.
I am one of the lucky ones, I have the hours, I have a partner to split bills with and I do not have any young children.
Before this just becomes a rant about customers and the industry itself, I’ll give you a few tips that will make your servers be extra nice to you on returning visits:
• Try and tip 10%. Whether that’s a £20 bill or £200 bill, tip 10%. Big party of 50 people, each paying separately? Ask everyone to put a few quid in and give money to your servers. It really isn’t a huge dent in your bank account, is it?
• If you tip well we will remember you, and may persuade management to give you 10% off here and there if you frequent.
• If you have a complaint, tell your servers as soon as, not at the end of the meal once you’ve paid. Usually we can offer you a free drink, dessert, even bring you a new dish out (it depends on the place), or maybe even a discount on your bill.
• Remember we are human. How many times do you lose your keys or forget where you put your purse? We forget too, especially if it is a busy night. Ask for tap water? Yeah it may be forgotten (I’m probably the one that’s forgotten about it). So please don’t get angry if the place is rammed, you can see we are busy and you’re missing a water glass – trust me it’s happened.
• If you’re horrible to us your face will be engrained in our mind forever. If you return we will remember and you’ll most likely get average service that our manager won’t get angry at. Sorry…
*Not all customers are. It usually is a select few, and there are amazing customers that are kind and lovely and make my day. When they come back I’m happy to see them and want to make their night extra special because you make my job a bit more bearable.