If you can’t afford the tip, you can’t afford the meal


Kaylie Donahue

After a shift at my job, it’s the most disappointing ordeal to count my money. The grind to get at least 20% on every check is near impossible in the food service of 2021.

Pulling into my driveway around 11:30 p.m., I pull out my winnings of the night. $37.57 is all that I can call my paycheck for the last six hours of work. Being a server in 2021 isn’t for the faint of heart; when the night’s slow, it’s slow. 

The average minimum wage for a server in New Hampshire is, drum roll please: 

$3.26 an hour. 

And the average hourly wage with tips barely makes minimum wage at $7.25. 

Now, it may not seem too important to a high school student how much they make on tips, since most bills we have to pay only go to gas or Spotify premium. But the people I work with use that little money they get on tip to survive. 

So when I receive a seven dollar tip on a hundred dollar check, it honestly would be more acceptable if I was slapped in the face instead. The idea of after an hour of working tirelessly on a table of seven to only have a total of ten dollars is beyond an utter disappointment. 

I understand not having the expenses to tip 50% of your meal or even 30%, but every server aims for at least 20% of each check. If you’re not going to tip well for the service that’s provided, just get takeout or even go down the road to the local McDonalds. 

Taking the wallet out of your pocket, think about what you’re tipping. Some customers my forget the right way to tip, here’s a guide to help remember how to get to the big 20% of your check. (Kaylie Donahue)

We aren’t working eight hour shifts just for the two crumpled bills from your back pocket. 

Like many jobs, people don’t know the effort that goes into it. Being a waitress/waiter isn’t all about grabbing drinks and putting in food; there is always the dreaded side work and silverware that can take over an hour of dedicated time itself. And with being short-staffed looming over the establishment’s head, the few servers they have are at times double or triple sat (meaning: getting multiple tables at the same time). 

Short-staffed establishments are widespread across the country. In New Hampshire alone, 94% of restaurants have been reported to the New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association of being understaffed.  Less staff inevitably means longer hours for the remaining staff. The running joke of my work is to always set our plans two hours after what we originally planned, since there is no promise we’ll get out on time. 

And with it being so understaffed with the long hours, it makes it even more important to tip well. I understand that during this time you may not get the most exceptional service, but customers should still understand the stresses put on the wait staff and continue to tip accordingly. 

In short, please learn to tip properly. If you can’t afford the tip, you can’t afford the meal.