Food service experience affects view of tipping

Jordan Berger | Staff Writer

A ten percent tip sits on the Lone Star Steakhouse table after three hours of fulfilling the party of twenty’s needs, the customers’ meals totaling over 450. Nearby, senior Amara Agomuo, a hostess at Lone Star Steakhouse who receives a portion of the tips, witnesses the lack of generous tipping, which is a common frustration among employees, according to Agomuo.
“People don’t realize how important tips are,” Agomuo said. “Without tips, I probably wouldn’t be getting much money at all.”

According to Agomuo, the lack of customer generosity takes a larger toll on workers than most infer.

“People who give small tips just aren’t grateful, [especially] if you’re working there for eight hours,” Agomuo said.

Failing to provide an adequate tip for a waiter or waitress’s time and efforts affects not simply one waiter or waitress, but rather all employees. According to Agomuo, some customers are served for nearly four hours, when some waiters are only assigned a table or two daily. The issue arises when a tip under ten percent is provided for these services.

“When they leave . . . that’s the only tip [the waiter or waitress] gets,” Agomuo said. “Then, that tip goes into what [hosts] get, so instead of getting a high tip, we get a very low tip, too.”

At some businesses, however, tips are considered additional rather than necessary. These employees feel apathetic about the amount of the tip and focus on if a tip was at least provided, according to Whippy Dip employee, junior Sarah Kolish.

“At restaurants, you kind of have to [tip],” Kolish said. “But, at places like Whippy Dip, it’s more your choice. A tip is a tip, a lot or a little. Some people don’t tip at all.”

As the end of the meal arrives and the folded, upside-down bill sits at the end of the table, customers collect general opinions that affect which numbers will be written atop the line labeled “Tip.”

According to Culver’s employee senior Lindsay Romaniw, factors that serve as a basis for the amount to be tipped vary by the individual and personal expectations.

“I base [how I tip] off of a lot of things like how frequently [the waiter]  check[s] for refills, if [her or she] remembers to bring out the extra  things I ask for and stuff like that,” Romaniw said. “But I always give servers the benefit of the doubt: it’s not always their fault when things go wrong.”

When considering a tip, the everyday work employees undergo often goes disregarded by some customers, which adds to the frustration of employees upon receiving insufficient tips, according to Romaniw.

“This old man stuck my finger in his mashed potatoes to prove to me that they were cold,” Romaniw said. “That was when I realized that I could never be paid enough to deal with people like that.”

Like Romaniw, Agomuo feels the obligation to provide a certain percentage regardless of unfortunate events during the service.

“I tip the fifteen percent, because that’s kind of what’s required,” Agomuo said. “But then, based on their performance, it tells me if I should go over it by a little bit or just stay at the normal fifteen percent.”

Personal experiences have directly led some employees to make changes in their tipping techniques, according to Romaniw.

“I tip better than most of my friends, because I know what working with food is like,” Romaniw said. “The server does not cook the food themselves, and people just don’t understand that. Even if your server completely sucks, you need to give at least 10 percent, because you’re out to eat with your friends and [the waiter or waitress is] in a stinky uniform carrying trays all night.”

Want to see this story in print?