Every so often in Cache Valley, the issue of tipping becomes a hot topic in the Herald Journal’s letters to the editor. Someone will write in a letter, as in this case, saying “oh my daughter is a waitress and got stiffed on tips twice last week, humanity sucks!”
Listen. First of all, I think that people who say “servers aren’t entitled to a tip” need to stay at home and cook for themselves. When I go out to a restaurant, bad service will still elicit a tip of at least 10 percent (I’ve never completely stiffed someone, meaning, I’ve never had service so bad I didn’t feel like I could leave without paying for the service.)
When you go to a restaurant, you’re paying menu price for the food, and the implicit contract is that you’re going to pay a certain price for the service. You are paying through gratuity because the restaurant is only paying the server $2.21 an hour, which will be just enough to cover taxes, and thus you are paying the wage. If at the bare minimum the server gets food from the kitchen to your table, I think you’re obligated to pay at least 10 percent. If the service is acceptable, 15% should be the norm. For exceptional service, your minimum should be 20%. I’ve tipped upwards of 100% in the past for great service. I also worked in restaurants for five years in high school and my first few years of college, so I learned to appreciate the value of rewarding service workers.
Yes, writing a letter to the editor on behalf of your daughter is tacky, But the reality is that in Utah, people are generally more stingy with the tips, and that is both not fair, and is very low class. If you can’t set the baseline at 15% for gratuity when you go to a restaurant, then stay home and cook your own food. You don’t deserve to have good service at a restaurant.