One thing I've noticed? No matter what you say, people who tip 0%-10% at sit-down restaurants are not going to budge, no matter what you say.
Recently, my longtime friend Jilly re-posted a photo on Facebook that had gone viral. Apparently a pastor in St. Louis marked out an automatic 18% gratuity with the comment, "I give God 10%. Why should I give you 18%?"
Two things jumped out at me right away:
- The woman gives 10% of her SALARY to God. The restaurant is adding 18% of the food she ate. Big difference.
- Haven't restaurant workers learned by now that if you post a customer receipt online, you're going to be fired?
However, a small minority came forward to agree with the pastor, saying 10% is a fair tip for a server. Those comments incited the usual, "You've obviously never waited tables" argument, along with, "If you don't want to tip, stay home and cook your own meals."
Another thing I've found over the years--people who don't believe in tipping 15%-20% are not going to change their minds. They're also not going to stop eating at Applebee's and Chili's, no matter how many times you tell them they should. They have their reasons and they don't think they should stop eating where they want to eat. They also don't believe a server will ever spit in their food. I hope they're right!
The tipped minimum wage has barely budged since 1966, when it was initiated at 50% of the minimum wage at the time. Currently, it's at $2.13 an hour, while the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. $2.13 is not 50 percent of $7.25, no matter how you crunch the numbers. Reportedly restaurant industry lobbyists work hard to keep the tipped wage the same--but if it ever increases to 50% of the federal minimum wage, you can bet that extra expense will be added to the menu prices.
The answer is clear. If you disagree with paying 15%-20%, don't punish hard-working servers. Punish the restaurant industry that makes sure the tipped hourly wage stays the same, decade after decade. By dining at home or choosing restaurants that pay their workers at least $7.25 an hour (i.e. fast food and fast casual restaurants), you'll make a statement to the national restaurant chains. You may very well be making your 0%-10% statement by keeping a server from providing food for his/her children that week.