When you go to a restaurant and tip your server, you may automatically assume that the $5 you left them means $5 in their pocket.
Unfortunately this is not what happens. This is what usually happens when you tip a server at a restaurant.
When you walked in you were greeted and seated by the hostess. They spent less than a minute with you making small talk, finding you a seat and briefly going over specials, so surely you did not consider tipping them. In many restaurants, however, they receive a tip out from the server so part of your tip will be given to them.
You probably assume that they are paid by the restaurant, but this is not the case. The busser also generally receives a tip out. The job of a busser is to clear dirty dishes and wipe table, then prepare them for new guests. Basically, the server is tipping them because the busser helps them make way for new tables, thus allowing them to make more money.
When you order an alcoholic drink, it is prepared by the bartender which is why they also receive a tip out. The alcoholic drink can be anything from a simple beer to a more complicated and time consuming item like a frozen cocktail, so the tip out is a way to compensate the bartender for this service.
In some restaurants, however the bartender receives a tip out regardless of whether the table ordered alcohol.
The purpose of a tip out is to compensate those who helped the server provide great service to their customers that resulted in them earning a tip. In theory, this concept makes sense.
But the problem is that a tip out is not actually calculated based on the tip the server received. Instead, it is based on the table’s check.
Depending on the restaurant’s policy, the hostess, the busser and the bartender generally each receive a tip out of 1-2% of the table’s total bill. So on a $25 bill, a server could be tipping out up to $1.50, so if they receive a $5 tip, they would keep $3.50.
But what about the people who choose not to tip? Of course they realize that their server is not being compensated for their hard work, but it is worse than that: the server is actually having to pay to serve you!
Even if you do not tip, the server still has to compensate the service team who helped the server during your experience.
Other fees are also deducted from the tips that the server receives, such as a service fee if the customer chooses to pay using a credit or debit card.
A server’s hourly rate generally is only enough to cover taxes, therefore they rely solely on tips. Tipping your server is proper etiquette and should not be considered optional. Never make someone have to pay to serve you.