‘You’re taking wages away from people like me’: Local server asks people dining out to tip

Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 5:21 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - A recent study found Americans are worse tippers than before the start of the pandemic.

The study from shows the number of people who report always tipping at sit-down restaurants dropped from 77% in 2019 to 73% in 2022.

“We’re trying to make a living out of serving, and most if not all servers I know enjoy their job, and we’ve all made good money before from good tips,” said Mike Staley.

Staley is a James Madison University student and a server and bartender at Outback Steakhouse.

“In times we thought we would be getting closer together, people have just been a little more hands-on with their wallets, trying to save as much money as you can,” said Staley.

He said most servers he knows make anywhere from $2.13/hour to $3.25/hour.

“It’s not at the fault of the business, it’s just how the serving industry in the U.S. is,” Staley said.

If your tips don’t equate to minimum wage, $11/hour in Virginia, the business will make sure you’re paid for your work. Staley said it shouldn’t come to that.

“In reality, you’re taking wages away from people like me, students that work in the service industry, mothers and stuff that work in the service industry,” he said.

Most say you should tip 20% on sit-down meals, but as inflation continues, many are tipping more than that.

The same study showed about 43% of people said they always tip taxi or rideshare drivers. 27% said they always tip hotel housekeepers. 22% said they always tip baristas, and 13% say they tip the restaurant when they pick up food.

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