The other day a mommy group I’m in posted the question “Should I tip my To Go server and if so how much?” Many mothers said, “No, of course not.” Others disagreed. So the question is “To tip or not to tip your To Go/Carry Out server?”
I admit I was keeping pretty quiet during this conversation, because as you know talking about money can get pretty heated and no one likes to hear that maybe they are doing something “wrong.” So in some cases there is really no good way to answer this question, or so I thought. But then I realized I had information which they didn’t. A real live, to go server, living in my house. As a result I know what happens behind the scenes of picking up your order that many others don’t know.
Did you know . . .
- Many to go servers have to wear several hats like busing tables or filling in for the host when they need a break. While busers get paid at the end of their shift by the servers whose tables they bused, many to go/carry out servers do not.
- To go servers, just like regular servers in a restaurant take your order, process it, make it ready “to go,” gather up your service items and sauces and frequently even carry it all out to the car for you. Sounds a lot like a server when you sit down in the restaurant doesn’t it?
- To go or carry out workers frequently have to carry your food out to the car for you. They offer and you think, “Sure why not?” They do it much like the post office does, through rain, sleet and snow. But they don’t get the benefit of a hat, coat, scarf or gloves. Most places have a designated parking spot for carry out to help, but even just those few minutes can be chilly for someone in just pants and a shirt.
- To go servers, while they may get paid more than a regular server, get paid less than other positions within the restaurant as the restaurant expects that they will receive a tip.
- To go servers, just like everyone else in many restaurants have to purchase their own “uniforms.” They are provided with aprons, however the other day to begin her new job my daughter spent $100 just to have enough clothing to start work. She has a pretty strict dress code and non slip shoes are expensive.
Some may say, “Well if it’s all that bad why do they take the job?” No one said it was “bad.” She actually enjoys her job. She likes working in a restaurant. She hopes to have one of her own someday. But supporting yourself as a college student or single parent (which many of her coworkers are) can be tough, and expensive. Every penny counts.
Do you tip your server? Do you tip the person who does your nails or hair? What about the delivery guy, even after you paid a delivery fee?
I guess the point I’m making is that everyone likes to know they did a good job. If you don’t feel that your “to go” or carry out server deserves a tip you shouldn’t give one. A thank you and a smile can brighten their day too. But maybe knowing that they do more than just hand you your carry out bag makes a difference. As a mom I’m thrilled when she doesn’t come home and toss change in a jar and that’s what she has to show for the day.