I understand some people think tipping is a way for restaurants to pass off labor costs to patrons. While I do not disagree with that, I also think as long as servers are working primarily for tips, then we should tip fairly when eating at restaurants that have servers. I would also like to add that I am a church going (admittedly at times more regularly than others) Christian in my thirties. I got my first job the week I turned 16 at Ken’s pizza and then supported myself through college while waiting tables off and on. I do not wish for this to be seen as an attack on Christians or to be a religious debate. I would just like to share my experiences and thoughts respectfully about what it was like for me to be a server working on Sundays.
Big Parties with Split Checks
Of course families want to eat together after church, and many times several families will go out to eat together. It is just harder and more time consuming to wait on bigger tables. It takes longer to get drinks to the table and longer to take the orders and longer to get the orders to the kitchen. On Sundays there are multiple big tables being waited on at the same time. Then all of those tables are ready to pay, and you have 30 people on 7 different checks to cash out. It’s busy and crazy.
More kids, more messes
Of course kids are a part of the post church meal, and they should be. When those big tables I talked about leave though, it looks like a war zone. I am not talking about what needs to be bussed on the table. I am talking about the floor. I am talking about crayons and food and drinks and other crazy things like dirty diapers. These things were not just dropped but smashed and ground into the floor. I have kids. So I know how they are. I also have them pick up after themselves, or I will if they aren’t able.
You know how I mentioned big tables take more time? Well when people at those big tables get hungry, they can get cranky. I think one of the times I was most shocked was when a youth leader was screaming and demanding we make space for him and his youth group to be sat immediately when there was a wait list. What an example for the kids that must have set.
I am just going to say this honestly. If you really and truly believe that you are not going to tip more than 10% because that is how much you gave to the church before you came to the restaurant, then you need to stay at home or give more to the church or go somewhere that has a counter or drive thru service. I do not think God would want a hardworking single mom or poor student or someone trying to make their rent to get stiffed over and over and over again. Now if you have bad service (not where your food is taking a long time, but service that your server can control), yes tip accordingly. Many Sundays I was teary because the cash in my pocket did not reflect how hard I worked, and I was treated poorly.
I realize big groups splitting checks and kids making messes and people being cranky and not getting tipped well are all part of the job. But Sundays have all four of these things all shift long. These are not blanket statements either. I know everyone who eats out on Sundays does not do this. I will say it happens enough though that Sundays are known as a bad day to work as a server.
I think it would be nice if Christians would make Sundays the best days for servers to work. How inspiring would it be and a great way to testify if servers did not dread working Sundays because those they waited on were so nice and generous?