Restaurant sparks debate with ‘guilt trip’ note about tips

Robert C. Williams


A flyer posted in the window of a restaurant asking patrons to tip their servers has prompted a fierce debate online over conditions for service industry workers.

A photograph of the flyer from the unidentified establishment was posted online to the thread r/MurderedByWords, Redditor u/mialunalight on Monday.

The flyer apparently reads: “Servers make state minimum wage which is only $5.65/hr, most of which is taken away in taxes!”

It continues: “They rely on your tips to make a living! When you don’t leave a tip, they would have served you for the duration of your meal for nothing! Take care of those who took care of you!”

A social media post shared alongside the photo showed a commenter accusing the restaurant of “guilt-tripping” customers with a “condescending” message.

The user suggested the restaurant “could very easily take the mark up you’re making on a side of potatoes alone … to pay a livable wage.”

They added: “Your staff is taking care of your restaurant; you would think that you take [care] of your staff in return.”

In an apparent response from the restaurant, a comment underneath said it was “bold” of the initial poster to suggest they “don’t take care of [their] own”.

The original poster hit back by saying: “Please see where you clearly state on this flyer, ‘servers make $5.65 an hour, most of which is taken away in taxes!’”.

They added: “That’s what indicated to me, based on your own words, that you aren’t paying them beyond the minimum.”

Many commenters on the viral Reddit post also seemed inclined to agree with the disgruntled customer, with one making the dig: “If only there was someone that had the power to change their wages.”

They added: “Someone that could maybe choose to pay above minimum wage and take away tipping? Ah well, crazy talk.”

Another person posted: “The restaurant is really saying please pay our workers so we don’t have to make up the difference to minimum wage.”

They clarified that they weren’t suggesting customers should not tip their servers but that the flyer’s attitude was “self-serving to the businesses bottom line”.

Another spectator said that they would “probably leave and eat somewhere else” if they were confronted with a “sign like that.”

However, others who claimed to have experience of the industry voiced contrasting opinions, saying that the flexible system had worked in their circumstances.

“As a server, I like getting tips. I usually make between $25-40/hour with my tip percentage usually being around 23 per cent,” one person said.

They added: I doubt any restaurant would be able to pay me hourly as much as I make in tips.”

“Same,” another person commented underneath, “If I went to hourly or even salary I’d have left. I was in it for the tips.”

In a later update on the thread the initial poster, u/mialunalight, said that the “issue here is that the restaurant responded by contradicting themselves.”

They added: “If their servers are taken care of, they shouldn’t need to post a flyer on printer paper to the door like a health code violation.”

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