Since waitstaff are paid a much lower hourly rate than most in the United States, they rely on tips to survive. For a lot of people, this thought gets lost in all of the other thoughts roaming around in their heads, and that's completely normal.
For people who make a higher hourly rate or are salaried employees, it's easy to forget that that is kind of a luxury when there are jobs that don't subscribe to that pay scale. In most of Europe, servers are paid a livable hourly rate and tipping is not encouraged. This is because the server is expected to give great service and not have to chase tips, and also because, in theory, a higher hourly rate will promote a more positive attitude about serving the general public. Some establishments in the US have begun to subscribe to paying their staff wages that reflect the needs of living in society, but all too often, that is not the case.
It is fortunate that if someone salaried has a bad day, they don't get paid less. But if a server is having a bad day, their tip decreases. This is obviously ludicrous, since they are still working at their job, which in theory should pay them a reasonable wage for the work they are doing. Additionally, many issues that arise that the server has to deliver are actually issues coming from the kitchen or management, and yet again, the server is the one who suffers. These are all things to think about the next time you're wondering how much to tip (our advice: More than you think!).
Don't worry, if you're on the low end today, it just means you should only eat out when you can afford to properly compensate your server! Maybe this quiz will give you some new ideas about what it means to work in the service industry, and why equitable wages and unions make such a difference in the life of low-wage workers. We can guess how much you tip in restaurants now, and all you have to do is answer these random questions!