To The Editor:
We ate at the little tented area of the pub in Whitehall the other night. John and I were talking about wages for wait staff so I asked our waitress what her hourly wage was. $3.75. I knew the minimum wage for workers who get tips was low, but I didn’t know it was that low. So on a slow day, a waitress or waiter could be making less than standard minimum wage (which is still too low).
She said she was working 3 jobs to have enough for college. We left a huge tip but kept talking about this after we left. It is crazy on many fronts. First you have a worker who may or may not make more than $3.75 an hour based on business and the whim of the tipping customer and a system of eating out in which the customer is basically responsible for paying wages for the restaurant owner’s employees. If any other business owner did that, we’d think it was nuts.
I don’t pay slave wages and then expect our farm stand customers to make up for that in tips to my pickers or to our helpers at the stand. Raise the dang menu prices appropriately and pay at least $15 an hour to your wait staff. Any tips they’d get for exceptional service above and beyond the norm, would be acceptable but not necessarily the standard.
I know some wait staff make far beyond a living wage if they’re at a busy, upscale place, but for those stuck in podunk towns with stingy customers, it’s just not right.
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