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Sunday, January 29, 2023

Columns

Food service workers deserve respect


As a college student, the likelihood of you knowing or being one of the millions of faces in the food service industry is greatly amplified. These people are your servers, your bartenders and your baristas.

They are nameless faces, forced to work with a smile while being severely underpaid and under-appreciated.

Knowing this, why might anyone subject themselves to such treatment, you might ask?

They do it for the immediate cash, because they are paying their way through college, or supporting a family and want to have a flexible schedule.

Despite the benefits associated with working for this industry, there are also drawbacks. The average server knows this well. They often have to work on their feet for 12 hours at a time and carry trays weighing more than 70 pounds.

This can take a toll on a person’s joints, back and knees. Servers work while injured, sick, tired, and yes, even sometimes hung-over. They have bad days like everyone else, but they aren’t allowed to show it.

According to the US Department of Labor, $7.25 is the minimum wage in the state of Texas. However, the minimum cash wage is $2.13 per hour, and is what most servers make. Servers are taxed, not only on this pathetic wage, but on their tips as well . Often times it is not uncommon for this to result in a server receiving a check that is void.

Servers also have to pay a percentage of their sales to support staff such as bartenders and bussers.

If you fail to tip at least 15 percent — which is often considered to be the socially accepted norm — or worse yet, do not tip at all, you are forcing the server to pay to wait on you.

And, by knowing how little they make per hour, you are degrading them and forcing them into poverty.

Furthermore, if you are a light tipper, you should keep in mind that the person who is waiting on you could easily be a family member, a neighbor or a friend.

While there are those who get into the restaurant industry with plans to turn it into their permanent career, more often than not, the people who work in the service industry are there as a stepping stone to get to where and who they want to be.

Tips are a server’s livelihood, and not something to be toyed with.

A server deserves your respect for doing a job that not everyone can or will do, and whose labor we have all benefited from.

It is a common sentiment of those in the service industry that everyone work in it at least once in their lives so that they can understand and appreciate the work that goes into taking care of and putting up with others.

So, if you’re reading this article and you haven’t been in the shoes of a server or held any other food service position, you may want to try on their shoes before you decide what to tip.

Or at least if you aren’t prepared to tip, do everyone a favor and go to a drive-thru — or try cooking for yourself.

Amanda Keenan is a public relations sophomore and may be reached at [email protected]

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