How to Tip Your State College Server

The service industry umbrella is huge, especially in a town like State College.

What you may not realize is there are many professions that rely on tips, with servers and bartenders being the most reliant on them. Other service industry jobs include delivery drivers, taxi drivers, baristas, hair stylists, to-go order takers — and the list goes on and on. A little-known fact about bartenders’ and servers’ hourly pay is that we only make about $2-$5 an hour on average. Because of taxes, we normally don’t get a check every other Friday like most jobs.

As both a server and bartender at two restaurants, I’ve been working hard in the last year in order to pay my way back into school. That means my income is entirely based on tips. As I’m sure any service industry worker will tell you, it can suck to be in this field sometimes in State College. We may make a ton of money on certain football weekends (i.e.: Homecoming, Ohio State game, etc.), but what about the other days of the week we work?

I’m obviously not asking you to throw down $10 the next time you eat a small lunch (but by all means, do it if you want to). State College service industry workers understand they are working in a town with a huge student population. But if your excuse for not tipping someone is that you “don’t have the money right now,” you probably should not be paying to utilize their services in the first place.

Overall, working in the service and hospitality industry in a college town can be pretty good, but imagine what it’s like for a server to clean off a table and see a $1 tip after going out of their way to get what a customer everything needed. Does your server really deserve a $2 tip after he refilled your chips and salsa three times? Should you really give just a dollar to a delivery driver who just drove through harsh weather conditions to drop off one sandwich? These are things to think about when you leave a tip.

Sure, there are days that we all don’t want to deal with tending to needy customers’ every whim. However, most service industry workers are some of the most personable and coolest people ever, and we like to share that with our customers whenever possible. After all, that’s how we earn the best tips, which help us to pay our bills.

Tipping in general can be tricky, but the general “rule” is to tip 15 percent if it was an adequate experience. If a service industry worker earns less than 15 percent in tips, we almost take personal offense to it, thinking we did something wrong. However, if we get a tip that is over 20 percent, it is like what spinach is to Popeye — we feel empowered and happier to be working. In turn, this makes for a better experience overall for both the customers and the company itself.

Here’s my tip to you (no pun intended) — becoming a regular and tip your favorite hospitality worker well. It’ll be a great decision. For example, my boyfriend became friendly with a taxi driver earlier this year after riding with her and tipping her well a few times. This led to us having “priority,” so to speak, when we needed a ride home after a night at the bars because she knew that not only would we tip well but it would be an easy job for her.

I also suggest being aware of your surroundings when dining or ordering from a busy restaurant or bar. If your server is running around and taking care of an entire section of tables, chances are they are doing their best to keep up with the high volume on the floor. Bars are the same way, and besides, if you tip a bartender or server well, he or she will remember you. In return, you get better service in the future — and maybe even free things if they think you’re cool enough.

And besides, why wouldn’t you want to tip us? They hire sexy people in this profession for a reason.

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About the Author

Josh Glossner

Josh Glossner is a first generation Penn Stater majoring in print journalism from Bellefonte, Pa. He shares the same birthday as Jon Bon Jovi and Dr. Suess. You can find Josh rockin’ the 50s attire as a server at Baby’s Burgers and Shakes, where his milkshakes bring all the boys to the yard. He enjoys attempting to twerk in what little spare time he has and performs in local drag shows as Carrie Oakey.

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