Since the 1950's, the standard tip towards a meal was generally in the fifteen percent area. Twenty percent if the meal service was good, but overall, it's been unchanged for decades. Skip to 2020 - AKA - the worst year the world has endured so far, and there are studies out that insist that a standard 20% tip is the leaving of a cheap individual. How have we gotten to this point?

Let me just say before we hop into the politics of restaurateurs. If a server offers truly excellent service, a persons tip should reflect that. If it's bad, it should reflect that too. I'm a twenty-percenter out of the convenience of it. Take the tax, multiply by two, add a dollar, you're right in the ballpark. In Lawton, when I share meals with friends, it's not uncommon to see them tip a flat $5 on a $50 total bill. It's embarrassing and a tragedy of cheapness even I can identify. Especially those great servers than manage to stay on top of the only aspect of waiting they can control, the refill... but I'll tackle this 20% is cheap thing the best way I can.

I assume that you already know, most restaurant serving jobs aren't paid the minimum wage. Because these workers make tips, the restaurant gets to skimp on their standard base pay because "it all evens out in the end." It's sad. As if America is accepting that these people are rightly limited to a wage cap. Granted, the better a server is, generally the more money they will make... or at least, that's how the system is supposed to work. Some restaurants flip to communism at the end of a shift. Managers will pool the collective tips together and divide the haul equally among the staff... so the worst servers end up making a wage identical to the best servers regardless of skill or effort. A true travesty. But that's not what people should focus on.

First and foremost, let me admit... while I worked fast food in my teens, I've never been in a restaurant setting, so odds are, I'm about to speak way out of line.

Why aren't servers paid a decent hourly rate from the beginning?

Why aren't tips seen as the bonus for a job well done that's it's supposed to be?

You hear the restaurant owners and operators always bring up how that would ultimately hurt the business. How paying servers more would mean raising meal prices, which might turn away people who would opt to eat somewhere cheaper... but I have to point you to places like 5 Guys or Buffalo Wild Wings. The burgers and wings are those two places are extremely high priced, yet somehow they're always busy and full of customers when I drive past on my way home each night. It's almost as if, and let me get this said correctly... The better the food is, the more money people are willing to pay. But unfortunately, not all restaurants identify with this belief. Primarily, the places that microwave pre-cooked meals like the larger national chain restaurants... (that's definitely worth a google, you'll be shocked how many places serve you up something cooked a week ago)

Isn't better food = higher prices an interpretation of the American dream? Hard work pays dividends and the what-not?

Look at the fast food industry. A lot of those meals are made on the spot, they're super cheap, and almost every national chain hires in at just over the minimum wage. Some pay right at, others pay more. I get that fast food does considerably more volume, but still, good food is worth every penny. Otherwise, we turn on each other and start tip-shaming a thought that 20% is the tip of "cheap" people.

If wages + 20% tip isn't covering the bills, it's not a virtue signal that the public is cheap... It's a tell-tale sign your company isn't the place you should work at anymore.

Also, if you're not tipping at least 20%, you're obviously not in a personal place financially stable enough to warrant eating out. Just hit the drive thru or go home and fry something.