Morgan Spurlock’s series “30 Days” has an episode that shows how Spurlock and his fiancée struggle on minimum wage salaries for a month. Spurlock, through his series, advocates the increasing of minimum wages. Sounds like a noble thought, especially when it comes to waiters in restaurants who basically survive on tips.
In the United States, the minimum federal wages was increased from $6.55 to $7.25. But, according to a report released by the National Employment Law Project, which is an advocacy group in New York for low-income workers, only about seven states promise tipped servers the minimum wages. Waiters have been almost left out by the federal law, it seems. Waiters and waitresses earning around $2.55 as tip per hour will get minimum wages of $4.60 per hour.
Waiters and waitresses, those neat, apron-wearing people with an artistic dish-holding style, comprise a major chunk of the tipped worker population. Unfortunately, they show around three times the poverty rate of the workforce in the nation. Most of the servers have no health insurance, mainly because their employers hardly pay for their health plan.
Waiting for Better Wages?
Many waiters are disgruntled by their employer’s policies. Some high-end restaurant chains mandate that their staff should give 30 percent of the total tip amount at the end of the day. Also, if there is a service charge, it should be paid to the server, right? Service charge is for the service, which actually the waiter provides.
Why should a waiter rely on tips? He or she is entitled to a better salary. After all, they toil hard, making innumerable trips from the kitchen to the tables and vice versa. Several busy restaurants hardly give time to the
servers to have their meals. They manage a bite or two between serving the customers.
It’s time that waiters dropped off their aprons and demanded a more dignified pay. They are feeding the population. They deserve better. Who likes to take orders from strangers? But, waiters do. They take your order with a smile; are there at your table within seconds of you calling them; some even tolerate uncouth customers (although they might not forget them).
Aprons and Wages
Apron, that standard symbol of a chef or waiter, has evolved since centuries. They have kept pace with the changing preferences of culinary experts, advancing in its designs, styles, and colors. Then why not the wages? If the uniforms can be upgraded to such high standards, with neat tailor-cuts and fine shades, giving chefs a unique prestige, it’s time that the salaries follow suit.
Waiters and waitresses across the United States have realized this. A hot debate is raging on various issues related to wages, tips, service charges, and more. Employers might own the eating joint, but it’s the waiters who have direct interaction with the customers. It’s the waiter who helps you get the table in rush hour. It’s the waiter who tells you what’s in for specials for the day. It’s the waiter who makes your day with his or her infectious smile. So, it’s time we stood up for these apron-dressers and demanded better wages for them.