I've been working in the restaurant industry for 13 years. What started out as just a weekend job in high school as a way of earning extra money, led to the steady income I have to put myself through college. This type of work is tough to do and exhausting, but there is one thing every server will agree is the toughest part of the job: working for free.

When I say work for free, I'm talking about a group of guests that don't tip after their dining experience. What a lot of people don't realize is servers rely on the generosity of guests for their sole income. Servers are paid $2.13 an hour, and when a guest decides not to tip, be if they don't know how much to leave or they decided the service was mediocre, it is basically being ordered around and receiving no compensation for it.

What a lot of people fail to realize is servers are left with a limited section and typically are left with three to five tables. So, in a hypothetical scenario, if I had four tables and three decided to not leave a tip, I would have to rely on of one table within an hour of my time to make any type of money. Nothing is more demeaning than being ordered around during a long shift and getting nothing for it.

Another huge factor that people fail to see, does not only do guests tip depending on how much the check is. That same check is tipped out to my support staff. So, if your check is 100 dollars and I did not receive a tip, and my average tip out is three percent, that is three dollars out of my pocket to ensure the dining experience was enjoyable. I am PAYING for guests to eat out of my own personal money that I work incredibly hard for.

According to the department of labor, a minimum amount of tips is required for servers. Basically, they assume that guests will tip the correct amount so the employer will not have to match the minimum wage depending on the state. The government assumes you'll just tip the amount you're supposed to, which should be a minimum of fifteen percent.

For a server that has done a job well done, should get a twenty percent tip. If percents aren't your thing, just take a look at the first number of your check and double it. So, if your bill is $40, you should leave $8 as a tip. However, if your check is $45, you should round up to the nearest tenth and leave $10.

This really isn't a complicated system. So, if you're out with a friend that doesn't want to tip or you just haven't been big on it yourself just remember two things; we are here to help, however, we don't work for free much like everyone else on the planet and second, your tip is our income. Without a decent tip, we don't have an income. Seriously, just do it!