Who, what, when, where, why we tip at restaurants and shops

Each owner and type of restaurant has a different school of thought when it comes to tipping and wages. 

“In full-service, tip/gratuity should be more than 20%, just because of the economy the 15% is definitely obsolete,” Haystack owner Kevin Galvan says. “It should be more like 20%, 22%, 25% because of the amount of work these people are doing for $2.13 an hour.”

In Haystack restaurants where the dining isn’t full-service, employees are paid an hourly wage, and tips are earned by employees going over-the-top. 

“We make sure they’re doing something for the tips, so drinkware, refills, pre-bussing tables, offering cloth napkins, trying to offer a full-service experience even though we are fast-casual,” Galvan says. “I’ve never asked for big numbers from people because some people ask for 15%-20% on a $60 tab but you’re not doing $12 worth of work.”

Galvan pools tips among all employees, which he finds encourages every member of the team to give the best service possible. 

Others, like White Rock Coffee, apply the same teamwork-style tip pool but to tipped wages. 

Many coffee shops, like White Rock Coffee, make a server wage and share tips among the barista team. 

“[I prefer] making a tipped wage because it’s really up to you how much you make,” says Samantha Oser, a barista at White Rock Coffee. 

WRC baristas split tips among all locations, and then tips are divided by the number of hours worked for each employee. This system increases wages for baristas in locations with a slower pace, with locations like Lake Highlands seeing less activity than locations in East Dallas or Preston Hollow.

  The tipping struggle isn’t limited to dining. Hairstylists, for example, make tipping wages at most salons and often don’t get to take home the full charge for the service.

“You’re usually splitting the cost of service with the owners. Depending on how much the commission percentage is, you can take only 60%, 50%, 40% or 30% home with you,” Kristian Taylor, a cosmetologist at Capelli Salon says. “Unfortunately, there are a lot of us who rely on those tips just to make ends meet. … A lot of people don’t realize all of the education and hard work that comes behind a service. For instance, if I worked five hours on your hair, and it came out beautifully, it’d feel great to be shown that you’re appreciated by receiving more than 20%.”

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