Posted by R.K. Gella
There’s plenty of advice fluttering about on how to survive these economic doldrums however I’m sure none of it condones stiffing your server.
Living in Manhattan you often feel like you have to tip on a smile. Unlike the rest of the country where tipping is customary, here it’s a social commitment. But with the public digging into shallow pockets this season the tip might often feel more of a burden than a transaction.
According to the Wall Street Journal servers across the country are seeing a drop in wages with tip percentages plummeting. Patrons are ordering less and paying closer attention to each dollar, contributing to a decrease in restaurant wages. Nestled in the worried patron’s wallet sits the extra Washington or Lincoln that would usually be tossed in on good service, instead this anemic economy has warranted those presidents are under house arrest.
Dawnmarie Capuano, 41-year old mother of two with 14 years in the industry explained to WSJ that she had to find new employment with a temp agency when she lost confidence with both of her restaurant positions.
“Our regulars, who were leaving well over 20% [tips], they started going down to 15%.”
But as Ms. Capuano made the conscious choice to seek a more substantial income elsewhere, others in the industry have simply been laid off. With an overflow of applicants and restricted vacancies, employers are swimming through a saturated pool of desperate candidates.
Art’s Delicatessen & Restaurant in Studio City, Calif., got 70 applications in about a day when it posted an ad looking for help, and applicants included people who have worked as real-estate agents and mechanics. Typically, they get about 10 applicants during that time, said Harold Ginsburg, a co-owner.
It’s disconcerting that most of the work force are applicants who have been recently laid off, however what’s more troubling is that they’re in line to take jobs that might offer little compensation.