Waitress Earning $3 Per Hour Explains Why Leaving a Small Tip Costs Her Money

Waitress Earning $3 Per Hour Explains Why Leaving a Small Tip Costs Her Money

In a revealing TikTok video that has sparked considerable debate and shock, Savannah, a waitress in Tennessee, explains how the tipping system in the US can sometimes lead to servers like her having to pay out of their own pockets. This occurs when customers leave insufficient tips or none at all, despite her earning less than $3 an hour

In the US, where tipping is often seen as part of a server’s salary due to the typically low hourly wage rates, the system places a significant financial burden on restaurant staff. For those working in tip-based positions, the federal minimum wage is only $2.13 per hour, far below the standard minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. This disparity is intended to be offset by customer tips.

Savannah detailed the financial dynamics of her work, where she is required to pay a portion of her gross sales—6%—to support staff such as hosts, bartenders, and kitchen workers. This means if Savannah sells $100 worth of food and drinks, she needs to allocate $6 toward this internal tipping pool. If she receives a 20% tip on that $100, which amounts to $20, her actual take-home from that transaction would only be $14 after the $6 deduction.


Big believer in tip karma but this must be said #serverlife #restaurant #tips

? original sound – Sav Pierce

The real financial strain becomes evident when customers do not leave a tip. Under those circumstances, Savannah must still contribute $6 to the pool from her own earnings, which could be from tips received from other tables or even her minimal hourly wage. Essentially, she could end up paying to serve a table if the tip is insufficient or absent.

This video has resonated deeply, highlighting the disparities in wage and labor policies between the US and other countries like the UK and Australia, where a higher minimum wage and less reliance on tipping change the dynamics of service industry compensation. It has led to an outcry among viewers who were previously unaware of the burdens placed on service workers in the US, prompting discussions about the fairness and sustainability of such a system.