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Tip Your Server Christians

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The Average Christian Table:

Follow this story-line: "I'm a server in any restaurant in America. I just found out a local church conference has just gotten out of service. A party of 18 walks in to the restaurant. I'm informed they will be seated in my station. They are loud, happy, and smiling. I can't get them to sit stop talking long enough to address the group at one time, so I end up repeating myself over and over answering the same questions. Only half show up at first so I'm running around doing more work than if I had just been sat 9 tables of two. Oh, and don't forget the free bread, we'll need tons of that so that we can order light and save money. Most order waters, a few order tea or soda. Alcohol is a big portion of my average check, bigger check means bigger tip. Bummer.

They proceed to order the cheapest things they can find, and split them with a friend. They have a million special requests and modified orders. I've done more work for this party of 18 than if I had just served 9 tables of two, but their total bill will be half of what the total of those 9 two person tables would have been. They want to split checks with people they are not sitting next to, some in completely different parts of the table. Some ask to split one item three ways (can't you just pay for it el cheapo?)

I'm so busy trying to figure out who had what and who wants what that my other tables were suffering, so wanting them taken care of I let them go to another server who had time. There goes that money. I forgot to add gratuity to the table because half were still eating while the other half wanted checks, but if I start splitting checks now I won't be able to put in more items without a manager approval override and some still want desert. The party is over, they left me a grand total of 8% for the whole group. Oh look, two of them left me no money at all, but they left this handy Gospel Tract. That should help me pay my bills and feed my kids.I could have made more money serving four tables of 2, thanks a lot church people. And THAT is why I'll never go to church..."

Tip Your Server

I worked in the Full Service Restaurant Industry as a Busser, Host, and Server. I was a server for over 5 years. You know what stereo types permeate every restaurant I worked at in 2 states? It may or may not be true, but here is what most servers believe:

The worst tippers in the world are: Christians?!

You know what's REALLY sad? The Christian servers believe it too! Did you know that Sunday Afternoon is the MOST hated shift of all servers, even those who have NO religious affiliation and do not go to Church? They don't care about Sunday or not Sunday. It's the people they must serve they want to avoid. The story above is not only possible, it's typical. I've seen it over, and over, and over.

Principles Behind Tipping... It's not about you.

Every interaction you have in this life will draw someone to God or away from Him. As Christians we have freely received and freely give. We have been given the life of God. Abundant life! Jesus died to bring us that life. He also commissioned us go into all the world and preach the Gospel. As it has been said: "Preach often, if necessary, use words." Christians ought to never portray the attitude of one is there to be served. We are to serve, not to be served. Does that mean we get up and get in the servers way or that we never go out to eat? No, of course not. However we recognize the service provided to us and accept it with great humility and respect.
2 Corinthians 9:5-11

5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation. 6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 9 As it is written: "He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever." 10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.
Over and over we are told in the New Testament that our lives are to be lived as servants of others, as humble before God, as love in action... We are to seek every opportunity to love others with our actions. In my time I've seen so many turned off to God by the actions of Christian diners. I've also seen some won to Christ through the abundant love and giving and kindness of a Christian who lived right before God.

What You Should Do

It is custom in the USA to leave 20% for a restaurant server. Leaving less than 20% indicates they did a bad job or that you are a cheapskate. The server will assume the latter in most cases. Leaving 10% is an insult. Leaving a penny indicates you meant to hurt them. Leaving nothing but a Gospel-tract is the most tacky thing you could do, but I've seen it often.

Is it OK to leave less for bad service? How would Grace himself respond? How did He respond to the woman caught in adultery? That would be between you and the Holy Spirit. Here is my take on that: You reap what you sow. Therefore, how do you want men to respond to you next time you have a shortfall in your performance? More importantly, if you are a real Christian there was something in or on you that gave the server knowledge of it. Maybe it was the Cross, prayer over the meal, something he/she over heard you say, but they know. Whatever you do for/to them they assume Jesus would. You are the only Jesus some people will ever meet?

Why stop at 20%? The stories that get passed around in restaurants are when the person gives the server more than 20%, much more. People have been known to give their server more in tip than the bill even was.I heard a story of a man who rang up a $23,000 bill at a 5 star restaurant, and proceeded to give out more than $26,000 in additional money to waitstaff. Unfortunately it's usually a business man, having drinks and cussing that leaves good tips and gets stories told about him/her. Just think, what if we could start a new rumor... "Did you hear what that Christian guy did at my table the other day..."


Conclusion


A true life personal story. One day, I was tired, working two jobs, 60 hours a week. I was feeling foggy and disoriented. The managers were seating me when I told them not to because I needed a mental break. I had a four table section but one was a bad seat, no one wants to sit there so it hadn't been sat most of the night. I didn't see them for a longer time than it should have been. Drinks were late getting to them and refills were long between. Food came out on time, but I don't remember why, something was wrong with it. They got by far the worst service I think I've given in my career, and by this time I'd already been serving 5 years I was NOT new. If I were them I'd want to leave nothing, complain to the manager, and maybe never come back. Worst of all, I smiled, did my best to catch up with them, but secretly resented them for being there at the table that no-one sits at, because if that table was empty I would be caught up, but instead I was falling further and further behind.

Do you know what they did? They left me nearly 25% and wrote on the ticket: "My Jesus really love you, it's going to be OK." (or something like that). I nearly broke down and cried when I saw it. I felt horrible, not only for the service I gave, and their experience, but because of how I had felt about them. Their giving did more, by the work of the Holy Spirit, that night, than anything they ever could have said negative would have. It melted by hard heart, and I returned to work the next day on a mission to serve Jesus twice as hard for my customers the next day. I don't know that I'll ever see them this side of heaven, but I will take this time to say publicly... THANK YOU Table 81!


Questions to ask yourself:

  • Who do I live for? Me? Them? or Jesus?
  • What kind of wake do I leave behind me when I have visited someone's life?
  • What kind of Jesus do I represent? Who do people think my Jesus is after meeting me?
  • How will my actions, needs, requests today impact the servers life?
  • Then stop for a moment, the next time you are at a Full Service Restaurant. Look around. 
    • Ask yourself what that person is doing? 
    • How many tables are they serving? 
    • Jesus said he came not to be served, but to serve. How you can YOU serve the server? 
    • What look do they have on their face? Worried? Mad? Sad? Happy? Fake Happy?


Tips to be a good guest:

  • Be kind and attentive
    • STOP talking EVERY TIME they come to your table and give them your full attention.
    • Please and Thank You go a long way
    • SMILE, are you glad you are saved?
  • Ask 
    • Ask for special things at one time, don't make them run to your table 50 times. 
    • Ask them what THEY need to make this go smoother for you and them? 
      • "You tell US when YOU are ready or how this would be easiest for you?"
        • Especially important on big parties.
  • Don't ask for split checks! Really?!
    • If you absolutely must split checks, encourage your party to split as few ways as possible and leave bigger tips for all the extra work that entails. 
    • I've had it take me an extra 30 minutes to split, process, and close out split checks for large parties. You want to make they do all that work, pay them extra for it. And make SURE your party does so. Take the leadership role and explain what being a witness means and that they had better leave 20+% or else!
  • Leave MORE than 20% How much more? 
    • More if they did over and above
    • More if YOU cause them more work
    • More if you asked for special things, modified an order, or asked for split checks. 
    • Split checks should really cause a 50% tip.
    • Large Parties should be extra. 2% per person over the standard 20%
    • Are you about to leave a tract or card? BUY that attention! 
    • Most importantly: More if the Holy Spirit tells you to. He may have sent you in there for no other reason than to be a source of provision for that person. Maybe God sent you in there to pay their light bill, maybe even pay their car off, how about pay their house off? How's that for being a witness?
  • Don't leave Gospel Tracts. 
    • They don't get read, they get made fun of and thrown out.
  • Do Leave a professional business card to a church, blog, and/or website that is well presented and will allow them to connect with you, your church, or a ministry you trust. (Make sure you buy their attention, if you are leaving a card/contact you'd better be tipping more than 20%)

    See Also: Tipping your Servers... Not Optional




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    And now I leave you with a question:

    So... what are your thoughts about this? What did this make you think about? 

    Hit me up on Twitter @DarrellWolfe or on Google +DarrellWolfe

    By Darrell Wolfe

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