Tipping is necessary for employees to survive

Giselle Suazo

Lately, there has been a lot of debate surrounding abolishing a practice that is ingrained in the service industry — tipping. In order for this plan to work, employers must raise server’s wages to match what they currently make. But getting there can be problematic.

Anyone in the restaurant industry is all too familiar with the grueling hours spent on the floor but also with the substantial compensation those hours bring. A server that rings up at least $1,200 in sales during eight hours should be making $200 to $250 in tips — that’s close to $32 per hour. While not every server will ring that much in sales, they can still make some serious money.

Employers won’t match that if they were to get rid of tipping at their restaurants and raise server’s hourly wage to a "living wage." Anyone who has been following the debacle around California raising its minimum wage would know that it is easier said than done.

Texas has a minimum wage set at $7.25 per hour but for servers the wage is set at a low $2.13 per hour. Every waiter, myself included, has received a voided check on payday because those two dollars pay the taxes on their tips.

By not matching what waiters are currently making, employers will have them taking a pay cut. Say the wage is increased to $15 per hour — what an entry level job would pay — why would a server stick around? If you’re going to take a pay cut it should be to move on to a company that has room for growth, not one that will have you running your butt off during 8-hour shifts.

If restaurant owners want to be ‘fair’ and help their employees make a ‘living wage,’ then they should raise the minimum wage for servers while also allowing them to keep tips. Outlawing tips tomorrow means that prices for food will go up 18-20 percent to account for increased wages. That’s not going to sit well with patrons.

Contrary to popular belief, many of the people taking your orders and delivering your drinks are not career servers. Many of them work these jobs because it allows them the time off to pursue their dreams of becoming nurses, lawyers, etc.

Abolishing the practice of tipping in Texas does not make sense when the minimum wage for servers is set so low. Instead of taking away server’s hard-earned tips, businesses should let the tipping stay while also increasing their hourly wages.

Suazo is an international relations and global studies junior from Honduras. Follow her on Twitter @giselle_suazo.