When going out, make sure to budget for tips

Valentine’s Day is coming up. Yes, I know this column is already set up to look like the a cliche that only a young blogger in romantic comedies would use to write about love. However, I aim to write about a subject that is not nearly as synonymous with the day: tipping.

From a business perspective, Valentine’s Day is a reliably profitable day for resturants. Falling on Sunday this year, the holiday will predictably bring longer wait times. That’s not the problem, though. The issue is what a portion of diners will be tempted to do after they’ve eaten the last of their chocolate chip pizookie. Assessing the damage for the night, tipping might appear to unnecessarily add to the costs for the night. However, it is important to tip.

While it might be easier said than done, tipping isn’t just a common courtesy — it is doing what is right. Having a server attend to you at a restaurant is a service and like any other service it comes at a price.

According to the United States Department of Labor, the state of Texas requires employers to pay its tipped workers such as waiters a minimum of $2.13 an hour. A pay like this leaves waiters completely at the mercy of those whom they serve for the night. While it is unlikely that a waiter will leave the night earning just $2.13 for every hour they worked on Valentine’s Day, keep in mind that they worked on one of the busiest nights of the year. On holidays especially, people want to have a good dining experience. Anyone who works in the restaurant business knows this and, for the most part, attempts to keep the increase in customer sensitivity in mind.

Some might desperately try to justify a low tip by attempting to remember a time during the dining experience that the service could have been better. Be sure to keep in mind that not all the money made from tips that night goes to the waiter. Depending on the restaurant, waiters are responsible for paying their busboys as well as a portion of the credit card fees accrued from each customer transaction. This adds up quickly. What had the potential to be a profitable night could easily leave the waiter exhausted and wondering why they bothered to come in if they received a series of bad tips for the night.

This is all to say that it is especially wrong not to tip a waiter at least 10 percent of your bill or, even worse, not at all. Effort goes into their work. How would you like it if you did not get paid for your work?

As tight of a budget as one might be in, any restaurant-goer should factor in tipping when deciding to eat out. If not, there is nothing wrong with getting a bit creative on Valentine’s Day or making the best of a stop at Whataburger for the night. After all, tipping isn’t always the first thing on a person’s mind, but paying everyone their just due is a what it means to be a responsible consumer.

Didi Martinez is a sophomore journalism major from Katy. She is news editor for the Lariat.