There are many sterotypes in the restaurant industry. From servers thinking that certain races do not tip to customers thinking that all restaurant employees are drug addicts. I am here to shed light on these sterotypes and hopefully open the eyes of many people who may not even know that they themselves are keeping these thoughts in circulation. Let’s start by defining what exactly a sterotype is: a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing (Dictionary.com). According to L. Rosenthal, N. Overstreet, in Encyclopedia of Mental Health (Second Edition), 2016 stereotyping is a learned behavior and is a cognitive process in that it involves associating a characteristic with a group, but it can also involve, lead to, or serve to justify an affective reaction toward people from other groups.
In the restaurant industry one of the most highly believed stereotypes is that men tip better than women. We can even go a little deeper and state embedded within that stereotype lies another which is out of all the women, Black women are the worst at tipping. I worked in the restaurant industry for over 20 years and I know that men are better tippers than women. A poll done in 2017 by Creditcards.com agrees but it also states that while men tip better in restaurants, women tip better in other situations like hairstylists and barbers. This poll also stated that Democrats tip less than Republicans so it would make sense that Black women tip less being that majority of them are Democrats. This does not make it okay to make racist jokes about people which I have witnessed in the industry.
Stereotypes held by customers would include most restaurant workers are alcoholics, drug addicts, and uneducated. That is an unfair stereotype. This I think comes from restaurants not requiring drug tests to become employed. All servers have high school diplomas while most have some college experience if not a college degree. Many people work in the restaurant industry while they are in college to help pay for tuition and other expenses. I started out in college with Harper’s Greensboro, NC. Some people, like single mother’s, work in the restaurant industry for the flexibility in the schedule. After I had my daughter I went back to the restaurant industry because it allowed me to work split shifts, which allowed me to pick my kid up from school and be there at night to read her a story. Artists as well as other people like working in the restaurant industry for the same reason flexibility. It gives you days off during the and the weekend, also a bonus.
The final stereotype is that servers do not make much money. There are days when you may not make a lot but the days you do make “bank” should balance it out. If you are good at your job you can make “bank” even on a slow day. Yes, most servers make $2.12 an hour plus tips, so please tip! But some restaurants have upped the hourly. When I first started in the industry I chose to be a hostess instead of a server because host make more hourly. Not long after did switch to server because they make more money periodt! A co-worker broke it down for me, at that time my rent was $450 for a studio apartment. He said, “$30 dollars a day for 15 days is your rent… Make that your goal, everything else is save money”. After I did it for a month or two I changed my daily goal to $50 to cover bills. That guy was making $100,000 a year serving, he didn’t have kids, was Black, and had a Masters degree in science!! He worked at 3 of the most upscale restaurants in town and he made “bank”. What most people, even servers, don’t realize is that serving is about budgeting, saving, and great customer service. The amount of money you depends on the type of restaurant and quality of service given.
Let us not be like the whole… Let us do away with stereotypes, not just in the restaurant industry but in the world.