To The Editor:
I write on behalf of skilled servers employed by Franklin County restaurants. (Unskilled servers are another letter for another day.)
As a skilled server at a popular Franklin County eatery, I am an authority on restaurant table service. This isn’t a boast. It’s the voice of experience.
First, a skilled server will give you complete information regarding daily specials, soup of the day, appetizers, entrees and desserts. We will correctly deliver your meal, keep your beverages full, clear the detritus during the meal and clear the plates/flatware when you’re finished dining. If you have an issue with your meal, we will do all in our power to resolve the issue in your favor. Skilled servers are the diner’s advocate. We labor on your behalf because our livelihood depends upon your experience.
Second, diners who believe servers make minimum wage plus tips are dead wrong. The Missouri Department of Labor has set tipped wages at $3.85 per hour. If you doubt me, visit labor.mo.gov/DLS/MinimumWage/tipped. Employers paying more than $3.85/hour are rarer than African elephants and the elephants are on the endangered species list.
Third, employers’ demands on servers include, but are not limited to the following (and all for $3.85 per hour): wash walls, chair rails, chairs, table bases, booths and benches. Proper cleaning requires moving furniture. We scrub baseboards and sweep and mop or vacuum all dining room floors. We wash down counters, cupboards, beverage machines and windows. We scrub toilets and clean up after all manner of human excrement and vomitus. We do what you take for granted.
Fourth, diners who honor the arcane 15 percent gratuity or less, remember this: Your server does not have smaller utility bills, house payments/rent, car payments/insurance, medical costs or student loans than you. We have families depending upon us as much as your family depends upon you.
Finally, a tip for deadbeat diners: The next time you see your server attending other diners more than they’re attending you, don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ve been forgotten. Quite the contrary. You’ve been remembered. Servers in Franklin County do not have a union and are barred from any redress of cheap diners. We do, however, have long and accurate memories.
To diners who treat servers with courteous respect, we thank you very much and will continue to serve you to the best of our abilities.
Editor’s Note: Name withheld per request.