Two service industry workers recently went viral on TikTok after they shared their differing opinions about tipping at restaurants. Earlier this month, TikTok user Jess (@jessrowland100) duetted a video from fellow server Kat (@smarthotties), who said she has advice for when customers don’t leave a tip. The clip, which was posted on 10 March, has been viewed more than 33,000 times.
Kat, who has been in the service industry for four years, encouraged her followers to approach the customer who paid the bill and ask “in front of everyone” why they didn’t leave a tip.
“I see you didn’t leave a tip. Is there anything I could improve on with the service that you feel like you could share with me?” she advised them to say. However, as Jess filmed his reaction to Kat’s video, he immediately screamed: “No! No! Have your manager do that!”
When Kat explained that “nine times out of 10” a customer will “make some excuse” about why they didn’t leave a tip, Jess chimed in: “Yeah, they’re embarrassed! And you get fired.”
She added that the “worst case scenario” is when a customer gives a verbal tip on how to improve their service, or when a manager will comp a few items off the bill if their “tab was really high”.
Still, Jess disagreed and advised his followers that doing so would be considered “stealing”. Instead, he urged servers to “have a manager” go up to the customer on their behalf.
“Short story is just to confront them,” Kat said, to which Jess replied: “Never!”
Much like the two restaurant servers, the opposing TikTok videos also sparked a debate among service industry workers in Jess’ comments section. One restaurant worker shared that “doing any of these things would get me fired,” while another said that confronting customers about not leaving a tip was “insane”.
“I’ve only had a few tables in all my years not tip,” commented someone else. “I would NEVER ask them why! NEVER!!”
Meanwhile, some TikTokers said that confronting customers about their tip was actually commonplace at their workplace. “My boss encourages us to do this. He would never fire us,” one person said. “Also we don’t allow people to come back if they are repeated offenders.”
“Our restaurant wants us to ask because if someone doesn’t tip, it usually means something is wrong and I can change it before they leave, possibly,” wrote another user.
Earlier this week, an American restaurant worker went viral on Twitter after she criticised a group of European tourists for not leaving an adequate tip after they racked up a $700 (£570.25) bill and spent “hours” at their table.
“Lmao [sic] I f***ing hate Europeans sometimes, on God. This table just left US$70 (£57.02) on a US$700 check after chilling for HOURS,” tweeted user @madison_tayt. “My manager even asked about their service and they were OVER THE MOON about my service so he explained the customary tip is 20 per cent and they were like, ‘OK’. And left.”
Her tweet then sparked a debate over tipping etiquette in the US compared to the rest of the world. Many Americans argued that foreign visitors should tip according to the custom of the place they are visiting. In the US, customers are expected to tip between 15 to 20 per cent of their bill in restaurants.