Last November, the voters of Florida passed an amendment to the Florida state constitution that raised the minimum wage. As a result of that, the state minimum wage will be raised from $8.65 an hour to $10.00 an hour, effective at midnight tonight, October 1, 2021.

However, there is also a provision in that amendment restricting the amount of “credit” on the wages of tipped employees paid by employers who assume that some of their wages are paid in tips. The amendment sets that amount as what the FLSA allowed in 2003. In 2003, the allowable employer tip credit was $3.02 an hour.

What this means is that the minimum wage for tipped workers will increase from $5.44 to $6.98 an hour. Every restaurant in the state just saw their tipped labor costs rise by 28%. That will be passed on to the consumer, plus those workers will still expect tips.

Anyone not making minimum wage is probably just out of luck and won’t be getting a raise at all. I know I am not getting a raise.

So I recently had this discussion with some people while I explained my new tipping policy.

  • For bad service: 5%
  • For decent service: 10%
  • For great service: 15%

Next year, when the law gives you another 14% raise, to $7.98 an hour (plus tips) I will be cutting tips again. Probably to zero for bad service, 5% for decent, and 10% for great service. (Ask me what happens in 2023, when you get another 12.5% raise, to $8.98 an hour.)

The hate that I got back was legendary. I was told that if I can’t afford to tip, I shouldn’t eat out. It isn’t that I can’t afford it. It’s that I am receiving a service. Let’s list what service that is:

  1. The server writes down what food I want
  2. The server brings me a beverage and (sometimes) refills it. In the case of a cocktail, someone else who isn’t the server mixes that cocktail
  3. Someone else (not the server) provides the food and prepares it
  4. The server (sometimes, but other times it’s a food runner) carries that food to the table
  5. Someone (maybe the server, maybe the busser) cleans the table
  6. Someone else (not the server) washes the dishes

Anything else that is done is done (such as folding linens, setting the table, rolling silver) are done on the restaurant owner’s behalf, not mine. It’s a limited, minimum skill position.

Frankly, I am totally against tipping. I think restaurants should pay their own employees and not rely on customers to do it, but this is the system we are stuck with. So I get to decide what that service is worth, and to me it isn’t worth a quarter of the cost of my meal.

Here is the deal, skippy: You may have voted for a raise, but that law doesn’t apply to me. If your raise is causing me to pay more to dine out, then that additional cost will be deducted from your tips.

Categories: Tipping


Don Curton · September 30, 2021 at 5:54 am

Tipping has got out of hand completely. Used to, 15% was top tip only for good service. Not ok, not mediocre, not I had to wait 20 minutes to get a tea refill level of service.

Now they expect 20 to 25%. For below average service. And yeah, the food runner thing always bothered me. Why do I tip a waiter when a completely different person brings my food. My wife flips out and insists on really big tips for someone who I think barely rates 15% simply because it’s so unusual these days just to get ok service.

And then the delivery food services like door dash? Why in the name of all that is holy is their tip tied to the price of the food? It’s no different to them if they are delivering a burger or filet mignon. $5 if you get it here on time. My area most restaurants are 15 minutes away. You should easily get 2+ deliveries in an hour. $5 tip works out to $10 per hour or more for basic delivery. Yet the doordash app will try to suggest 20% or higher tips, in advance, in addition to delivery fees.

Sorry for the long comment, but I totally agree with your position. Tipping has gotten ridiculous.

Miguel GFZ · September 30, 2021 at 6:10 am

I tip 20% for exceptional service which includes personal interaction. Bad service gets 10% (Benefit of the doubt, everybody may have a bad day) and shitty service/food gets a penny and the promise of me never coming back.

Toastrider · September 30, 2021 at 7:48 am

I try to be a kind tipper. Usually it takes some SERIOUS screwing up to get me to lowball or zero a tip, and at that point I won’t be coming back. Like, EVER. Holding grudges is just part of my family tradition, after all. 🙂

The overarching problem, though, is the minimum wage scam, which presumes labor has some inherent value when it does not.

Franz · September 30, 2021 at 9:20 am

I’ll “overtip” when the service is exceptional – very unobtrusively maintaining the table ahead of need (my water glass is down to 1/3 so with my barely noticing it’s refilled, replacing a bar drink or filling a coffee cup when the server 1) sees mine is empty and 2) knows I’ll want a second). And, I’ll often mention the exceptional service to the owner or manager; criticism and praise both deserve equal recognition.

For poor service I never “not tip” – I’ll severely undertip to send the message. Sometimes, to make sure the message is not missed or misunderstood, I’ll tape a dime to a 3X5 card with the hand-printed message “better tips available for better service.” If it happens twice I never return to that establishment and let the manager or owner know why on the way out.

We’ve turned around and walked out of nearly empty restaurants at times when they should be filled with lunch or dinner customers – there’s a reason no one is there.

Trotsky's Icepick · September 30, 2021 at 12:26 pm

The 5000 calorie 80 grams of carbs sandwich shack starts out at $14 an hour, Bezoszon is hiring at around $19 an hour, CCP-Mart from Arkansas starts at $12.
The hidden costs are all the mommygov and state social welfare programs that the low wage workers use.
That evil white male capitalist patriarchy it is keeping the comrades down! (sarc)

Skyler the Weird · September 30, 2021 at 2:03 pm

When we go full Socialist with 25% VAT taxes they usually ban tipping.

Weetabix · September 30, 2021 at 5:09 pm

It’s not tipping I believe in. It’s overtipping.

getfreight · September 30, 2021 at 6:18 pm

I agree with the premise on getting what you pay for. Also, on the “minimum wage”.

However, I would ask, have you ever been a server in a restaurant? A good server is not an unskilled labor position. Often a heartbeat may be hired by a poorly ran or desperate restaurant. But serving/waiting tables can be a difficult, stressful job. You seriously underestimate the value that a good server provides in the logistics as well as the advocacy for the customer throughout the process.

    Divemedic · September 30, 2021 at 7:01 pm

    Skilled or not, I am not the one who hired you. If you have a beef with what you are paid, you take it up with your boss, like the rest of us.

E M Johnson · October 1, 2021 at 7:02 am

your analysis is on point. it seems good service is less common now days

Comments are closed.