Collecting Both Minimum Wage And Tips!

Imagine Servers Wages In 2020

Imagine relying on others for your future. Think about possibilist and freedoms being ultimately turned by someone else rather than you. You live their way of life and not yours. Would you appreciate this as your only way to evade being flat broke? Do you consider everybody around you taking higher and you less as pleasant? Your WAGES alone do not dictate paying things like your rent or bills. You could be consistently incapable of obtaining enough funds to live since you rely on those who pay your tab. These are realities focusing on a server’s wages and why they can’t collect tips and secure state minimum wage?




In the state of Colorado, the server’s wage is $8.00 per hour, plus tips (The “plus “means the state has no control over anybody’s tips) However all other professions receive a minimum wage was $11.10 per hour leaving those on the clock a conflict of $3.10. That extra three-bucks would benefit buying groceries or gas etc. and boost the economy.

However, you can’t survive at the state minimum either. The lower wages cause one to rely on tips. The increase in pay (minimum plus tips) is an immense difference for living in Northern Colorado.


Restaurant employers are required to compensate for the difference equaling the essential wage when servers make less than $11.10 per hour.

*Minimum wage for 2020 is now at $12.00 per hour.


Riddle me this? Who’s ensuring owners are responsible to pay staff? Many servers are just skimming by but won’t rock the nerves of employers for fear of being let go.


On the contrary, server jobs are vast in places like Fort Collins where the restaurant count is shy of 700 and a population over 167,830.




But, with the average rent for the same city at $1350 per month or higher, the minimum wage doesn’t cover the cost of living. The big question at hand is why server wages are lower when life’s expenses are indeed higher for someone making $3.00 less than the rest of the residents.


Who came up with a lower server wage factoring in tips? Professions such as hairstylists receive tips and aren’t expected to work for less. It seems to be the excuse rather than the solution backing fewer hourly wages for those who wait tables.


A tip is given when servers perform and achieve customer satisfaction. "If I treat you well, follow all the steps with customer service, you compensate me with a gift of appreciation. However, Mr. Customer is never responsible or required to pay a tip, ever!" ~ UNKNOWN

No matter how much an employee goes out of their way, they aren’t guaranteed the customer will tip leaving you at $8.00 per hour. Not to mention the workload.




The work is both psychologically demanding and physically exhausting. Customers aren’t invariably kind 24/7, even when you present good service WHILE your performance is being monitored by management causing added stress.


The job is dangerous. You can slip and fall (With proper shoes) or break your back carrying heavily loaded trays and stocking products. Not to mention the possibilities of catching diseases as you’re working with the public. Also, wage theft is acute in food and drink service, and we have found restaurants across the country to be in violation of wage and hour laws;



After dealing with all that hullabaloo, shouldn’t the folk struggling in the food industry be paid a fair wage based on the sphere of responsibility? One would think or hope depending on which side of the table you’re sitting.


Some will argue restaurants will not stay in business if they pay all the workers the state’s requirement. However, after speaking to local owners in 2018 the Coloradoan found the following:



“Developing over $25 million in the expected new restaurant revenue in one development solely in a year’s time is substantially higher than the population growth rate would make up for,” he said, doing the math on Foothills' 10 restaurants.

“the expected average annual volume per location would have to be more than $2.5 million,” he said. "Fort Collins' restaurants, bars, and caterers generated $434.4 million in sales through November 2018, the second-largest net taxable sales in the city behind grocery, convenience and liquor stores, according to the city's December sales and use tax report, which reflects sales through November."


Jason Barrett of the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant comments, the minimum wage hike alone, which will increase 90 cents an hour every January until it hits $12 an hour in 2020, "is not an easy thing for restaurants," Barrett said. "It's a $250,000 hit to our bottom line." (Boo freaking hoo)



I’m no genius but seems to me with an expected growth of $25 million for one location alone, and a hit of $250K may not be that difficult to manage. The owners of these restaurants can’t do the job alone. The servers, however, can work in any restaurant making the same if not more wages plus tips. Nonetheless, neither the minimum or the average server wages are enough to pay all your bills.


You can’t regularly rely on the consumer. People who eat at diners, eateries and restaurants aren’t reliable sources of income. Sure, we get you should tip after someone serves, but there are many patrons who don’t believe in tipping, don’t have the money or are just plain rude. Yes, it happens.


Think about the server who must rely on both the establishment and complete strangers to establish a consistent paycheck. Do you find this to be fair? Or are you on the fence unsure of the effect the tips should have on the wage?



The company is deemed to represent the difference if the server makes less than tips versus the minimum wage if they don’t make at least the same amount. But, can service rely on the restaurant owners or managers to give them this difference?


In states with lower tipped minimum wage, tipped workers have poorer economic results and greater poverty rates than their counterparts in equal treatment states; so why are we still bearing the debate? The restaurant industry thrives in equal treatment states. If that’s so, what is the reasoning the lower-wage states continue?



Also, the act of tipping, have different results for men and women. Diners usually give men higher percentages than women. And studies have illustrated, tips for African American or Hispanic ethnicities are less. So how is it rational to rely on tips as part of your livelihood?


Let’s break it down. For an individual person living in Fort Collins and working as a food server wouldn’t be able to survive with the high costs. Bear in mind the poverty line is at $16,910 per year.


Case Study:

$8.00 per hour

30 Hours Worked Per Week = $240

Average Tips per week = $200 (Low end)

Total $440 per wk. or $1760 per month

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Rent: $1350

Electricity: $120

Cable/Wi-Fi: $50

Phone Bill: $50

Car payment and insurance $150

Gas money: 80.00

Food & Toiletries: 300

Total = $2100


The server is in the red $340 per month. Even the minimum wage is not a living wage. But, if they gave a server the Colorado wage of $11.10 per hour plus tips, they may break even. Not all servers are making the same wages, but all servers have bills.

If the restaurant owner can’t swing the wages, then should they have a business? The cost of doing business affects all employers. If a restaurant owner wants to have 50-servers to cover shifts, they had better be prepared to pay them. Moreover, can ALL GM’s prove they are giving their servers at least equal to the state’s minimum wage, with or without tips?


As you can see, there’s plenty of unanswered questions for this field. Regulating jobs or careers of a server aren't consistently available or reliable. Not to mention, the Colorado state minimum wage doesn’t cover the hefty cost of living either. Now, you’ve got the info, what do you think?


POLL: HAVE YOU EVER WORKED IN THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY?

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