Valentine’s Day Is One of the Best Days for Restaurant Servers

Tip well, lovers.

National Journal
Elahe Izadi
Add to Briefcase
Elahe Izadi
Feb. 14, 2014, 9:06 a.m.

I grew up in a res­taur­ant, spend­ing my teen­age years and early twen­ties wait­ress­ing. And my fa­vor­ite day out of all 365 was Valentine’s Day.

Why? Be­cause of money.

Yes, it may sound de­press­ing that a wo­man in the prime of her youth looked for­ward to spend­ing her Valentine’s Day wait­ing on love­struck couples. But think about it: a res­taur­ant packed with couples, or­der­ing only the finest things on the menu. That means small parties (which is less work) with lar­ger-than-usu­al bills, equal­ing lar­ger tips. And the ab­so­lute worst day of the year to go stingy on tip­ping is on the day you’re try­ing to im­press your sig­ni­fic­ant oth­er. I eas­ily walked away with double what I nor­mally made in tips on a typ­ic­al busy, week­end night.

There’s plenty of grumbling from those who ad­vise for­sak­ing a res­taur­ant din­ing ex­per­i­ence be­cause of pricey, fixed menus. But not all res­taur­ants have fixed menus on this day, and people still drop a lot of money. The av­er­age diner plans to spend $74.19 eat­ing out on Valentine’s Day this year, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tion­al Re­tail Fed­er­a­tion.

New York diners ex­pect to spend an av­er­age of $158.43 on a din­ner for two to­night, ac­cord­ing to Za­gat’s 2014 sur­vey. That’s quite a bit high­er than the av­er­age New York­er spends on a typ­ic­al meal out, at $48.56 per per­son.

Valentine’s Day is the second busiest night of the year for res­taur­ants, second only to Moth­er’s Day, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tion­al Res­taur­ant As­so­ci­ation. But for many serv­ers, Moth­er’s Day isn’t as at­tract­ive of a work­day; it typ­ic­ally con­sists of large parties with de­mand­ing re­quests who of­ten dine dur­ing lunch hours, when meals tend to be cheap­er.

And many couples go to their fa­vor­ite res­taur­ants to eat, says the res­taur­ant or­gan­iz­a­tion. Sure, there are bad, reg­u­lar tip­pers out there, but diners have more of an in­cent­ive to tip serv­ers well when they will face them again.

No mat­ter where you stand on wheth­er the fed­er­al min­im­um wage — par­tic­u­larly for tipped work­ers — should be in­creased, do your loc­al serv­ers a sol­id to­night: eat out and tip well. It’s the Valentine’s Day gift they are count­ing on. 

Catherine Hollander contributed to this article.
What We're Following See More »
THEM’S FIGHTIN’ WORDS
Earnest: Overriding Obama’s Veto Was “Embarrassing”
39 minutes ago
THE LATEST

Hyperbole alert! Following the Senate's decision to override President Obama's veto of a bill that would allow 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. court, the White House has responded forcefully, specifically White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. "I would venture to say that this is the single most embarrassing thing that the United States Senate has done, possibly, since 1983," Earnest said on Air Force One. The House is likely to follow suit in overriding Obama's veto when it takes up the vote.

Source:
FIRST TIME IN OBAMA’S PRESIDENCY
Senate Overrides Obama’s Veto
2 hours ago
THE LATEST
TRIBUTES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Former Israeli President & PM Shimon Peres Dies at 93
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Two weeks after a massive stroke, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former president and prime minister of Israel Shimon Peres passed away late Tuesday night. In a political, military, and diplomatic career that lasted nearly 70 years, Peres was influential both in building up the formidable strength of the Israeli military and in seeking to negotiate lasting peace with Israel's many neighboring Arab countries. Within hours of the announcement of his death, both condolences and tributes began pouring in, including from former President Bill Clinton, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair.

AFRAID HE’S TAKING SUPPORT FROM CLINTON
Democrats Taking Aim at Gary Johnson
5 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

"Democrats panicked by third-party candidates drawing support away from Hillary Clinton are ramping up their attacks against Gary Johnson and warning that a vote for a third party is a vote for Donald Trump. Liberal groups are passing around embarrassing videos of Johnson and running ads against him warning about his positions on issues like climate change that are important to young voters and independents."

Source:
RUSSIA DENIES
Dutch Investigators: MH17 Was Downed by Russian Launcher
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

Russo-Western relations are getting thornier all the time. "Dutch-led criminal investigators said Wednesday they have solid evidence that a Malaysian jet was shot down by a Buk missile moved into eastern Ukraine from Russia. Wilbert Paulissen, head of the Central Crime Investigation department of the Dutch National Police, said communications intercepts showed that pro-Moscow rebels had called for deployment of the mobile surface-to-air weapon, and reported its arrival in rebel-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine." Russia, of course, is denying culpability.

Source:
×