When people ask me what it is I do as a restaurant industry employee advocate I tell them it usually boils down to me being the guy at the party that tries to convince the non-tippers to treat their server like a human being. I’m also the guy at the party that plays comedy songs about working in restaurants that promote an attitude of dignity and respect towards restaurant workers. I also make phone calls on behalf of restaurant employees who are being mistreated by their managers. That’s always fun.
When I go out to eat or even get a togo order I help the other patrons in their understanding of the plight of the American restaurant worker by explaining the tip system and the various demands placed on togo personnel and other FOH staff members. Even while standing in line at fast food places I have been known to correct the attitudes and behaviors of some of the other customers who were treating the employees rudely.
Occasionally I will contact a large corporation if their policies or ad campaigns have a negative impact on restaurant workers. Anheuser Busch used to run an ad for Bud Light called ‘The Patron’ that depicted an impatient customer in a busy restaurant tripping her server in order to get his attention. I wrote them and explained that even though it was clearly a jest it was still in poor taste to depict people treating waiters with such disregard for their safety and personal dignity. I’m not sure exactly what they did in response but I never saw that commercial again. When certain Brinker concept unit managers were forcing their employees to work while sick and firing those that called in I contacted them and let them know that the organized protest that would be held outside their store would be a lot worse for business than being shorthanded for a few shifts would be. Again I’m not sure what the effects of that were but I’m pretty sure they took it seriously. And they should have. Because I’m just crazy enough and care enough about my brothers and sisters in the business to organize that protest.
Denny’s is the latest object of my ire. They’re showing these new ads called ‘The Math’ that show a Denny’s customer figuring out how to best spend his ten dollars. Should he buy two items that cost $4 and one that costs $2 or should he buy one $6 item and one $4 item? Personally I’m thinking that if he only had ten bucks he should get some 99 cent super value items at Wendy’s instead going to any full service restaurant. You see there’s one element left out of all his equations and that’s the TIP.
By insinuating that a Denny’s customer can buy five $2 items with their ten dollar bill they are basically saying that you don’t have to tip at Denny’s. If there are any Denny’s servers that read this please leave a comment to let me know how you feel about it. The odds are pretty good that you are as in favor of it as I am.
Recently I sent Denny’s an email asking them to either quit running those spots or edit them in such a way as to reflect consideration for tipping. I’ll let you know if that gets any results.
In the mean time if you are a restaurant industry employee and are suffering some sort of injustice or indignity that I can maybe help you out with then please let me know. I will do what I can to fight the good fight on your behalf.
Dignity and Respect
Me, the JerBear