A server says she’s getting lousy tips because she keeps having to do other people’s jobs in the labor shortage

Server at a restaurant in California
A server clears a table as patrons dine outdoors at Gloria’s Cocina Mexicana restaurant in California on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. Watchara Phomicinda/MediaNews Group/The Press-Enterprise/Getty Images
  • One restaurant worker says the labor crunch is killing her tips.
  • The lack of staff means she’s unable to give good service to customers, she said.
  • “Servers have been called to work on the food line, to prep salads, to wash dishes,” she said.
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One restaurant worker says the labor crunch is killing tips for servers.

In an interview with CNN, 58-year-old server Karen McLaughlin, who works at Provino’s Italian restaurant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, said that the lack of staff meant servers were stretched, which means customers get worse service and therefore pay lower tips.

On some days “we have to take the orders, run our own food [and] bus all of our tables … Servers have been called to work on the food line, to prep salads, to wash dishes,” she told CNN.

“We come in and just have to fill the holes. If you’re having to do other things … then you make less,” she said.

Retail and restaurant businesses across the US are scrambling to find workers in a tight labor market as workers quit to look for higher-paying jobs with better working conditions.

Job openings across the US have reached record highs, and some businesses are having to temporarily close because they can’t find enough staff.

Those who don’t quit have to pick up the slack.

Another restaurant server told CNN that some of his coworkers have walked out in the middle of their shifts.

“[Hostesses who] seat the tables, the dishwashers, the bussers … they’ll walk out,” 36-year-old Joshuah Morton, who works at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, told CNN. This made him consider quitting himself, he said.

“I don’t think there’s any server who hasn’t been tempted to quit … especially right now,” he told CNN.

According to a recent survey from non-profit One Fair Wage, which advocates for higher wages for restaurant workers in the US, the majority of restaurant workers who have recently quit cited low wages and low tips.

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