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Be Kind To Food Servers Month – January 2025

Be Kind To Food Servers Month is observed every January to honor the individuals in the food serving industry. Did you know tips were introduced in the late 1800s by wealthy Americans returning from Europe? Tipping, which began as a way to ensure quality service from waiters, has evolved into the primary way of expressing kindness and appreciation. Since its introduction, tipping has become a custom and formed the basis of the tipped wage. The latter has sparked much controversy, leaving many waiters dissatisfied with their earnings. Be Kind To Food Servers Month was established to raise awareness of wage disparities and urge customers to tip more generously.

History of Be Kind To Food Servers Month

Tipping is a custom that originated in Europe in the late Middle Ages. It arose as a result of the predominant master-slave relationship of the time. Wealthy Americans were introduced to this tradition during their holidays on the continent and carried it back to the United States.

Upon their arrival between the 1850s and 1860s, these wealthy individuals began tipping at diners and restaurants to seem aristocratic. Many diners were against the practice when it first began, and it was commonly considered as condescending, classist, and un-American. The anti-tipping protests were so powerful that they swept across Europe, igniting labor movements that eventually put an end to the practice.

Despite how widespread the movement against tipping was in America, it never gained traction and the introduction of the 13th Amendment after the Civil War was the final nail to the coffin for the movement. Despite the fact that slavery was abolished, companies continued to exploit black people by giving them no wages and forcing them to rely on tips.

As tipping grew in popularity, so did the negative views people had about it, especially in the Southern states. Between 1910 and 1920, six Southern states, including Iowa and Georgia, temporarily deemed tipping as illegal. However, by 1926, all these laws had either been repealed or deemed unconstitutional by the respective state’s Supreme Court.

In 1938, tipping became part of the New Deal, making up the required federal minimum wage for tipped workers. Later, that was revised in 1966, creating the current minimum wage of $2.13 for tipped employees. However, seven states in the U.S. require all workers to be paid the full state minimum wage before tips.

Be Kind To Food Servers Month timeline

Tipping Comes To America

Wealthy Americans returning from their holiday in Europe start tipping waiters to flaunt their elevated status.

Protests Against Tipping

Americans organize protests across the country to stop the practice of tipping.

Anti-Tipping Laws

Six Southern states introduce laws prohibiting tips within the state boundaries.

Tipping Becomes Law

The U.S. government adds tipped wages to the New Deal.

Be Kind To Food Servers Month FAQs

How does tipping work?

On top of the bill, you are supposed to leave a tip of 15% to 20% (before sales tax). A value of 25% or more indicates great service, while a value of 10% indicates poor service. If you believe your waitress does not deserve a tip, please be sure to inform the establishment.

Who do I have to tip?

Mostly servers at restaurants, bartenders, hairdressers, beauty therapists, porters, taxi drivers, and food delivery services.

What happens if you don’t tip in America?

In America, not tipping is not a criminal offense, thus you will not be arrested or charged for it. However, it is considered offensive, and you can expect the server to pursue you and question why you didn’t tip.

How to Observe Be Kind To Food Servers Month

  1. Tip higher than the standard 15%

    Tipping higher than the standard 15% is best to honor and appreciate food servers. Make this month the best month for the servers at your favorite restaurant. Show them your gratitude for their efforts.

  2. Give a gift to your favorite food server

    If you can’t tip higher all through the Be Kind To Food Servers Month, you can give a gift to your favorite food server. The gift can be anything you feel they may need. If you are good friends with the server, you can get a gift for their children.

  3. Be kind

    You’re unable to get them a gift or leave a higher tip? Then show them a whole lot of kindness whenever they serve you. This might be politely requesting an order or inquiring about their family, health, or other events in their lives.

5 Mind-Blowing Facts About Tipping In The United States

  1. Women tip higher than men

    According to a 2018 study, women leave a median tip of 20% compared to 16% by men.

  2. The Northeast has the best tippers

    People in the Northeastern states leave an average media tip of 17%.

  3. Republicans tip more than Democrats

    A 2017 Princeton Survey Research revealed that 59% of Republicans frequently tip higher than 15%, compared to 46% of Democrats.

  4. 20% is the real standard for tips

    Contrary to popular opinion, servers expect to receive nothing less than 20%

  5. You don’t have to tip everywhere

    It’s unnecessary to tip at fast foods, coffee shops, or anywhere with counter service.

Why Be Kind To Food Servers Month is Important

  1. Servers live off their tips

    If you've heard of the tipped wage, you're aware that waiters and bartenders are paid less than the minimum hourly rate and must make up the difference with tips. As a result, these professionals rely on your tips to pay their bills, send their children to school, and put food on the table. Keep all of this in mind the next time you go out to eat and leave a generous tip.

  2. Tips reward great service

    Servers put in a lot of effort behind the scenes to guarantee that you receive quality service. Aside from learning the tastes of several clients, they must be quick on their feet, handle kitchen tension, and maintain a cheerful demeanor at all times, regardless of the situation.

  3. Tipping is an act of kindness

    Tipping is not only rewarding to servers but also rewarding to you. By tipping, you feel good and satisfied with yourself that you have contributed to the wellbeing of another person.

Be Kind To Food Servers Month dates

2025January 1Wednesday
2026January 1Thursday
2027January 1Friday
2028January 1Saturday
2029January 1Monday
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