Bartender & Mom-Of-One Posts Photo Of $9 Paycheck For 70 Hours Of Work To Explain The Importance Of Tipping

The federal minimum wage for bartenders and servers is just $2.13 per hour.

frustrated restaurant employee Nicoleta Ionescu via Shutterstock / MursMan and lala lali's Images via Canva

Tipping culture in the United States has come under scrutiny in recent years. Many argue that tipping is beyond outdated and simply a way for corporations to keep payroll costs low.

One mother, a bartender, decided to weigh in on the conversation by showing the harsh reality of her paycheck to plead with people to tip their servers. 

After putting in 70 hours of work, the bartender received a $9 paycheck. 

A bartender and mother-of-one named Bronté posted a TikTok under the username @f.aa.ded. as a plea to remind people to tip their servers.


“This is why you should always tip your bartenders, servers [and] anyone who waits on you or provides a service for you,” she explained, showing her check up close and personal. 



RELATED: Former Server Says She Refuses To Tip At The Starbucks Drive-Thru When 'All You're Doing Is Taking A Cup & Handing It To Someone'


Bronté's paycheck shows her hours over the course of two weeks, totaling around 70.80 hours put into work. But she then shows us the alarming rate she’s paid, a mere $2.13 an hour. 

“I should’ve made $150.81,” she added. “But because I have to have social security, medicare, and the income tax taken out, I was paid $9.28.”

Bronté reiterated that “of course” she got tips but explained that this was how much she was paid by her job, hoping to highlight the importance of tipping servers. 

The server's meager paycheck is a reminder that without tips, workers in the restaurant industry don't make anything close to a livable wage.

In the U.S., tips are considered optional. However, experts recommend tipping a minimum of 20% of the check total in industries reliant on tips, and more if the service is good.


However, with 3 out of 4 of Americans believing tipping has gotten out of control, according to a 2024 WalletHub survey. This is in large part due to the increase in tip prompting from services that people may not have thought to tip before, such as takeout and drive-through orders, which experts attribute in large part to pandemic-era mandates that forced restaurants to close to sit-down patrons.

“What we’re seeing now nationwide is something that is known as ‘tipflation’," etiquette expert Thomas Farley told CNBC, meaning that "at every opportunity we’re being presented with a tablet that’s asking us how much we’d like to tip," including in industries where employees are already making a normal federal minimum wage.

RELATED: Mom Writes Note To Server After Leaving No Tip Because 'Christmas Is Coming' & Her 3 Kids Need Gifts

In response, some have started opting to not tip at all.


“Tips are optional, always. Have been and always will be. The whole ‘if you can’t tip, don’t eat out’ thing is pointless; we pay our bill, that’s it,” one person wrote in the comments of Bronté's TikTok video. 

“This is why the US should be like EVERY other developed nation and not have a tip culture,” another added. “Businesses should pay your wages. Tips shouldn't be a thing.”

Despite only earning a $9 paycheck, Bronté said she doesn't plan to find a different job any time soon.

“I like my job,” she explained. “Bartending, serving is fun. However, I don’t agree with the state laws that allow restaurants to pay under minimum wage and expect the customer to pay our wages.”



Until that happens, despite tipping being optional, experts suggest taking Bronté's story into account when it comes time to pay your restaurant bill. Even if you can't tip the suggested 20%, “You can always decide to tip a little more or less based on your financial situation and your appreciation for the service provided,” Vincent Birardi, a CFP and wealth advisor, told CNBC Select. “The thought still counts the most.”


RELATED: Server Laughs At 'Difficult' Customer Who Tried To Not Tip — 'I Got $170 Out Of Her'

Victoria Soliz is a YourTango writer who covers pop culture trends, film and TV and celebrity news.