A Black, Female Service Industry Worker Chimes In.

“Tiff”, a service industry worker for the past 10 years, sent in an article about her experiences on both sides of the check. She’s noticed some good, and some not so good, habits of customers and employees. What I found most interesting were her experiences as a customer……a black, female customer who knows all about the service industry. Read on to find out what she had to say.

I want to start off by saying I’m an African American female & I’ve been in the service industry both part time & full time for the last 10 years. I bartended & served full time while in college & I still do it on the weekend to supplement my corporate income.

In my experience the majority of the African American patrons either do not tip or tip poorly. Some of them don’t understand tipping procedure, some don’t believe in it, some blame things that are out of your control on you & won’t tip (backed up kitchen, high drink prices etc), some of them won’t because you didn’t ‘give them the hook up,’ some of them can’t afford it & others just plain don’t like me (mainly females).
On the other hand there are some that tip me very well for various reasons. Just this past Saturday I had an African American customer tip me $8 on a $12 round of drinks. All I did was hand him 3 beers. I also had a customer that used to tip me $20 every round he got for him & his buddies. Keep in mind they were ordering the same three double shot drinks every time & every round was only $48.

I’ve noticed that when I go out as a customer & my server/bartender is Caucasian I either get overly attentive service or the server/bartender gives me slightly sub-standard service. In some cases the server or bartender has given me horrible service or even outright ignored me, but this has happened with African American servers & bartenders as well. In those cases I still tip (15%) because there are times that I’ve just been having a bad day when I was working & didn’t give the best service I’m capable of. When I get good to excellent service I tend to over tip (25-30%), partly because I’m in the service industry & its good karma but also because I like to prove the stereotype wrong as often as possible.

I live in a pretty segregated city, & for a good chunk of my service industry years I’ve worked in establishments where the majority of the clientele were Caucasian. I’ve noticed that the majority of these customers will tip me, but considerably less than what they will tip my Caucasian co-workers, when I give them the same if not better service than my co-workers will. I also get those Caucasian customers that feel the need to question my ability to make certain drinks.

I also have had to deal with being called; Brown Sugar, Cocoa, Foxy Brown & being told several times that I was very pretty ‘for a black girl’ I even overheard a much older Caucasian man tell his friend that I was a ‘pretty colored girl’ I give them the same if not better service than my co-workers. .

So people it’s a double edge sword. I’ve bartended & served for all types of races & they all have their issues. When you state the facts of your experience without insults it’s not racism it’s realism. I’ve read several posts on here where people feel the need to insult as a way to drive their points home when it just makes me disregard any point you may have made as ignorance.


  1. Shauna V

    I have had tables flat out not tip me. They have always always been black. But, the flip side is, the biggest tip I ever got was from 2 black females who were being ignored by the black female bartender and I stepped up and took over their table without being asked. They wrote a lovely letter to the manager and tipped me very, very well.

  2. working for tips sux unless u work in bolder, colorodo

    id like to go back to her statement that black people dont tip, or tip poorly. i want to remind u all its 2012. if service is so bad to blacks EVERYWHERE, then where are the 200 jesse jacksons waiting to jump on this. simple answer here, they try…but there are these things called cameras that show how blacks act. plus most blacks flaunt that they are loud, rude, and unmanageable. i see it everyday. as other patrons and cameras. NO FREE STUFF FOR IGNORANCE AND STUPIDITY. AND NO HOOK-UPS….REALLY…I DONT KNOW U

    • working for tips sux unless u work in bolder, colorodo

      VERITAS, i have plenty of logical backing. all i had to do is take notes. thats wat they call a study. 3 months, 3 races, 1 loser..blacks..they tip %207 less than white or asians. dont believe it. then chart ur own study

  3. A. Veritas

    Very good post!
    Always good to hear a black person’s perspective as it may help to promote objectivity in people who automatically cry racism without any logical backing.

  4. theblonde

    love this!
    I find myself stereotyping at times when sat with certain people (not just African-Americans), but try to give the best service possible at all times. Sometimes I’m surprised, and even when they “prove my point,” at least I know it wasn’t my fault.
    I’m very glad to see the other side of one of the most permeating stereotypes in the service industry – thanks!

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