There is no question, things are going to be different for the time being with COVID-19  affecting how we eat out and spend time at restaurants.  Have you thought about leaving a big tip?

I've been talking about this with a few friends and some who work (or sadly, worked) in the restaurant industry.  While we are all facing some degree of uncertainty with the Coronavirus impact to businesses and the economy, many in the foodservice side of things have already felt the effects.

Many restaurants have had to cut hours or reduce staff.  For some friends of mine in other states, they have been completely furloughed or let go.  Even in the best situation where jobs have not been impacted, those who rely on tips are definitely feeling the reality of smaller crowds and fewer customers to serve.

Talking with one of my friends who has served as the same restaurant for the last few years, he mentioned that his owners had warned the staff that they anticipate having to close down.  Their best guess was for at least a few weeks to a month, though they admitted it's hard to really know.  He's concerned because tips drive his income (far more than the small base salary) and the uncertainty of schedule and how long recovery may take makes it difficult to know what to plan for.

One of the most impactful things he had experienced lately was when people opted to give a generous tip - knowing he may be out of work for some time.

His example inspired me to do something similar.  I grabbed dinner out last night and my bill for the meal was $21.00.  My typical tip would be $4.00 - $4.25, but this time, I went big and left a $20.00 tip.

It's not something I can do more than once - in truth, at this moment, it stretched me a little bit, but I've been selling some things on Facebook Marketplace with my move and took some of the proceeds to do something I could do for my server.

My waiter-friend said if everyone could do a "one time bigger tip" it would make a huge difference.  He doesn't expect it, but told me how much it make things easier.

I have to admit, it felt really good to do it.  So even though it was a stretch, it was a good stretch to make.