If you tip your server twenty percent, all of that tip money goes to the server, right?  Not if this Denver restaurant trend invades Boise.

Things I learned last week on vacation:

1.  If your week-long road trip means you'll be spending endless hours in the car, give the kids a screen and you will never hear "Are we there yet."  Sometimes screens are handy and necessary.

2. Pent-up demand is for real!  Post-COVID crowds are huge at tourist destinations and ain't nobody holdin' back.

3.  And, sometimes restaurant servers share their tips with the entire staff.  This one was unexpected.

Jen Austin - Townsquare Media
Jen Austin - Townsquare Media

One of the stops on our road trip last week was Denver, and we stayed downtown, shopped via street vendors, and went to a Rockies-Dodgers game.  I had never been to Denver before and I loved that it was vibrant, walkable, eclectic, and diverse. What a fun city!  Maybe you have spinning chairs in your neighborhood, but I haven't seen any.  If some Denver trends become widespread in Boise I wouldn't be sad about it.  But I'm not too sure about tip-sharing.

Jen Austin - Townsquare Media
Jen Austin - Townsquare Media

I had some great salmon at the Appaloosa Grill on 16th Street in Downtown Denver while my girls polished off bison filets, and the experience overall was fantastic.  It's a live music venue-slash-restaurant with a great atmosphere and we discovered more than just great food there.

A tip covers not just one server, but the whole staff at Appaloosa Grill.  As a customer, it seems like a given that the full amount of my tip goes to the server that responds so well to my needs for frequent water refills (and sometimes vodka), and requests for dressing on the side.  But at this restaurant in Denver, the server was quick to let us know the tip would be shared with kitchen staff, the host, and all of the other servers.  In other words, the entire staff is always in on the pot.

I'm mixed on the trend because I want to give credit to my server, but I also realize the whole team works hard to make a great restaurant experience happen.  I mean, the server is the one who asks if we want anything from the bar and sometimes we say no, and then three minutes later we change our minds and send her back on a second trip to bring the vodka-diet with a twist of lime.  She deserves a good tip for getting worn out with requests and having to list over and over what dressing and veggie options they have. But hosts and kitchen staff are part of the team, and they're deserving too.  I'm torn.

If the restaurant tip-sharing trend catches on in Boise, let us know.   We love hearing about your experiences.

And you know what?  If there are hiring shortages affecting our favorite restaurants, this tip-sharing idea might be a good way to boost pay and get these spots back to full staff in a hurry.  There would be a built-in bonus in it for everyone.

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