Ever since inflation hit, restaurant workers have told stories of diners tip little or not at all. Daniel Westwood, a Las Vegas bartender who makes $12 an hour and relies on tips, said even previous recessions haven’t caused as many bad tips as he is experiencing now. It might seem mind-boggling to think that a restaurant would choose to eat out and not tip its server, but Westwood says it’s becoming the norm, and he cites inflation and indifference as two key factors. In a world where people can finally dine out again, some restaurant workers believe that diners value their personal restaurant experience over their server’s take-home pay.
A bad tipping during inflation is not a series of isolated incidents either. A recent survey showed that Americans tip even less than before COVID-19, for The hill. While there has certainly been a trend in the pandemic era of giving more money to restaurant workers in 2020 and even 2021, it seems 2022 has seen the end of that era of generosity.
While some restaurant patrons may be selfishly tipping less, other experts say phantom inflation is one reason gratuity “ghosts” are. The fictional inflation is the effect of supply chain issues and labor shortages on restaurants. These effects include catering issues such as dirty facilities, poor quality food, and missing ingredients. While it’s rarely the fault of understaffed restaurants, it’s possible for disappointed diners to vent their frustrations on their servers.