My wife and I go out to dinner frequently and have a couple of favorite places and have gotten to know some of the wait staff in some of our hangouts pretty well. We consider ourselves to be good tippers, always tipping at least 20% and in most cases, a little higher if the service was good, but never less than 20%. It astonishes me how little servers make, in terms of hourly wage excluding tips. The minimum wage in Indiana is $7.25 per hour, but for whatever reason, the minimum restaurant server hourly rate is about $2.13 per hour.....REALLY??? Through our very unscientific research, servers that we know make somewhere between $2.13 and $2.60 per hour.

While I realize that once you factor in tips, servers wind up making an average of about $8.97 per hour in Indiana, at least according to 2009 numbers, the problem is, tips are NOT guaranteed and the percentage people tip could and usually does vary quite a bit.

It used to be that a tip was a reward for a job well done and was something between the server and the customer...whatever happened to that? While I do believe tips should be earned, most servers should have a reasonable expectation of receiving a reasonable tip at the conclusion of the meal unless they are the worst server ever. Why should the restaurant be involved in the tip process at all? If, at the end of the night, a server has been stiffed once or twice and the total amount of tip money averages around 8-10%, how are these hard working people making any money?

The average annual salary for a server in Indiana is around $18,860 as of 2009. That amount was slightly higher for non-restaurant servers. If a server's wage at the end of a shift is less than $7.25 per hour with tips and hourly rate, the employer is suppoed to make up the they?

Going back to what a tip should be, something between the customer and server, why are servers not paid a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour before tips? I really don't know... which is why I am asking because it seems on the surface to be totally unfair. How did they ever get to a figure of $2.13 per hour before tips. Again, tips are not guaranteed and a lot of people are very stingy when it comes to giving a proper tip.

I am certainly not an expert in this field, but as a frequent customer in restaurants, the job of server is not an easy one and appears to be one of the most thankless jobs you could have. They run their butts off only to listen to us complain about things the server has no control over for the most part. Everyone has an opinion on this issue, but my experience is that most servers do a terrific job and sometimes have very little to show for the effort which I guess could be true for a lot people in this country, even outside of the service industry...I'm just asking.