TikTok Is Furious About This Low Applebee's Tip

When you go out to dinner at a restaurant, it's always good practice to leave a tip for the server. Whether you generally tip 10%, 15%, 18%, or even 20% or more, the gratuity is often considered an extra thank you for their service. The debate about how much is appropriate to tip is ongoing; however, according to Ryan Sutton, chief critic for Eater, you should always tip 20% before tax as a bare minimum. 

But, Sutton's mandatory 20% tip was challenged in a recent TikTok video posted by user @kingj24, which shows a check from an Applebee's in Staten Island, New York for $73.45 with a $6.55 tip added, for a total of $80. A note is written on the bill reading, "You was [sic] great, holidays are just rough right now," with a sad face and an arrow pointing to the tip. The video is accompanied by music that repeats the phrase 'oh no'; however, not all TikTokers in the comments seemed to think this was in fact an 'oh no' moment, and the video actually sparked quite a bit of debate about tipping requirements and about restaurant worker compensation in general.

Should tipping be required at restaurants? TikTok is divided

Some TikTokers responded to the video that showed a server's low tip with sympathy for the employee and outrage for the Applebee's customer. "You can afford $73 and some change to feed yourself but not enough to tip? Don't eat out if you can't afford the service," one user commented. Another wrote, "If money is tight, don't eat out. [The] server needs the tip money to support her family most likely too." 

Despite some commenters backing up the server, others thought it was inappropriate to have posted the video in the first place. "Tips are not [requirements]. Be grateful or get out the business," wrote one person. Still, other users put the blame not on the customer, but on restaurants that pay workers low wages, requiring them to make up the rest in gratuity. "Tip [shaming] is so low. Why not call out the establishment that doesn't pay y'all guys instead of calling out [a] family that just wanted a night out," commented one user while another wrote, "If restaurants paid a decent wage it wouldn't be the responsibility of the customer to solely compensate with tips. Once again corporate America wins."

Eater weighed in, not on this particular incident, but on the gratuity debate in general, and took a strong stance. "It should be common knowledge that, when dining out in America, you tip your server. Sure, tipping is inherently exploitative, but as long as tipped minimum wages exist, you don't get to opt out."