There are people who care deeply about whether or not everything on their plates has been grown within a hundred miles. But do they care about the person who's serving? —Gloria Steinem
The overall idea is that your tip money will make up the $5.12/hr you need to meet the federal minimum wage ($7.25/hr), but that greatly depends on where you live and the overall kindness of others. According to this survey, servers are two times more likely to use food stamps, which is particularly insulting since they work around food all day. Two-thirds of tipped workers are women, contributing to a very gendered view of poverty, and tipped workers only earn enough to meet the federal minimum wage in 7 states. And that's the bright side, assuming your customers don't use racism or homophobia to avoid tipping you anything at all.
The most sobering statistic of all? The last time minimum wage was raised for restaurant workers (1991), Paula Abdul had a hit single. For the love of MC Skat Kat, join the fight for 15 dollars an hour.