Leaving a tip at a restaurant is an American custom, but it’s a custom that sheds light on a larger issue.
The practice of tipping is shining a light on issues like economic, racial, and gender inequality. There are 43 states that have in place a minimum wage just for tipped employees, in some cases as little as $2.13 an hour.
Roughly three-quarters of tipped workers in the restaurant industry are women and almost half are people of color.
In one University of California study, 83% of restaurant workers reported that their tips have declined.
At a time when so many restaurants have closed and unemployment in the restaurant industry is at an all-time high, until there’s a dramatic increase in the national minimum wage, the tip you leave has assumed even more importance.