Florida

“Tip-Off Challenge” Brings Great Tips to Florida Restaurant Servers

Juno Beach (AP)

On a random Thursday night, the restaurant server Kimberly Philion was amazed at her life. Inspired by the national chip-off challenge that began among Cincinnati’s rival college basketball fans, the total chips totaled $ 2,800.

Philion, four single mothers who have worked at Juno Beach’s Carbies Sports Grill for the past six years, heard about the Crosstown Chip Off Challenge, which has been a fan of Cincinnati and Xavier University since Xavier Masket’s fans. There was never. In January, I left a $ 1,000 tip at a local burger shop. Last week, UC Bearcats fans in Wyoming, Ohio left a $ 7,000 chip on a $ 65 check at a local Italian cafe.

Juno Beach’s server learned about this challenge from a customer on Thursday night, February 18th. Firion was fascinated not only because the server was struggling, but also because he had a personal connection with Ohio as a graduate of Ohio State University. She said it when handing it over to the customer.

“And he leaves a $ 1,300 chip on the $ 30 tab,” says 45-year-old Filion, who is also Kirby’s bar manager.

The exact check amount was $ 29.71, but the server’s eyes were on the handwritten total of $ 1,329.71, with a note below it stating “Go XU !!”.

The customer left another note: “Five Kelly Boys love car beads in Juno Beach, Florida! They cook your catch! Let’s go to XU Nation! Bring this to national level will do!”

Firion says he chased the customer when he saw the tip, but he’s gone.

Sitting on the floor, she told one of her patrons about the incident later that night. The man had no particular loyalty to Xavier or UC, but he is a big fan of Kirby’s bars. When Firion reviewed his check, she was shocked by her second night: a $ 1,500 tip on a $ 78 tab.

“He wrote something like’I want to be a king’,” she says.

Help others

Firion shared her news with a colleague. Then she shared her tips with them.

“I tried to spread wealth as much as I could,” she says. “There is a single mother employee here. There is one employee who has just given birth.”

She knows that during the pandemic, their daily challenges have become more demanding. She knows this because it was also her struggle.

By the time her first high-tip customer was seated at Kirby’s bar that Thursday, Philion was running a daily marathon in her life. She cooked breakfast for school-aged children, packed lunch, cheered up various schools, and all slept less than five hours.

As she does most days, the four single mothers ran through it all before heading for her shift. And it can run until 1:30 am.

Her boss, Sean Kirby, describes her as a “great” employee and a “hard-working worker.” And Firion says she loves her job.

“We have the most amazing and loyal customers we have ever had. They will be very valuable,” says Firion.

But salary doesn’t always love her back. She earns less than $ 5.40 per hour and relies on tips for raising take-away wages to at least the minimum wage level.

On the night of February 18, a friendly customer at the bar asked her what the business was like. Firion told him that the times were tough for the industry. She is not the one who talks about her worries to customers. In fact, she sometimes calls herself a “therapist.” This is a compassionate ear ready to hear the customer. But that night, when the customer asked about the situation, she diverged a little herself.

“Everyone hurts. To be honest, I’m exhausted. I put orange juice in my child’s cereal,” she recalls telling her customer.

Kirby’s is a popular neighborhood pub famous locally for its thick Maryland-style crab cake. The cozy place has been around for 17 years, but like many restaurants across the country, Kirby has lost a significant amount of its eaters. Pub owners say the influx of newcomers moving from the north to the area hasn’t led to more customers.

“They’ll be coming to Florida. You’ll see traffic, but they’re stuck,” Kirby says. “This should be the busiest time of the year.”

He says the pub is enhancing takeaway services and will be refurbished to create an open-side dining area.

However, even if you pack your meals for takeaway customers, servers like Filion often don’t show anything in their takeaway salary.

“When you get an order, you’ll be surprised at how many people don’t leave $ 1 instead of $ 1. People are sometimes ignorant. That’s the reality. I’ll make up for it twice. I’m working. I have to-I have four kids, “says Philion, who coaches her seven-year-old daughter’s soccer team on her holidays.

She provides an example of a recent takeaway order totaling $ 178.

“Customers say,’Can you help me put it in the trunk?’ Of course, no problem, and they just drive away and leave nothing behind,” said Palm Beach County 13 years ago. Philion from Long Island, who moved to, says.

She started working as a server after her marriage broke down. In addition to her daily mother’s duty shuffle, she was still breastfeeding her youngest child when she got a job. “But you do what you have to do,” she says.

Again, you might expect the daughter of the late Hall of Fame harness driver Elve Philion to understand one or two things about dealing with unpredictable changes in the pace of horses in life. ..

The way she deals with them is to take ownership, she says. For her, working in a pub isn’t just about completing her shift, says Firion.

“This is your local family run bar, my home away from home. The people here are like my family. Some of my customers ask me if I live here Ask them. I tell them I’m sleeping on the pool table, “she says. “People say,’Hey, are you the owner?’ I think it’s because you treat it like your own place.”

“Tip-Off Challenge” Brings Great Tips to Florida Restaurant Servers

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