GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB)– “Gainesville’s backbone, especially the downtown area, is restaurants and nightclubs,” said Drew Love, a server in Gainesville.”
But things have changed.
“I always saw this industry as bulletproof because you always want to go out and eat you always want to go out to a bar and have fun and to not have that there anymore it’s something none of us were prepared for,” he said.
Because what can you do when the dining rooms are closed and there just isn’t anyone to serve?
Adriana Marcano is a server in Gainesville as well.
“I was working pretty much almost every day working up to this point because I was trying to save up some money for a couple of events I had coming up and I mean I was working a lot,” she said.
Working hard for a lot of tips she’s glad she saved up.
“I claim 100% of my tips so it always balances out where my paychecks working maybe a full two weeks will come out to less than $100 if I’m lucky and that’s a good check,” she said. “Sometimes it’s $21, $41, and that’s just OK, some gas money.”
The server minimum wage in Florida is $5.41.
So without tips, how are servers going to get by?
“Day by day is how I’m taking it, you know, I wake up and I’m not sick and I feel good and I have food and I have a house and you know I’m OK and I’m OK that day so the next day the same thing I’m OK that day until this is over,” she said.
But one server in Gainesville came up with an idea, a virtual tip jar.
“There’s a lot of love coming out of this, I’m getting a lot of messages from people that I’ve never met in my life just thanking me,” Love said.
Drew Love worked with a few of his friends to put together a website where Gainesville servers can sign up and anyone can find their Venmo, Cashapp or PayPal and leave them a little something to help them get by.
“Anybody that works in a restaurant especially if it’s a place that you love you’ll hear them refer to people in the restaurant as their family and it’s really broadening that to the service industry in all of Gainesville coming together as a family,” Drew said.
If you are a server or you’d like to give, you can give on Gainesville Tips’ website.