Server Emily Michael, like many restaurant and bar staffers across the Tri-State, had her job put on hold as Ohio closed dining room doors last week to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“We tried to stay open for the first half of the week just to figure out what we could do,” said Michael, who works at 1215 Wine Bar and Coffee Lab on Vine Street. “I mean obviously we were a bar, so most of our day to day was regulars that sit on their laptops all day and drink coffee and wine in the afternoons.”

When the restaurant closed its doors last week, Michael said some of her customers reached out to find any way they could help.

“It’s a big part of my life taking care of these people, the majority of whom I see everyday,” she said. “I know their names, I know their coffee orders.”

It’s servers like Michael that inspired Unstoppable Software owner Sam Schutte to create a virtual tip jar to support waitstaff currently out of work. Schutte, whose business is based in Blue Ash, said he’s eaten out a lot as he’s working from home.

“You figure I’m leaving anywhere from 30 to 40 to 50 dollars a week in tips probably, between family dinners a couple nights a week,” he said. “And of course, that has all evaporated.”

That’s why Schutte set up the online tip jar. It’s easy to use — simply log on here and select your city.

From there, you can select a favorite local server, barista or bartender and send them tips via PayPal or Venmo.

“We have over a thousand people in Cincinnati signed up right now,” Schutte said “We also launched Columbus, Orlando and the one for the San Francisco Bay Area.”

Schutte said he hopes these small acts of kindness will add up in a big way.

“All of them provide such great service and take care of us when we need service, so I think it’s great to see people reaching out and helping,” he said.

Schutte recommends users do some research on the person they select to send money to, like checking the Venmo profile picture or calling restaurants to verify employment status.

For more information, visit the Blue Ash-based company’s website at www.unstoppablesoftware.com/covidtipjars/.





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