In D.C., a virtual tip jar is helping wait staff in need
“It’s been really stressful not knowing when I’m going to be able to work again.”
It’s a feeling Mariah Rodriguez knows other restaurant employees share right now.
“This affects bartenders and servers across the country,” She said.
Rodriguez is a full-time bartender and grad student at the Red Derby in Washington D.C, which is closed indefinitely due to the coronavirus.
Her job is typically her only source of income. But the people across the country are stepping up to help her out.
It’s called a “Virtual Tip Jar," but it’s really just a spreadsheet. D.C-based bartenders and waiters can add their Venmo, CashApp or Paypal handle to the list, and anyone can send them a few extra bucks.
“It feels like a community, a really nice sense of community, to be supported by our regulars," Rodriguez said. "And people who don’t even know the Derby but just want to help.”
As this virtual tip jar makes its way around D.C through social media and word of mouth, Sean Kennedy from the National Restaurant Association says community response is key to supporting all restaurants right now.
“Buying a gift card, getting a takeout meal," Kennedy said. "Everything they can to help support restaurants so they can keep their doors open during this challenging period.”
Or even starting virtual tip jars across the country.
“It really just illustrates how restaurants are the cornerstone of every community.” Kennedy said.
More than 4,000 D.C. restaurant workers have already signed up for the virtual tip jar, but you don’t have to be from the nation's capital to show your support.
Rodriguez said she received a donation from someone in Texas who just wanted to help.
To donate to a D.C restaurant employee, see the full