Staff members at a popular Houston restaurant received a massive $9,400 tip from a pair of loyal customers hoping to do their part amid the coronavirus crisis.
The couple, who wish to remain anonymous, stopped by Irma’s Southwest restaurant Monday evening after hearing all dine-in service across the county would be closed until further notice beginning the following morning. After their meal, the generous tipsters signed their check with a note to "hold tip to pay your guys over the next few weeks."
"Our staff was truly amazed and in awe of the gesture," said Louis Galvin, owner of Irma’s Southwest. "It was so unexpected and I know it will be a big help for our employees."
The costumers left $1,900 in cash and an additional $7,500 on a credit card. The bill for their meal was $90.12.
Galvin said the $9,400 hull will be split evenly among his 30 employees which amounts to a roughly $300 pay day for each person.
"Our staff needed this to get them through another week," Galvin said.
It’s a welcome gesture from loyal customers at a time when restaurant staff members across the country are particularly vulnerable. According to the latest jobs report from business analytics firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.- over nine million hospitality workers' livelihood is at risk due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Restaurants like Irma’s Southwest have to make tough employment decisions as demand in their industry continues to plummet.
"All the money we’re bringing in goes to our staff members at the moment," Galvin said. "They’re our family and we want to keep our family above water as much as we can. But at the end of the day, there’s only so much we can do. We’re open for to-go orders only until further notice and we only get about 50 of those a day."
Galvin added those 50 orders only generate enough labor for about six employees.