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Cashier/server Tracy Mackenzie sprays disinfectant on the side door of downtown Baton Rouge restaurant Christina's, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, on the first day that novel coronavirus precautions prevented bars and restaurants from doing their normal, sit-down business.

If you're looking for ways to help out wait staff while the coronavirus crisis has shuttered your favorite restaurant, a few consultants from a local management consulting firm have created a way to send them virtual tips.

Coworkers at Emergent Method set up the website tipitforward.co last Friday as an easy way for customers to connect with wait staff workers. Keep in mind that there is no "m" at the end of the website's name and no money changes hands there.

Instead, wait staffers sign up on tipitforward.co, providing their establishments' names, along with usernames for preferred online payment methods such as Venmo and Paypal. 

Since takeout makes it difficult for consistent tipping, customers can go to the website, search for a favorite restaurant, then tip staffer by going to the online payment site.

"You use the wait staff's username at the payment website," said John Snow, a partner in Emergent Method. "Everything is done between the customer and the staff member. "We just provide the information in a simple format."

Snow said he and colleagues Julie Laperouse and Therese Walker developed the idea after spotting a similar website in Indiana.

"We've been watching what's been going on, and we were trying to think of ways we could help the service industry in this area," Snow said. "We saw a model for this website, and we thought there would be no reason that it couldn't work here."

Snow used Google Tools to create a spreadsheet format, making the website as easy and accessible as possible for wait staff to sign on. The website when live Friday, and 350 restaurant and bar staff have already posted their information.

"We all have connections to the service industry," Snow said. "I used to own two food trucks, and I have ties to area bars and restaurants. We just wanted an easy way for folks to go in and support people in the industry."


Email Robin Miller at romiller@theadvocate.com