ALPINE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The local restaurant owner behind the social media phenomenon “Tip Back Thursday” got a surprise tip of her own this week.
Chef Jenna Arcidiacono of Amore Trattoria Italiana came up with the idea last month, posting her Venmo account to social media, collecting donations to give to local restaurant workers.
“It’s the generosity of others really, it’s not me doing it,” Arcidiacono said. “I’m asking people to send me money, I get it from the bank, but they’re the ones sending it.”
Just three weeks into Tip Back Thursday, they’ve already given to several restaurants across Grand Rapids.
“We’ve now given $12,000 to restaurants,” Arcidiacono’s friend Jen Mitchell said.
Each restaurant has been getting a tip of a thousand dollars in cash.
“Whether its five dollars … or a thousand dollars, we’ve had some really big people donate and we’ve got some people say, ‘Right now, all I can give is $10 and we just so love and appreciate it,” Mitchell said.
When it comes to selecting the restaurants to tip, Arcidiacono picks spots that she feels needs or deserves it most.
One of this week’s recipients was New Great Wall Buffet. Arcidiacono chose them after hearing someone had dined and dashed there the day before.
“I love the moment when it like clicks,” Arcidiacono said about the reactions from the restaurant owners and staff.
After a Thursday afternoon of tipping, Arcidiacono’s friends decided it was her turn to be surprised.
“We had this idea that we’d love to spoil her for once because who spoils the person that’s constantly spoiling everybody else?” Mitchell said.
Without her knowing, the group spent the week collecting additional donations for Arcidiacono and her Amore staff.
A surprised Arcidiacono was working at her restaurant Thursday evening when friends knocked on the backdoor, surprising her with a whopping tip of $6,200.
Overcome with emotion, Arcidiacono was most excited about passing out the money to her staff.
“This is going to make a huge difference to these guys,” she said.
Arcidiacono asks that anyone wanting to donate to the Tip Back Thursday fund, send money directly to her Venmo account @Jenna-Arcidianco. Follow her on Facebook for more information and the latest updates.