PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Yelp for Restaurants received nearly 18,000 votes for its first-ever awards that honor front-of-house restaurant staff, called The Servies.

A Portland woman was one of just eight servers across the country who were presented with an award.

Jennifer Rust, an employee at Laurelwood Public House & Brewery, won the “Best Vibe” Servie for her positive energy in her workplace. She won this award over the thousands of servers who were nominated by coworkers, customers, friends, etc. Then, a panel of judges chose the finalists before the public voted for the eight official winners.

“To create a great vibe, I like to give somebody a compliment: ‘That’s a nice color on you. That’s a beautiful bracelet. Great haircut,’” she told Yelp for Restaurants. “And then, we just go from there. It’s all smiles.”

Rust grew up in Lake Oswego and attended college in San Diego, where she studied woodworking and furniture design.

“I started working at restaurants when I was 19,” she said. “I got hooked on that tip money. That was a huge source of income for me so it was a great fit and it has stayed a great fit since then.”

According to Rust, her family has always been supportive of her. Nonetheless, her recent win gave them a better idea of her work’s impact.

“So when my family found out I won, they kind of realized that I’m really good at what I do and it’s not maybe a stepping stone to the next thing. It’s what I’m doing for a living,” she explained. “I think they finally know this is what I like to do and it keeps me happy.”

The inaugural Servies awards had seven more categories: Best Front-of-House Team, Best Bartender, Best Host, Best Hustle, Best Server, Best Team Player and Best Manager.

Each award winner receives their own engraved Servies Trophy, a $3,000 “tip” in the form of a gift card and a pair of slip-resistant work shoes. Yelp gave Rust an additional $3,000 to share among the rest of the staff at Laurelwood Public House & Brewery.

“About 50% of people are understanding and know what it takes to do what we do, but the other half do not have a clue. Having the Servies a great addition to recognize front-of-house work and how hard we work to keep people happy,” Rust said.