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Service Industry Tips - Whats Standard Procedure?

resteraunts food service folsom sushi tips

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#1 awood

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 11:06 AM

With the exception of a few months of fast food service in HS, I have zero experience or knowldege as to service industry standards, managment or procedures.  My biased view is that paying less than minimum wage is criminal, but it has been a standard that was set long before my time that continues today.  So waiters, waitresses, hairdressers, barbers, bartenders, etc. all are allowed to be pd. an hrly wage that is far less than minimum with the understanding that it is augmented by the tips they recieve for their service.  (Not really critical to the question, but I tip >20% for good service and a minimum of 15% believeing that it is necessary to even make it fair to the people working for less than minimum wage to begin with.

 

My question is, "How do tips get distributed?"

Again, in full admission of my ignorance, I thought that it I left a $20 tip for a waitress, she got $20.  In some cases, I thought they collected them in a "pot" and split them evenly or based on some percentage among the workers to make sure the bus boys, hostesses, etc. were all included.  Never in my wildest dreams had I thought that only a small %age gone to the employees and a much larger %age went to the manager!?!  I would have assumed the manager was a salaried employee?

I have recently became "aware" of the procedures for tip distribution at a local resteraunt that I frequent and quite honestly it makes me sick!  But before I go overboard in my assessment, I figured it was better to ask people that work in the service industry about their experiences before I cast judgement.  What I think is flat out theivery, may very well be commonplace?  In this case, a $20 tip is distributed as follows; 0-25% to the server, ($2/hr to the hostess + $2/hr bus = these are max values regradless of the actual $$ of tips within a given night or hour) and the balance to the manager!?!  So if I was the ONLY patron in a resteraunt for an hour and left a $20 tip, and the server was "experienced enough" to max out at 25%, the distribution of that $20 would be:

$2.50 = server

$2.00 max = hostess

$2.00 max = bus

$13.50 min = manager

 

Is this typical?  My initial reaction when I heard this was to never go back!  Then it was to go back and ask for a manager and have them explain the distribution of the tip to me!  Then insist that the manager be my waiter for the rest of the night as they are recieving the bulk of the tip!  Ignorance is bliss and I may have just been stumbling through life ignorant?  Can others shed some light on their experiences and procedures?  If this is the exception, I have no problem exposing the name of the resteraunt!



#2 cw68

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 11:14 AM

I don't know if tip sharing like that is legal in California. I read this article earlier today http://m.sfgate.com/...ly-5093045.php, in which is stated:
"California law does not allow restaurants to share tips. It's up to the people who receive the tip - the servers - to distribute it among the cooks, dishwashers and the rest of the staff. That creates a situation where servers can make two to three times as much as their kitchen cohorts, despite similar base salaries."

Curious, how did you find out about this tip distribution practice?

#3 awood

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 11:48 AM

I don't know if tip sharing like that is legal in California. I read this article earlier today http://m.sfgate.com/...ly-5093045.php, in which is stated:
"California law does not allow restaurants to share tips. It's up to the people who receive the tip - the servers - to distribute it among the cooks, dishwashers and the rest of the staff. That creates a situation where servers can make two to three times as much as their kitchen cohorts, despite similar base salaries."

Curious, how did you find out about this tip distribution practice?

My son is in college now and is currently on break.  He was spending time with friends over break, one of which works at said establishment.  We had gone there on Christmas eve for dinner and saw them working that night.  I said that it was a shame that they had to be scheduled to work Christmas eve, but hoped that they were compensated well by patrons (like ourselves) for doing so.  (It just seems natural to me to tip > on a night when most would rather be spending time with family, I appreciate the sacrifice and compensate accordingly)

The response was, "I know we took in a lot of tips that night, but WE don't get any more"....and hence the discussion took of from there.  I reacted in shock at what I was hearing as I couldn't imagine such a thing.  But we are talking mostly about kids who's are students, living with mom & dad, with little economic sense, in need of flexible schedules for school, etc.  I don't believe that any are "highly qualified" to do anything more, but that doesn't mean that they should be taken advantage of!  This person described that many of the waiters were paid 0% as they hadn't passed the "test" or served their "probationary period".  Others that had been their more than a few months and "achieved" their >25% tip distribution were mistreated to the point that they would quit?  I have noticed a high turnover over the time that we have gone there but assumed it was normal as these are typically kids going to school and moving on.  The stories I heard were more related to a preference for "probationary" employees that left a bigger chunk of tip money in the pot for the managers at the end of day.

A little reading  here http://www.dir.ca.go...dgratuities.htm has left me believeing that there is something "fishy" going on.



#4 cw68

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 11:59 AM

Very interesting. Seems like in CA, servers must be paid minimum wage, regardless of whether they are tipped or not. Additionally, the claim in the article I read goes directly against this from the link you posted, " The section has been interpreted to allow for involuntary tip pooling so long as the tip pooling policy is not used to compensate the owner(s), manager(s), or supervisor(s) of the business, even if these individuals should provide direct table service to a patron or are in the chain of service to a patron." But, it definitely indicates that that manager should not be getting any portion of tips.

I would be very interested in finding out the name of the establishment as I will be going out for dinner tonight with relatives in from out of town. I can understand the hesitation on posting it, so if you would PM me, I would appreciate it. I would like to avoid this restaurant until their behavior has been determined to be legal (or not).

#5 camay2327

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 02:15 PM

Is this happening, or possibly happening at a restaurant in Folsom?


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#6 mac_convert

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 10:14 PM

I would also like to know the name of the establishment because I don't want to spend my money there either. What a shame that the hardest working are taken advantage of in this kind of business. I was at an "out of town" Denny's and the busboy was so diligent at his job and my parents said is is always a hard worker like that. I would expect the tip I leave to be disbursed to those who helped in my dining experience, but certainly not the manager!



#7 Deb aka Resume Lady

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 10:20 PM

From the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement -- http://www.dir.ca.go...dgratuities.htm

 

7. Q. My employer deducts my tips from my paycheck. Is this legal?

 

A. No. Your employer can neither take your tips (or any part of them), nor deduct money from your wages because of the tips you earn. Furthermore, your employer cannot credit your tips against the money the employer owes you. Labor Code Section 351


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#8 cw68

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 10:55 PM

From the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement -- http://www.dir.ca.go...dgratuities.htm
 
7. Q. My employer deducts my tips from my paycheck. Is this legal?
 
A. No. Your employer can neither take your tips (or any part of them), nor deduct money from your wages because of the tips you earn. Furthermore, your employer cannot credit your tips against the money the employer owes you. Labor Code Section 351



And it stated specifically that pooled tips cannot go to a supervisor, manager or owner.

#9 Deb aka Resume Lady

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 11:17 PM

And it stated specifically that pooled tips cannot go to a supervisor, manager or owner.

 

 

4. Q. I work in a large restaurant as a waiter. My employer told me that I am required to share my tips with the busboy and the bartender. Am I obligated to do this?

   

 

A.  Yes. Labor Code Section 351 provides that “every gratuity is hereby declared to be the sole property of the employee or employees to whom it was paid, given, or left for”. The section has been interpreted to allow for involuntary tip pooling so long as the tip pooling policy is not used to compensate the owner(s), manager(s), or supervisor(s) of the business, even if these individuals should provide direct table service to a patron or are in the chain of service to a patron. In addition, the policy must be fair and reasonable. Therefore, your employer can require that you share your tips with other staff that provide service in the restaurant so long as the employees that share in the tip pooling policy are employees to whom the tip was paid, given, or left for. In this regard, the courts have validated policies that distributed tips among employees who provide “direct table service” or who are in the “chain of service” provided that employee in the chain of service bears a relationship to the customers’ overall experience. (updated March 2013).


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#10 ducky

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 07:34 AM

And it stated specifically that pooled tips cannot go to a supervisor, manager or owner.

The exception is Starbucks where the tips go into boxes on the counter and aren't given directly to one server.  Those are shared with the shift supervisor, not managers though, because they do share in the chain of service. 

 

I would be extremely disappointed to find out the tip I gave for good service didn't go to the servers and wait staff.







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