Author Archives: The Bitchy Waiter

About The Bitchy Waiter

I wait tables and bitch about it on my blog, The Bitchy Waiter.

News Personality Britt McHenry Is Total B*tch To Restaurant Worker

Once upon a time, there was beautiful princess who was the envy of all the land. The only thing more lovely than her her flowing blond hair and perfectly sculpted nose was her sparkling personality which made everyone who met her immediately love her. This princess was also very, very intelligent and all of her subjects trusted what she had to say whenever she spoke. This story isn’t about the princess though, it’s about a troll that lives under the bridge right past the moat of the princess’s castle. That troll is named Britt McHenry.

You may recall Britt from a few years ago when she was working at ESPN and then had a nasty, run-in with a tow truck company where she said such troll-like things as “I’m in the news sweetheart. I will fucking sue this place” and “Do you feel good about your job? So I could be a college dropout and do the same thing” and “I have a brain and you don’t” and “Lose some weigh baby girl.”

That winning performance got her suspended from ESPN and she was eventually fired from the network for being “white and paid too much.” (Yes, she actually said that.) Now she works for FOX Nation as a commentator, because when you’re a blond troll with warped ideas and sensibilities, it’s a requirement that all trolls eventually must leave the safety of their bridge and do some time at FOX News.

Anywho, you may be wondering why I have focused my attention on Britt who is not much more than a hemorrhoid on the ass of life, but I do have a reason. A little bird who lived in the castle of the beautiful princess told me that not only does Britt have great disdain for women who happen to work at tow truck companies, she has also come after some of us in the food service industry. That’s when I pull out my soap box, stand on it and say, “Nope!”

It seems that Britt McTroll has a beef with a woman named Jen Royle who was once a MLB reporter in Boston but gave up that career to follow her dream of cooking for a living. Jen appeared on Season 3 of “The Taste” on ABC and made it to the final round. She ended up working for Mario Batali and then started her own private cooking company. One thing led to another, and now Jen is about to open her own restaurant in Boston. It’s called Table and it’s set to open later this month. I checked out the menu and it sounds amazing, by the way.

The news of Jen opening a restaurant set Britt McTroll into action and she Tweeted to Jen several times, insulting her and her career of choice. Trolls will be trolls, right? Like this (now deleted) Tweet:

For people like her? What does that even mean? Oh, wait I know what it means. It means that Britt McTroll thinks she’s better than people who do anything for a living other than be on television. She said it to the tow truck employee and now she’s saying it to a restaurant owner.

And what about this (also now deleted) Tweet:

Wait, so now she’s insulting Jen because she’s a caterer and bragging about how much more money she makes than her? Yes, Troll, TV “news” personalities definitely make more than caterers, but that doesn’t mean that you’re better then them. It just means that you have scratched and clawed your way to the top at ESPN and then slid back down a few notches to work at FOX Nation streaming video. Calm your ass down.

And then she Tweeted this (and deleted it) about Jen’s new restaurant:

Yes, a restaurant that serves family style is still called a restaurant. The concept of Table is that people all sit together and break bread, getting to know one another over the course of a wonderful meal. It’s understandable why Britt McTroll may not like the idea of sitting with others because she’s used to eating tin cans and kale under her bridge all alone except for the occasional company of a billy goat named Sean who is the only one who can tolerate the sight of her trying to ascertain how much gluten is in a serving of her own fecal matter.

I realize that calling out a troll is basically troll behavior, but I’m okay with that. What I am not okay with is people attempting to demean someone that they see as beneath them. And if the person they are trying to demean is in the restaurant industry, I am even less okay with it. People like Britt McHenry need to understand that this world is full of all kinds of people and no one is better than someone else. This troll should take lesson from the Princess in the castle and understand that in order to be liked by all, you have to have humility, grace, wisdom and self-awareness. If you don’t have those things, you can spend the rest of your life underneath a bridge wondering why nobody but a billy got named Sean likes you.

Here’s Britt’s Twitter account. Tell her I said hello. I’ve always dreamed of having a Twitter feud. 

Who May Dip in the Tip Pool?

Every week, I get questions about the legality of tip pools. It can be a very confusing practice and I never wanted to give anyone misinformation. That’s why this blog post is written by a real life labor and employment lawyer who can answer all of our questions.  xo, BW


Whether you’re just getting your feet wet in the restaurant service industry or are fully immersed as a lead server, you know that it is from tips that the more quenchable waters flow. Particularly, if you’re a waiter whose employer utilizes the tip credit, tips are a server’s livelihood; for, after taxes and deductions, any remaining earnings at $2.13 an hour will be a parched paycheck, if that. 

Many restaurants implement a tip pool which requires servers to share their tips among certain co-workers. In the best light, this communal contribution engenders teamwork, productivity, and ultimately better service — which should foster better tips. Those hosts, bartenders, bussers and food runners upon whom servers rely to keep their tables quickly served, quickly cleaned, and even more quickly seated again all deserve a share in the generous reward from the customer. And if all participants play their parts well, a server typically has no qualms with paying these pipers.  Afterall, it is the total dining out experience, including the overall friendliness and efficiency of everybody’s service and contribution, as well as the comfort and cleanliness of the general environment, that prompts a customer’s willingness to tip generously, or not.

More than engendering teamwork and camaraderie in the restaurant workplace, sharing tips among employees is a legally defined practice, in large part governed by Federal Law known as the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The federal law is the minimum requirement – a state is free to enact laws that are more restrictive (i.e. more favorable to employees). The following are a few tips for servers to be on the lookout for and to avoid being a victim of illegal tip theft:

Employees paid a base wage of less than the FLSA’s mandated minimum wage

For servers who are paid less than minimum wage because their employers utilize the “tip credit” and rely upon a server’s tips to make up the difference between their base hourly wage and the FLSA’s tip pooling regulations are very rigid – requiring an employer to strictly adhere to the requirements or risk losing the tip credit.

It should be obvious, but owners and supervisory management are prohibited from participating in any tip pool. Even if an owner or manager intermittently perform the duties of a host or waiter or bartender, they may not partake in sharing in any tip pool. Additionally, back-of-house employees are not permitted to participate in the tip pool either, in keeping with the FLSA guidelines which state that only those employees who customarily and regularly receive tips are valid participants in a tip pool. Back-of-house employees include janitorial employees, dishwashers, cooks and all kitchen staff, as well as bussers and food runners in establishments where these positions are considered “back-of-house.”  Furthermore, back-of-house employees legally ought to be paid at least the mandated minimum wage, so not only would it be illegal to require an employee earning a base pay of less than minimum wage to share their tips with back-of-the-house, but it is patently unfair.

Employees who may legally participate in a tip pool include other waitstaff, bartenders, and hosts – along with bussers and food runners in establishments that deem these positions as “front-of-house.”

Employees paid at least a base wage of minimum wage

In March of 2018, Congress amended the FLSA to address the concerns of the public and several worker advocate groups. The text of the FLSA, which is now federal law, now provides that employers may not keep a tipped employees tips for themselves, even if the employer pays the employee more than minimum wage. The amendment goes further to state that not only may an employer not keep the tips for themselves, the employer cannot allow managers or supervisors to keep an employee’s tips. These amended provisions specifically state that the FLSA’s tip protection laws apply regardless of whether an employer pays more or less than minimum wage.

Other possible deductions taken from tips

The only other deduction that may be taken out of a server’s tips, whether the server is paid less than minimum wage or at least minimum wage before accounting for tips, is the credit card processing fee. An employer may deduct the actual percentage of the credit card processing fee – typically 1% to 3% of the total sale of the charge – and no more. An employer may not deduct an amount exceeding the actual cost for such fees. This is an area where employers may hide their skimming, by deducting more than the actual fee.

Here is another article that discusses illegal deductions, including deductions for walked-tabs or cash shortages (which is illegal)!

In summary, the following chart sets forth who may be a legitimate participant in a tip pool, and what additional deduction may be taken from a server’s tips:

Conclusion

I find that restaurants are some of the most common violators of the wage laws. The good news is there are strict federal laws protecting servers. If you are receiving tips as part of your pay and you have questions about your employer’s policies, you should reach out to an attorney to discuss. One word of caution, the law in your state may be different than what is discussed in this article. Further, Herrmann Law, PLLC does not guarantee the accuracy of any article published on this website.

+Drew N. Herrmann is a labor and employment lawyer licensed to practice in Texas. Mr. Herrmann’s labor and employment law practice is devoted to representing aggrieved employees in workplace disputes.  If you have any questions or want to consult with Mr. Herrmann, he can be reached by calling 817-479-9229, or emailing drew@herrmannlaw.com or check out his website www.paycheckcollector.com

 This article is not legal advice. The information contained in this article is informational and you should not rely on it instead of legal advice specific to your situation. Drew N. Herrmann is licensed to practice law in Texas. The law in your state may be different than what is discussed in this article. Further, the law in your state may change the analysis or outcomes described in this article.

The information on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any information submitted through the website does not create an attorney-client relationship with Herrmann Law, PLLC. Further, Herrmann Law, PLLC does not guarantee the accuracy of any article published on this website.

* Bussers and food runners hold positions that act in between front-of-house and back-of-house. It seems arbitrary as to where each establishment categorizes them; but depending upon their actual duties, (i.e. their level of direct customer interaction) they may or may not be included in the tip pool. Where they are categorized as back-of-house employees, they are excluded from the tip pool. For example, some food runners spend a majority of their time performing the work of an expediter and their duties “running” food are marginal. These “food runners” are more properly classified as expediters, which is a back-of-the-house job and should be not be included in the tip pool – the restaurant is responsible for properly and adequately compensating them without requiring servers to share their tips with them.

Don’t Be a Karen

We all know what a “Karen” is an we can all agree they are the absolute worst. They breed like rabbits and if you see one Karen in your section, another is soon to follow. Alert your manager and prepare them for the onslaught of dietary restrictions and complaints about the temperature of hot tea, coffee and the general feeling of the air in the restaurant. Also know they will want discounts and/or things for free because they are Karens and this is what they do.

If you don’t know what a Karen is, then this video is just for you. And thank you to Confessions of a Server for making this ever so important Public Service Announcement.

(My apologies to any Karen out there who isn’t actually a “Karen” and who are being lumped in with the dregs of humanity. Specifically, I’d like to point out my sister-in-law Karen who is most definitely NOT a Karen.)

Fight Breaks Out at Waffle House; Welcome to 2019!

The year 2019 is barely three days old, but it’s already the same ol’ dumpster fire that 2018 was. Well, at least that’s the case for a Waffle House in Louisville, Kentucky. Video has surfaced that shows what happens when a customer gets rude to a Waffle House employee and that employee has a stack of plates in front of her with absolutely no fucks to give. Although technically, this happened in 2018, it’s quite possible it happened after midnight which would make it the new year. Either way, it confirms there’s a fine line between 2018 and 2019 and that line is drawn with syrup and then sprinkled with broken ceramic plates.

A line cook from another Louisville restaurant, Aldwin Baylon Maninang, went to Waffle House on New Year’s Eve and captured it all on video. It is unclear where the tension began, but this being a Waffle House, it could have been anything from “this waffle is too expensive” to “bitch, did you just steal my false teeth?” to “hey, it’s Monday at Waffle House, so let’s trash it.”

Here are my favorite highlights from the video:

:03 when the employees in blue says “I don’t give a fuck” to the customer in the white hoodie.

:07 when the big dude behind her throws something that may or may not be a bottle of mustard or a hamburger bun.

:13 when the customer in the white hoodie throws a plate

:14 when the female customer in white hands the mustard/bun back to the big dude who promptly throws it right back at the customer in the white hoodie.

:18 when the employee in blue throws a plate at white hoodie guy.

:18 when the big dude throws what appears to be a bottle of ketchup at hoodie dude.

:24 when other customers decide this drama is not worth a waffle and start to leave.

:29 when employee in blue says “nobody throws shit at me.”

So many wonderful things are squeezed into these thirty seconds, but the hero in all of this, other than Aldwin for filming this masterpiece, is the guy sitting at the counter in the black cowboy hat. At the :19 second mark, he’s hit with a piece of flying debris and that mother fucker doesn’t even flinch. I love how at the end of the video, he wipes his mouth and is ready to keep on eating. Nothing bothers him.

Carry on, 2019, you’re doing great!

New Year’s Eve at Olive Garden for $400 Per Person?

It’s New Year’s Eve, that night when all the amateurs come out of the woodwork to binge drink cheap California brut and puke in the new year. I was walking through Times Square last week which is something I try to avoid at all costs. That stretch of commercial desperation is more upsetting to me than a ten-top all wanting hot teas and separate checks. As I walked past the Times Square Olive Garden on my way to the lovey N/W train, a sign in their window caught my eye. It was advertising their own special New Year’s Eve celebration for a measly $400 per person. After I picked up my eyeballs off the sidewalk and crammed them back into my head I began to wonder: who the fuck celebrates New Year’s Eve at fucking Olive Garden in New York City? The whole idea of ringing in the new year in Times Square while being crammed into metal pens and being unable to pee for twelve hours straight is already baffling to me, but to take it one step further into hell by doing at Olive Garden makes my mind reel. And for $400? I do not get it.

For that insane amount of money you get a complimentary buffet and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. First off, if it costs $400 to be there, nothing is complimentary. Also included in the price is an open bar which is barely worth it. Here in New York a decent cocktail costs $16, so to get your $400 worth, you’d need to smash back 25 drinks. You get a total of five hours there, so you’d have to get a new cocktail every twelve minutes. If you made it that far, you might be looking at a severe case of alcohol poisoning, but then again since this is Olive Garden, how strong do we think those drinks really are? Also included is a DJ and dancing and all I can picture is tourists from middle America doing the Dougie and the Running Man to Prince’s “1999.” It makes my skin crawl.

Upon further inspection, I see a disclaimer on the sign:

Seating and view of ball drop not guaranteed.

Wait, what? So some people are going to spend four hundred bucks to stand in an Olive Garden for five hours and watch on their iPhone as Dick Clark Ryan Seacrest does the countdown? Why would anyone travel all the way to New York City to do something they could do at their local Olive Garden or in the privacy of their own home? (I can guaran-fucking-tee you that the only people in that Olive Garden tonight who live in New York City will be the ones who work there.) It just makes no sense to me.

But you know what? Go for it, tourists. If you want to eat some lukewarm lobster shrimp mac and cheese in a Times Square Olive Garden while listening to a DJ blast Carly Rae Jepson and Blake Shelton, do it. Personally, I like my plan for tonight much better. I’ll be bowling with ten friends at 6:00 and then having a potluck in Queens while guzzling Veuve Clicquot. To each his own, I suppose.

To everyone who spends some time on this blog or my Facebook page or one of the many other places I regurgitate tired ass serving memes and self-promotion, thank you. Happy new year to all of you. Be careful tonight and please know how much I appreciate you.

Happy new year, bitches.

This Man Was Stuck in a Restaurant Grease Duct for Two Days

Photo via Alameda County Sheriff’s Office

A man in California is lucky to be alive after spending two days trapped in a grease duct of a Chinese restaurant. He was trying to break into the restaurant by crawling through an exhaust vent and instead got his ass stuck in there covered in grease, dirt and regret. Two days! If it wasn’t for a neighbor who finally heard the desperate cries of the lubricated lug, he probably would have died there and gone down in history as one of the dumbest criminals in all the land. It took firefighters an hour to wedge him out of his lard-covered sarcophagus and the man is likely to be charged with trespassing and vandalism. He is expected to make a full recovery. This, all according to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.

I had the opportunity to interview the man (no I didn’t) who faced a greasy death and I am honored to share his (totally made up) story:

Bitchy Waiter: So, what the fuck were you thinking?

Greaseball: Dude, I was watching Die Hard a couple of weeks ago, and you know that scene where he climbs through the ceiling ducts after almost falling in the elevator shaft?

BW: No, I’ve never seen that movie.

GB: Oh, it’s awesome. So, I was like, I bet I could do that to get into that Chinese restaurant.

BW: Was your intent to rob the place?

GB: Oh, yeah, totally. And I needed some chopsticks too and I figured they had some.

BW: When did you know you were in trouble?

GB: (laughing) Like almost right away, dude. I was all, “oh fuck this might be the third stupidest thing I’ve ever done.”

BW: Only the third? What are the top two?

GB: Number two was probably that time I tried to ride a sea lion in Malibu. Dude, do not try to ride a sea lion, they don’t like it. And those fuckers have teeth.

BW: And what’s the dumbest thing you ever did?

GB: I ate at Applebee’s once.

BW: So what were you thinking while you were trapped there for two days?

GB: Mostly that I was hungry and how close I was to an unlimited supply of egg rolls.

BW: Did you think you were going to die there?

GB: No, I thought I would eventually lose enough weight to slip through the duct and then just walk out the front door.

BW: You really are a dumb ass, aren’t you?

GB: Well, I told you I ate at Applebee’s once so, yeah.