I Have Been Robbed

I have not written about the tipping situation at the new job yet, because I needed to get a handle on it. I was pretty sure it was going to suck but today I realized that it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. It is so much fucking worse. This place has the most fucked up inane way of tipping out employees that I have ever seen and I should know having worked in the food and beverage industry since the the Pilgrims first landed on these shores. I was a fucking cater waiter at the first Thanksgiving and even then I only had to tip out the Native Americans 10% of my tips. Plus some ears of corn and some glass beads. But this new job takes the frickin’ cake.

First off, it’s a pooled house which does not make me happy. I pool at my other job, but there are only two servers and a bartender. At the end of the shift, we split the money three ways and call it a day. But this new job has way too many employees and apparently they are all considered “tipped employees” meaning they get the bare bones minimum of $4.60 an hour leaving the rest of their salary up to the tips from the customers. From the tip that the customer leaves me, a portion of it goes to the busser, food runner, bartender, backwaiter, barista, host, maitre d’ and the homeless lady who lives in a refrigerator box next door. It’s fucking bananas. And we don’t get the tips at the end of the day. Oh no. All of them get written into a log and then they are put through this spreadsheet to be dispensed to us on the Friday of the next week. So I started working the floor on one day and will not get those tips until eleven days later. They take all the tips for that shift, add them up, divide by the number of hours for everyone who worked that day to come up with an hourly wage. And then you get your tips depending on that hourly wage and what percentage of the hour you have earned. In other words, bussers get .5 of the hour and waiters get .8 of it. So a busser gets 30 minutes of that hourly wage and I get 48 minutes of it. A bartender gets a full point so they get the whole hourly wage. Make sense? Yeah, me either.
Example: if the hourly wage comes up to $20, then a busser would get ten bucks and a waiter would get twenty for every hour worked. After two weeks of trying to get an answer about the tipping procedure, I was finally explained this yesterday. Had they told me this shit at the first interview, I’d never have stayed. And an added bonus? They also told me yesterday, “Oh, and sense you’re still within your first five days out of training, you only get .6 of the hour and not .8” What the fuckity fuck?

Here’s how it breaks down. One night last week, my sales were $2500. I kept track of my tips and made about $500 that night. $411 were credit cards tips and $90 was in cash which went to bartender for safekeeping. According to the formula my take-home would be about $175.00 for that night. Oh, hell no. Don’t get me wrong. $175 is good for a shift, but not when I had pulled in $500. That means I tipped out 65 fucking percent to other people. This is very upsetting to me, but if it’s their way then it’s their way. It’s not illegal or anything, I just don’t like it. I tend to do better in small restaurants with just a couple of servers.

Am I pissed off? Fuck yes. Now I know why they were so hesitant to sit down and explain the tipping pool to me. (Because I would have quit.) Now I know why they have only 50% of their original staff from when the opened six months ago. (Because it sucks.) Now I know why all of the servers there are young (Because they don’t know when they are being taken advantage of.) What really irks me is that this place is a gold mine. Customers are fighting to get in. And the company is raking it in because even though they have about 1000 people on staff, all of us are only getting minimum wage. And when I give exceptional service and get a 30% tip (hey, it happens), I don’t get to benefit from that. A shitty server in the next station gets to benefit from that more than I do. I am itching to name this restaurant, but not until I quit. And when I quit, I will write my resignation letter right here on this blog and send the whole staff a link to it so they can see it for themselves. The Bitchy Waiter indeed. Grad school suddenly looks very nice.

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

57 thoughts on “I Have Been Robbed

  1. That's crazy. When I was a server we kept all our own tips. I don't think I could get into the whole sharing thing. There are too many lazy, incompetant fools thinking waiting tables is easy work and therefore they never get good tips to add to the kitty.

  2. a pooled house system like that is standard in fine dining restaurants. I've worked fine dining for years, and I have never worked in (or know anyone else that does work in) a place that does it any differently.Some people like it, some people don't. Where I work, for instance, it creates an almost consistent amount of money that you make, per shift. Sometimes it goes up a little, sometimes it goes down, but you're basically guaranteed a certain amount. Also, all those people you're tipping out? Theyre busting their ass (or should be), because of the money their getting from the pool.Like I said, it's not a system for everybody, but don't expect to be somewhere with servers, backwaiters, bussers, bartenders, food runners, etc, and have it be any other way.

  3. The last time I read The New York State Dept. of Labor Rule Book, you can not be forced to pool your tips. Again, that is a house rule, not a law so if you don't want to pool they legally can not make you! Bitchy, you are way to sharp to tolarate this crap. Please, please, please get out of there fast. There is so much steam coming out of my ears right now I can hardly see my keyboard! And as for anom. 10:55, It's Ass holes like you that have no idea of whats involved in being a server that should keep there mouths shut until you know what your talking about!

  4. Although it's "legal" according to the law, it's not okay to be doing that to their servers. I would write a letter to the news people in your area and let them know what's going on. I'm sure they would LOVE to make a story about how the servers are being treated. Keep us posted on your quitting. I would have quit the first night they pulled that crap with me. You have enough experience to get a job somewhere else. I work at a chain steak house and I make $175 in about 5 hours. You deserve better!!

  5. i worked at a place that took 40% of your tips and gave it to the "cooks/carvers", 5% went to the bar and then 5% goes to the busser. Then they subtract the 2.5% for every $100 to pay the credit card companies and the rest goes into your paycheck to be taxed…, viola! what a shithole… oh and on "holidays" they make us give an additional tip to the cooks.. its 3 times what you give the busser.. so if you have to tip the busser $10.. the cooks get $30 plus the 40% they already get.. GRRR!

  6. Can I just say as a customer, I've always hated to find out that there is a tip pool. That being said, I have often caught my waiter/waitress after I've paid and hand him/her my "real" tip after leaving a decoy tip. I think it's not fair to those who do their jobs as they should, if they have to share their hard earned cash with someone who doesn't perform as they should. How did this tip pooling start anyway?

  7. Anonymous, Cram it, why don't you dear? Nobody's done anything illegal so why don't you shut your gaping maw?I'm in a pissy mood because they changed our tip out again tonight. Now we have to tip 5% of bar sales to bartenders, 1.5% to hostesses, and another 1.5% to a 'wait assist' who does nothing. They do SO little that the servers now have to help them do their job (which was rolling silverware, getting ice, etc.) Didn't mind so much when they did all that but now they're bringing them in for only 3 hours a night and taking the 1.5% off of our total sales for the evening. Yes, we tip people WHO AREN'T EVEN AT WORK! I'm so pissed and I want to scream, "My customers don't know they're tipping the entire front of house!" But it does no good. And bitching about it brands you as a bad employee. I love my job and my coworkers but I hate the tip out and the managers. I don't know how much longer I can stand getting ripped off like this.

  8. This entire situation boils down to stupidity on BW part. All of the details made it very easy to pinpoint the author. I think the real "cunt" here is BW. What was said about people was mean and hurtful. I felt it only right to send this over to management; having someone like this on your staff is like a cancer.

  9. Umm, so you're claiming all your cash tips? While this is noble, sir, I can't help but feel this is a heinous error in judgement. Cash= under the table. That's the joy in cash tipping. PS. I live for your blog! It gets me through my day. If you're interested in my rants and ravings about "corporate America" please check out my blog- I just started and have a sad 15 visits! http://businesscasualrequired.blogspot.com/

  10. hey supposed anonymous fellow employee…you're a twat. As for the tip pooling, that doesn't even sound legal. In fact, I'd start to wonder if any members of management are pocketing any of that money that they "hold on to"…A $500 shift?! NICE 🙂 I don't care if you got it from working your ass off or if some other idiot server transfered the table to you so they could get off of their shift, you worked for the money, it should be yours. It's not your responsibility to pay fellow employees. There are other restaurants, quit this shit job and find something better 🙂

  11. Anon 10:55 Blow me! You have obviously never worked in the business before. Don't like it…Eat AT HOME! One thing I would recommend to all..something I do at every restaurant I go to now…I ask a manager if the waiter/waitress's tips are pooled or do they just tip out busser/bartender. If they tell me pooled…WE WALK OUT. I own my own establishment and my employees tips are THEIR tips. I have worked in the bar/restaurant business for 20 years and have been in their shoes. I am not about to support a business that makes the servers pay the wages for all the other employees.

  12. >I kept track of my tips and made about $500 that nightJust for filling my water glass and carrying a plate to my table? I’ve lost all sympathy for wait staff. From now on I will not tip at any restaurant. Add the gratuity to my bill and I’ll stand up on the table and make a scene until it’s removed. You don’t deserve that amount of money with your attitude.

  13. Don't know how this decelerated to this BS, but I am totally against full pooling of tips! As a customer, I resent the auto tip added to my bills so the restaurant can "pay" their staff. Waiters, bussers, and bartenders should be the only people sharing tips. Everyone else should be on salary. The Runner and back waiter is one and the same and the owners are probably taking that double-dip. I tip for service received, to the person running their ass off for me. I don't want my tips (it's a TIP, btw, not a salable item!) taken from my waiter to pay the salaries of everyone else. That means no matter how lousy another waiter is, they'll still get money. Oh! they're at a bad station! Well, that's not my problem; that's the restaurant's for making a bad section. There are ways to fix the dining room so that all stations are good. You were robbed, plain and simple, and these people should be reported.

  14. Quit. This. Job. Quit it now.Don't give notice.Just. Quit.Oh, and I think anonymous is for real. I think it's a woman and I think the cunt is for real. Fuck you, cunt. I hope somebody drops a $500 tip on you and you have to split it a dozen ways. I hope you break your foot and can't wait tables for 3 months. Most of all, I hope that the next job you have is filled with women cuntier than you are.No job is worth this bullshit, BW. Especially if your coworkers are like this broad.

  15. Something to consider, Bitchy. If you out them and they fire you, seems like it would make a hell of a case to at least get UI benefits back. That outfit sounds like one of the most chicken-shit operations I've ever heard of!! You'd certainly be better off to be out of the place. Besides, you don't want to be around if "porcelain doll manager" falls and her head breaks…I'm just sayin'

  16. First off, WAY too many folks being tipped out. I'm a BOH guy and normally am in a blood feud with FOH, but fuck that shit. Tip out the bartender and the host, maybe the busser if you are feeling nice. Past that, they can work for their own money.As for pooling tips, not enough experience to care one way or the other. Although, if you made $500 and get $174, that's robbery, plain and simple.

  17. You go BW. I just joined your facebook site. Good News I think is that this absolute fuck of a person has generated great PR for you. I feel for you. I'm a server in a resort area (Lake Tahoe). I've endured two days of an absolute crazy person, (it was a customer) going off and trying to get me fired. It didn't work at all.Why? I forgot to ring in his Cobb Salad. Lot's more to this, I'll save it, but honestly know what today has been for you. You are the greatest.

  18. pooled tips can be pretty uncool, especially when you're on fuck all an hour. i can't get over your minimum wage!!!i live in australia, and worked in a kitchen for three years. my wage? $17 an hour, and that was the basics. but we don't really tip over here, you only get one if you really deserve it…

  19. There are several ways that violates the laws on tipped employees on a federal level. Your state may be different, but a few of these things have gotten other restaurants in trouble over the years.Tipping out non customarily tipped positions also is not allowed. To divide the money that many ways, someone is getting tips that shouldn't. The guidelines (but not the legal limit) that the wage and hour division sets is "customary and reasonable. The example in the field operations handbook is a 15% tip out. It is just a guideline meaning that 25% may be acceptable, but you are well over that.The first thing I would do is to request a breakdown how the tips were distributed. Say it is for your own curiosity. If anyone in management or the house is keeping any of it, there is a huge violation. Send that form the the local office of the wage and hour division. Within 72 hours you should have a response.They get away with this stuff because they think we wont take the time to report them. The law is there to protect you, but you have to ask for help.

  20. Thats how tipping works in the UK. People don't really tip here so I'll really just get an extra £40-£50 a week. (But I also get paid £6 an hour)I miss the days of raking in the cash but it also means I can care less about my job because tips don't determine my wage.

  21. Anonymous @ 2:14, you sound like a phychopath. Especially the last sentence. I would imagine you saying something like, 'Well, hey! I hear heaven's nice. It was a pleasure killing you,' right before you shove the knife fully in. karahoag.blogspot.com

  22. Well if "Anon" actually does work there, I think they can be well prepared to get a nice heaping slice of hell right back, and be prepared to see exactly what's been prophesied here: A massive turnover rate that -will- get noticed. I imagine word will get around what a crappy place it is to work, it seems impossible that it -not-, and they'll blast their own feet clean off with the power of 'stupid'.

  23. Anon? You are so full of it. I don't believe for a minute you work at the same place. Whatev.BW – I would seriously review your state's labor laws. Not that it would do any good, but WTH?Do they at least kiss you before they screw you?

  24. o for fucks sake…that is about the dumbest idea for a tipped employee i have ever heard…gotta hand it to you Bitchy…i woulda prolly killed a few people by now, if o were working there…

  25. The cash tips go straight to the "jar" so no, you cannot take them. I wouldn't do that anyway. That would just be totally stealing. In fact, the other night I needed to hold on to some cash while they finished paying their bill with a credit card. I asked another server if I should take that cash right away, or what? I was told to hold onto it, but I wanted to make sure no one saw me putting in my pocket and thinking I was stealing. I may not like pooled houses, but I'd never pocket the cash.This system may work great for plenty of people, but for me, it's not right. I like interpersonal relationships with individual tables, believe it or not.

  26. Holy hell is that even legal? I mean aren't they supposed to tell you everything before you start working there? I say you write to the fucking news paper to let everyone know their dirty laundry. Before doing so check out your contract with them and see if they could sue you for that shit. If not put them out there for everyone to see. I do not think that is fair at all. It's like why even try to give good service if they are just butt fucking you into Sunday?

  27. W T F…W T F…I cannot remember when I have felt so disgusted. That is absolutely disgusting. So you mean to tell me…YOU MAKE $500 ($2500 in sales) and YOU ONLY got $175 of that? W T F. You work for a bunch of goddamned thieves and a filthy pig of an owner for actually buying into this crap. So this is my question. Since the IRS will legally TAX you on 10% of your sales (IE $250 dineros slapped of that $500) is that fucking restaurant being HONEST with the IRS? since the sales are by law YOUR sales and can be tracked to YOUR employee number, how are they managing that? I want to firebomb that place I feel so pissed off right now…and I have no clue where you work.

  28. Everyone in this pool works hard. I don't find the policy unfair and it is pretty standard in the fine dinning world. If the waiter could give this level of service without assistance then there would be no one to tip out but alas that is impossible.

  29. This is COMMUNISM! I would run like hell from that place–both as a customer and as an employee. What if you have a regular who consistantly tips you 40% +? I would be pissed if I were that regular and found out my fave BW wasn't getting the entire tip.Bitchy, you need to post the name of this restaurant so we can all avoid it while in NY. And anon at 214, you are a coward.

  30. Can you pocket your cash tips? As a customer (not of this restaurant obviously) I find this interesting. When I leave my server a tip I always just assume they are getting that full tip.

  31. There is no need to forward your resignation letter on to me; I know exactly who you are. Yes, we work together. You gave away so many details it was easy to look at the schedule and figure out exactly who you are.Things to know about our POOLED house. There will be nights and sections where you do not make $500 but you too will still reap the benefits of MY TIPS. I highly doubt you earned all of this $500, I am guessing a large amount of this revenue came from transfers. You have a bad attitude and you are not all that as a server.I think it would be best that you move on because I am going to expose you and that could be uncomfortable for you.Look forward to giving you hell.

  32. Yeah owners love this they think. Pooled tips means everyone gives mediocre service. not good for business. Owners do not keep good servers cause they don't operate that way. Good servers aren't really good team players they manage real estate (table section). Dispersing all the tips means you don't have to pay minimum out of your own pocket (as an owner)to anyone. I question owner. How do you assure honesty in cash tips? Put more servers on and cut out these back servers and food runners, unless the place is gigantic its a dumb job if there are bus people. I could go on and on. To bad if it's a great place to eat my guess is it won't ever have fantastic service. Good luck! Would you work here we tip like this:Charge tips paid every Friday on paycheck on top of 3.63 hour. Tip out bus person .0225 of food sales. tip out bartender .07 of beer, liquor and wine. Take cash home when you get it. Expect you of course to claim it. ;).

  33. Ooooh, that SUCKS. Seriously, I'm mad FOR you. It seems pretty clear to me that the only reason anyone would create such a totally messed up tipping situation is that not only are they profiting by calling everyone a "tipped" employee, but they're also probably skimming off the top. I mean, seriously, why else would it have to be so complicated?And if they aren't skimming off the top, with a tip out percentage like that, they must be giving some of it to the potted plants by the front door. Where else is it going?INSANE! …On the plus side, I can't WAIT until you quit. Please give us the full play-by-play.

  34. What the actual fuck?!!? I've never heard of such a thing!!! I would have told them to fuck off as soon as I got the explanation of the bullshit tip pool! That's un-fucking-believable! At our bar, our waitresses tip back to the bartender, but it's 10% of their TIPS, not their TABS. If someone is shitty tipper, they both get ripped off, not just the waitress. Luckily, we are a tight knit group, so nobody would ever rip anyone else off. The waitresses turn their tips over a the end of the night. We count their tips, switch out the small bills, and take the bartenders' cut. Hey, if you ever move to Chicago, you'll have a job waiting for you! 🙂

  35. Reading this has made my blood pressure skyrocket. That is clearly bullshit and yet they get away with it. Do they have this policy in writing? I would seriously find out from the labor board if that is even legal. Pooling is one thing but when you are working to clearly "pay" the rest of the staff while the owners rake in the dough is pure and simple bullshit.

  36. One of the reasons I most hate pooled tips is because working from 2pm-4pm is a lot different from working 5pm-7pm, yet they both get paid the same. (Yes, I did work where we had some part time people who only worked those shifts, and it was ridiculous.)By the way, the owner of the place isn't named Mario Batali, is he?(For the record, BW, I'd quit. No matter how much you make, only getting $117 when you earned $500 is insane and sounds shady to me.)

  37. Wow that's terrible. I used to work at a place where we had to tip out 10% of our bar sales to the bartenders (regardless of what WE were actually tipped; so, yes, you could very well end up PAYING to wait on someone). And I thought that was bad… But good lord, that is a terrible tip-out system… Who the eff came up with that?

  38. PLease explain what the difference is between a "food runner" and a "back-server". I thought they were both the same thing. I searched on Google and most of the links also say they are the same thing, but your current restaurant has both, so now I'm confused about it.

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