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.