View Full Version : Question about tips and management....

02-02-2009, 11:58 AM
So, having come to out of my drunken coma, I was watching an episode of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. Without bothering with most of the details of the particular episode, I saw something on it that was shocking to me. Specifically, the front of the house manager of the restaurant in question was taking HALF of the servers' tips, and felt perfectly justified in doing so.

Now, I have been doing this restaurant thing for a long time now (20+ years) and have worked in innumerable establishments. In all that time, not only have I never seen a manager taking a portion or percentage of server tips, I have actually seen the opposite, where managers felt or a policy was in place that stated that management COULDN'T accept tips, the exception being when a manager also worked on the floor or behind the bar, but that was only for that shift and their particular customers. Not only that, but even if they helped out on the floor during a management shift, they would not take the tips, even if they took a table from beginning to end, either giving the tip to the server whose section it was or divvying it up among the servers on shift at the time.

So my question is this: has anyone here ever worked in a place where management, either singly or as a group, took a percentage of server tips, not for distribution among support staff (bussers, food runners, barbacks, etc.), but for themselves personally? What was the percentage? How did the servers feel about it? And how in the flying ferret fart did they justify such actions?

Just curious. Still blown away by the very idea.

02-02-2009, 12:05 PM
This practice is (I understand) now unlawful within the UK.

However, as you (Jester) often state, I reserve the right to be horrifically, embarrasinly wrong on this and any other matter! :D

02-02-2009, 02:54 PM
I saw that episode and felt like punching the manager.

But I've never had that experience in the few places I've worked. I think I would've laughed in the manager's face and walked out.

Giggle Goose
02-02-2009, 03:19 PM
I need to watch that show more often, I feel like it would be right up my alley :D

I have NEVER heard of such a thing. That's why managers make more by the hour (or a salary). I've worked in various places, and every once in a while a manager would take a table when it was busy and keep THAT tip, but that's it. It's just proper restaurant etiquette to me.

I've tried to tip out my managers sometimes for helping me on a particularly busy shift and I was always turned down. Maybe this manager makes $3 an hour like everyone else? *shrug*

02-02-2009, 03:36 PM
At the truck stop, the one manager with the least seniority had to take a serving shift when there were too many call-ins or on super busy days like Mother's Day.

And that was the only time management could take tips. They were her own tips she got from serving.

Otherwise, we were supposed to tip hosts, but if they ever begged me for it or asked for extra money, I wouldn't do it.

02-02-2009, 03:38 PM
A manager once helped me set up an ginormous delivery at the Olive Garden and I felt it was only fair to share my tip with her, since she'd helped.

She refused, saying it was illegal for her to take tips since she was not paid server's wages, and her pay scale did not include tips. So yeah, based on that conversation, I'm going with "manager on Ramsey's show was a Major Dick and a thief."

02-02-2009, 03:41 PM
He certainly was a dick. His very weak justification for taking half their tips was that he had schmoozed the guests so effectively. These were not HIS tables, mind you, but those of the serving staff. Perhaps Ramsay turned him around, because at the end of the episode they check back in with the restaurant two months later and everything seems to be going great.....but yeah, the dude was a drip. Why they let him get away with that shit is beyond me.

I HAVE heard of other instances of managers getting a portion of the tipouts (not their own tips from serving or bar shifts, but an actual percentage of each server's tipouts, like a busser might get), and was just wondering if anyone here has experienced it. Good to see that so far, no one here has.

02-02-2009, 03:47 PM
I just find the whole idea of managment working with peeons amazing, because my boss has NO idea how to run any of the machines or equipment at work, and he's never made any attempt to try. He was only trained to supervise. So if he asks what's wrong with a machine, and gets an answer, he obviously has no idea what it means.

My old boss knew how to run some of the machines. There are bosses at my work who started at the bottom, worked their way up, and know everything, but in recent times, most bosses are hired from outside the company and it's not mandatory that they learn the equipment.

02-02-2009, 04:02 PM
check out this link:


I wonder if it's something like this? (not that this soty seems appropriate either)!

02-02-2009, 04:18 PM
Related to that, I found this (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/03/nyregion/03nobu.html) article about a restaurant in NYC accused of having a policy that gave managers a portion of server tips. If the accusations were proven, it would mean that the restaurant was violating state law, as such a practice is illegal in New York.

Perhaps the most nauseating thing I read in it was this: "[S]he noticed that floor managers sometimes received more in tips than she received....She said the managers would meet weekly to decide how much in tips employees would get."

02-02-2009, 04:21 PM
More a GWC thread. moved.


02-02-2009, 04:39 PM
I just find the whole idea of managment working with peeons amazing, because my boss has NO idea how to run any of the machines or equipment at work,

When I worked in management, managers were just another floor worker who dealt with day to day problems, and did extra paperwork. Upper management kept us consistently understaffed, to the point where during slow times, there was only just a manager on. I'd take orders at the registers, go back and make their food, and bring it out when finished. made for some rough days. Before I was a manager, I could hold any position there. It depends on the company, but more importantly, it depends on the person.

Anyways, my point is that I often got tips from tables, running the bar, and cashing out lottery. If it was a large tip, I'd share, but for the most part they were tips I would keep because I earned them. But we all made about the same. I think I made about 25 cents more an hour then the workers (can you see one of the reasons I quit?), so I wasn't being paid more for not making tips.

Gah. Typing this out reminded me how glad I was when I quit that job.

02-02-2009, 07:03 PM
Hey Jester, which episode/place was this? I was trying to find it on the FOX on Demand site and there are quite a few to go through.

02-02-2009, 07:16 PM
I used to have a manager who no one trusted to clean or go near their tables as their tips left on the table by customers would often disappear. She's gone now thankfully, but when she was there it was a race to the table if a customer or coworker told you there was a tip on the table.

02-03-2009, 12:14 AM
Also, the IRS assumes that servers are making a certain amount of money in tips. California does not have a lower minimum wage for servers, but we still tip, and the IRS expects it.

Jester, where was the restaurant located? If it were in New York or California, then the manager's taking the tips would be illegal.

02-03-2009, 02:32 AM
Our managers are explicitly told that they can be terminated for accepting a share of the tips. IIRC, this policy started a yearish ago, after the green apron workers in CA won a lawsuit for their tips. As a reaction, our company put the kibosh on the store managers taking tips.

The stupid thing is that there is a big difference in how our tips are done than those in the case. In that instance, all the tips were being pooled throughout the week, and then divided amongst the workers based on how many hours they worked. The managers were including hours they had spent on admin time, thus getting bigger shares than they should have.

Our tips are divided every time someone leaves or comes onto the counter, and the managers were only getting shares for counter hours. They never took tips for admin time, and counter hours constitute almost half their total hours for the week.

So now, if I work with my manager on the counter for a shift, she does half the work, makes drinks, runs the register, keeps things cleaned and stocked...but she's not allowed to have any of the tips. It isn't fair.

02-03-2009, 07:00 PM
I LOVE Kitchen Nightmares.

I miss my DVR. I really should make a call to the cable company...

02-04-2009, 01:15 AM
It sort of happens at our place. first of all the "manager" is always on the floor. She bartends and waitresses. She does keep her own tips, even if she kind of tends to screw the bussers and bar on tipout. Thats not really a big deal.

The thing that bothers me though is our party policy. We autograt 20%. On the bill it says "gratuity 20% and then a number like maybe $56.00" The servers only get 18% - the owners take the rest. I know 18% is standard for working a party, but it makes me mad because especially on larger parties, the amount people see as gratuity is not what the servers actually get. Rarely do people tip more on top of 20%, but when you autograt a table at 18% yourself - its a lot more common.

Not really that important, but annoying as hell. :rolleyes:

02-04-2009, 05:04 AM
Ill just chime in and say when I waited tables, managers never took part of tips. That KN dude is a douche-waffle.

We also had one super cool manager who would pitch in and help with tables when we were slammed, and would divide his tips with everyone at the end of the night!!

Although I would never expect a manager to give up tips like that for working tables, he was truly an inspiration. Douche-managers could learn alot about employee retention and loyalty from this type of manager. :)

02-04-2009, 06:22 AM
Managers are NOT supposed to take any grat. They are salaried employees.
I think it's horrendous that this type of crap happens and would never work anywhere that advocated that in ANY way.
Sorry Mgt. you can't have your cake and eat it too.