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Cafe Server On The Benefits of Tip Sharing

RestauranthellHey it’s LadyLatte. Haven’t posted in a while mostly due to being overwhelmed by work and such but this I really have to rant about: Tip-sharing. And not in the way you think.

Now, at the café I work at, those of us on the wait staff have it pretty fucking good. I mean, seriously. Our boss pays us a NORMAL wage, not a WAITSTAFF wage. Most waitresses get $2.13 an hour in Maine. Not us – minimum is like $7.75 and I make $8.50 due to being there for a while. It’s an awesome gig and thusly, I am fiercely protective of Awesome Bosslady and the café in general.

One of the reasons we make that money is because there are no bussers, food runners, etc – we do it all. But still, there are places that make the staff do it all and still pay jack shit.

Plus we get tips. We have a rule that tips are pooled and shared out equally at the end of the night. I’m cool with that because it promotes an atmosphere of helping each other. We buss random tables, serve food for other staff (like if I have tables 5-9, but table 3’s food is up and I’m closest. I’ll run it out). It’s a really good gig.

Well, a few months ago, a new guy moved into town. He’s from south Florida, and moved all the way up here to Maine. He’s super flamboyant in a great way, and a hard worker most of the time but is young and doesn’t always realize how things work. I’ll call him Queenie.

Well, I found out Queenie has experience in kitchens, and knew Awesome Bosslady needed kitchen help, so I introduced them. All seemed well. Queenie worked in the kitchen, and bitched to me somewhat about my coworker not sharing out enough of her tips.

Point of clarification: Because we do make so much as wait staff, we share our tips with the kitchen. We used to give them a flat amount, but there was so much bitching by various staff members we decided to make it personal choice how much we gave. Right or wrong, this is the way we do things, and I like it. Promotes the working-together thing.

Okay, well my coworker (who I will call Rapunzel due to the length of her hair) really dislikes sharing her tips. She complains she needs the money, yadda yadda yadda, sob story don’t care. I work a full-time job and 2 part time jobs and a little freelance on the side so I work my ass off and if you need more money get a second job, but I digress.

OCTOCAROL 044So Queenie bitches about Rapunzel not sharing enough. An example, she might make $60 on a breakfast shift, and give him $3 or $4. Frequently she doesn’t give anything. I can understand him being upset about that, the food being good means the customers reward the server with a bigger tip and the kitchen should get a decent share of that.

But now everything is on its head, because Queenie also has experience waiting tables and the customers love him, so he’s out on the floor a lot when our other cook, who I will call TallDark&Handsome, is working in the kitchen. Guess who doesn’t like tipping out the kitchen when he’s on the floor?

Bingo, Queenie. Very much hypocritical. Which I called him out on, and he claimed it was because TallDark&Handsome gets a bonus in cash every week from Awesome Bosslady.

Well, I don’t know if that is true or not, and frankly, I don’t care. TallDark&Handsome has amazing kitchen skills and works evenings at a fancy place in town. He could, seriously, get hired in any kitchen he wanted and he chooses to work HERE. So anything that keeps him here is good in my book.

So, on one side of the debate we have Rapunzel and Queenie, who dislike tipping out the kitchen (cook, dishwasher, and coffee girl if she’s on). On the other side we have me, and the other older server who I’m written about before, SingingServer. He also tips out the kitchen heavily.

Last week, Rapunzel and Queenie asked if we could pool the tips we are giving the kitchen because I was making them look bad by giving more. I told them no, because that would make me look bad and (I said it more politically correct that this) I’m not going to hide their cheapness. I then walked into the kitchen and gave TallDark&Handsome $10, the dishwasher $8, and put $4 in the coffee girl’s envelope because she had already left. I’d worked with Queenie that day and he gave nothing. Whatever, like I said, personal choice and I’m not going to worry about it because Karma is a beautiful thing.

It’s almost amusing, the karma thing. We all get a staff meal every shift we work. When I put mine in, TallDark&Handsome makes it FAST and perfect, every time. When Queenie puts his in, it frequently gets ignored and he ends up having to make it himself. Also when orders are up, TallDark&Handsome always says something like “Order up, LadyLatte, table 5.” When I pick it up if there is a partial order also out he says something like “just the bottom shelf” so I don’t take extra food. When Queenie’s orders come up, it’s just “order up” or “order up Queenie” and he doesn’t tell Queenie if a partial order is up so Queenie has to remember. He bitches about this to me and I nod and smile but all I can think is “WHY DO YOU THINK THAT HAPPENS YOU DUMBASS??”

Don’t get me wrong. Rapunzel and Queenie are both hard workers. But I don’t think either of them realizes how good we truly have it at the café and with Awesome Bosslady. And seriously, isn’t an extra $5 worth it to grease the wheels and create a kitchen that wants to make you look good? I sure think so.

Okay, long rant over. I’d love to hear people’s opinions on this.

--Lady Latte

 

Comments

LadyBelle

While you like both of these people, my advice would be to stay out of it as much as possible. Continue to do what you are doing and working with the kitchen staff. Either the other two will realize that it is helping you and straiten up, or they will just whine about it not being fair and basically shoot themselves in the foot. In which case, you are better off not working with personalities that won't take responsibility for their own lives or actions. The negativity tends to drag every one down.

NC Tony

Just keep going the way you're going. The kitchen staff obviously appreciates the fact that you look out for them, and they pay you back by making sure you get your food made right and get it as quick as possible. Maybe, just maybe Queenie and Rapunzel will realize you and Singing get treated better by the kitchen staff and put two and two together and figure maybe if they start treating the kitchen staff better, the kitchen staff will treat them better.

Larry Berry

I worked as a busboy for awhile. Though I was basically at the waitresses beck and call. Whatever they needed. Help them carry large food orders, refill drinks, get condiments for that table or extra napkins..... They were supposed to tip me a little something once in awhile. Usually they didn't and that was cool. The times they did was usually with large groups that I helped with, or anytime they particularly used me a lot. Their tipping times and amounts were fair. One waitress was the exception. She didn't want to ever tip me because I made a standard wage. Fair enough, except she was the one who would use me the most. She would sit at the bar drinking or sometimes eating and say "oh that orders up, take it to the table", "go see if that table needs anything else" "go see if they are ready to order" which was worthless, because I couldn't take orders or get drinks (I could refill free softdrinks or water, but nothing that involved money), so I would have to check and then say "hold on I have to get your waitress", or go tell her "yes they need more drinks". Half the time I did most of her job for her while she sat. After I left that job, she was the one that complained the most about how the 2 new guys didn't do nearly the work I did. The bosses nephew who spent most of his shift in the game room playing air hockey, when he wasn't stealing tips, and the other lazy guy who wore a wife beater and long shorts to work, and barely did anything.

Not Perfect

No offense, but it sounds like tip-sharing is causing you more problems than it's solving. All I'm reading is problems that arise from an unregulated and arbitrary sharing of money, and nothing ruins friendships like being this transparent about money. And it sounds like your friend TallDark&Handsome is no better than the other people if he'll sabotage them just because they don't get along. I envy you for being so ok about having to give away money that you earned.

Techdeath

@Not Perfect, the OPs main problem is the hypocrisy that Queenie's displaying by not tipping the kitchen staff and complaining when another waitress doesn't tip him while he's working in the kitchen.

And yes unregulated tipping from staff to staff can cause issues particularly if one's more generous than others but though what TD&H is doing though passive aggressive is fairly natural that you work harder to please those that you know will reward you consistently for it vs those that reward you poorly if at all it's like that regular customer that you don't work quite as hard for and the first choice your quality would slip for on a busy night when you know they'd give you a penny if you farted rainbows on command or if you gave them a swirly between courses.

and at this point even if you started pooling the tips the kitchen staff that's currently here will know where the majority of the pool came from and even if they started tipping better nobody would notice.

The only thing that would fix this problem short of somebody getting over themselves/accepting the consequences for their actions is if the kitchen staff got something like a half share (eg if your share was $20 their share is $10) each from the tip pool or a 15% from the pool split between those on duty that day so it's not someone having to voluntarily give up their money and being treated differently for not doing so or getting word from the bigwigs to stop tipping them altogether.

TLDR? In short either they get with the program, management makes it compulsory or cuts it out or most unrealistically everyone gets over themselves and that includes the kitchen staff and them providing a lesser service for not being tipped.

Whew, that's a lot longer than I would have guessed.

LadyLatte

That would be a great idea, Techdeath, a flat rate - but it caused major bitching by staff members a while back. Certain waitresses dug their heels in saying it wasn't fair, and a certain cook (neither of these were discussed in the story btw) bitched that the share was too low...ugh. That's why Awesome Bosslady made it personal choice. And yes, my main problem was the dammed hypocrisy.
Not Perfect, you are right of course that TD&H is just guilty of not being helpful to the the staff, but I can't blame him. Queenie talks rather loudly, and I guarantee TD&H has heard him complaining about him. On the floor. In front of people. Heck, it makes me angry because I know how valuable an asset TD&H is and Queenie...well, lord love him, but he IS replaceable.
And thanks Larry and NCTony. Good to know there are people that agree with the choices I make.

LadyLatte

Oops I meant LadyBelle and NC Tony thanks! LOL Larry you have a lot more patience than me. I probably would have told that waitress to go fuck herself...or said yeah, sure but then not do it and let her clean up the mess. But I can be a but vindictive sometimes. :)

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