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Thread: Lone Star Texas Grill- Tipping policy upsets staff, customers

  1. #1

    Default Lone Star Texas Grill- Tipping policy upsets staff, customers

    Here in Ottawa, the Lone Star Texas Grill restaurant chain has stirred up a lot of controversy with its new policies around tipping servers. I thought I'd see what people think about it.

    The changes mean that servers will be required to turn over 45 to 65 percent of the tips they earn into a tip pool that will shared among the whole restaurant staff, including the managers. The changes mean the managers will now receive a portion of the server's tips and that kitchen staff will receive a larger portion than they do now.

    http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-...sharing-policy


    Lone Star responded to the concerns about these policies with the following statement:

    “Lone Star believes that whereas Tips are received by the Dine-in Servers, Take-out Servers and Hosts and Bartenders, the Tips should be fairly and equitably shared among the whole restaurant team. Or else the ‘guest experience’ suffers.”

    While tip pools are not uncommon in restaurants, the amount of 45 to 65 percent seems ridiculously high, but I think the most offensive part is that servers will be forced to turn over a portion of their tips to their own boss. It just seems wrong on so many levels. The boss already makes more money than the server. Secondly, there is little employment protection in the industry, so a server who doesn't collect enough in tips for the boss could result in dismissal.

    When I eat out in a restaurant, I tend to tip based on the service. The servers themselves are the 'face' of the restaurant and their efficiency, friendliness, attention to detail are all factors that determine how much I will tip. I don't have a problem with some portion of the gratuity going into a pool to be shared with the kitchen staff, bus boys, chefs, etc, since they also bust their butts to ensure the tables and dishes are clean and the food is good and well-presented. Those are the things that make me want to continue coming back to a restaurant. But I find it offensive knowing that if I leave a huge tip for a server for having provided excellent, outstanding service, that they would then be forced to turn half of it over to their boss or colleagues who don't provide the same level of service. In fact, it would make me consider tipping less, especially since there are enough managers in the service industry who treat their employees badly.

    Most importantly, if a highly profitable corporation believes the profits should be "fairly and equitably distributed among the whole restaurant team," then rather than change their tipping policy, the corporation should pay them decent wages instead. That would actually demonstrate a true concern of their staff.

    What do you think?
    Last edited by Starrunner; 27-Jul-2017 at 16:52.

  2. #2

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    I am sure a bill in a handshake can be a under the table tip, it is wrong the server earned it, they go though hell at times, they deserve it. I would say boycott that place till they drop that stupid policy. Or they give the servers raises they deserve.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starrunner View Post
    When I eat out in a restaurant, I tend to tip based on the service. The servers themselves are the 'face' of the restaurant and their efficiency, friendliness, attention to detail are all factors that determine how much I will tip. I don't have a problem with some portion of the gratuity going into a pool to be shared with the kitchen staff, bus boys, chefs, etc, since they also bust their butts to ensure the tables and dishes are clean and the food is good and well-presented. Those are the things that make me want to continue coming back to a restaurant. But I find it offensive knowing that if I leave a huge tip for a server for having provided excellent, outstanding service, that they would then be forced to turn a large portion of it over to their boss. In fact, it would make me consider tipping less, especially since there are enough managers in the service industry who treat their employees badly.

    Most importantly, if a highly profitable corporation believes the profits should be "fairly and equitably distributed among the whole restaurant team," then rather than change their tipping policy, the corporation should pay them decent wages instead. That would actually demonstrate a true concern of their staff.

    What do you think?
    I tend to tip based on service, and generally pretty well.

    I don't know all that much about how tips are typically distributed within the house, so I can't comment on how that relates to this particular outfit.

    I do know that the restaurant business isn't a very high margin proposition overall. Note the high rate of failure. Trying to paint a restaurant as an "evil greedy corporation" is a little shaky. Other than your handful of giant chains most of them are little more than mom and pop shops. Sure, there are a lot of accounting shenanigans throughout the industry, as you would expect in a business model with a lot of cash transactions. That includes individual employees vs. their tax returns. Straight up higher wages vs. tips would impact that, and not necessarily in a good way for employees.

  4. #4

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    I all against tipping in general. All servers have a right to a decent minimum wage. Pooling the tips like this is actually a good thing. It makes sure that even those having a bad day will get at least something close to minimum wage.

    The managers though. Now that's just getting greedy and taking from the poor.

  5. #5

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    When I visited Japan, I very much enjoyed the lack of tipping there, as well as the tax-included pricing. If a meal is 800 yen, then it's really 800 yen, and that's it. I think the culture of tipping servers gives managers an excuse to underpay them.

    Having said that, since I live in a culture where tipping is the norm, I generally tip well based upon the performance of the server. I'll still tip the server well if they've done well, even if the food wasn't great. I think I'd feel a little miffed knowing that my performance-based tips are being shared with management or even in a pool. I'm not tipping the restaurant after all.

  6. #6

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    Servers are paid almost nothing and depend on tips. They should always be left a minimum of 15% even if, for some reason, the service was poor. If you wish to indicate displeasure, write something on the bill. The manager will see it. 20% is the standard tip today for good service. Higher tips (25, 30, 40% or even higher) are for service that is exceptional in some way or for customers in an extremely generous mood. (Once a year or so, I like to go hunting for a server worthy of a $100 tip, notwithstanding the price of the bill. It could be pancakes and coffee. Doesn't matter. Servers deserve that kind of high.)

    Anyway, this kind of tip pooling sounds good and I suppose can be (minus the managers of course) but it encourages paying lower salaries and rewards those providing poorer service. Sure, there is not always a direct correlation between quality of service and tips (my son sometimes gets stiffed because that's just the nature of the clientele in his restaurant, and he's an excellent server) but if you had a policy like this it would encourage such things. It's a terrible policy in every way.

  7. #7

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    I certainly agree that management shouldn't be receiving a percentage of the tip. Most servers are paid less than minimum wage and rely on the tips to offset their low pay. Ironically, there are some restaurants that have become no tip restaurants, and they are paying their servers $15.00 an hour.

  8. #8

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    Honestly, restaurants just shouldn't tip at all and instead, just pay their workers a living wage. I could go on forever about how it's a terrible system, but all I'll say for now is that I hate the fact that the burden of making sure that the servers are paid is shifted onto me so that you restaurant owners can get away with paying workers at what should be criminal rates like $2 an hour, way behind our already way too low minimum wage. It shouldn't be my responsibility to make sure they're getting paid. I'm not their employer.

    As for the tipping going into a pool for everyone, it makes sense. If you're going to tip based on dining experience (For gods sake, just pay your workers a living wage and stop this bullshit), then it might as well go towards everyone who helped make that dining experience. However, don't have that include managers. You're already paying them at criminally low rates. These tips aren't about better service. They're about covering the wages of these servers that you're shortchanging and outsourced the job of making sure they're getting paid onto customers, and now you're taking part of the money that you should've paid them in their paychecks and forced customers to cover for you? Fuck you.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gsmax View Post
    Honestly, restaurants just shouldn't tip at all and instead, just pay their workers a living wage. I could go on forever about how it's a terrible system, but all I'll say for now is that I hate the fact that the burden of making sure that the servers are paid is shifted onto me so that you restaurant owners can get away with paying workers at what should be criminal rates like $2 an hour, way behind our already way too low minimum wage. It shouldn't be my responsibility to make sure they're getting paid. I'm not their employer.

    As for the tipping going into a pool for everyone, it makes sense. If you're going to tip based on dining experience (For gods sake, just pay your workers a living wage and stop this bullshit), then it might as well go towards everyone who helped make that dining experience. However, don't have that include managers. You're already paying them at criminally low rates. These tips aren't about better service. They're about covering the wages of these servers that you're shortchanging and outsourced the job of making sure they're getting paid onto customers, and now you're taking part of the money that you should've paid them in their paychecks and forced customers to cover for you? Fuck you.
    I completely agree, so let's make it a double fuck you. Tipping essentially subsidizes employers so they don't have to pay fair wages to their staff. It really 'charity' to the servers while no one questions why they should need such charity. As dogboy mentioned, most servers don't even get minimum wage. What's most infuriating with the Lone Star policy is that now, even the managers will be profiting off the work of their grossly underpaid staff. The whole system is disgusting.

  10. #10

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    Can't say managers shouldn't receive any of the tips unless I know how much they make and what they do. I believe a restaurant manager doesn't live in a mansion having several maids. Could be they work their asses of for shitty pay, too? I don't know that but I think one should consider this before getting out the pitchforks.

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