Of being paid $13.00 to $15.00 per hour without collecting tips, verses a minimum wage and tips, which one would you choose? ($3.00 – $4.15 per hour in some restaurants)
The Law States: According to the IRS, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires payment of at least the federal minimum wage to covered, nonexempt employees. An employer of a tipped employee is only required to pay $2.13 an hour in direct wages if that amount plus the tips received equals at least the federal minimum wage, the employee retains all tips and the employee customarily and regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips. If an employee’s tips combined with the employer’s direct wages of at least $2.13 an hour do not equal the federal minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up the difference.
Some states have minimum wage laws specific to tipped employees. When an employee is subject to both the federal and state wage laws, the employee is entitled to the provisions which provides the greater benefits.
Here is an unwritten and unpublished standard governing gratuities.
Food & Bar Gratuity Range 2009:
10 to 12% ~ Server performed below average. Guest took pity on server.
12 to 15% ~ Server performed average. Guest was benevolent.
15 to 16% ~ Server performed good to satisfactory, could have been better. Guest was kind.
17 to 18% ~ Server performed above average. Guest was gracious.
18 to 20% ~ Server performance was exceptional and well above average. Guest was well fed, well served and pleased.
20% plus ~ Server was outstanding in providing an unforgettable experience. Guest was well fed, well served and euphoric.
- 18 to 20%+ For above average performance when the table has been attended too by one or more of the following: Back-server, maître d’, sommelier or whomever.
- A table of six or more guests, entitles the server to 20% or more gratuity, depending upon the rate that is stated on the menu of the establishment. When a server adds this default amount they are professionally bound to make the host of the table aware of this automatic gratuity added.
- The $1.00 per drink tip for bartenders ~ sorry pal, it just doesn’t cut it, especially if a guest is eating a meal at the bar and the bartender is tipping out the barback runner.
The amount of the gratuity percentage is left to chance. The most appropriate phrase that best describes this situation is that your tip is “left in Gods hands.” Entombed and shrouded strictly within the confines of the guests personal integrity and ethics.
The Crosshairs ~ The only emotional salve I am able to offer servers in dealing with this murky situation is that your integrity and ethics must rise above that of the guest you serve. You are duty bound and expected to provide outstanding V.I.P. service for everyone without exception, in hopes that you will be rewarded accordingly. It’s a horse race. You win some and you lose some.
This reminds me of what George Carlin once said, “I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find out there isn’t. Than live my life as if there isn’t, and die to find out there is.”
Comments always welcomed!
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