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Restaurant tip out-Texas

On Lawyer & Legal » Employment & Labor Law

6,565 words with 11 Comments; publish: Sun, 15 Jan 2006 01:51:00 GMT; (800187.50, « »)

I am a server in a fine dining restaurant in Texas that requires servers to tip out 5% of their sales each night. The standard is usually 3%. This is said to go to support staff, busboys, bartenders, and food-runners. Well, we are always understaffed in the support staff while there are always more than enough servers. On an average night, we sell $15000 worth of food and wine. That means we are tipping out $750. We have 4 busboys that make $50 for the night tops, 3 bartenders that get paid a flat rate of 10 dollars an hour, and 1 food runner that gets paid a 10 dollar flat rate as well. Lets say the flat rate people worked 6 hours, which is a generous estimate. Thats a total of $440 of the $750 that is being paid for help. Is that legal for the employer to take that much of a profit out of employee tips? Shouldn't they have to pay these employees a base wage in addition to the tip out? The servers are paid $2.13 an hour, plus tips. But 1/3 to to 1/4 of our tips are taken and "distributed". I read an earlier post that said they couldn't pay us that wage unless we got to keep all of our tips??

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  • 11 Comments
    • I haven't read that exact regulation, cmc, but I'll take your word for it. ;) Having said that, the OPs situation of 5% would not be either illegal or unreasonable.
      #1; Thu, 13 Jul 2006 16:12:00 GMT
    • You are making over $40/hour for 3 hours work. Not bad, for a complainer:rolleyes:
      #2; Mon, 01 Dec 2008 05:41:00 GMT
    • Then you're probably going to have to contact the federal Dept. of Labor to get their detailed definition based on your particular situation.

      1-800-4USADOL

      #3; Mon, 16 Jan 2006 13:27:00 GMT
    • I've got a couple concerns of my own and I'm not sure where to address them but this looked like a good place. Just want to know if THIS is legal.

      The restaurant I work for requires this tip out.

      4% On food sales for Host/Hostess. food runner, busboy. ( 4% goes into a pool)

      7% On alcohol sales for Bartenders (ALL alcohol wine included goes to the bartender pool)

      We have an "event" coordinator like a party planer that gets tipped out 3% of the TOTAL sales of the bill. i.e. 1000$ sales = 30$ from the server to that person.

      Big example. Working a party for 3 Hours (10 person party). the tab is

      $1000 ($700 in food sales $300 in alcohol)

      $200 (Thats the automatic grat at 20% for "event" parties only)

      So the tip out is this

      700 x .04 = 28

      300 x .07 = 21

      1000 x .03 = 30

      Total of = 78 is being tipped out.

      200 - 78 = $122 thats how much i'd make of that party IF i was alone. not say it was 15 people and then they had to have two servers on it.. then that 122 would be divided by two and each server would make 60.5.

      My point is that you are making 61% of that actual tip.. if you were alone and 30.5% of the tip which is completely absurd. if it was a flat 5% say I would make 150$ and I would be satisfied with that because i'd be making 15% of the actual sale.

      #4; Mon, 26 Mar 2007 08:44:00 GMT
    • I don't know what you read that said an employer was required to let you keep all tips. Texas law provides for "tip pooling", or "tipping out", for tipped employees.

      A tipped employee is anyone who receives $20.00 per month or more in tips. Tipped employees are entitled to $2.13 per hour plus tips for all time worked, and if the total compensation is less than the minimum wage of $5.15 per hour (for all hours worked), the employer must make up the balance out of pocket.

      It's not much guaranteed, and it's an old threshhold, but it's still the law.

      #5; Sun, 15 Jan 2006 13:27:00 GMT
    • Patty,

      5% of our sales is 25-50% of our actual tips.

      We are not tipping 5% of our tips, but 5% of our sales, which we get tipped approximately 15-20%, sometimes less, sometimes more, but on average 15-20%.

      If we get tipped 15% and we tip out 5% of the bill, that is 33% of our tip that is being taken.

      So by the previous posters statement, it would fall beyond the 15% rule, which I have never seen either.

      The standard 3% of sales that most restaurants take is seemingly going up everywhere because of a lack of proper tip-share laws.

      #6; Thu, 28 Sep 2006 21:53:00 GMT
    • OK, then, having said that, I would agree that 5% of sales would be "unreasonable". Contact the Texas Workforce Commission or the federal Dept. of Labor.
      #7; Fri, 29 Sep 2006 04:40:00 GMT
    • I've seen this response, unfortunately, it seems to be the only response to employers pooling tips. I guess it is legal for them to take as much as they want as long as the server meets minimum wage requirements? So if they wanted to take 10% and keep even more money from the servers tips and not distribute it to tipped employees, they could do that as well?

      I don't have a problem with tip pooling if it is paid out to tipped employees, but if the employer is keeping a piece, where is the line drawn? Is there even a line? Do owners not take more only because they wouldn't be able to get people to serve for minimum wage?

      When I first was hired on at this restaurant, they were in the process of settling a labor dispute with several servers. They were charging a dollar a shift for apron usage. Well they paid out thousands of dollars to many employees who had been there for only a couple years. A dollar or two a day for aprons would not add up to that (most people work a max of 8 shifts), and the tipout hasn't changed, so I'm wondering what else they may have been doing. Shortly after that, we would have twice as much labor help, but it has steadily regressed since. Its lose-lose for the servers because the harder we have to work, the less we get tipped, because we can't give quality service without proper support help.

      Any info would be appreciated.

      #8; Sun, 15 Jan 2006 18:28:00 GMT
    • It looks like Texas has no specific laws and refers to the FLSA. The FLSA states that "employees must retain all of their tips, except to the extent that they participate in a valid tip pooling or sharing arrangement."

      I guess ultimately I need to know how 'valid tip pool' would be defined.

      Seems to me that one in which the employer skims would not be considered valid?

      #9; Mon, 16 Jan 2006 01:22:00 GMT
    • Did you perchance notice that this thread started in 2006 and was completed in 2007?
      #10; Mon, 01 Dec 2008 05:48:00 GMT
    • The FLSA states that tip pooling is allowed as long as no employees tips are reduced by more than 15%. I have file a lawsuit against the restaurant I work for in North Carolina for this reason. The state law here says the same thing. In searching the internet I have found many similar cases. It seems to vary from state to state. Some are upholding excessive tip pooling as acceptable. This is not a new complaint, but a lot of legal activity seems to be sprouting up on this issue.
      #11; Thu, 13 Jul 2006 08:45:00 GMT