Restaurant wants you to also tip its kitchen staff


I really think tipping has gotten out of hand. Pay the staff a livable wage. Make the tip actually mean something again.


Are they going to post the hourly salary of the kitchen staff, and an indication of how many people in there worked on my meal, and how much time?

Or maybe they could just pay all their own damn staff real salaries, and I can pay for the food, the preparation, the service and the location as part of the bill.

If I order my steak rare, can I get a discount?


Most places just force the waitstaff to tip out the kitchen, hosts, bartenders, etc. Which at least in the case of the kitchen is actually illegal.


So, uh, if I’m paying the wage of the service staff, and the wage of the cook, why the hell does the food cost three or four times what I would pay at a supermarket?

I demand itemized bills. A line item for renting the table for an hour, a line item for fuel used to heat my food, a line item for air conditioning, electricity charges for lighting, and a listing of actual costs for the uncooked food.


I keep meaning to get a degree in Restaurant Management solely for the purpose of figuring out proper employee compensation when I dine out, but sadly the rest of my life keeps getting in the way.

As a favor to me and to people like me, just until we all become experts in the business side of the culinary arts whose psychic powers enable us mystically to know how well the kitchen staff are paid, how many of them there are, and whether they’re really super-duper diligent - until that blessed day, how about the restaurants pay them fairly and put the expense on our bill?


When I worked in a restaurant the wait staff were paid the low rate and expected to get by on tips. The kitchen staff, which included me, were paid the non-tip salary. That is, most of us were paid the minimum wage at the time.

So is the pay for the kitchen staff also being cut, forcing them to depend on tips? Maybe this is standard at restaurants, but I hope not. The other night on a pizza box I noticed a note that said, “Tip your driver for great service.” If I could have replied I would have said, “How about I tip the driver because we have an insane system that allows you to not pay them enough?”


Years ago I had a friend making six figures as a waiter at a high end restaurant. He said an important part of success at his job was getting along with kitchen, busboys, etc… And a big part of that was seeing that they got a fair cut of his tips.

I imagine it’s different at Mom’s Kitchen. In either case, the customer pays for food and service, no matter what convoluted system is in place for arranging that.


I don’t get it. Waitstaff are paid far below minimum wage, and we are expected to make up the difference by tipping. Kitchen staff are paid minimum wage or maybe more. This doesn’t seem terribly fair.

Also, the kitchen staff never actually see the receipt. I’m sure no restaurant owner would just pocket that extra revenue. That would be wrong.


Correction: headline should read “Restaurant wants to ensure SteampunkBanana never goes there”

I tip the serving staff because the system screws them. The solution is not to start letting the system screw the kitchen staff too.


There is just enough room on that receipt to write “Why don’t you just pay your employees Pollack? You fucking creep!”


Wouldn’t it be more credible to, you know, ask the waitstaff that question?


I gotta say I sooo much prefer the European system whereby you get the bill and that’s what you pay.


Pardon me while I run off and modify our e-commerce system to accept “gratuities” for the Art Director, the Instructional Designer, the Research Assistants, the…


Absolutely! If tipping was just a courtesy, that’d be a different matter, but tipping in the US is (morally) compulsory because minimum wage law lets restaurant employers underpay their servers even more than they would anyway. I understand the people in the back are screwed over too, but the ideal solution would be to fix wages, not expand tipping. Besides, “your cost of doing business is not my interest or my problem” is my attitude toward buying things. I don’t really want to know restaurant labor costs anymore than I want to know what their weekly poultry bill is. I just want to exchange currency for the end good and service. Ideally all taxes and fees would be built in the cost too, but I’ve learned it is actually illegal in some US states to do this.


Which is also the system in much of Asia, Australia, New Zealand…


Alimento chef-owner Zach Pollack came up with the idea after losing two of his best line cooks to higher paying gigs. “They couldn’t make it work on their end, and I couldn’t make it work on mine—this is a small restaurant,” he says.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure “can’t afford to compensate employees at a competitive level” is a sign that your business is failing… what’s so special about this restaurant that guilting the customers into making up for a bad financial situation is a viable solution?


Higher paying gigs, gigs the might lead to becoming chefs in their own right, gigs with more intriguing work, opportunities to work closer to home or a better schedule, frankly there’s a lot of stuff you might actually mean when you tell your boss you’re leaving for a higher salary. I left my last job for a number of reasons and salary was not my main concern.

I mean, in the end, we are talking about line cooks here, right? Not sous chefs? Not line supervisors? Line cooks are kind of the starting point for a lot of kitchen careers, there’s no shame in having them move on from you, there’s a million reasons they might want to go.


Perhaps relevant:

I’ll just add to the chorus of people who wish that wages were higher and tips weren’t “mandatory”.


Yeah, I worked as a dishwasher in 1995 at a place like that. I got $7 an hour plus 3 of us split 1/8 of the waiters tips. Usually $25 to $50 each a night.