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Server Complains About Having To Tip Out Cooks $25 — 'I Only Went Home With $15'

Photo: TikTok
A server complains about being forced to give most of her tips to kitchen staff

It’s not a mystery that servers value their tips. In most states, tipped employees make a base wage lower than the minimum. So, getting enough tips is crucial for them to make enough money to pay their bills. 

Given how sacred tips are, nothing divides restaurant staff more than splitting tips between different staff members. 

Each business has its rules, some servers keep the whole pot, others give some to their bartenders and bussboys and some, like one TikToker's workplace, insist on giving tips to kitchen staff.

A server says she went home with only $15 after being forced to tip out the cooks $25. 

A woman posted on the video-sharing app TikTok detailing her experience working at a restaurant where management has a strict rule when it comes to tips.

“I work as a waitress,” she said. “When I first started there, we tipped out the cooks 10% of whatever we made.”

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The server said that this rule has since changed.

“Lately, they haven’t been really happy with the amount that I’ve been tipping out,” she said. “It’s been a small amount.”

However, she said that the small amount is due to her not working full-time.

“I only work like 2 or 3 hours a day, and I don’t make that much money,” she said.

She explains that her boss has made it mandatory that she tips the cooks $25 on weekdays and $40 on the weekends. 

On a Saturday, she only worked two hours. There weren’t many customers, so her boss sent her home early.

“[My boss] still expected me to pay out $40, but that’s like the exact amount of tips that I made,” she said.

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The server went to her boss to explain the situation, and they still forced her to pay $25.

So, she went home with only $15 in her pocket from her shift. She elaborated in the video description.

“The other waitresses work 8-hour days from open - close and make way more money so, of course, they can tip out $25 on the weekdays and $40 on the weekends,” she wrote.

She went on to detail how on top of not working as long of shifts, she’s typically working during hours that don’t get a lot of customers.

“I feel like I’m being treated unfairly and the other waitresses just say ‘we don’t make that much more than you do, and we still have to tip out,’” she wrote.

In her caption, she asked viewers of her video what they thought of her situation.

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Some people in the comments support her.

“This seems illegal. I’m a server and have never been made to tip out the cooks. Once in a while a guest will give extra for them but not mandatory,” one user wrote.

“If you work in one of the 43 states that use the Tip credit law then THATS ILLEGAL and I’d be calling the state employment,” another added.

It is unclear if she lives in a state that has a tip credit law. 

Nolo, a legal advice website, wrote that restaurants in states with a tip credit law — meaning that businesses can count tips toward the minimum wage — are not allowed to force tipped employees to give a portion to non-tipped coworkers. 

Others offered insight into why the restaurant may be forcing her to do this.

“Old management trick, they want you to leave,” one person commented.

“Leave go somewhere else. They want you to go. It’s not going change. Worked in a restaurant for 10 years seen it happen all the time,” another user added.

Many more people are calling for her to quit the job as well, others are even suggesting she get a lawyer. Regardless, the consensus among most commenters is that she isn’t getting paid enough for her work.

So, remember, tip your servers well and often. You never know much they depend on your tips.

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Ethan Cotler is a writer living in Boston. He writes on entertainment and news.