The great tip debate: Who gets what

By Michael Busch, founder of Valiant Restaurant Division

When someone provides a service, you may choose to leave them a tip as compensation or reward. Generally speaking, the better the service the larger the tip.

That's not always the case, however. Take the headline-grabbing Starbucks tip-sharing case.

A bit of background is in order: In 2008, Starbucks was sued in Manhattan federal court by two former baristas for including shift supervisors in their tip pools. Later, a group of assistant managers sued in the same court, claiming they were illegally excluded from said tip pools.

On June 26, the state's highest court resolved the matter, allowing Starbucks baristas to include shift supervisors in tip pools while excluding assistant managers.

Michael Busch

Judge Victoria A. Graffeo wrote: "An employee whose personal service to patrons is a principal or regular part of his or her duties may participate in an employer-mandated tip allocation arrangement" under state law, "even if that employee possesses limited supervisory responsibilities. But an employee granted meaningful authority or control over subordinates can no longer be considered similar to waiters and busboys."

In essence, the court is saying that the role of shift supervisor is not managerial enough to warrant exclusion from tip pools, whereas the role of assistant manager is.

Suddenly, that seemingly quaint and innocuous tip cup is a hot-button political item being legislated in the highest courts!

Some "hospitality industry groups" are saying that 42,000 businesses in New York State will be affected. We disagree, since the decision will only affect establishments that pool tips, and most pooled houses have reasonable programs that include employees who service customers directly or assist in that service.

Nevertheless, the decision will certainly have far-reaching effects.

What to do about it all? Here's one suggestion: Don't pool tips; or better yet, put a jar out for each employee with their name on it.

This way, customers and not courts get to decide who to reward for good service, which is how tipping was designed to work in the first place!

Valiant is a provider of payroll and consulting services to the hospitality and restaurant industry.


Related Content

User Comments – Give us your opinion!
Products & Services

Granbury Websites

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/6815.png

6815/Granbury-Websites

Javarama coffee

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/6961.png

6961/Javarama-coffee

Meatballs

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/6789.png

6789/Meatballs

Quad Core Menu Board Media Player - $199

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/6679.png

6679/Quad-Core-Menu-Board-Media-Player-199

Restaurant Digital Signage Advertising Network

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/6691.png

6691/Restaurant-Digital-Signage-Advertising-Network

Online Ordering

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/5931.png

5931/Online-Ordering

PeopleMatter SCHEDULEā„¢

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/4628.png

4628/PeopleMatter-SCHEDULE

MVR Reports

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/MVR_Report_iix.gif

1252/MVR-Reports

PCI Compliance Managed Network Services

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/4123.png

4123/PCI-Compliance-Managed-Network-Services

Group Purchasing Services

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/6403.png

6403/Group-Purchasing-Services

Digital Menu Boards and ROI
Fast Casual Executive Summit
Request Information From Suppliers
Save time looking for suppliers. Complete this form to submit a Request for Information to our entire network of partners.