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Restaurants split on tip-sharing policies

2 min read

Restaurant and Foodservice

This post is by SmartBrief’s Linsey Isaacs.

SmartPulse — our weekly reader poll in Restaurant SmartBrief — tracks feedback from restaurant owners and managers about current trends and issues.

Last week’s poll question: Is there a tip-sharing policy in place at your restaurant?

Yes — 45.71%
No — 48.57%

While federal laws state that dining tips are the sole property of the server, tip pools are allowed, and restaurant owners can determine when gratuity should be shared. A new bill in Maine seeks to follow this design and allow local owners to enforce a tip pool, touting its economic strengths, but Maine workers are distressed by the potential legislation and wonder who should control employee tips.

It seems that some employees are up for sharing and controlling their own tips, but without proper distribution guidelines, they fail to create a pool. In New York City, a new hospitality wage order that will allow employers to mandate a tip-sharing policy  requires strict regulation, according to this blog post. Owners must keep easily accessible records of the tip distribution percentage for the staff, although the arrangement is determined by the employees. The policy must also be presented to staff in writing. This should help hosts, servers and other employees split gratuity fairly while preventing wage negligence on the owner’s behalf. The order specifies that the owner and management cannot receive tips from the pool — it is for foodservice workers only.

Darden Restaurants recently announced it is enforcing tip-sharing policies in effort to trim labor costs. The new policy will set percentages and level the playing field for all employees, Darden says.

How does your restaurant share tips among employees?