Waiting on a tip that never comes…

10 Aug
Galley on the tanker 'Aluco' - from Flickr Commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/twm_news/16104487498

Galley on the tanker ‘Aluco’ – from Flickr Commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/twm_news/16104487498

There’s a mild furore right now over the revelation that restaurant chain Pizza Express takes an 8% charge on any tips that are made by credit/debit card. Leaving 92% of the tips with the waiting staff. Sure, it is cheeky that the profitable chain should be ‘creaming’ off money that isn’t for the food, but does it really merit the outpouring of sympathy of waiting staff that the press is giving us?

But it goes further. According to the BBC, most restaurants use a “tronc” system “where all the tips are collected together and distributed evenly through the staff, usually with around 70% going to the waiters, and the rest given to kitchen and other workers”. Hmm. I’m not a mathematician, but that isn’t an even distribution of tips – 70% for waiters, 30% for chefs, dish washers, kitchen porters and their ilk? ie. those that do the bulk of the hard work in a restaurant business.

My first proper paying job was as a kitchen porter. I worked for a certain 5* hotel near Cultra in County Down named after a Scottish battlefield. Often we were in before the waiting staff, and we were still there hours after they went home, clearing up the shit that everyone else had left. And in all my time there what was the sum total of tips that was offered to me? Zero. Zippo. Zilch.

We worked our asses off on minimum wage, running round the kitchens clearing, cleaning, and trying to avoid the high-tension-led grief that easily spread from all quarters. Meanwhile the waiting staff swanned in, picked up their dishes and walked the short distance to their customers, all the while dressed in nice suits.

For this I am meant to feel sympathy for the waiting staff? They’re on minimum wage – boo hoo.  Its a relatively easy job, and they expect to get tips on top of that for simply smiling? My heart bleeds.

There’s nothing that upsets this former KP more than hearing a waiter complain about a tricky customer on table 3 while they waffle on about the 60 quid in tips they’ve received that evening while you’re actually on minimum wage and unlikely to be home before 3am, after you’ve scrubbed the gutters and degreased the fryer, and lost the will to live.

KPs are the lifeblood of any restaurant business. They ensure there are clean surfaces and utensils to work with; they’ll have them scrubbed and ready for re-use every five minutes if they have to, and they’ll not complain about Chef being too fast or slow. They keep your restaurants clean so you don’t fail your health inspections, and they make sure the food is ready for the waiters to deliver, and clean up again when everything’s returned. We do the bins so you don’t have to.

So seriously, stop whining you ungrateful gits.



One Response to “Waiting on a tip that never comes…”

  1. TheCareerHero.com August 11, 2015 at 10:42 am #

    Thank you for this great article!

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