Monday, August 07, 2017


Vis a vis Mary’s article in the Pine Cone about kitchen staff surcharges appearing on the diner's bill::

It is illegal in California to pool tips (unless everyone agrees) and it is totally illegal to cut kitchen staff in on dining room tips.
Rich Pepe and David Fink are on the right track, adding a 2% charge.

For a minute let’s look at a pretend restaurant in the sky, trying to be just to all workers.
Let’s just pretend this place is somewhere isolated, away from competitors and regulators….blessed with a certain independence wrought by ten miles of bad road. 
On a slow night in March…..very slow…..let’s pretend there are two highly skilled waitresses, a highly skilled wine steward, and a very experienced but heavily pregnant busser.
In the kitchen might be the owner, two highly experienced and skillful sous-chefs, and a dishwasher comes in the next morning.
Let’s say sales are $1500…..a third of a normal busy night…..probably 30 diners. A lot of staff on duty, but everyone comes at once, so……..
The food and service are good, and rarely is there less than 25% of sales in the tip jar at the end of the night……tonight there might be $377 say.
The waiters work 3-11pm or so, the busser is 4-10, and the wine guy drives a bit and works from 4;30 or 5 until his dinner at 10pm.
The chef arrives at 10am, one sous chef pulls in at noon, the other at 2pm. They all work until midnight, at $16 per hour. The waiters are paid minimum wage, around $10 per hour. The wine guy gets gas money/time, plus minimum.
Legally the wages would be: Wine guy and waitresses would walk with $180 each, the busser with $110. The cooks would get $150 and $192, respectively.
Let’s further pretend that the staff agrees to let the owner….against every law in the state…..divide up the tips. The result might be: wine guy $140 ($28 per hour) waiters $150 ($21.50 per hour), busser $100 ($16.67 per), sous chef A $180 ($18 per), sous chef B, $222 ($18.50 per hour). 
This is a shitty night, mind. Normally everyone would make well over $20 an hour, and the waiters $25-30, or more.
The cooks have been illegally given 18% of the waiters money….$70…..or 4.6% of sales. 
So…..Rich and David are on the right track…..almost halfway there!
And thank God no place like that actually exists!

Notice that the owner has a 41% labor cost, not counting the dishdog. (Not good if you read my previous post.)
And….that is why you see owners washing their own dishes on Tuesday mornings in the winter.


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