Server Explains How She Has to Pay the Restaurant Money Out of Pocket for Other Employees

Kelly Corbett - Author
By

Dec. 5 2022, Published 6:58 p.m. ET

Here’s one thing you might not have known about some restaurant servers: Depending on where they work, they might have to cough up a small amount of money at the end of their shifts that will go towards the busboys, hostesses, runners, and other workers in the restaurant.

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But what if the server doesn’t make that much money in tips that night? Will they be excused from paying this portion back to the restaurant that goes towards other workers' pay? Nope.

One server just took to TikTok to explain why this practice — known as tip-sharing — is problematic.

waitress serving a couple
Source: Getty Images
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Server explains why tip-sharing screws some people over.

Here's just another reason why you shouldn't undertip your server.

In a series of videos, TikTok user @flabigailfartin explained what tip-sharing is and how it works for servers. As she begins her video, she says: "Yes tip-sharing, the elusive thing that you hear people complaining about on the internet all the time.”

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As she speaks, she shows what looks to be a receipt in the background, but it's actually a written record of her night. On the paper, it shows how much in sales her tables accumulated. It also shows how much she must pay the restaurant back as part of her tip-share duty.

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On this particular shift, she made $2,222.96 in gross sales for the restaurant.

However, as she explains, the restaurant (or rather the computer) then calculates what 3 percent of that gross number is for the tip-share. @Flabigailfartin explains that, in this instance, she owes the restaurant $60. (She also notes that sometimes the tip-share amount isn't exactly 3 percent of the profit she brought in, as certain items like alcohol are not counted toward tip-share).

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Anyway, she has to hand $60 back over. But what if she only made $60 in tips that night?

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@Flabigailfartin explains that it's common for a server to get stiffed, or receive low tips during the night, even if their sales were very high. The problem is that the 3 percent is calculated from a server's sales that night, not their tips. And paying $60 for tip-share could really make a dent in their profit.

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As @Flabigailfartin explains, she only earns $2.64 an hour, which means tips are the meat and potatoes of her pay.

tiktok
Source: tiktok
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In the comment section, many TikTok users from other countries were shocked that this practice is done in the United States.

tiktok
Source: tiktok
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Others asked why this 3 percent wasn't calculated from the server's tips. Some workers suggested that it might be because the restaurants don't want to have to directly take their money to pay the other workers.

tiktok
Source: tiktok

Bottom line: Always tip a decent amount. Budget your money accordingly so you can afford to tip. @Flabigailfartin says that a 20 percent tip is the magic number for servers. If they get 20 percent tips all night, they'll be walking out with a decent amount of money after the shift. But if worse comes to worst and 20 percent is too much, @Flabigailfartin asks that you tip at least 3 percent so the server won't have to owe the restaurant money.

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