This subject has been on and off in my mind lately. I feel that maybe a few people can relate and give me their opinion on the matter.
I live in Texas, a right to work state
. I have part/full time job at a restaurant as a
waiter while going to school, the pay is $2.13 an hour including tips. Business has been slow lately and the work I have to do while on the clock
keeps building up. Aside from taking care of my guests and tables, I have to perform clean up, running duties, and busting my own tables. However, I
don't mind these duties at all, they keep me busy and on my feet.
Average payrate for waitstaff
At the end of the day, I have to pay a percentage of my sales to the host and the guy who makes my drinks at the bar. This is called tip out. The
hosts get paid five dollars and some odd cents an hour, including the tip out from the servers. When I started, the servers tipped out 2% of their
sales to the hosts and bar guy, about 1 year later, they changed it to 3% of our sales. The reason? When the waiters tipped 2%, they rolled the
silverware (rolling up forks and knives in napkins to prepare to set on tables for customers), they changed it to 3% because the hosts were now
That is 3% of our SALES, not our tips, which means if a patron pays a $50 tab and does not tip, the waiter is now in debt. The waiter who served that
patron has to pay $1.50 to the company at the end of they day every time a patron does not tip (which is not uncommon). There's nothing you can do
about not getting tipped, some servers would not be able to stomach the fact that they now owe the company money for WORKING and told the manager on
duty about their situation. The response, if one were lucky enough to get one.."You should have been a better waiter then!" What ended up happening
was that the hosts/hostesses were making more money than the waitstaff. They were making 5 dollars an hour PLUS our tip out, which on a average day
would be 6 to 12 dollars per waiter. In the restaurant, moving from a host/hostess to a waiter/waitress is a PROMOTION.
When this new policy was put into affect, there were mixed feelings. A few were glad, they didn't have to roll silverware anymore, at the cost of a
percentage of their sales. They later learned that silverware rolling is a mere inconvenience compared to the risk and loss of their hard earned
money. The rest of us were infuriated and asked the management why they did this. Their answer was "It helps to promote "teamwork". There was no
questioning it, no objecting it. It was the new rule, like it or not. We saw a shift in waiters/waitresses going back to being hosts/hostesses, and
seeing a huge turnover rate with the wait staff. The company just hired more and more waitstaff suffocating the existing crew's already suffocating
assigned work hours. Who wouldn't want to be a host/hostess? They made more in 3 hours then the average waiter/waitress made a day (a few cases
literally with some servers only working 3-4 hour shifts due to scheduling) at the store. I remained vigilant, I saw this as unjust, I would not
partake in such a scheme. However, I felt/feel cheated, the more I buried it, the harder it fights to get out.
I ask you ATS, do you think it was to promote teamwork? The way I see it, they needed a job done, they had the labor, but did not want to pay the
extra money for the work being done. As a result, they took it from the server tip percentage, this way, they didn't have to change the pay rate at
all. One percent may seem small, but when a waiter is selling 40-150 dollars worth of food for 8 hours a day, that 1% starts becoming more and more of
a big deal as they get more and more business. At the same time, the risk of losing money becomes greater in the off chance that you get stiffed(not
tipped) or tipped a percentage that's very low. Why take that extra 5-10 dollars from someone who makes $2.13 an hour and give it to someone who makes
$5.52 an hour PLUS a tip out?
When a waitstaff member gets their paycheck, a portion of they money they made are deducted from said paycheck. The average waiter will get a check
ranging from $0 to $50. I never knew you could get a $0 dollar check, until I started working at my current place of employment.
I think I know what some of you are thinking, "why don't you just quit and find another job?". It's not that simple anymore. I hate to pull the
economy card but jobs are hard to come by, I live off of 10 dollars a day, the rest I save up for rent, bills and books. This applies to almost all
the waitstaff and crew working at the business. I literally cannot afford to miss a day of work. I have applied to other places and businesses but
none are hiring or conflict with my classes. I will not trade give up my education, but I am not making enough of a living to keep it flowing. I am
trapped, therefor I feel like a servant.
Looking at the bigger picture, 1% in my case is the thorn in the elephants foot.
My question is, does this come off as a form of Indentured Servitude
? Is it right that a
large population of our country is in the same situation? Is anyone else a waiter/waitress that experiences the same, or feels the outrage I do?
Note: I do not post this seeking sympathy or to insult anyone who works in this industry. In addition, I am not scrutinizing the different positions
of employment at said work place. I respect all my work partners and I accept that they are just trying to survive like me. If anyone reads this and
feels like I am being unfair in anything I say, please point it out and I will discuss it with you in U2U. Thanks for your time!
Mod Note: I posted this in the General Conspiracies section, please move to the Gray Area if this does not belong in the current section. Thanks!
edit on 27-1-2011 by LeTan because: Changed some text that implied past tense feelings on matters to current opinion.
27-1-2011 by LeTan because: Fixed typos and grammar.