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Nov 19, 2008 10:26 AM

Servers (present and former), come in!

Related to a thread in another board, someone was saying they have served in a restaurant where tip-out includes the kitchen staff. I've worked in about 20 restaurants, mostly national chains but a few indies and have never heard of this. Bussers, bartenders, barback, hosts/hostesses, yes. Even one place with "server assistants" who had to be tipped, but never the kitchen.

Have you had to tip out the kitchen? If so, what type of place was it (small indie? etc.)

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  1. Since I'm the person you're talking about, I'll start:

    New England
    Large, Upscale Indies (3)


    1. :) Thx. I really hope some other people respond, I'd like to see if this is done elsewhere. I've only waited tables in OH and CA and it may be different in other parts of the country.

      1. I've worked only 3 places. None had you tip the kitchen. You did have to kick in for any AmEx card run through.

        1. Oakland, CA here....yes, many restos here require a kitchen tip out. Amount varies from place to place. At Oliveto we were "forced" to tip one percent of our gross sales @ lunch and 2% at dinner. This added up to lots of money!!! I understand the rationale, but pay your kitchen peeps more; don't put it on the waitstaff to supplement your cheap-ass-ness. Mostly indy restos do this. I think chains and corporate places would get sued.... Adam

          1 Reply
          1. re: adamshoe

            I have worked in both the front and back of the house. In CA, I was tipped out as a member of the kitchen staff - it wasn't a lot, but it was really nice to get an envelope with $100 in it every month or so. To me it was a huge amount of money at the time.

            Remember, in CA, servers are PAID MINIMUM WAGE. That was the rationale for tipping kitchen staff, because the pay scale was so totally out of whack otherwise. They made almost $10 an hour - before tips! The servers at that restaurant still made easily twice what I did.

            Working in the back of the house in a restaurant is never going to be a highly paid job . . . one of the reasons that I left the field. Restaurants can't afford to pay more . . . and I'm sorry, having been a server, most servers can part with a few bucks. Especially considering that we are talking about the person who makes all that nice food you serve.

            Having been on both sides of the line, I know that neither job is easier that the other - they both have their hassles. But I definitely know which one is better paid. Servers, hands down.

            I have never seen money cross hands from servers to kitchen in MA, the only other state I've worked in.
            (This is all based on my experience of indie restaurants, I've never worked at a chain.)

          2. I worked at a mid level seafood place with a sushi bar in MA. We had to tip out the sushi chef 5% of our sushi sales. Besides that, just bussers and bar.