Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Nov 10, 2009 06:06 AM

Tipping the owner of a restaurant

This post is not related to food, but would like some opinions on it.
Should an owner be tipped by the customer? and Should the owner accept tips from it's staff at the end of their shifts?

Any comments welcomed.

Thank you.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. No and no. A doctor wouldn't accept tips from patients (well, maybe stock tips) and a doctor wouldn't take back part of his employees paycheck, would she?

    7 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      Thank you! I know of a restaurant where the owner does take tips from their wait staff at the end of the shift and see's nothing wrong with it. Plus, takes shifts from the employee's when they are off without asking another employee.

      1. re: BRI328

        The owner should not take tips from his staff.....however, if the restaurant is small, I find no problem with owners accepting gratuities from most cases, the volume is small and all the owner did was buy himself a job. Let's say an owner owns a pub and sells a burger for $5 and a beer for $2. How much do you really think he is making on the check?

        As for taking shifts, or more appropriately, covering them.....he's the owner. If he wants to serve his customers in the bar or in the dining called service. Whether this practice works or not is his decision to make. As long as his present staff does not complain, why should it be a concern of yours. If an employee needs a day off unexpectedly, I'm sure they would appreciate the owner filling in, in a pinch. Maybe there are no other employees he feels is qualified to fill in the shifts of others. I actually admire an owner who is hands on.

        1. re: BRI328

          in this state (mass.) it is illegal for owners or managers to take tips from FOH employees.

          many owners will politely refuse tips from patrons, but not all. personally, i find it tacky to tip, or attempt to, an owner. even more crass to accept. but by this i mean, simply cash in hand. if the owner is waiting tables or behind the bar because it's a start-up or small, then yes, by all means tip.

          1. re: BRI328

            I recently discovered that a local owner was doing this, and a lion's share from what I gathered. They no longer have my business.

            1. re: BRI328

              Assigning shifts is the owner's prerogative. If the owner wants to assign another employee to the shift because someone will be absent, that is his/her choice. If he/she fails to, it doesn't mean he/she "took the shift away". This is a business, not a birthday party.

              1. re: Full tummy

                Actually in this case, the one owner tells the manager they will cover the shift before asking another employee if they are available to cover the shift.

                1. re: BRI328

                  Yes, but it's his/her business, and a business owner has a right to cover as many shifts as he/she wants, whenever he/she wants. The business owner is responsible for whether that business survives, meets payroll, makes a profit. He/she can lay off people, send people home from their shifts, and do all kinds of things to stay in business, as long as no laws/employment standards are being broken. Running a business isn't easy, but sometimes that's hard to see when you're an employee.

          2. I tip the person that serves me, regardless of whether they are the owner or not. Why wouldn't you unless you were trying to get out of tipping? The argument about doctors not taking tips has nothing to do with anything, since doctors don't take tips under any circumstances, whether they own or not.

            1 Reply
            1. re: purple bot

              I agree. I'd tip the owner if he was waiting on me. I'd also tip the salon owner, if he was the one doing my hair.

              I do believe it's completely wrong for owners/managers to take tips from employees. It's almost shameful.

            2. Absolutely not on both accounts.

              1 Reply
              1. re: SusieS

                Thanks to everyone for their replies so far. I greatly appreciate the feed back.

                1. One doesn't necessarily know that the person serving you is, in fact ,the owner. If you didn't know he was the owner you would tip him. Does having the knowledge change the service that was provided? I'll answer "no" and proceed to tip in that situation.

                  (forgive the gender-bias pronouns)

                  I do believe though that, even if working shifts as a server, the owner should not share in any tip pooling and certainly should never demand a % of others' tips.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: HDinCentralME

                    I completely agree with you. I currently work at a restaurant where the owner does takes a percentage of our tips even when he does not serve. The owners idea is "if im here, i receive"

                    1. re: george.morales

                      You may want to contact a wage-and-hour attorney. That practice is blatantly illegal in California, and I believe it's illegal in most other states, too.