By: Ivana Romero, Member-Candidate, J.D. Candidate, May 2020, St. Thomas University School of Law.

The tipping system is different in all restaurants. Some restaurants allow for a server to personally choose how much to tip the busboy or dishwasher, but most restaurants automatically make the server take out a portion of cash from the sales the server made in their shift. The percentage is taken from the amount a server sold to each table; no matter the total of tips a server made from those tables. If a server didn’t receive tips from all of his or her tables, the server would still need to tip out to the restaurant. Is the server than making at least the minimum wage?

To elaborate, this isn’t an everyday problem for a server, but it does occur often in the restaurant business. When tipping is made to be a customer’s choice, but for the server to tip out isn’t; the server ends up losing double the money. If the server doesn’t make a tip on a table, the server would still need to tip out on the sales from the tables check. Some customers overtip, some under-tip, and others don’t tip at all; whether they received good service or bad service. The minimum standard tip is fifteen percent. But shouldn’t the minimum standard be for adequate service and then anything above be for good or outstanding service? For bad service, a customer should still have to tip a minimum of ten percent, especially if a server has to automatically tip out to the bus boy or any other tipped employee. If the restaurant doesn’t want to mandate this on the customers’ checks, then they should calculate the percentage they take from the server on the tips the server made, not on the sales the server had for the day; but to do so is easier said than done.

To resolve, not every customer tip’s properly, making it collapse on the server. Yes, the customer is there to receive service, but not everything should descend on the server, even if they are the face the customer sees, and the restaurant especially should know this. The restaurant should find a way to regulate the tips a server makes because the server needs to make a minimum wage. The policy now makes this difficult and an injustice to the server. The tipping policy in restaurants should be modified to help the servers make tips since they earn their wage through those tips. The servers should not have to give up their tips from money they didn’t make.