Separate gratuity options divide restaurant staff

Allowing customers to make separate gratuity payments for kitchen and waiting staff has many restaurant workers at odds.

LA-based restaurant Alimento has recently implemented separate gratuity options on its patrons’ checks, in order to stop its talented kitchen staff from leaving to go to higher paying jobs. However, the move has proved to be a controversial one.

Customers at the restaurant are able to choose whether they leave an additional tip for the kitchen employees, with owner Zach Pollack making the decision after a couple of his cooks left to pursue higher paying gigs.

Speaking to Los Angeles Magazine, he said:

“They couldn’t make it work on their end, and I couldn’t make it work on mine – this is a small restaurant, but at the same time, the servers are walking away with a lot of money.”

Usually, kitchen workers are paid a higher rate than waiting staff in the US. However, frontend employees often make a lot of money in tips, which in the end means that they earn more on average. The typical kitchen worker makes $18,720 (£11,930), while the average waiter earns $24,123 (£15,375).

It is hoped that this initiative will even things out a bit, but many are not in favour of the move, with one chef, Oliver Levius of Pastai in Manhattan, calling the move “overly forward” and “a little tacky”.

Other restaurant workers think it will finally even out the balance between front and backend employees, who are both considered equally deserving, so it may only be a matter of time before it is adopted in the kitchens of Cheshire and London.

Posted by Peter
December 23, 2014

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