Server forced to tip cooks despite only working 2 hours

A recent viral TikTok has sparked debate about fair pay in the restaurant industry and sparked discussion about the practice of tipping.

Tip sharing requires servers to share their tips with other employees, such as chefs and bartenders. The practice is designed to ensure that all employees feel they are getting their fair share. However, as this TikTok shows, sharing tips can also result in some employees falling short.

In the video, TikToker @__heylee__ complains that she’s forced to tip the chefs a certain amount, regardless of how much she’s made. The waitress, who only works two or three hours a day, says she has to pay the same amount as other waiters who work full-time shifts: $25 on weekdays and $40 on weekends.

@__heylee__ The other waitresses work 8 hour days from open to close and make way more money so of course they can tip $25 on weekdays and $40 on weekends. But I come in later and I’m always put in the department that doesn’t do much business because it’s for overflow. I feel unfair and the other waitresses just say “we don’t do much more than you and we still have to tip”. What do you think? #waitressing #waitressproblems #serverlife #foryou #whatdoyouthink #comment #like #share #boost #treated unfairly ♬ O-Ton – Hey Lee

“I only work about 2 or 3 hours a day and I don’t make that much money, so my boss made tipping mandatory [the cooks] $25 weekdays and $40 weekends,” she says. “So now it’s Saturday and I only work 2 hours and it was slow so they sent me home early and they still expected me to cash out $40.”

She adds, “That’s the exact amount of tips I gave, so I went up to her and told her about it, and she tipped me $25, and I just went home at 15. Do you think that’s fair?”

The video quickly went viral and had over 238,500 views as of Sunday, with many users expressing support for the waitress and offering advice in the comments.

One commenter advised the waitress, “If your state is paying you $2.13 an hour, it’s illegal to tip back the house. Look up your state laws and find another server job too.”

Another viewer commented, “Check your state labor laws for tipped employees. In my state, it is illegal to force someone to tip, and untipped employees do NOT receive a tip.”

A third viewer suggested that the waitress shouldn’t pay out the tip and instead let her employer try to deduct it from her paycheck. The commenter advised the waitress to “report wage theft” if her employer tries to do so.

Another user remarked “Girl looking for new job,” to which TikToker posted a video response. In her reply, the server notes that it took her over two months to even find a job, adding that she has to “hang in there and deal with it” because she faces homelessness and needs to save money.

One commenter claimed the boss had an ulterior motive, saying: “Old management ploy, they want you to go.”

In response, the TikToker posted another video in which he mentioned issues with another worker who has worked at the restaurant for over 20 years, speculating that “she wouldn’t be really surprised if they tried to get rid of her.”

The TikToker posted a third follow-up TikTok, replying to a user who said he’s never been forced to tip the chefs, saying: “I agree I don’t think it’s fair and it’s not should be mandatory.”

She went on to describe a recent incident where she didn’t earn enough tips to cover the mandatory $25 tip and asked her boss if she still had to pay it. The boss reportedly said yes, leaving the server to wonder if she was expected to dip into her own wallet to make up the difference.

The Daily Dot reached out to @__heylee__ via TikTok direct message.


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*Initial publication: February 26, 2023 at 1:30 pm CST

Vladimir Supica

Vladimir Supica is a Serbia-based freelance writer for the Daily Dot. He enjoys traveling around Europe, reading non-fiction books and playing with his dog Max.

Vladimir Supica Server forced to tip cooks despite only working 2 hours

Jaclyn Diaz

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