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woodysbrew
11-20-2014, 09:35 AM
We are about to open a 96 seat brewpub with most of the serving area being a "bar" area and a small amount of more intimate dining. It is 75% bar style and 25% quiet/intimate style. We are trying to figure out staffing and tipping. Our ideas: BOH gets no tips but may be offered a bonus program, servers and bartenders keep their own tips but give 20% to bussers/dishwashers.
What are your thoughts and what are the legalities of this type of thing in CA? Anyone have a good system?
How many servers per table and how are sections designated?
Any scheduling tips?
Any books that you would recommend for some help?

Thanks in advance!

mashpaddled
11-22-2014, 11:23 PM
You run into all sorts of potential problems with mandatory tip pool policies, especially considering Ninth Circuit decisions on the FLSA and your state's more generous labor laws. Strongly recommend you work with an employment lawyer in your area to craft that policy. The cost of hiring counsel to do it right up front will be considerably less than suffering under a DOL or CA LWDA audit, not to mention the litigation and/or administrative penalties for violations.

kevin varner
11-23-2014, 11:32 AM
I do not know if CA has any specific rules about tips or not, however, my understanding of the IRS rules is:
An employee that receives tips can tip out another employee that typically receives tips directly from a customer but not someone who does not typically receive tips from a customer. For example, a server can be required to tip out a bartender but not a busser. In a new business, follow the rules from the beginning because it is much more difficult to change your system once the kitchen staff are accustomed to getting tipped out every night. Of course you need to verify the rules yourself.

gbrower
11-24-2014, 06:40 AM
When doing tip out you need to make sure that employees that get the money from the servers are directly related to the income of the server. It would also be a good idea to tip out based on sales and not income because the quality of the server doesn't directly impact the workload of the other staff. As far as the amount, 20% of income is very high. 3% to bar and 3% to bussers is more common here but minimum wage for servers is $2.25 here.

Bartenders have there own bar guests and will have to sacrifice time to make drinks for the servers. Sometimes servers might do a lot of tasks for the bartenders that should reduce the amount of tip out. Also if bartender have tables there tip out should be reduced. Servers will almost always end up getting waters and pre-bus these tables.

Bussers help servers turn tables and incentive to clean tables quickly helps a little. Bar tables don't really turn like dinning. Dining tables should turn every 60-80 min. But with a heavy bar atmosphere I would expect this to be even longer. Your bar area will take even longer. I worked at a sports bar that had 2-3 hour turns but it also was gigantic and large server sections. Every place I have worked out has tipped out bussers but I personally feel they should just be hourly. Bussers should only work volume shifts so max 4 hours on a busy night. Its hard to ask a server to give a busser $15 when they only wiped down 10 of there tables.

BOH Dishwashers and other kitchen staff should always be hourly employees. Bar dishwashers should just be bartenders or your bar back.