Saturday, August 29, 2009

Restaurant Policies Punish Tipped Employees


Things have been getting busy around the office. With the downturn in the economy, it seems that many restaurant owners and managers are looking for a way to lower costs and bump up profits. Unfortunately, it seems that wait staff and other tipped employees are the first to suffer.

My first thought on this trend is for restaurant management to understand that your most important employees are the ones that have direct contact with your customers. If your front of the house (FOH) staff is unhappy, the image they transmit to the customers is the same and that hurts business.

My second thought on the trend is if you need to cut costs, do not start with staff who are making only $4.23/hr. (the new minimum wage for tipped employees in Florida). After 25 years in the restaurant business I have found that the best way to cut costs is to keep a closer eye on the kitchen. One over-cooked 16oz. NY Strip will set you back $6.50 just for the steak. Put another properly cooked steak on the plate and it cost you $13.00 just in meat to make $15.95.

Although the state of Florida does not have very strong laws to protect hospitality workers, the Federal government does. There are very strict laws as to who may participate in tip pools and the proper rate which needs to be paid for overtime.

The Law Office of Lowell J. Kuvin specializes in protecting hospitality workers rights throughout the entire state. Some of the recent cases we are working on include:

• Servers working at a restaurant were not paid any hourly wages and were required to contribute each week to the money paid to the restaurant cleaning crew.

• Servers at a country club were required to pool their tips in which the salaried management received a large portion.


• Servers at a restaurant were not allowed to clock in until they were sat their first table. They were required to be at the restaurant 1 hour prior to opening and were not paid for doing their set up side work. Additionally, two of the servers claim they were sexually harassed by the kitchen staff and management. When they complained to management they were told to toughen up. SETTLED

If you think the restaurant you work at is breaking the law, please contact our office for free to discuss the issues.

Law Office of Lowell J. Kuvin
22 NE 1st Street Suite 201
Miami Florida 33132

Tel: 305.358.6800
Fax: 305.358.6808
Toll: 888.KUVINLAW (588.4652)
lowell@kuvinlaw.com

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