Are Tip Pools Legal In Florida?
I worked in the service industry for over 25 years before I went to law school to become “a server with a law degree.” During my 25 years I only worked in a tip pool very seldom, and I can tell you I always disliked it (Adel and Sharif). I firmly believe that tip pools are akin to communism; easy for the government/management to regulate but it strangles individual who strives to make more.
That being said, are they legal in Florida? The plain answer is, Yes. However, any participants in the tip pool must contribute their tips to the pool (Maitre D’s); they cannot just draw from it. Or, persons who share from the pool (Bussers, Food Runners) must have more than minimum contact with guests/customers. A service bartender in the kitchen who has no contact with guests cannot participate in tip sharing while a bartender who works the service bar in the dining room may participate.
Many good servers do not like tip pools because they feel they are not allowed to keep the money that they make and must share their tips with other servers who are just phoning it in. My advice to them is; if you do not like the arrangement, then find a restaurant that does not mandate tip pooling because you will be much happier, just like me.