|Quoting SmittyOne (Reply 92):|
Just so you know, waiters are guaranteed to receive from their employer at least the Federal Minimum Wage, regardless of tips. Which I agree is next to nothing, but the reality is that tips give them the potential to make more than that minimum.
|Quoting DocLightning (Reply 95):|
I was under the impression that the Minimum Wage did not apply to waiters.
Well I have no real interest in religion, but I just had this discussion a week ago.
I am sure it varies by location, but this is a far summary of how it works in my area...
- They are paid less than the normal minimum wage under the presumption that tips (when factored into compensation) will meet or exceed the existing minimum wage.
- If some interval (pay period?) passed in which a server received no tips his/her employer would pay the difference between the "waitstaff minumum wage" and the "normal minimum wage". Obviously "no tips" is an extreme example, but this concept would apply if tips were such that they did not elevate the hourly compensation to that of the prevailing minimum wage.
Essentially waitstaff have a guaranteed minimum wage the same as everyone else. They obviously have the potential to far exceed this amount with tips. When someone in the service industry is complaining because they "make nothing after taxes" it usually means that their hourly compensation is not adequate to cover the taxes due on their tips (and that's only accounting for the tips that they reported on their taxes - which generally excludes cash tips in my experience). Obviously you can do the math, but such taxes would generally be indicative of compensation well in excess of the normal minimum wage.
In terms of pure numbers many servers have very good earning potential (especially accounting for the education/experience required). Many who complain about money in this context don't understand the system under which they are compensated or are being misleading to perpetuate the "plight of the server" story that seems all so common. They make it sound as if they'd prefer the European model of compensation (which I as a customer actually like - especially in a British pub context), but I doubt anyone depending on the job would give up the US tip model... especially considering the taxes that they evade.
For what it's worth, my wife worked as a bartender and server for a long time and still does a few times per year to keep some fringe benefits associated with the employer. I have nothing against waitstaff (and they can improve an experience tremendously). I just don't like complaining... especially when it's done (in my opinion) deceitfully.