Prompting for tipping? Tipped wages

The question was presented to me so I’ll respond.


As you well know the system here in the U.S. is such that the federal government (and most state governments) have allowed stores to use a tip credit against drivers’ wages. To that extent, tips are no longer “gifts for exceptional service” but are now an expected part of the drivers’ wages.

You are definitely wrong about the sharing of tips will all staff. It is illegal (here) to force workers making subminimum wages to share tips with others. I would bet that at some point gregster posted that law, so I will not be searching for it and posting it today.

I do not believe that customers think that the tips are shared with the entire staff. Customers are aware that drivers use their own vehicles, brave the elements, and are subject to robbery on each run. A service is performed when a driver delivers food to a customer in lieu of the customer picking the food up at the store. What I believe customers do not know is that they are supplementing the wages of the driver via tips.

Your culture is different Dave. In the overwhelming majority of cases, there are no extra wages for holidays, weekends, etc. and unlike your government who has set the bar high for wage mandates, here in the U.S. the government has frozen tip credit wages since 1997.

This goes for you and everyone: How do you believe customers would react if they knew that stores can pay a driver a wage as low as $2.13/hr. (federal numbers, states differ) and that their tips are going to pay the wages that the stores will not pay?

“How do you believe customers would react if they knew that stores can pay a driver a wage as low as $2.13/hr.”

People know that. Nobody has a problem with it. They can also do the math on what the drivers actually make and realize it is far better than that.

By the way, in many states tipped minimum is more than double that amount. It is all academic anyway, in most stores, drivers are the best paid employees in the place. In my store they average about $16 per hour and they drive MY car and burn MY gas and there has NEVER been a robery of a delivery driver EVER in this town. If they don’t like the earnings, they should find another job. Enough already.

Good point Steve,

My drivers and CSRs average roughly $20-$30/hr. And even though they are ‘tipped’ their base ranges from $7.25 to $9.00/hr. They also ‘tip-out’ the cooks.

If “people know that” then there should be no concern with reminding them of that upon delivery. In fact, to make sure that everyone knows it, how about printing it on your menus. “Our drivers make subminimum wages because of tip credit laws so please supplement their incomes with a tip.”

Here in my state, the tip credit floor is $2.83. I think perhaps what you meant to say is that shops pay double that amount (meaning $4/hr). If your drivers make $16/hr that is great for them. If you are using tip credit, then they should be making, what, $19-$20/hr? It is indeed academic. After all, mathematics is part of academia.

So you have chosen to provide company vehicles. Great. That eliminates the need to pay mileage reiumbursements and have drivers unable to work because of a car breakdown. That does not excuse the subminimum wages.

There has never been a robbery in your town. That is also great. That does not mean that it will never happen. It happens every day somewhere.

One final note: You mention that in your store, drivers are the best paid employees. Would that be by you or by the customers? Don’t bother, I already know the answer.

I’m not quite sure how you can equate “Steve” making a good point. Your drivers are paid at least minimum wage, and his obviously are not. Since the subject at hand is tip credit/subminimum wages, how do your drivers even fit into the conversation?

Drivers making tip credit wages cannot “tip out” the cooks unless it is of their own volition. So again, what does that have to do with this subject?

I guess I need to post my response over here on this thread now. I didn’t think the other thread was turning into a snarkfest and was actually quite tame and on topic compared to a lot of forums I frequent. The OP was talking about distasteful practices in regards to establishments prompting customers for tips. Tom gave a customer’s perspective. I took it one step further and stated that as a customer I found the entire practice of tipping strange, and as someone who has managed people for over 20 years I find it counterproductive to the whole process of quality improvement and customer satisfaction. But if you really want it tied back to the original post, sure, you’ll lose my business if you prompt me to give a tip.

I’ll let you all toss around the minutia of wages, taxes, and employees earning more than owners. You got my three cents from a customer perspective.

I’ll start off by saying I am new to the ownership aspect of the pizza business, but have been in chain pizza shops since I was 16 (8 years now) and owned my own mom and pop shop for the past year. During my time with the chain shops we employed a split pay system that I personally felt was very fair (especially considering as many others have said, the drivers made even more than I did as a General Manager). Drivers were paid in store minimum wage when they were not on deliveries, as they had to do all the work that others did. When on the road, they were paid $4.23/hr. With the average delivery taking 20 minutes round trip on a single, or 30 on a double, if the customer tipped even $1.5 (which most tip more than that) the driver was up to minimum wage.

I never saw a problem with this because the average driver walked out with atleast a double, and made 3 - 5 dollars per house (so 6-10 per run). That along with their hourly compensation made it along the lines of $8.10 - $12.10 for 30 minutes worth of work (which just involved being courteous and prompt). Our rush drivers (who obviously were on the road more often than not) were averaging compensation of $16 - $24 per hour. Our “sharing” the employee cost with the customer prompted for better overall service because the employee knew that the made their money by delivering excellence, so they did not become complacent.

Bottom line is: If drivers on average thought this was unfair, it would change, because we wouldn’t have stacks of applications for drivers. It is perhaps the easiest job to fill, because of the sheer amount of people who want to do it.

Do be aware that there are hypothetically some who may or may not participate in this discussion who will rage against this mindset, will not give any ground whatsoever, and will hammer their viewpoint irrespective of any discussion or comment to the contrary. Some are carrying a torch/banner of sorts to make sure that every person they can reach will hear and implement their and only their version of business model and store labor economics. No position, suggestion or mediation to the contrary will do anything but fan the flames and encourage more and more shrill rhetorci that may or may not lead to personal attacks and disparagement of other thread participants.

That said, you should hypothetically read and respond carefully and be vigilant to know when the discussion is productive and when it might have turned fruitless. I don’t participate in wage arguments anymore since no new territory ever get covered and a couple people I’ve interacted with have proven not to be into professional discourse to much as carrying out a personal vendetta and agenda to litigate a point of view in this forum.

PPG… they can be required to tip out other supporting staff just like servers do for busboys and bar tenders. So long as they make min wage. Seems like pretty much everyone here concludes that it is only YOU that has ever made a poor tip credit wage. Go figure! They all have drivers that make $12-30 an hour and yes they need to pay for gas and bank a little to cover vehicle use. Oppps…13th oil change tomorrow! :roll:

That my friend is why I regret even starting this discussion. :frowning: I felt it important to point out that when I was a customer I was very put off by the places I went to pressuring me to tip. I don’t know and don’t care what the guy was getting paid an hour. I am not his employer, his spouse or a Department of Labor drone. It was not the server that offended me, but in both cases I listed it is the standard practice of the business. What I wanted to point out was that Ryan’s offended me enough with their blatant solicitation of tips that we have only gone back probably twice in the last few years and then only because we were in a hurry but did not want standard fast food. O’Charlies tip suggestions tweaked a nerve during an otherwise very enjoyable visit.
If you do not like the minimum wage laws and FLSA including tip credit provisions, reimbursement of expenses etc it is not going to be resolved by arguing with each other in this forum. Contact your elected officials. If they are not responsive, work to replace them. No amount of haranguing others on the think tank by any parties here is going to impact what is legal and what is not. I could write 20 pages of crap I dislike about labor laws, the health department, the way unemployment history is calculated and charged etc etc. No amount of criticizing other forum members for their point of view on these subjects will help me out or change any of this. I will in the future attempt to avoid using the word “tip” in any posting. If I happen to slip, somebody please remind me.

I kind of regret the tip/no tip debate also. People are so blinkered into thinking that their way is the only way or the best way.

My last words are these: Being a long-term expat, one common topic among U.S. expats is how great it is to be free from the tipping dance. Everyone loves not having to tip anymore. A common topic among people from cultures without tipping is how much they hate the whole tipping dance when they travel to the U.S.

There is a lesson in that. :wink:

Using your logic we should only print the food cost of each item on the menu and a note saying, It only costs $4 for the ingredients for this pizza so please supplement the wages of the staff, the cost of running the shop and the profit of the owners with a generous donation to the cause.

Really PPG get your head out of the sand and look around. The world is not fair. It never has been and never will be. Those who accept a sub-minimum wage job know what they are getting into. If they are against the practice they are free not to take the job.

I have said it before but will repeat for those who have not seen it. EVERY MEMBER OF MY STAFF IS PAID MORE THAN MINIMUM WAGE. I believe by paying a good employee a great wage they develop into great employees.

How about printing this on the menus: “Our drivers make 2-5X the minimum wage thanks to your tips!”

Every dollar comes from the customer.

People in our culture understand tipping and how it works starting with the fact that the hourly wage for tipped positions is lower.

Employees are free to seek other employment that pays better.

There is nothing unfair or obscured about how tipped employees are paid.

Drivers make good money. There is nothing wrong with the fact that much of it comes from tips any more than for any other tipped work such as waiters, valets or fishing guides.

Another thing I like about the way things work is that the drivers who know the delivery area better and who do not waste time in the store make more deliveries and earn more money due to getting more tips. It is a good system.

Shouldn’t this thread be in the delivery driver forum rather than Think Tank?

"PPG2270 wrote:
If “people know that” then there should be no concern with reminding them of that upon delivery. In fact, to make sure that everyone knows it, how about printing it on your menus. “Our drivers make subminimum wages because of tip credit laws so please supplement their incomes with a tip.”

So if i’m understanding this right,that means that if I pay my employees minimum wage or more I can put on my menus and credit card receipts “Our drivers make above minium wage so tipping is not neccesary!”

You thought you were making a good comment didn’t you? Bodegahwy uses company cars and pays his staff aboe minimum wage . . . I think it is amusing to think about printing the bit about “Our staff averages 3 times minimum wage thanks to your generosity” . . . except that it would kneecap good quality employees out humping it to make a good return. Just spiting a short-sighted argument is not a good reason to undercut their efforts in a functional system that everyone agrees to work under.

We also have company vehicles that our employees use.

All in all this is a tired topic that we beat to death a couple of times per year. Maybe we are done for this time around?

I think this thread should be in Delivery Driver Forum rather than TT.

Here is the problem with the argument. PPG2270 you are looking at this from the point of view that since a change in the laws, the drivers have lost $$$ per hour. Those owners who pay the tipped minimum wage are paying what the law requires. Whether that is fair or not is open to individual interpretation. The realization that there is a system that allows for two different minimum wage levels and the acceptance of the fact that it is lawful to pay those two different rates will point in one direction for correction. That direction is of course the legislators who have the ability change the inequity, be it perceived or real. The two minimum wages are not equal but perhaps they may be equitable in the eyes of the law. Since it is lawful that is all that can be said here.

There have been accusations by a few posters in the past of owners being greedy because they have taken the lawful route in this issue. As an owner it is of utmost importance to do two things obey the laws that have been established by legislators and make a profit. No one can fault them for doing either.

A final note this forum should be a place of intelligent discussion not a place for name calling and innuendo by any of the members.

This thread has been edited and locked. As Daddio stated above, please use the Think Tank as a place for constructive discussion instead of a forum for arguing.

Thank you,
Liz Barrett
PMQ Pizza Magazine