Tip envy


Yep. Bar tending pays better than pizza maker. So does carpenter, plumber and 100s of other jobs that take more skill than pizza maker. If the guy is a good bar tender, give him shifts as they are available and allow him to change jobs and hire a new pizza maker. If you hold people back you loose them. If he is not a good bar tender, tell him the job is not open right now and that pizza maker pays $8 per hour and you are happy to have him.

It is possible to get front of the house staff to tip out the kitchen by policy. It goes a long way in addressing this issue. In several places I worked over the years this was done. My favorite system was where wait staff and bar tenders tipped out $2-4 per kitchen person so the cooks got about $20 each (big busy place) AND front of the house staff NEVER let a cook buy a drink.

Transmissions aside, Bodega man hit it on the head. If this guy is an ‘eagle’, then find a way to maximize his talent and desire to achieve if at all possible. Eagles are self-motivated, high performing, soaring kinds of people you want to keep in your operation, and build on. If he’s a duck, or there simply is not a venue for advancing/accomodating his desires, then let him know that too. Having a straight up talk can alleviate a lot of potential frustrations and feelings of resentment that you might be holding him back.

Tipping back is another great tool he mentioned. Some workplaces de4spise it, while some thrive within it. If the kitchen staff provides speed and quality products to the servers, then their tip prospects go up. Just watch a tips dive when average food comes out in lagging times. It really is 'enlightened self interest" for tipped staff to bump back a little ditty to the kitchen. If not enlightened, then possibly a policy exploration is in order.

If this guy is ultimately motivated by money, then see what you can do to keep good ones. You will eventually run out of money to pay him higher, and he will seek greener wallets. It is a fact of life when we aren’t at the top of the food chain. Be prepared for it and know it will come one day.

I encourage the drivers to contribute to the kitchen staffs tip jar if they have a good night. How it is recieved depends on the personality of the driver, some do, most don’t. A reasonable driver will realize that whan they are having a good night, lots of runs, doubles and and an occasional triple, the kitchen staff are working their butts of for virtually the same money as a slow night. On the same busy night, the drivers actually do less physical work in the store because they are in the car, listening to the radio, on the way to get a tip. (and yes I run about 40 deliveries a week so don’t try to tell me how hard it is.) On the flip side, on a slow night, the cooks have a lot less stress and physical work but earn the same money. On a slow night drivers still make min wage or better and don’t stress the tranny in their car too much.

As far as large orders go, I deliver almost all of them and the tip goes to the kitchen. If there is no tip, I will throw some in anyway. As far as whose deliveries they are,all deliveries are mine! I assign them to the person I want to take them. If a driver has a problem with that they can either adapt or leave. My newest driver has been with us for over 3 years.

I encourage all of my cooks that are of age to get me their insurance info so I can get them on the insurance to drive. In my ideal world, all of my employees would be able to cook and drive. Maximum cross training is the way to go. I can not stand it when there are orders to be made and I have 2 drivers hanging at the cut table looking at tickets while the cooks try to catch up. And conversly, when there are deliveries to go out and the kitchen is fully caught up, it would be nice if all my cooks could grab a bag and go rather than stuff aging in the rack after an unexpected rush.


Stick with what you do best… building a ‘bar’ business that serves a little food. I know of a couple of very successful little ‘pizza’ places that make their bank roll from the bar (full bar). They are a BAR that serves some pie from time to time, not the other way around. Explain that to the cook, and encourage him to ‘learn’ and ‘watch’ the experienced bar tender. On a different note, I hope you know how to keep a good tab on the bar operations.

Have you ever thought about renting out the kitchen??
If you’re good at the bar, do the bar. Have someone rent the kitchen, buy the food and make the profits off the food, or a percentage there-of in lieu of rent.

Just my two cents.
Unfortunately, that’s all I have…two cents.

I totally agree with what Greg posted above. A good business is like a well-oiled machine, with each gear performing within design limits and complimenting all the other components.

Well put big boy

PizzaBrewer, did you get anything of value before we wandered off topic a bit? Labor management, motivation, reliability, effectiveness and satisfaction are always really tough parts of opperating a business. That is a pretty universal sentiment.

This is pretty common in my store Pizza Brewer - all of my cooks want to be delivery drivers. The response is that they will be considered for a promotion to delivery driver before any outsiders, assuming there is a an opening and they qualify at the time. In the meantime, their job is to make pizzas at the agreed upon rate.

Bodega nailed it I think. My manager makes more than all of my employees, so does that mean they are all entitled to be manager for the day? I make more than my manager, so should he get to take my role and make my salary for a day? I’d say no.

Going back to the original topic at hand…

We have very little tipping other than the odd $1 on an order in my local other than waiting staff at a restaurant. Even in bars we don’t tip people. We do have a few great tippers though this has caused more problems than good and in one case we’ve actually asked the customer not to tip as drivers were going out of their way to get that order and it ended up more hassle for us than it was worth.

Not living in a ‘tipping’ environment I find it hard to understand how people can be naive in thinking that just because they did ‘the end bit’ that the people further up the chain shouldn’t share in some of the tip. And before someone says well what about when the inside staff make mistakes, if they make them that much then thats a much different problem. If as a business owner I took the same attitude when my drivers make ‘mistakes’ then there would be uproar.

In the OP’s situation I’m not sure what you could do now thing are up and running but an official pool may have been the way to go.

I see your point, however, i’d like to add in a bit from my own non-delivery driver experience. In my opinion, the driver earned the tip (if they are a good driver). They are the ones that took the time to make sure all the food made it safely and in good condition. They are the ones that found the customers house, walked up to the house, and personally handed the food to the customer. They are the ones that have to sometimes do their job in the blistering heat, pouring rain, the blowing snow, or on the ice rink slick streets (i have only 1 time in 3 years heard of a delivery getting delayed, and it was only because they couldn’t see well enough to drive). They are the ones that have to sometimes deal with a rowdy house full of drunks or stoners. They are the ones stepping out of the safety shield known as your building to do their job. In my opinion, they deserve the tips they get.

Also, I have also had a couple of drivers share part of their tips with the rest of the staff when they were going out of their way to help the driver get in and out quicker. I have had one driver occasionally share his tips with the other staff if they had a slow night while the driver stayed busy, or if the rest of the staff helped him with the dishes (part of drivers job). I have also had the main staff include the driver in the tip split if the driver was doing extras in the store to help them along.

Our inside crew had a small tip jar on the front counter for walkin/carryout/dine in orders. Any money left on tables or in the jar was split up amongst the staff (usually minus the driver). if we had a wait person that night, tips they got from their tables were theirs only, and the jar was split amongst the rest.

My coworkers (employees) all did a great job of handling the tips issue fairly. Most of the time, the employees were all basically a big family at work, they took care of each other and looked after each other. The only problem I ever had was a greedy assistant manager and driver tried to put a gallon glass jar on the counter to use as a tip jar (at least 10 times larger than the normal tip jar). I had to step in and put a stop to that one.

As for the cranky inside person, what happens if a dine in or carryout order leaves a large tip? I’m guessin the driver wouldn’t get any of that.

In my shop tips belong to whoever got them. I think it is tacky to count someone else’s money.

“The only problem I ever had was a greedy assistant manager and driver tried to put a gallon glass jar on the counter to use as a tip jar (at least 10 times larger than the normal tip jar). I had to step in and put a stop to that one.”

Can’t agree with you there. Nothing wrong with a tip jar on the counter of a carryout place. I have seen a beer pitcher with a sign that read 401K used as well as gallon glass jars. Every carry place in town has one around here. A gallon glass jar with a humorous sign on seems about right.

I can’t see an issue with having a tip jar clearly labelled along the lines of ‘the cooks and kitchen crew’.

In the original post I recall it was a bar? Well people can tip the bar tender or put something in the tip jar or both. Power to the customer to tip whether they believe they get service. Simple!