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It’s a California thing, …but really?
A while back, California passed a law that Café Managers cannot be salaried in retail chains due to lack of administrative duties (i.e. they work the bar a lot). But no tips either, …Okay, I get that. But now they’re going after the tips paid to the 2nd in command, the supervisors.
What do you think?

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It depends on state law.
When I worked in restaurants tips were alwys considered taxable income and needed to be accounted for by each employee and the employer.
In my opinion, managers who are in control of the operation and thier schedule are professionals and should be on salary, as thier duties are not specific to a time clock. Any hourly employee who is in the service sector and responsible for foodservice customer service is entitled to the tips that they receive for thier actions. The situation is blurred when too many employers try to place service employees on salary without granted them managment authority or responsibility, in an efffort to stretch thier hours without paying them overtime.

It gets worse when business owners who work the bar, take tips!
Spencer, what do you mean when you say. "It gets worse when business owners who work the bar take tips!". I own the business and, at least until business picks up, spend a lot of hours behind the bar. My only compensation at this point is to share in the tip pool with my other employees. Well, that and being able to enjoy a great cup of coffee whenever the fancy stricks.
The law that Spencer is talking about refers to restaurant/full service café owners. It was put into place to prevent a front-of-house Res. Assistant Manager from sharing in Wait staff Tips. Now they are trying to apply it to Starbucks (…and soon Tullys, Seattle’s Best, Peets…).
I think it’s gonna be a world of exceptions if Starbucks does not win the appeal. It will vary on many aspects. How large is your chain? What ratio of time does the owner/supervisor work the floor?
This will go to Pizza Joints, Juice Bars, …it’ll be a mess.
California Labor Law Bureaucrats often shoot small businesses owners in the foot (with good intentions).
Etiquette used to say that the proprietor should not accept tips since he or she has a greater share of the ultimate profits of the restaurant.

This custom is now being replaced by tipping anyone who serves one a drink at a bar. This is for two (or three) reasons. First, it is hard to know if a server is the owner or not. Secondly, it leaves the opportunity for the owner to share tips with another server/employee. Thirdly, and for the wrong reasons, a generous bar tip at a place one frequents may result in free drinks down the line.

Chris, you say you work the bar often. If you are working solo, you are more than justified in accepting/receiving tips. If you are just starting and trying to keep payroll down and working with another person, consider splitting with them and offering them the higher percentage. Whatever you do, don't collect the "lucrative profits" of a shop and double dip in the tip jar.

As the owner of a shop, if I work behind the bar (to replace another barista who would normally be scheduled), I do not collect tips. This has lead to employees clambering to work with me because they have a shared workload and keep 100% of the tips.

One employee, knowing I don't keep tips, has often offered to buy lunch while we're working to make up for this.

For the customer side; unless one knows the proprietor won’t accept a tip, it is always appropriate to offer one.
Here is my delima, what do you all think? I work the bar when i am on shift. I do also open or close the store for the owner and if the sandwich maker or cashier needs a decison I make it. I also do all the coffee profit center inventory and ordering and do all barista training. So when I am on the bar shouldn't i share in the tip pool? No so in the Califfonia ruling because I am an agent of the management! Thoughts?
Brian, I think you are more than justified in sharing with the tips while you're working on the bar.

TECHNICALLY, every employee is "an agent of the management". Each of my employees acts on my behalf if I am not there to provide customer service.

I'm not located in CA, so this does not affect me - very interesting discussion, however.

You need to check your state employment laws. I live in New York State where in no event may the employer (owner) or his/her "agent" share in the employees' tips; an employee cannot consent to the owner sharing in the tips.

So, who exactly is an “agent” of an employer? An owner, officer of the company or a general manager clearly fit the bill and cannot share in tips. But, what about a maitre ‘d? Or, an assistant manager? This is where it can get murky. The DOL has stated that an agent, “does not include a mere supervisory employee who does not have the authority to hire or fire.” This probably comes as a surprise to most owners. Just because a maitre ‘d has “supervisory” responsibilities over the rest of the dining room personnel does not necessarily mean that the maitre ‘d cannot share in employee tips. The DOL will look at each situation on an individual basis, and pay particular attention to whether the maitre ‘d (or another employee) “acts in the place of the owner”, by performing such functions as hiring and firing employees, or other managerial responsibilities such as disciplining and setting wages or work schedules. Simply “supervising” the service of the dining room will not necessarily be enough to exclude an employee from receiving tips.
Chris - in my experience in both retail coffee and foodservice, the employees who are paid hourly and not management are often whom the tips are intended for. Also when these employees are forced to share this tipped income with thuer bosses it becomes a source of frunsteration and negative reinforcement.

As a consumer I tip employees who are hard working, dedicated, enthusiastic, and passionate. As a rule, I do not tip business owners, I tip employees, as I feel the business owner already made his/her profit from the transaction.

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