For all the owners out there: do you take an hourly wage when you work the bar?  What about tips? Do you take money from the employee's tips?

 

I'm interested in hearing about how other shops are structured.

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Kacey,

 

Thanks!  As I work towards reducing labor (which is always a battle for any shop, I'm sure) I find this issue to be a growing concern in our shop.

 

I know that the margins are slim in coffee shops, and I've always wondered how shop owners navigate paying themselves a livable wage while also cutting costs in their shops.

 

Some folks I've spoken with say their incomes come from outside sources. Some of them say they pay themselves a salary.  It seems like a really difficult thing for an owner to decide for themselves.

 

Thanks for the info.


Southeast Grind said:

Good topic. At my cafe I don't find it reasonable for management or owners to take tips. I think that it negatively effects the moral of the employees. Management gets paid a higher hourly wage, therefore do not take tips. When they are working alone they get paid barista wage and take tips. 

 

As the owner I take a set salary and only collect tips when I am the only on one the floor. 

 

The way I see it is that the more money and tips the barista make the happier they will be. I can't afford to give raises right now so I would rather them make more money from tips. This improves the overall moral of the employees which in turn makes the customers happier. I, as the owner, benefit from the business growing. If I'm more concerned with make a few $20-$50 a shift and now the overall growth of the business I feel like my priorities are misaligned. 

 

Hope this helps, just one more opinion :)

 

Kacey

One place I worked had a very small operation. The shifts had two people on bar: usually one staff, one owner. Tips would be split equally and/or fairly at the end of shift.

 

If the combination was always owner/barista on bar. Would you feel comfortable taking 100% of the tips every day? Just curious :)

We don't take a salary. We survive on profits and P/T gigs. Between myself and my wife, we work 8 scheduled shifts/week, most always with one other barista.  Our rule is whomever we're working with keeps the first $20 and we split anything above that 50/50.  Generally speaking, that's a good deal for them - they make more than they would splitting with another barista. We also almost always do the bathrooms and FOH cleaning end of day, which I know they appreciate.

Great discussion, you really do have to check with state laws. I've worked from one end of the country to the other and in various positions in our industry.

 

My personal experience has been that owners and managers only take tips when they are the ONLY person working. A few places I've worked, the owners and managers combined their portion of tips for employee parties, which kept the employees happy.

 

Like others have said here though, it's technically a state law thing and I'm in California where neither owners nor salaried employees are supposed to share in the tips pool.

 

I did a quick Google search of "California law regarding tips" and this was the first result:

Q. I work in a large  restaurant as a waiter. My employer told me that I am required to share my tips with the busboy and the bartender. Am I obligated to do this?


A. Yes. According to a California court, Labor Code Section 351 allows involuntary tip pooling. Therefore, your employer can require that you share your tips with other staff that provide service in the restaurant. In this regard, it’s DLSE’s position that when a tip pooling arrangement if in effect, the tips are to be distributed among the employees who provide "direct table service." Such employees could conceivably include waiters and waitresses, busboys, bartenders, host/hostesses and maitre d’s. Employees who do not provide direct table service and who do not share in the tip pool include dishwashers, cooks, and chefs, except in restaurants where the chefs prepare the food at the patron’s table, in which case the chef may participate in the tip pool. Additionally, tip pooling cannot be used to compensate the owner(s), manager(s), or supervisor(s) of the business, even if these individuals should provide direct table service to a patron.
I take no issue with owners splitting tips if they're doing equal hustling behind the bar on shift. Equal work, equal tips.

Alex said:

One place I worked had a very small operation. The shifts had two people on bar: usually one staff, one owner. Tips would be split equally and/or fairly at the end of shift.

 

If the combination was always owner/barista on bar. Would you feel comfortable taking 100% of the tips every day? Just curious :)

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