Seafood Restaurant’s Tactless Poster Sparks A Debate About Minimum Wage For Tipped Employees In The US

You know, there are still some unanswered mysteries that I think about when I can’t fall asleep at night: how the pyramids were built, whether UFO sightings could be real, what happened to Amelia Earhart, and… why American servers and waiters rely on tips instead of getting a proper, solid, stable wage that’s fully paid by the company they’re working for. Tipping culture continues to baffle me because it puts the financial burden on the customer instead of on the employer, and the one paying the price is the employee.

One brazen example of just how dystopian things can be, is currently making the rounds on the internet. A seafood restaurant in Florida, is under fire for their poster, urging customers to tip servers because they don’t make much money without these tips. “Take care of those who took care of you!” sounds nice until you realize that it’s just a way to dodge responsibility and guilt you out of your money.

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Oh, and here’s the thing—the minimum wage might be rising in the US, but it doesn’t always apply to those people who are classified as ‘tipped employees.’ To be fair, the seafood restaurant also provided some extra context about the poster and claimed that all of their employees are very happy with their jobs and that their actual current wages (tips included) are very good. And while we might disagree with some of the restaurant’s politics, remember, dear Pandas, that it’s an endemic problem, and not the fault of a single business—that’s why we’re keeping things anonymous.

A restaurant in Florida is under fire for this poster that’s trying to guilt customers into tipping their servers because the minimum wage they get is very low

A customer called the restaurant out in a recent post on Facebook

And the restaurant replied to the allegations

The minimum wage divide is rather unfair to tipped employees. For instance, as of January 1, 2021, Florida’s minimum wage rose from 8.56 dollars to a whopping 8.65 dollars per hour (oh, Dear Lord, imagine all the things you can buy with those additional ten hourly cents!). For reference, the federal minimum wage stands at 7.25 dollars per hour, but states can take it upon themselves to raise it higher as you can see in this handy chart by Statista right over here.

However, the minimum wage for tipped employees in Florida grew from 5.54 dollars to 5.63 dollars per hour. “Florida employers, meanwhile, may still continue to take a tip credit of up to $3.02 per hour for those classified as tipped employees,” The National Law Review explains.

“However, this will not be the only minimum wage increase for 2021. In November, Florida voters passed a Constitutional Amendment which will gradually raise the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by 2026. Specifically, the state minimum wage will increase each September.” The minimum wage (not for tipped employees, though) will rise to 10 dollars per hour on September 30 of this year, rising by 1 dollar per hour every year until it hits the 15-dollar-mark in 2026.
The restaurant’s General Manager fully acknowledges that the tipping system in the US is “a flawed concept,” however, he’s also realistic about the fact that the business needs to survive as well.

“[The tipping system] allows restaurants and bars to pay less hourly to servers and forces servers to depend on customer tips to make a living. I look towards the Canadian system and other European systems as well and I would much rather follow a similar system that pay my servers a living wage that doesn’t require them to depend on tips but such a system cannot happen without widespread reform and I’m sure we all know reform is hard to achieve. Not to mention, increasing server wages is easy but in order for companies to sustain themselves while doing so without laying people off would force us to raise prices drastically,” the GM wrote.

What’s more, he added that the restaurant is a small business and noted that they treat their employees “like friends and family” because it’s a tight-knit local community.

“As far as wages go, servers do start at food service minimum wage which is $5.65/hr but many of our staff have been with us long enough that we’ve given them raises. With that and the tips they currently make, my servers typically make in the ballpark of $30/hr. We also pay our bartenders a good bit above base pay as we recognize their wider skill set and also get a handsome tip out. Our hosts and bussers make well above minimum as well and receive tips and tip out on top of that,” he gave some additional context, adding that “you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone that doesn’t like their job here.”

Here’s how some other social media users have reacted to the guilt-tripping poster

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The post Seafood Restaurant’s Tactless Poster Sparks A Debate About Minimum Wage For Tipped Employees In The US first appeared on Bored Panda.


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