Tipping out.


Founder of Cheftalk.com
Staff member
Joined Oct 5, 2001
I am curious what the rate is now day for tipping out by a server? In other words what is the standard percent of their tips that a server must give to the bus boys, and the dishwashers? This was always a point a contention with our wait staff. In generall I think we kept to 10% for the busboys and 5% for the dishwashers. I always felt that the dishwashers should get the same as the busboys but this seemed to be an industry standard anywhere I worked.

What is your tipping out policy?
Joined Sep 21, 2001
This subject is one of the reasons I dropped out of the "cooking establishment", and moved to the mountains years ago. I could never understand why restaurants were set up so that the BOH staff were given a pittance more than the FOH staff, while the FOH staff were making SERIOUS tips, and giving a token amount back to the kitchen. Some of the BOH cooks and chefs were schooled, experienced, tenured, and making significantly less money than some waitperson who was hired because "people think I have a nice smile"! I don't run a "Hooters". People come to MY restaurant for the service and food...
Too many times FOH staff are making the money off the hard work of the cooks and chefs by virtue of being able to bring food from Point A to Point B, without making a total A-s of themselves. So, that is why I haven't hired a single "waitstaff" in oh, 10 years or so. I only hire COOKS. And I train my COOKS the simple task of taking food from Point A to Point B. I also make my COOKS present the verbal menu, which is easy, since they helped prepare the food and have a good idea of its preparation. The COOKS also know the limitations and timing of the kitchen, what is possible to special order, what isn't,and why. When the kitchen is busy, there is always a few COOKS to help over the little push, and when the rush is over, the COOKS bus tables, wash dishes, and keep remarkably busy. I find my COOKS are easy to train and eager to learn new skills. And guess what? WE TIP SHARE! All the money goes back to the people who create the food. I was complimented the other day on how well my team works together. Beacuse of the advantage of tips, I have the highest paid cooking staff in this part of the country. And very low turnover.
I don't believe in keeping people poor. A decent wage for an honorable profession, is too much to ask for?


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
Peachcreek, can I come work for you?! Sounds like a place I would like to work! Nicko, as for tip outs, the last place I worked the tip out was something like 18% to bussers, 15% to runners, and about 10% to bartenders, I believe. It was close to that. Never have I worked in a place that servers had to tip out any BOH person, including dishwashers. I do remember a time, years ago, where if the the server had a great night he/she would share the wealth with the BOH, or at least send a round or 2 of drinks to the BOH after service, but in the last 3 places I worked at that doesn't even happen. Servers have gotten too greedy to remember what this industry is truly all about-the food. And on top of that, they have the nerve to come into the kitchen, bitching as loudly as possible that table eight only left them $50. That is only one table to them and half a night's pay to most of my cooks. I do not allow any server to discuss tips in the kitchen anymore, because of the rift it causes between FOH & BOH.
Joined Nov 29, 2001
My husband worked for the best restaurant in Durango called Seasons. He promptly quit because he frequently watched waitresses leave the establishment with as much as $300 in tips per night, while the kitchen staff walked away with their $56 a day ($7 an hour).

No matter what you call them, Waitresses, Servers, the following statement is indisputable:

Waitstaff = Food Delivery System.
Chefs/Cooks = The reason people choose to dine at a specific restaurant.

The only place where waitstaff truly matter is Hooters.

Tip sharing should be mandatory but if the #**&&@ restaurant owners don't enforce it, the wiggly smiling waitresses get all the perks and the cooks who are responsible for turning out award winning food are ignored. It's criminal.
Joined Oct 28, 1999
Very interesting (and heated) topic! I agree with you, Pete in that there should never be any discussion of tips in the BOH. And, Peach,
I couldn't agree more. However, we, being cooks, chefs, etc stay where we are not for the money, but for the reason we became cooks in the first place. I'm not saying that the hardest working people in the restaurant aren't sometimes the lowest paid, but we know that going in to it. I personally find solace in knowing that I may make less than a waiter, but I know what I am doing is infinetly more rewarding. There is also a certain comradere amongst cooks from restaurant to restaurant, that the waitstaff does not always share because of their reputation of being money mongers.
Having a staff of well trained cooks to serve the food is a fantastic idea. At last, a place where hard working cooks can be moneterily rewarded.
Joined Sep 21, 2001
People, the "starving artist" idea is just a way to keep us down and quiet. I'm sorry, but I have no problem with training my staff to work FOH. I DO have some people who started out FOH and now cook. Its about equality, not job description. I get great satisfaction out of my ability to tear down the age-old FOH-BOH walls that separate foodservice workers. I build teamwork. My staff are not made to feel ackward about meeting the public if they don't want to. There is a primary duty of the day for everyone, some FOH, some BOH. Start with peoples' strengths, and make them comfortable with the other employees, then allow them to grow into the job. I tip share, but I also INVEST TIME, TRAINING, and my COMMITMENT to every employee. In return, I expect their full and undivided attention at work, and AT LEAST 110% effort, and thats' with a hangover!
We all will be successful together.

My project for 2002- developing a "Franchise for the disenfranchised"...lol, but serious.....
Joined Oct 19, 2001
Last place I waited tables, 15% went to the bussers; 5 - 10% went to the bartender, and 10% went to the food runners.

It always pissed me off- In theory, if I've had a good night, and brought in, say $300 in tips, to share 35% would only be to share $105 and leave me with a decent chunk of cash, still.

Problem was, when I had a crappy night, ie: larger parties who tipped poorly, people who walked out without paying, religious nuts who left biblical tracts instead of tips. Say I only brought in $80 (which happened many times!). If I gave the bussers $12 and the bartender $10, and the food runner $10, they got pissed and felt like I was cheating them. In the interest of keeping the bussers and the foodrunners speaking to me, I'd have to give them a far larger percentage, and I'd go home pretty broke.

Then when you factor in the fact that I had to declare I made at least 15% in tips to the IRS, even when I didn't, so they wouldn't get suspicious...

And they wonder why I'm not waiting tables anymore??
Joined Oct 28, 1999
The trouble with typing rather than talking is that we are not always able to put in to a post what we would put into a conversation. That said, I believe that cooks do their jobs because they enjoy it. It is also a way to make money. It is not the highest paid job in the world. Nor is it the worst.

When dealing with some comrades that are unhappy with the working conditions of the kitchen, I gently remind them that they, too, can wait tables, repair automobiles or do brain surgey, if they so elect. I think equality is a subjective term. FOH staff deals with different aspects of the restaurant, as does BOH. There has long been a diacotomy between FOH/BOH just as there are disagreements between AM/PM shifts, etc. I guess judging the merits of putting everybody on the same plateau must first be determined by insuring that everybody really is equal. Is that clear or am I jabbering??
Joined Apr 19, 2001
Wow - you guys have really opened MY eyes!! I worked FOH at Durgin Park in Boston a long, long time ago - we never tipped the BOH guys - but then we did our own bussing and serving. And in the places I worked BOH here in Jersey, I never saw any money from the FOH folks come back to us - maybe a beer at the end of a busy night, but who wants a beer when you just want to go home and wash off the salad dressing?!

As I'll be starting a new job at a new restaurant end of January, as daytime 'kitchen manager' - (I think it's a catchall for 'jack of all trades'!), maybe I'll get to set some policies that are fair for all concerned.

I agree that BOH and FOH folks are two different breeds - I chose to work BOH so I wouldn't have to put up with the ahem - (*&*#%%# - that the FOH folks have to put up with from snotty customers!;)
Joined Oct 13, 2001
Wow Nicko , did this thread open a can of worms or what .One place I worked were the BOH recieved regular money was the Blue Moon dinner house in southern California. We
received 10 cents a cover from the FOH wait staff . We had 3
line cooks and a prep / runner to split this with and if I remember right I think during the week we made about 3 to 4 bucks each
and weekends were 5 to 6 . Now were I have made some occasional good tips for the back of the house was at a country club I was chef at and the special parties done for members but this was a rare exception though . Now as far as Peachcreeks way of running a foodservice operation man I realy like this .
I recently had a second job at nights in a very old bar and grill in the older section of town were 4 of us would do it all . I cooked, waited tables , bussed , bartended , prepped , and did dishes .
we had an open kitchen and man was this fun . We put the tips in a pot and split them at the end of the night and 50 bucks each was average with many nights close to 100 . Talk about creating
team spirit ! Tips and the splitting of them will always create a
controversy exept in those rare instances like peachcreek has created . Of course thats just my opinion.........................:D
Joined Mar 12, 2001
I agree that tips should be shared between BOH and FOH. They rarely are in Australia, but they should be. Of course we all get satisfaction from being cooks ( and personally i don't think i would want to be a waiter), but why should we all believe this myth that to be a good and dedicated chef you have to put up with low wages. Lots of other people get satisfaction and money from their jobs, but in hospitality there seems to be a pervasive feeling that the honour is in the long hours.
I fell for it for years, and I did get a feeling of achievment knowing that i worked harder than any of my friends, and that I was learning great skills from very experienced people, but after a while you need to have those skills recognised through your pay. Just as anyone should be paid fairly for their skills.
Joined Feb 4, 2001

In my tiny little restaurant everyone has their part to play. I'm a pretty lousy capitalist so it has always been my policy to split tips equally between all ( including me, I play my part). I wouldn't want to stand there washing up all night so why should I get more tips for doing what I like to do. A head waiter may have the experience to keep the room running smoothly but it's personalities that get tips. A sincere, friendly waiter can make all the difference.
I am divided on the question of tips at all. There was a campaign 20 or so years ago to try and get tips turned into service charge. Customers like tipping, and we ended up with a dual system with a service charge and tips. Now service charges have more or less died. If a customer is particularly pleased or displeased there must be some way to show it. Complaining in the restaurant in front of friends, on the way out only adds to the disappointment. So, I suppose tipping is the way....


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