New Tips System In Place For Restaurants: Where Is Your Money Going

by Ross Kenneth Urken · January 3, 2011

    When you go out to grab a bite this new year around the city, you may wonder where your tip goes; if you have an efficient and particularly friendly waiter, you'd hope your generosity would go directly to him.

    That's not always the case.

    As the Times reports, a new set of state labor regulations put into effect on Saturday delineates how restaurants should distribute tips.

    Lawsuits launched against restaurants from disgruntled staff members galvanized the reassessment of the rules, which had been largely loose or unaddressed (save a 1968 law that prevented employers from taking tips from waiters).

    The new regulations cover issues such as  who should launder restaurant uniforms and also upped minimum wage from $5.65 an hour to $4.90 an hour for service workers.

    The rules allow restaurants to decide how gratuities are distributed among staff, whether in a pool (including servers and bus boys) or by individual distribution to the waiter.

    The Times says:

    "Some restaurants, like Stanton Social, a clubby establishment on the Lower East Side, spread the wealth by percentage at the end of the night, while others, like Indochine assign a number of points to each job, calculate the value of each point depending on the total amount of tips and then distribute the money accordingly."

    The strange calculus of tip collection can be tricky, but it seems that the larger the restaurant, the greater the likelihood for a system that calls for a simple pool distribution; this, evidently, can lead to less squabbling over stations and shift assignments.

    [Image via NYTimes]