A recent viral TikTok has sparked a debate about fair pay in the restaurant industry and ignited a discussion on the practice of tip sharing.
Tip sharing is when servers are required to share their tips with other employees, such as cooks and bartenders. The practice is supposed to ensure that all employees feel they’re getting their fair share. However, as this TikTok shows, tip sharing can also leave some employees feeling shortchanged.
In the video, TikToker @__heylee__ complains about being forced to tip out a set amount to the cooks regardless of how much she’s made. The waitress, who only works for two or three hours a day, says she’s being made to pay the same amount as other servers who work full-time shifts: $25 on weekdays and $40 on weekends.
@__heylee__ The other waitresses work 8 hour days from open – close and make way more money so of course they can tip out $25 on the week days and $40 on the weekends. But I come in later and I’m always put in the section that doesn’t get a lot of business because it’s for overflow. I feel like I’m being treated unfairly and the other waitresses just say “we don’t make that much more than you do, and we still have to tip out”. What do you guys think? #waitressing #waitressproblems #serverlife #foryou #whatdoyouthink #comment #like #share #boost #treatedunfairly ♬ original sound – Hey Lee
“I only work like 2 or 3 hours a day and I don’t make that much money so my boss made it mandatory to tip [the cooks] out $25 on the weekdays and $40 on the weekends,” she says. “So now it’s Saturday and I only work 2 hours and it was slow so they sent me home early and she still expected me to pay out $40 bucks.”
She adds, “that’s like the exact amount of tips that I made and so I went to her and I told her about it and she made me tip $25 and I only went home with 15. Do you guys think that’s fair?”
The video quickly went viral, accumulating over 238,500 views as of Sunday, with many users expressing their support for the waitress and offering advice in the comments.
One commenter advised the waitress, “If your state pays you $2.13 an hour, it’s illegal for you to tip out the back of the house. Look up your state laws and also find another server job.”
Another viewer commented, “Check your state labor laws for tipped employees. In my state, it’s illegal to force someone to tip, and non-tipped employees do NOT get tips.”
A third viewer suggested that the waitress not pay the tip out and instead let her employer attempt to deduct it from her paycheck. The commenter advised the waitress to “report the theft of wages” if her employer tries to do so.
A further user remarked, “girl look for new employment,” to which the TikToker posted a video reply. In her reply, the server notes that it took her over two months to find a job in the first place, adding she’s going to have to “stick it out and deal with it” because she’s facing homelessness and needs to save up money.
One commenter alleged the boss might have an ulterior motive, saying, “Old management trick, they want you to leave.”
In response, the TikToker posted another video, mentioning issues with another worker who’s been at the restaurant for over 20 years and speculating that “she wouldn’t really be surprised if they are trying to get rid of her.”
The TikToker posted a third follow-up TikTok replying to a user who said they’ve never been made to tip out the cooks, saying, “I agree, I don’t think that it’s fair, and it should not be mandatory.”
She went on to describe a recent incident where she hadn’t made enough in tips to cover the mandatory $25 tip out, asking her boss if she still had to pay it. The boss reportedly said yes, leaving the server to wonder if she was expected to dip into her own wallet to cover the difference.
The Daily Dot has reached out to @__heylee__ via TikTok direct message.