5 Key Reasons Not to Pocket Tips When You Should Be Splitting Them

5 Key Reasons Not to Pocket Tips When You Should Be Splitting Them

When you work in a bar or restaurant where tips are split, it’s critical to the entire functionality of the restaurant environment that you continue to split your tips fairly. Sure, it’s frustrating. You could be having a great night, completely on, while your coworker is struggling to get the simplest drink order right. You could be carrying a heavier load than your coworkers, and therefore receiving more tips as a result. Those are your tips, and you’ve earned them. If the policy at your establishment is that tips are split, however, it’s critical that you split them as required. Pocketing tips, no matter how well-deserved you think they are, is unacceptable behavior–and there are some very good reasons why.

1. Your workplace environment is built on trust. Check out this reddit thread about a bartender who chose to pocket tips instead of sharing them evenly with her coworkers. Even a suspicion that you’re pocketing tips can lead to distrust among your coworkers. Get caught doing it, and you’ll find yourself ostracized and distrusted–or worse.

2. Tip sharing builds teamwork. Everyone has a bad night occasionally. Maybe you’ve had the longest day on record, you haven’t been feeling your best, or family drama hit just before you came into work. Perhaps it’s just one of those shifts when you feel as though you can’t get anything right: just remembering drink orders is a huge challenge, much less anything more complicated. When those days happen, you desperately want you coworkers to pick up the slack for you–and may even need it in order to keep your establishment running as smoothly as it needs to run. Tip sharing encourages an atmosphere of camaraderie: all of you work together to keep the customers as happy as possible because each table has an influence on the tips you take home at the end of the night.

3. You don’t always get a choice in your customers. Some customers are naturally great tippers. Perhaps they’ve worked in a service job themselves, or maybe they just have a great sense of empathy for people who work in the industry. Whatever the case, even if they receive sub-par service, they’re still likely to leave a decent tip. Others, on the other hand, cling tightly to every dollar and won’t leave a great tip even if they receive the best service of the night. You can’t control which customers come your way, but a section full of poor tippers can completely ruin your night! On the other hand, across the course of the night, good and bad tippers tend to even out, so sharing your tips helps keep your income steadier.

4. It’s unethical. You want to have a reputation for integrity, especially if you commonly work with money. One of the fastest ways to destroy that reputation is to fail to put your contribution into the tip jar. Keep in mind that when you leave at the end of the night, you’re getting a percentage of your coworkers’ tips. As a result, you owe them the same percentage of yours.

5. It could cost you your job. If you’re pocketing your tips instead of putting them in the communal tip jar as company policy dictates, you’re stealing from your coworkers. In most restaurants and bars, stealing from the company is grounds for immediate termination. There’s no way around it: pocketing tips is stealing. It could quickly result in you not having a job to pocket tips from. All things considered, at the end of the night, it’s probably not worth it for the little bit of extra money you’re able to get from it.

Seeing your hard-earned tips make their way into a communal jar can be disheartening. It’s less disheartening, however, to realize that when great tips come in, it doesn’t matter who was in charge of the table. Everyone in the bar or restaurant benefits! Don’t give into the temptation to slide your tips into your own pocket instead of adding them to the communal jar. In the end, it’s not worth it.

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Making Restaurants Sustainable: Some People You Should Know

Making Restaurants Sustainable: Some People You Should Know

Nutrition experts predict that sustainability and plant-based protein will be the most important restaurant trends in 2017. Plant-based protein, primarily pulses, continues its popularity from 2016, which the United Nations declared the Year of the Pulse. Organics continues to trend as well. Both organics and plant-based protein are closely tied to sustainability.

Sustainability is a critical issue in our world as we anticipate almost 10 billion on the planet by 2050. How will we feed all those people without depleting our resources? We’re all concerned about it! Yet anyone who has ever owned or worked in a restaurant knows how difficult it is to maintain a “sustainable consciousness” in the current environment.

Consider, for example, disposables, a significant budget item in any place that includes carry-out or catering as part of their business model. If well-meaning operators try to move away from styrofoam to something more environmentally friendly, they can anticipate sticker-shock. On the other hand, washing real dishes isn’t automatically more sustainable. Restaurants use 5,800 gallons of water per day on average.

Or consider health department rules that require leaving the water running while a worker dries hands with a single-use towel so the towel can act as a barrier between clean hands and shutting off the faucet. Then there’s recycling that requires washing recyclables before adding them to the recycling bin. Regulations that prevent people from bringing in their own dishes to fill. Air-conditioning and heating that runs as people enter and leave.

We haven’t even gotten to the food yet! Food that has already been wasted in its path to the restaurant, culled in the fields, in grocery stores and by other handlers. Food that is rarely from local farmers. Food that travels a long way, using precious resources. City regulations that don’t allow composting vegetable waste within city limits — and who can come and pick it up to take out-of-town? Frying oil and other grease.

Most restaurants, to keep their prices down, build on a scaffold of unfairly priced food, food that relies on a farm work force that in the U.S. is 70% low-paid undocumented migrant workers, food that with current practices adds to environmental degradation without paying for restoration. Food that uses (and wastes) increasingly precious water resources.

A few leaders in the U.S. and other countries are setting off boldly in new directions. Meet some of them:

Laura Abshire, Director of Sustainability Policy and Government Affairs, National Restaurant Association. According to Laura, consumers are driving the trend toward more sustainability in restaurants. “People like local sourcing, and like knowing where their food comes from,” said Abshire. “They like knowing that they’re helping their community and that their food didn’t travel very far and hasn’t been packaged as long.” The National Restaurant Association proactively established its own environmental education program called Conserve. Information on this initiative is online at conserve.restaurant.org. The program is free and open to anyone looking for information on running a sustainable restaurant. As Laura says, “You can save a little bit on your bottom line, and you can show your customers that you really care about them and their values while also doing something good for the environment as well.”

Jack Cheney, graduate student at the University of Washington’s School of Marine and Affairs, studies Washington’s raw oyster industry, the largest in the U.S. and home to Taylor Fish Farms in operation for five generations supplying fish bars, shipping worldwide and always sustainable. Of oyster farming, Jack says, “What’s more farm to table than a raw oyster? There’s nothing that’s done to an oyster from the time it’s taken out of the water to the time it’s put on your plate at the restaurant.” Cheney talks about the positive environmental impact of oyster farming in addition to a minimal carbon footprint: “Oysters are sustainable. They’re clean for water. One oyster filters 50 gallons of water per day. It provides a wide berth of environmental benefits to the ecosystem.”

Arthur Potts Dawson, owner of acclaimed London restaurants Acorn House and Water House, opened in 2006. Potts Dawson hit the international scene in 2010 with his Ted Talk, A vision for sustainable restaurants. He “wants us to take responsibility not just for the food we eat, but how we shop for and even dispose of it.” His restaurants feature rooftop gardens, low-energy refrigerators and wormeries that turn food waste into compost, proving a sustainable approach is profitable and serving as training grounds for the next generation of green chefs.

Betsy Fink, co-founder of Millstone Farm, an incubator for community-based food systems. Betsy works with local markets and restaurants to expand local food networks. Through the Betsy and Jesse Fink Foundation, she combats food waste.

Fedele Bauccio & Ernie Collins are the founders and owners of Bon Appétit Management in California. Frank and Ernie believed the restaurant industry, colleges and corporate cafeterias wanted and needed something other than what they were getting in the 1980s. What they needed was real food, freshly prepared. Their made-from-scratch food goes out to a contract market and 650 restaurants with which they work. They have been committed to health since their beginning and pioneered environmentally and socially responsible practices designed to create a more sustainable food system. In 1999, they launched Farm to Fork, widening their focus to the communities in which they operate. They have been front-runners in all the issues related to sustainability including antibiotic use in farm animals (2003), switching to rBGH-free milk (2003) and cage-free shell eggs (2005), food’s role in climate change (2007), farmworker rights(2009) and animal welfare (2012). Many nonprofit and industry groups honor Fedele’s work.

Douglas McMaster, owner and operator of The Silo in Brighton, UK, is the first zero-waste restaurant in the UK. Features he introduced in this minimalist environment include a special compost machine displayed near the entrance that will process all the restaurant’s food scraps, supplies delivered in reusable containers, ingredients mostly from local farmers and producers, flour milled on site and booze brewed in the basement. Meals come on plates made from recycled plastic and drinks in recycled jam jars. A chef and activist, McMaster says, “Choice is something which is wrong with the food industry. The places with more choice create more waste and have lower standards, that’s an absolute fact.” He offers just six daily main courses at Silo.

Ted Turner & George W. McKerrow, founders and owners of Ted’s Montana Grill, are passionately committed to Planet, Plate and People. Their motto is, “Eat Great. Do Good.” Their Sustainability Metrics are impressive. Further, they work hard to engage other restaurants in the idea of “going green.” In 2008, McKerrow and Turner visited five cities as part of a national tour, “The Green Restaurant Revolution.” Created to heighten awareness about the restaurant and hospitality industry’s environmental impact on the planet, the tour brought together industry leaders and future influencers to talk about the opportunities and challenges of going green and to stimulate conversation and ideas on solutions. More than 800 restaurateurs, hospitality leaders and culinary professionals attended five industry events. A front page USA Today article featured the company’s environmental commitment: Can restaurants go green, earn green?

What Can You Do? Every restaurant can contribute to sustainability by raising consciousness throughout its operation and paying attention to four areas:

  • Waste reduction
  • Water conservation
  • Energy efficiency
  • Renewable energy

Experiment with locally sourced and seasonal foods. Engage your customers in your effort to create a more sustainable experience. Take advantage of free resources like Conserve from the National Restaurant Association. Find out what is available in your community to assist you in your efforts. And while you’re doing all that, remember that appreciating beautiful, delicious, fresh food is the first step toward a conservation program in your restaurant.

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7 of the Craziest Reasons People Have Been 86’d From Restaurants

7 of the Craziest Reasons People Have Been 86’d From Restaurants

If you have worked in the restaurant industry for long, you have likely encountered customers you would like to kick out. While working in a restaurant sometimes requires you to interact with annoying customers, sometimes kicking people out is completely justified. Consider these seven reasons customers have been 86’d from restaurants as shared on a Reddit thread and through a Quora discussion.

1. A customer was stealing tips off tables when the wait staff were not watching. The thief may have continued to get away with this, but he proceeded to brag about his actions while he was at another restaurant. The owner of the original restaurant was dining at the same restaurant where the thief was bragging about his actions. The thief was then no longer allowed to dine at the restaurant where he had been stealing tips.

2. Several customers ordered three pitchers of beer, which they enjoyed over a 3-hour period while playing pool. One of the men puked in a pitcher and then poured it into a nearby plant. The restaurant, known for their live plants, proceeded to have the man leave.

3. The boss’s girlfriend walked into the restaurant to find her boyfriend talking to a waitress. The girlfriend assumes her boyfriend and the waitress are sleeping together. She spray paints the waitress’ vehicle and smashes the windows in the waitress’ car. While the woman was kicked out of the restaurant, interestingly enough, the relationship was not over yet.

4. A woman, who was apparently racist and did not like immigrants got mad when she found the wait staff were immigrants. When she later returned to the restaurant, she was told they would not serve her since they were immigrants and she hated them.

5. Two young men walked into a bar already drunk. They were being loud, and getting up in the faces of some of the other customers. The bar owner gave each guy a glass of water, telling them he would not serve them anymore alcohol and that they needed to leave the other customers alone. Instead of obeying the bar owner’s instructions, the two men started threatening him. They were quickly thrown out. About half an hour later, the two young men threw a rock through the glass on the front door. They ended up spending the night in jail and having to pay for the damage to the window.

6. A man who had been kicked out of a previous restaurant for grabbing a server’s butt came into a restaurant with his wife and kids. Knowing what had happened, he was politely asked to leave. When he got angry, the Sous chef, clearly stated, for his wife and children to hear, what he had done to get kicked out of the previous restaurant, thereby embarrassing the man and ensuring he knew exactly why he was being asked to leave.

7. A man ate a large meal and had been drinking white Russians for two and a half hours. When he was asked about paying for them, he made an excuse about making a phone call, but he instead slipped out. One of the workers thought he recognized the “dine and dasher” from online mugshots. After a ten-minute search, it was discovered that the man was a sex offender and serial “dine and dasher.” He was arrested an hour later, and his picture continues to hang on the wall of the restaurant, warning employees to not serve the man again.

Of course, there are many other reasons that someone might be asked to leave a restaurant. When deciding if you should kick someone out of your restaurant, it is important to consider the safety of your staff as well as other customers. The lack of respect for staff or customers should also be considered.

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A Few Things to Know When Applying for your First Restaurant Position

A Few Things to Know When Applying for your First Restaurant Position

You may hang out in restaurants with your friends and family regularly. But seeing the restaurant from the customer’s POV and from the staff’s are two different perspectives.

Whether you’re considering a taking a job in the service industry to make a few extra bucks, or if you’re thinking of turning it into a lifelong career, here are five things to keep in mind when applying for your first position.

You’ll need to do some research first.

This is good practice for any job. For the restaurant industry, you’ll want to know what the different restaurant types are and what kind of work you can expect at each.

You’ll also want to know a bit about the restaurant itself, what their hours are, what their busy times of the day and the week are, and what kind of food they serve. Believe it or not, all of these will factor into when the restaurant manager schedules you.

You need to have a flexible schedule.

Speaking of schedules. Keep this in mind: the service industry is busy when all other industries are not working. So you may be working nights, holidays, and weekends regularly.

Be willing to work your way up.

Whether you’re applying for a position in the kitchen or for a position in the dining area, you’ll need to understand how each position of the restaurant functions. The best way to do this is to learn things from the ground up, so don’t take it personally if the hiring manager offers you a less prestigious position than you had in mind.

If you can show you’re willing to accept the challenge and work your way up, chances are you won’t be in that position for long.

Be ready to get your hands dirty.

We mean this in the literal and figurative sense of the phrase. As we said above, showing your positive attitude will earn you accolades quickly. But along with that, you may actually be getting your hands dirty.

What we mean is you’ll be cleaning all the time.

Whether you’re cleaning up in the kitchen after the rush, or cleaning up after a patron is done with their meal you can expect to be washing your hands a lot.

You’ll be on your feet for long periods.

This is fast paced, physical industry. Patrons don’t like to wait for their food. People want their food and drinks and they want it now!

This leaves no time to rest or sit down. And as we touched on earlier, every position of the restaurant is important and can’t function without the other. Expect to push yourself a bit to ensure great service.

A few other quick tips to make sure you get that job:

  • You don’t have to wear a suit and tie, but you still need to show up looking serious about getting the position. Leave the shorts, flip flops, dirty, and torn clothes at home.
  • Show your personality. Whether you’re in the front of the house of the back, managers want to see that you’re going to get along well with others and that you’ll be able to provide great customer service.
  • Having a pen and a resume with you when applying is always a good idea.

With these tips in mind, you shouldn’t have a tough time finding the right fit at all. When you’re ready to get that first industry job, feel free to visit our job search page and kick your new career off.

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Staff Retention: Keeping your Employees Motivated

Staff Retention: Keeping your Employees Motivated

Over one-quarter of the year is over. The thrill of a New Year has begun to fade and employees that once appeared motivated and engaged are now looking at the clock with regular frequency.

Keeping employees motivated is a year-round endeavor, and coming into the second quarter is a good time to take stock of the year ahead and what you can do to ensure success. After all, your employees are your greatest asset.

Ownership

Employees need to feel that they are a part of the business—that they have some skin in the game. To this end, sharing the numbers and providing incentives based on performance each quarter contributes to a sense of ownership. Your servers need to see themselves as your sales team. To this end, consider a quarterly reward to the one that has the highest ticket sales.

Engaged

With the advent of social media, keeping your customers engaged has become a part and parcel of your marketing strategy. If not, it should be. Keeping your employees engaged is just as important. Gallup recently released the latest State of the American Workplace report. According to this survey, 70 percent of U.S, workers do not feel engaged at work. That’s a large portion of your workforce that may be slipping away.

Engage employees by openly communicating and encouraging communication between the BOH and FOH. Ask their opinion. Encourage them to make suggestions. Millennials are looking for a company culture that promotes health and happiness and understands that leading a balanced life between work and personal life sustains long-term commitment.

Develop a Team Spirit

While promoting interaction among your employees can improve camaraderie, offering team challenging activities outside of the company has shown to improve overall attitude—inspiring employees on the field and in the restaurant. Consider contacting surrounding businesses and setting up a baseball or Frisbee golf league. You’ll be surprised at the motivation this one small thing promotes.

Personal Achievement

Today’s employees want to feel as though they are contributing at a deep level and making the world a slightly better place while they’re at it. They want to feel that they are using their talents to the best of their abilities. Train them to be the best cooks, the best bartenders, the best wait staff and they will reward you by exceeding your guest’s expectations.

Continually Learning

This is one of the great motivational recipes. Help your employees to continually better themselves, extend themselves, and reach beyond what they thought possible. Without this upward climb, they will slink down in their chairs and pretend they are looking up a potential customer’s data when they are really checking out Craigslist job ads.

Company Culture

We may have already addressed this, but it’s so important to the age of Millennials, that we thought it bears repeating.  Company culture is a topic almost every job seeker addresses in this age of the desire to lead a well-balanced life. To this end, consider a gathering place that promotes interaction. This could mean a ping-pong or pool table or gaming center.

Job Security

No one feels very motivated in a job they feel may be pulled out from under them in the coming months. To instill job security, share your history and what inspires you as you look to the future. Let them know that this is not a fly-by-night operation. You’re here for the long haul and appreciate those employees that are willing and able to take the voyage with you.

A Great Leader

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” –Warren Bennis.  A good leader can make up for almost all other motivational techniques that may be missing. A good leader inspires by their actions and leads by example. Your employees want to do their best by you because you do your best by them.

The Ultimate Goal

“There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organization’s overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow. It goes without saying that no company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.” – Jack Welch, former CEO of GE.

Creating a work environment that promotes excellence as well as joy will ensure a long-term commitment from employees that see the bigger picture, understand your vision, and want to contribute to both the company and each other. It may take some ingenuity, but it is well worth the effort. Taking care of your employees ensures that they will take care of your customers.

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Lessons from Las Vegas

Lessons from Las Vegas

In the aftermath of the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas, it’s important to refresh yourself and your staff on the best practices that have been in place for many years.

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