Joe’s Crab Shack First To Implement ‘No-Tipping’ Policy In Favor Of $14/Hr Minimum Wage


Yes! Joe’s Crab Shack is setting an example of fair wages in the restaurant business. The seafood restaurant is set to become the FIRST national full-service chain to do away with tipping, choosing to pay its employees higher wages.

This policy was tested back in August in more than a dozen stores nationwide which lead to the announcement last week. They are first rolling out the change in 18 of their stores.

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During the investment call, company CEO Ray Blanchette explained that the “forward-thinking policy” would replace “antiquated” tipping methods because he believes that supports an unhealthy atmosphere where the workplace becomes full of competition instead of  teamwork:

Servers, hosts, bartenders are paid now higher, fixed, hourly wages, and it’s expected to result in an improved team atmosphere, a significant reduction in turnover and greater financial security for the employees.

When you rely on tips, the amount of tables in your section is sometimes used to average what you can make that night. So, if you notice someone always getting more tables or better sections, animosity towards your coworker sets in- almost like survival mode.

$2.13 per hour is the required wage by the American federal government be paid to employees that receive at least $30 per month in tips. Because that’s reasonable? If a server making $2.13 an hour works full-time and made the minimum of $30 a month in tips — because people don’t feel the need to tip — they would make $370.80 a month. That’s before taxes and God forbid they need healthcare. As a part-time server, I can tell you that most servers don’t see a paycheck. Even when I worked ten hour shifts four days a week, I was lucky to see anything over $80.

Blanchette’s plan calls for hourly staff to make at least $14 an hour.

But will vary according to the employee’s position. Prices would need to be raised 12 to 15 percent by the chain’s parent company Ignite Restaurant Group, in order to cover the cost.

While there have been some mixed reviews on this topic, one stood out the most to me. When the owner of the Irish Rover in Crescent Hill was asked for his opinion on this issue, Michael Reidy said:

The main thing to me, I respect my customers’ choices and they’ll let us know if we are doing the right thing or the wrong thing. I just don’t like taking control out of their hands.

Reid also said tips are a “measurement” of how his servers are performing. Seriously? As an owner he should know that while people are supposed to tip based on service not all do and that hurts the server. People need to understand that when you rack up a $100 tab and only tip $10, you cost the server money. That server tips out other staff according to the tab and can sometimes leave them with $3.

This is a step in the right direction for fair wages in the hospitality industry. Some may argue that if they don’t like the pay then they should get real jobs. Look, no server gets up and says, ” I think I’ll go play restaurant today”. They get up and drag their butt to work without even knowing what they will earn that day. And for those who say that they should go back to school, let me assure you that most of the servers I have worked with also have careers.

So please don’t assume that all servers are idiots that flunked out of college. Many servers actually enjoy their job and continue to do a fine job even after a crappy tip.


Featured image via Twitter

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