Thursday, October 20, 2011

Guest Impoorment Program ©2011 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     Like that title? I thought it was kind of funny. I was trying to think of a negative-sounding word to put in there so the acronym would be GIP and I just made up "impoorment." The real name of the new bovine cabins at work is, like, Guest Experience Enhancement Program or something equally lame, I honestly don't remember the exact moniker.
     When I first started at my current PM gig back in July, we had both a buser and a food runner scheduled every shift. We tipped out 1.5% of our food sales to them and it was well worth it. Toward the end of the night they'd be pulled from their assigned duties so the buser could proof bread and the food runner could tray up our butter pats. Sometimes the loss of these server assistants would cause things to get kind of hairy for the closers and last cuts, but oh well.
     Throughout most of August, rumors were heard and spoken about the impending implementation of the Guest Impoorment Program, or whatever it's called, but no one knew much about it. Then in early September a mandatory all-store meeting was announced. A little of the session was devoted to some upcoming menu changes but most of it was about the Guest Impoorment Program.
     The crux of the program was to get rid of the busers and food runners. The hosting professionals would now be busing tables, but the servers would have to step up their busing, which we were already doing a lot of anyway. And the waitstaff would have to run a lot more (of each other's) food.
     I've noticed a disturbing trend the past couple of years of restaurants not having an expo and instead having a manager doing the expediting. This is going on at both of my jobs. A lot of the time of course they'll have to leave the passway in order to go do something managerial. It was really great to have a food runner there to pick up most of that slack, and now those days are over.
     During the meeting, our GM assured us that tip-outs weren't going to increase. That's great! I'm going to have to work harder, have less help and you're not going to charge me more for it? Thanks, A-holes! The door whores took a cut in their hourly pay rate and now recieve our 1.5%. They tell me that they're making just a little bit more now than they were previously.
     The whole ordeal really sucks my ass. I don't like that this blatant cost-cutting was given a name, full of corporate weasel-words like "program" and "guest." I'm amazed that they neglected to throw "excellence" and "synergy" into the mix. The seating coördinators started off horribly as busers, but I've got to admit that they're getting better. If present trends continue, they'll be almost decent by Thanksgiving.
     And now all the servers except the closers have to each make two trays of butter before we can check out. The hostesses used to roll most of our silverware, and they still do some, but with the greeting crew's added duties of proofing bread and busing tables, the servers are having to roll a lot more silver than we used to. If the store could have just one person there most nights who'd run some of the food and bus some of the tables, that'd be great. Personally, I think I'd be OK with tipping out a little more if we could have that.
     During the aforementioned meeting, when our GM was discussing tip-outs, he named some competing restaurants and what tip-outs were at them. He dropped the name of the company I work for during the day. He averred that I was tipping out 3% there, which was news to me; they actually only have us tip out 1.25%!
As for our erstwhile busers and food runners? They don't work here anymore. They've just...disappeared.

     How are tip-outs handled where you work? I'd love to hear from ya about it, either in my comments section or in your restaurant-centric internet column, if you've got one. Have a good one everybody, especially the allmighty Saint Louis Cardinals and excluding the bitch-ass Arlington, Texass Rump Rangers! Cards in five (or four)!


  1. I work in an Italian chain in the UK. Our restaurant is pretty small and we don't have bussers/seating coordinators/hosts/etc. We have servers, one barman who works 4 days a week and a MOD. So the only tip out we have is to our barman when we work with him, and we all tip out %10 (or more, sometimes he busses tables) of our total tips. Being in the UK the tips are mediocre so this may not be intersting to you, but thought I'd put my two pence worth in!

  2. Hi Maxi! Actually, it IS interesting to me and thanx 4 reading and commenting! It's my understanding that servers in Europe don't get much in the way of tips but are better compensated hourly or per shift than we are over here, am i wrong? Anyway, again thx so much for reading and commenting, I hope you'll do so again and if you like These American Servers, tell your friends, if you don't like it, tell your friends you DO like it!

  3. I just typed a super long reply that got lost in the comment system. I hate blogspot's comment system. Here is the short version. There is at least one, and probably two, major labor law violation. The law is very clear that hosts are not a tipped position. They cant be paid less than minimum wage and cannot be tipped out. The other is that you cannot be required to spend more than 20% of your time doing sidework. I wrote about three recent major court rulings that effect servers here I would be sure your managers are aware of these cases and are abiding by them. If they don't, it may be time to document and call a lawyer. These are not small rulings. Applebees, Chilis, and others are getting caught violating the law and the courts are making it right.

  4. Hi D! I hate that got lost, if you get it back it should probably go to "The Manager's Office" anyway, I sent ya a email about this, thx 4 reading and commenting

  5. At our place we tip out 3% which I think really sucks ass. 2% goes to the hostess and bussers and 1% goes to the bartenders. I don't mind tipping out the hostess/bussers but the bartenders I do mind. Yeah they make our drinks for us but that's it. We(servers) run their food, stock and shine their glasses, stock their ice, bring their bread, run the drinks, empty their bus tubs, and clean their bar at the end of the night. They don't have to tip out. All they seem to do is stand behind the bar and socialize. Do you see anything wrong with this cause I certainly do!?

  6. Hi, Terry, thx 4 reading and commenting!
    Read the comment from tips4tips (above) having to tip hosting professionals in US (are you here?) may be illegal. Yea, I hear ya about bar, but it pretty much goes on everywhere

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