TikToker @AlexServesTea has called out Chili’s tip distribution policies that mandate servers tip back-of-house employees out of their own tip money.
The TikTok channel calls out Chili’s and other restaurants that allegedly exploit their workers with these kinds of policies. @AlexServesTea fields many messages from people sharing their experiences with Chili’s and other franchises.
One particular video boasts over 350,000 views and explains how little servers make after regulations were changed under former President Trump. Tipping rules were updated by the Labor Department last December, including one update that permits restaurants to have tipping pools that include back-of-house staff, who normally are not tipped.
Alex showed a screenshot from a current server that showed their tips for a day’s work. “Chili’s, I’m sorry, but this is abuse to your staff,” she said. “You’re making your servers pay your entire staff.”
In the screenshot, the percentages the server had to tip out amounted to most of the $61.01 the server made in credit card tips. The server kept only ninety one cents.
Viewers did point out that that we’re only seeing the amount of credit card tips, so there may have been cash left over. However, as Alex says:
“This whole tipping out thing is not based on our tips, it’s based on our sales. So even if we don’t get tips, we have to pay it out of our pockets—hence why some people are in the negative.”
A second video showed a tip payout from a different Chili’s employee. Their $37.16 in credit card tips was whittled away for the server owing $3.05. That means the server has to pay $3.05 either from their cash tips or have it removed from their paycheck.
Tipping is pretty terrible all around and it’s extremely easy for companies to exploit their workers; advocacy groups are now arguing that the Trump-era regulations make it even easier for restaurants to push payroll costs to employees and customers. The new rules, one advocate said to the Washington Post, that the new rules may even allow employers to lower wages for kitchen staff while using servers’ tips to cover the cost of employment.
Chili’s is by far not the only establishment to abuse their staff’s wages thusly. Thankfully, companies are being scrutinized as the U.S. reopens after COVID.
“Maybe take care of your fucking people, and you would have people who want to come back and work for you,” said Alex.
When she spoke to Daily Dot, Alex added: “It’s not ok for people to work their asses off just to have to PAY to work there! When servers are only walking home with half of their tips and Togo specialists are paying OUT OF POCKET to tip out the cooks, there is a problem!”