Should chefs get a share of the tips?

Posted on In Focus Sep 2010 - by Tandoori Magazine
Should chefs get a share of the tips?

Ajmal Mushtaq gives Tandoori his recipe for a fairer tipping model,  boosting staff morale and improving restaurant operations.

Last year’s changes to tipping laws which banned employers from topping up minimum wages with tips, was welcomed by Mushtaqs because I believe that the credibility of the restaurant industry needs to be enhanced.

In this article, I want to give an insight into to the groundbreaking Mushtaqs tip model.
Since implementing our new tip policy, we have not only seen increased confidence with staff members, but also an increase in tips left by customers. Customers are becoming increasingly savvy about tipping policy and it’s now more important than ever that restaurants have a transparent tipping policy.

Based on our allocation of tips, method of calculation and benefits to all team members, I doubt there is a fairer tip model out there. So here is what I think the model should be:

Should kitchen staff get a share of the tips? Of course, after all, they are responsible for serving up great tasting food so they should be incentivised in the same manner as the waiting staff. Further, it removes the ‘them and us’ mentality between kitchen and waiting staff which can often be counter productive. At Mushtaqs, every member of the team regardless of rank or position gets an equal share. This means that the floor manager and kitchen porter will receive equal amounts.

What is the policy for new team members? They have to be a ‘value adding’ team member, which normally takes six to eight weeks. They are added to the tip pool once they have demonstrated their proficiency in their work. This policy motivates new team members to gain experience rapidly.

Do your customers know about your tip policy? Yes - the policy is stated clearly on the plasma screen at reception. This transparency is very important as it builds credibility with our customers.

So what is your method of calculation? Calculating ‘per shift’ is the fairest method as it means that no member of staff is penalised if they finish earlier than closing time. Calculate total shifts worked. Calculate total tip amount. Divide tip amount with shifts worked to get daily amount. Multiply shifts by day rate. Naturally, a single policy will never please every member of the population and there will inevitably be objections which range from new starts feeling they should be included straight away, full time members of the team claiming they should be entitled to more because they work longer hours, waiting staff claiming they should be entitled to all the tips because they provide the frontline service and chefs claiming without their great food there would be no tips. The Mushtaqs tip model deals with these objections in a fair and simple manner.

Having such a fair tip policy has been great for Mushtaq’s business.The benefits include increased confidence for staff members, be

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