Blue Plate backtracks, will no longer dip into servers' tips

Categories: Business, Food
BluePlateLogo.png
Citing feedback from guests and the community, Blue Plate Restaurant Company has announced it will no longer dip into servers' tips, a practice it began when Minnesota's first minimum wage increase in nearly a decade went into effect August 1.

A press release announcing the move also announces that as of September 1, Blue Plate will pay all non-tipped employees a "living wage" of $9.69, which is about 20 percent above what the state's minimum wage law requires.

See also:
Hell's Kitchen applauds minimum wage increase

"We have always listened to our guests and our community," owner David Burley says in the statement. "Blue Plate is a family of small neighborhood restaurants and we value the hard work of our employees more than anything. Before we were founders we were servers."

"We've reflected and decided to try a different approach that will give our communities a clear indicator of who we are as a business," he continues.

In response to the news, some expressed cynicism about Blue Plate ownership's motives: While others give them credit for listening to their customers: Blue Plate owns a number of restaurants around the Twin Cities, including the Freehouse, the Lowry, and Longfellow Grill in Minneapolis, and the Groveland Tap and Highland Grill in St. Paul, among others.

Here's the entirety of the news release:

Blue Plate Restaurant News Release



h/t -- MPR

Send your story tips to the author, Aaron Rupar. Follow him on Twitter @atrupar.






Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
96 comments
Jason Farruggia
Jason Farruggia

I agree. It hard to believe some of the people survive in society. Is it really that hard to understand?

Andy Stealth Trattar
Andy Stealth Trattar

Way to bully them into it. Why do you guys always write stories like this with the intention of helping servers while stirring up such an outrage that they could conceivably end up in the unemployment line? Pat yourselves on the back I guess...

Marc Churchill
Marc Churchill

Jason, you are a shining light! The one guy who seemingly gets it... Thank you. City Pages lied and all the lemmings jumped on the bandwagon. Jeez...

Marc Churchill
Marc Churchill

So, your hatchet job reporting had an effect? Goody for you City Pages! Now find something important to report on and try telling the truth...

Susannah Dodge
Susannah Dodge

Just a heads up about the living wage increase- it is for a SINGLE adult. The MIT Hennepin Co. living wage is defined as "the hourly rate that an individual must earn to support their family, if they are the sole provider and are working full-time" So for an adult with 1 child the living wage is $20.64 and an adult with 2 children is $26.09. So as long as all the non-tipped staff are single with no family to support, blue plate should be applauded. \U0001f44f

Jason Farruggia
Jason Farruggia

How do you figure? They were only being charged the processing fee on the tip portion. The business was paying the credit card fee on the bill portion. How is it you people don't understand this?

Susannah Dodge
Susannah Dodge

Using your logic that the cc processing is a biz expense that they pay, the servers should also cover the rent, electricity bill, replacing the parking lot, cost of food, employees, etc. and their low wages already contribute to those expenses.

Stephen Noel
Stephen Noel

Please do not hide the minimum wage increase in the cost of the food. Openly state it on the bill as a tax.

Jason Farruggia
Jason Farruggia

Joanne you are correct. It is an operating expense for the price charged for their product. It is the price of taking credit as payment for what they are selling. Tips on the other hand do not financially benefit the business whatsoever but you still believe the business should be responsible? Should they pay the servers income taxes while their at it? Think about what you are saying. Credit card fees on tips are not a business expense. It's not income for the business. And most businesses are charged a percentage on the transaction. I work with hundreds of small businesses on a daily basis.

Joanne Simons
Joanne Simons

Credit card processing fees are an operating expense and management responsibility. Servers have no power to select the credit card processor, whose fees and services to management vary. A single swipe processes the entire bill not just the tip. It was a bone-headed move that stupidly sabotaged years of good will the company worked to build. Good they reversed this thing, but it took way too long.

Emily Brooks
Emily Brooks

Eileen...really, tax evasion? The people in the back who on aveage only make 2-3 dollars an hour more and do 98% of the work don't get that luxury. Why should people who fill glasses and talk shit about you when they are out of ear shot be able to?

Clint Cochran
Clint Cochran

So now if city pages would start talking about Parasole who has been charging servers the credit card fees for years that would be nice.

Tammy Belka
Tammy Belka

Sadly this practice has been common in many restaurants for many years. I see it as the house passing on a cost of business to its workers, and thereby penalizing them. Servers are never given raises under the excuse that their tip income is so great that they don't need it. But customers expect that what they say they are tipping is what is going to the server. So, speaking as a customer, I feel like a business is cheating me when it makes their servers pay these fees. I would love to see City Pages give us a run down of which restaurants do this vs. which do not. For the most part, sadly, I assume they all do this, and I make a practice to always tip in cash.

Krista Menzel
Krista Menzel

They still chose to do it in the first place.

Krista Menzel
Krista Menzel

They still chose to do it in the first place.

Shawn Taylor
Shawn Taylor

Next up, servers revolt and stop accepting credit cards....

Peter Pentz
Peter Pentz

I was going to continue eating there regardless of this scandal. Can't get enough of those wings or the breakfast burrito!!

Angelique McDonald
Angelique McDonald

100%agree with Brynn. I don't dine out to be part of someone's beef with the government. That's their issue and it shouldn't affect their patrons. Nobody would've cared if the price of French fries went up.

Jason Farruggia
Jason Farruggia

It's not punishing the staff. It is a fee on money that is not going to the business. Why should the business be expected to pay fees on money that goes to someone else?

Sco Kel
Sco Kel

Wrong. I will make a political statement by intentionally dining at the Oasis, or any other establishment that supports the free market principles the economy requires for economic growth and prosperity. I will avoid any business that believes the government should interfere with my life/labor for the sake of someone else

Sco Kel
Sco Kel

Oasis ( the restaurant that added the minimum wage fee of .35) has had positive bump in business, as result of the itemization on the bill. Apparently their business is up 150% since.

Timothy Ross
Timothy Ross

This is a very common practice. I have worked a places that do this. I didn't care for it but it is part of the game. Realize the restaurant pays usually over 2% in Credit card fees off every transaction.

Joe Halvarson
Joe Halvarson

More accurately they'll wait a few months to reintroduce the idea and less people will hear about it. They'll backtrack again and then introduce it secretly. By then everyone will assume they're not doing it, but they are and when a server brings it up with friends there'll just be confusion and exhaustion.

missnoel822
missnoel822

I wish the same amount of attention would be brought to the other restaurants that do the same in the Twin Cities. Maybe there would be a similar reaction?

Joel O'Brien
Joel O'Brien

Doesn't mean their food will magically start tasting good

Ran Dazzle
Ran Dazzle

felt the backlash in their pocketbook..good

Mike Boe
Mike Boe

With their new restaurant opening at the MN State Fair tomorrow (The new West End section) - kinda makes you wonder if they did this so they wouldn't hear an earful from fair-goers. Regardless of them reversing their decision - the contempt shown by this management team makes this a place i definitely won't check out.

Maggie Strugala
Maggie Strugala

When I was a waitress at Park Tavern, they made us pay the fee for each card we swiped.

cushy651
cushy651

@MaggieLaMaack this is very interesting. Must have felt a financial hit since that story broke.

Julie Kapitan
Julie Kapitan

Whatever. Their reputation is tarnished now.

Lynne Rollins
Lynne Rollins

Usually people paying with a debit or credit card are doing so because they do not have cash.

Lynne Rollins
Lynne Rollins

You are right, it was just 2% of tips on credit cards, not cash tips. But they should have just raised the prices, and not dipped into the tips on the credit cards. Could have been handled much better. They acted like idiots.

Beth Salvatore
Beth Salvatore

Most places, that I know of, bill the credit card processing fee to the person using the credit card. They don't punish the staff because the customer uses a credit card.

Stuttering John
Stuttering John

Oh no people figured out how greedy and selfish we are! How do we gloss this over?

Eileen Ferguson
Eileen Ferguson

Just tip in cash anyway. Money goes right in the servers pocket and they don't pay 1/3rd in taxes on it. Everyone was so upset over 2%, how about 33%?

ChazDanger
ChazDanger topcommenter

Where did you get your information?


MaggieLaMaack
MaggieLaMaack

@cushy651 I just find it interesting that they were "going to lose millions" and then could all of the sudden pay more than necessary.

footnotegirl
footnotegirl

Actually, it's illegal to bill the processing fee to the person using the credit card, and against the credit card companies policies. Usually, the company sucks up the extra 2% it costs when a customer uses a credit card because they sell vastly more food/product by allowing the use of credit cards than they would if they became a cash only business, so it's worth it to them. What does suck is when they take the 2% of the tip from servers, as they almost always do so without telling customers, so customers tip the usual 18% thinking they are giving a good tip when really they are only giving 16%. 

footnotegirl
footnotegirl

I know, right? For what they sell and the quantities, their prices are pretty reasonable. 

DavidFoureyes
DavidFoureyes topcommenter

Then you are foolish and the only person not smart enough to take a single deduction including the standard deduction.


Or are the world's dumbest millionaire.


Or you don't know how your taxes work.

DavidFoureyes
DavidFoureyes topcommenter

Do you know how we know you haven't worked in restaurants? 


Cash tips are accounted for by the business and taxed unless management is handing tips under the table...which would be a dumb idea.


Servers/bartenders who receive tips are assessed income tax based on their net income which includes the tips as reported by the business. So a server making $10/hour + tips is not taxed at the $10/hour rate (effectively - nothing beyond SS and FICA) - they are taxes $10/hour + tips/hour...a higher (and potentially much higher) rate.


It's why server's paychecks are sometimes $0.


Wait assistants on the other hand...

cushy651
cushy651

@MaggieLaMaack poor business decision followed by lost revenue = do whatever you can to save your guests.

Bucky
Bucky

@footnotegirl Your math doesn't work. 2% off of an 18% tip makes it a 17.64% tip. 

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

@DavidFoureyes What do you mean "cash tips are accounted for by the business." No, they're "estimated" by the business, generally around 12% from what I understand.. Mgmt can't legally tell you how much to claim.

DavidFoureyes
DavidFoureyes topcommenter

@mingtran @DavidFoureyes No, they are not. Not unless the business is very small or you are talking about wait assistants/bus boys. Tips are counted, marked in a ledger, afforded to the individual who presented them, and submitted to the IRS along with other wages as "tips and wages".

I take it you've also not worked in a restaurant...

Management does not tell anyone what to claim, but they report the tip income, so if you claim less than what was reported...guess what?

Imagine you're the owner and 5-10% of money flowing through your business is unaccounted for (tips on cc receipts). You think the IRS shrugs and says, "Well, I'm sure SOMEONE is paying taxes on that." Does that sound like the IRS to you? 

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

@DavidFoureyes I've worked in restaurants for a decade. You said "cash tips are accounted for by the business". No, "cash" tips are "estimated" by the business. Mgmt never touches server cash. On cc tips obviously the paper trail is a mile long and is in server's best interest to report it. Tabs closed to cash are generally estimated around 12%. If you give all your loot to mgmt at the end of the night and let them sort your shit out (which it sounds like you're saying) you're a sucker getting played.

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@DavidFoureyes and if you cant get tax free cash doing so, why even do it. plenty of other easy to get jobs pay cash under table

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@DavidFoureyes no, no i swear im being earnest. there is no way a busy bar/restaurant could account for all the tips, the cash tips. Servers know they can get untaxed dollars, and they work the system 


however, i dont know as i never worked an eatery or bar. 


ignoramus..hahahah


dont they have to submit a 1099???

DavidFoureyes
DavidFoureyes topcommenter

@mingtran @DavidFoureyes  Capital B, BULLSHIT. 


Not only does the business touch the cash, count the cash, hand the cash BACK to the server - in some cases (like when there is pooling and/or distribution to other staff like back waiters and bussers) - management transacts the entire thing. Getting played? You literally hand the manager all cash and receipts in a room with a camera where it is counted in front of you and handed back...ALONG WITH THE CC TIPS IN CASH. Call up your buddy Richard Damico, or Nancy St Pierre, Kim Bartman, Phil Roberts, literally anyone that runs a dining room in the Twin Cities: This is how it is done.


Where the fuck did you work, Burger King?

DavidFoureyes
DavidFoureyes topcommenter

@digitalprotocol @DavidFoureyes Because being a server isn't an easy job and the people that do it take pride in their work and don't do it just because it's "easy to get"? Christ you have a low opinion of people that work in service, huh. Don't be an ass.

DavidFoureyes
DavidFoureyes topcommenter

@digitalprotocol @DavidFoureyes Some are 1099 some are W2 - doesn't really matter from a tax perspective. Even those on a 1099 aren't considered "contract" - so it's up to the business, not the individual, to provide their income to the IRS.


Are people dishonest? Sometimes. Are service employees MORE dishonest because they have a more direct opportunity to cheat in this case? I don't think so.


And unless you work in a diner - 85% of your checks are paid on a card...so that opportunity wouldn't even equal 15% of your total potential.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

@DavidFoureyes Dummy: after a server receives their printed check out, it states if they are owed cash or owe cash. If they took in $300 (only the server knows how much cash they took in) but owe $80, mgmt never touches that other $220. Mgmt estimate tips on checks closed to cash around 12%. If they received all credit card tips, than obviously the mgr hands them their loot they made that night. Technically, mgmt can't tell servers what to claim. Assuming most everywhere has an "at will employment clause" in place, servers could get terminated for under reporting, however.

You're getting played if you think every back room has a camera :) You're also getting played if you are a food runner, busser, or barback that trusts mgmt to give you your tip outs. Smart people that know what they're doing go directly to servers or bartenders to get paid. What are your credentials? You don't seem to know anything but the names of local restaurateurs. 

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@DavidFoureyes ya, right. servers are content with their station in life. Better money in the shady moving industry.  



digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@DavidFoureyes i think service employees are inherently more dishonest. pouring free drinks for extra tips, not paying taxes, drugs, all that

DavidFoureyes
DavidFoureyes topcommenter

@mingtran @DavidFoureyes I believe I covered everything with the earlier: "BULL" and "SHIT". You clearly don't understand how this works, so what is the point in replying? It's like explaining particle mechanics to a three year old...it bores me and frustrates the shit out of the three year old.


My credentials are having worked for all of the people I mentioned at one point within the past 14 years.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

@digitalprotocol Everything you say is fuckin retarded. You need to get out the house.Have you ever had a job?

DavidFoureyes
DavidFoureyes topcommenter

@digitalprotocol @DavidFoureyes This kind of attitude is what informs the morons of this nation...which leads me to believe you're kenny...or a different moron.


Our great-grandfathers were pleased to build railroads and build roads and teach kids and deliver mail and collect garbage and work iron and mine ore and serve food...and they were paid a wage that allowed them to raise families with a single income.


What the fuck makes us so fucking special that we can't be content to work hard at the thing we are good at and expect to be paid a living wage for it? Serving jobs can;t be shipped overseas.... We all need to be college-graduated engineers? As a college graduated engineer - I know that is stupid.


Asshole.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

@DavidFoureyes Ahhahaha! It's obvious you haven't worked for any of them, Burger King boy. 

Why does it seem like it's only the douchiest libtards that repeat the same thing without saying antything, then hurl insults when they've lost?; the ultimate projectors. At least conservitards usually shut up and go away for a while.

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@DavidFoureyes i dont know, greed maybe? or maybe that older generations sold lies and maybe even believe the lies. that what it seems to be.


bottom line is that serving food is about to be phased out. robots will make less mistakes with my order and have an even keeled attitude 

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@DavidFoureyes in 30 years we will all be farmhands, you may be farm equip repair guy tho with all your engineerizing skills

Now Trending

Minnesota Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...