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Telepan Restaurant Unfair to Workers


Bliss
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http://www.ny1.com/ny1/content/index.jsp?stid=1&aid=68607

Loved the restaurant the once we had brunch. Led me to buy his cookbook which I've found less interesting. Complicated recipes not well-written leading to less than stellar results.

If this is true, its disgusting. But what it leads me to wonder, is it possibly true elsewhere? Anyone know? My daughter's boyfriend was a waiter and it certainly didn't happen where he was.

Bliss

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From the article:

Joseph showed NY1 a stack of tip sheets that detail how the tips are divided each night. Looking at this blank tip sheet one can see that managers are boldly listed as one of the groups that get a cut of the tips at the end of the night.

The gyst of the claim is that managers are claiming a big cut of tips, leaving less to the waitstaff. In addition, other pay irregularities are alleged.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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It's certainly possible that any given restaurant is violating the labor laws, however one should not always just take such accusations at face value.

For one thing, disgruntled staff will often make accusations to the media that can't be substantiated in actual investigation, as a form of retaliation for a perceived slight or even just because they're resentful that an under-performing restaurant isn't providing them with enough tip income. So we'll have to wait and see what turns out to have happened.

For another thing, most high-end restaurants use pooling arrangements. It's not as though servers keep 100% of their tips at any restaurant. They have to share with hosts, bartenders, bussers and others. The complication arises when the tips are shared with managers. Under the labor laws, only employees who are customarily tipped can share in the tip pool. Therefore, it would be illegal to include the restaurant's owner, or a sous chef, in the tip pool. At the same time, there are some "managers" who occupy a gray area, for example hosts and sommeliers can be thought of as managers, but in a non-union shop, it's not necessarily a bright-line division between labor and management. Based on the story, we have no idea of the appropriateness of the sharing arrangement.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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There are plenty of restaurants, particularly ones where recent immigrants comprise the whole staff, where some or even all of the tips go back to the restaurant's owners. It's totally illegal. However, that doesn't mean Telepan is doing it -- we just don't know.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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From what I understand, if the manager/sommelier is integral in service ( ie: pouring wine, clearing tables, seating customers, delivering food, ect.....) then they are entitled to a portion of tips........Managers taking points off of the floor is a norm in many restaurants

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BOH? Sorry I don't get this acronym

Bliss

The waiters say they only make $4.60 an hour, so tips are crucial.

Boo-hoo...that's what the BOH is making without any tips.

Back of the House

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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seems it's a rather wide-spread practice in NY - if you look at Shameless Restaurants (a restaurant staff venting website so take anything you read with a grain of salt), this is a major topic for posts - complaints, questions, etc.

a hell lot of stuff comes out of tips - waitstaff tips, managers' cut, credit card fees?!

Alcohol is a misunderstood vitamin.

P.G. Wodehouse

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Moderator's Note: The discussion on paying credit card fees on tips has moved to a topic of its own as its relevance extends beyond this topic and the New York region. It can be found here.

Any additional discussion within this topic should be limited to direct applicability to the allegations made against this restaurant. General discussion on the restaurant Telepan should continue here.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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There's a pretty articulate defense of Telepan posted by a server here. In part:

I am a current server at Telepan Restaurant, and I would like to express my opinions on this topic. I have found this company to be one of the best restaurant jobs that I have had in my 15 years in the business. The owners are warm, friendly and generous - we receive bonuses at the end of the year, holiday/staff parties, going away parties are thrown at the owners’ expense when employees are leaving. When employees dine in the restaurant as guests, discounts are given and extras are sent our way left and right. When a member of the staff has a personal crisis, be it a family issue, an injury, or whatever – the owners are understanding and offer their support in any way. We have benefits available to us. We have an excellent product that we can serve proudly. We have fun at work.

(Seen on Eater)

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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