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falconpost

How do I tip the BOH as a waiter?! Please help!

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Hello all --

I'm excited to join your forum and discuss restaurant/food life with you all. Seems like a helpful spot. 

 

So, I'll just get down to the nitty gritty -- I'm a waitress at a pretty slow/variable restaurant. The owner's mood changes on a dime. The cook and the busser are two drinking buddies. The one other waiter I work with goes from taking the heat one day because of his combative attitude to being the favorite because of his attention to detail. I consider myself an attentive and friendly server -- those are my strengths. Sometimes I don't feel fancy enough because I'm a novice in wine descriptions -- but I always offer them a taste (which I feel is even better?). I bus my tables, reset, make the cocktails, the whole shebang. 

 

When I first started, the other server told me to tip 2% of sales to the BOH. I'm embarrassed to admit that I thought he meant 2% to both the cook and the busser. I myself always tip about 20% of my tips and have split that among the two of them. But the server (who I guess is trying to look out for me, but he does so in a very argumentative way), confronted me when I was going to tip 50 dollars total to the BOH on a 200 dollar night (so that's 25 for each of them). He told me I should give them each 20%, which means I'd be tipping out the busser and the cook 40%. 

 

Personally, that seems like a lot. I do want to make them happy -- I even texted the busser and asked him what he thinks would be fair  (with no reply yet...)-- but if I were to raise it, I would probably give 10-15% to the busser, depending on how busy we were and how much he did, and 15-20% to the cook, given the same variables. 

 

I am also going through financial hardship myself. I live on my own and am a struggling freelance writer. I just found out one of my clients has to cut back on hours by half come next January, and this is a significant source of income. The other server lives in a housemate situation and has the better shifts (Thursday/Friday night, I work Tues/Weds) due to seniority -- he's been here 2 years, me just one month, so I actually very much resent his comments in the first place. But, I definitely don't want my resentment to hurt the BOH guys -- without them, there'd be no food! They're the heart and soul of the business.

 

Any advice?! I want to be fair to everyone -- the kitchen and myself.      


Edited by falconpost (log)

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Hi-- welcome to egullet. 

 

I have to ask why are you tipping the cook at all? That's a practice I've never seen or heard of and I've worked in various positions in restaurants. Is this your first waitressing job? What are you paid hourly? What state are you in? 

 

 

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I have worked a bunch of restaurants in the BOH.  At only a few did the BOH receive any tips, always from customers.  Never from FOH.   At one restaurant in particular the chef/owner kept the tips and then at the end of our busy season used the funds to throw a party for all of us in the back and included a personalized baseball jacket for all the BOH staff.  I still have that jacket and that was 30 years ago.  After a particularly excellent meal I will tip the BOH separately from the waiter.  Once I had bad service but excellent food so I tipped the waiter 10% and left the busser 20% handing it to the owner and explaining to them that the busser took good care of me and I never saw the waiter expect to take the order and present the bill.    

 

For your question, any thank you is appreciated in the BOH.  Even to just get an after shift beer is appreciated.  20% is very generous of you.  

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I've never tipped the cooking staff. Ever. They make a somewhat decent salary. If you only have a handful of tables who don't tip well you can walk out with nothing after tipping the busser and the bar (if there is one). 

 

  I've certainly bought beers or a round of after shift drinks to show appreciation but in the US it is not a common or expected practice to tip cooks or chefs. 

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When the chef serves, I’ll tip them(sashimi/sushi the norm), that’s bar food. At a ‘bar’ I certainly tip the tender. 

 

Tableside it’s only to the waitress, and that is by merit. My tip to the chef, buss, and management is repeat business. 

 

Beyond, there is tip equity. Wait staff can get things done in the kitchen, and should be rewarded, and should reward those that made it happen. 

 

Tips are a gratuitous gesture for a job done/well done. Gratify those deserving, lay a bit more on those deserving all the way up and down the line. 

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