Thank you Lufkin News for your recent article on tip sharing. With the many restaurants in Lufkin and people eating out more than ever, this was a very timely article.

It may have been a surprise to many readers to learn that tips are used by many restaurants to help pay employee salaries. Thus, the customer pays not only for their meal but also a part of the waiter’s salary.

I have been “solicited” by the owner of a local restaurant at the cash register as I was paying my tab. Many people might think he was looking out for the waitress. I suspect not.

I “surveyed” several eating establishments. At one, the waitress signed a form that stated that she had earned at least the minimum wage during her shift. At another restaurant, the employees were paid in cash each day.

Not being knowledgeable on DOL and state laws on tips, I reserve judgment on these procedures but it seems logical that consistency would be there if the rules were followed.

As a society we seem to have lost sight of the intent of tips. Tips are not to subsidize salaries, but to reward good service. The better the service, the more generous the tip. To share tips with other employees or employer would negate the whole concept. Some tabs now have suggested tip amounts based solely on the amount of the check.

With the various methods of handling tips, I would venture that many employees are not getting full credit for social security earnings. Years down the road, this would show up in smaller SS benefits.

There is a 2017 proposal, not as yet implemented, to “relax” some employer “restrictions.” The restaurant lobby is very strong, so those who receive tips have little chance of positive changes.

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