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Restaurant Wants You to Tip the Cook

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Restaurant Wants You to Tip the Cook

The debate around tipping in restaurants rolls on, with the likes of Danny Meyer deciding to scrap them in all of his restaurants in order to address the disparity between back and front of house earnings.

However, there’s a restaurant in Washington State, US taking an entirely different approach.

The image below (shared on shows a cheque at Sterling’s restaurant in Pasco, in the tri-cities area. You’ll notice there are two gratuity spaces at the bottom: one for the server and one for the cook. The restaurant explains its decision in the image further down.

Just to give you a bit of legal background: Washington State now has a $11 minimum wage and tip credits, i.e. the topping up of the minimum wage with tips, are not permitted. Additionally, the Department of Labor now has the power to regulate tip pooling practices in the Ninth Circuit region (of which Washington is a part), meaning businesses are no longer able to share tips with employees who do not regularly receive tips, e.g. kitchen staff.

The Ninth Circuit had previously been exempt from this following a federal district court ruling that stated that federal laws on tip pooling should only apply if the employer takes a tip credit. Washington now falls into line with the rest of the country – for example, in New York, an employee must be customer facing 85% of the time to be included in the tip pool.

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