Hard Rock Cafe Employees Sue for Minimum Wage

Categories: Food Fight
HRCExterior_tcm13-13662.JPG.jpeg
In Orlando, a pair of restaurant workers are suing their former employer, Hard Rock Cafe (the biggest one in the world, btw), alleging that the company ripped them off by taking their tips and divvying them up among the kitchen staff. That's illegal, says their attorney, Sam J. Smith. In fact, for nearly three years, the pair say they were paid less than minimum wage.

Hard Rock spells hard work, the kind of work that should be worth at least $7 an hour. 

The complaint says that Hard Rock tried to cheat servers and bartenders by taking a tip credit allowable only when the servers and bartenders are allowed to retain all of their tips or where a tip pooling arrangement is instituted among employees "who customarily and regularly receive tips." 

The suit alleges that servers and bartenders improperly shared their tips with "expediters" -- kitchen employees responsible for making sure food plates are garnished properly. 

Another attorney on the case, Hillary Schwab, added, 
"In this economy, servers and bartenders need all the tips they can get. Hard Rock should have known that a tip-sharing arrangement that included kitchen staff violated Florida and federal law."

It's news that should concern every diner: When you leave dollars on the table, you're usually leaving it for the harried waitron who did right by you -- not donating to the schlub back in the kitchen who added your parsley sprig.

The real crime is that minimum wage isn't up to $10 an hour by now.

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
37 comments
ferryjason68
ferryjason68

As per my knowledge hard rock cafe should pay more wages as compared to any other organization. As the charges are different and the tips are different. The income in a systematic way is extremely phenomenal. But again the law is a part that is to be considered at a respective way. One web link that I consider the best part defines the wage and hour law that keeps importance in a strategic way to inclined to the approach. Check it out here - http://www.replicon.com/labor-law-compliance

Laughing__Man
Laughing__Man

Having worked in the restaurant industry for 10 years, I was paid as little as $3.25 an hour plus tips, and both tips and wages were taxed.

Good for these servers!

People who can put in 4 hours of work and only make $5 for the day (a short shift on a slow day) need to be paid a real living wage.

Chains deliberately cut people to part time hours to avoid paying anyone full time benefits.

Nerys
Nerys

the real crime is that tips are considered "wages" (they are not) and thus permit them to literally steal your tip money and "count it" as pay.

THAT is the real crime here and everywhere.

A10tuit
A10tuit

The real issue is that restaurants get away with paying less than minimum wage because of the whole "tipping" scheme. Eliminate tipping all together and make restaurants pay the real minimum wage to everyone.

DB
DB

I don't understand why they would keep working there for 3 years if they thought they were getting ripped off

guest
guest

here is how i look at wait staff, delivery guys so on and so forth. minimum wage for my state for tipped employees is $4.30 base. so if they serve on table and say they tip 15% and that comes out to be $5 - $7 that employee is now making $9.30 - $11.30 an hour for that one table. so all i have to say is quit you bloody wining and deal with it. i do dis agree with the fact it was split with the cook staff.

URSOCONFUSED
URSOCONFUSED

Wow, no kidding. I find it very difficult to comprehend that there are people out there with such an enormous lack of common sense to think a higher minimum wage is going to benefit anyone.

For the sake of these morons, I'll break it down for you. Hopefully simple enough that you may grasp the concept.

Say a burger place sells a hamburger for $1.00. They pay the people working at this place Minimum Wage. For the sake of simplicity we'll say $5.00/hour.

So, just to pay for one employee they have to sell 5 hamburgers per hour. This is not including the cost of making the hamburger, but again for the sake of simplicity.

Now the people vote, and they decide that high school kids are making way too little money working at these burger places. As such Minimum Wage is now increased to $5.50/hour.

Now the restaurant has to make a choice. Hope that somehow they start selling another 1/2 hamburger per hour per employee, simply not care about this and eat the $0.50 per hour loss, or raise the cost of the burgers to $1.10.

How many businesses do you see around that deal in losing money that stay in business?

So now the person that was making $5.50/hour before Minimum Raise was increased now gets the satisfaction of knowing that all of his colleagues receive the same pay, despite whether they have "earned" it. In addition, anyone that makes more than minimum wage now has to pay more for these "services".

Now that people are making "more" money, why not raise the rent for housing? Food obviously now has to cost more because most people that handle the food are making Minimum Wage.

Oh and in states where someone pumps the gas for you, guess what, he got that free raise too so gas had to go up a bit more.

Hopefully by now you see where this is going.

lakawak
lakawak

I realize this is a blog, dso I don't expect intelligence from the wirter...but somehow you still lowed the bar for bloggers everywhere with your bitchfest about how minimum wage should be $10 an hour.

Guess what, idiot...minimum wage was NEVER meant to allow someone to lead a normal life on just that salary. that is hwy it is MINIMUM WAGE. If you want a nice flat screen TV and a new smart phone every two years, then you BETTER fucking learn a skill that makes you valuable to an employer beyond what a trained monkey could do. And I say that literally. A decently trained monkey would be a waiter. And they will work for a bunch of bananas per night.

A $10 minimum wage would mean a 40% increase in prices and a drop in employment. So all those families who rely on minimum wage jobs as second incomes (which is most minimum wage earners) would be screwed. Most would be out of a job as companies hire 6 to do the work of 10 people...AND they would have to pay more for their goods.

Not to mention...no minimum wage workers would EVER get raises.

deepone
deepone

"The real crime is that minimum wage isn't up to $10 an hour by now."

What a short-sight/naive thing to say...

Restaurants should be paying their staff regular wages though, like everyone else. It shouldn't rest on the customers shoulders to make sure the employees are paid a fair wage. Tips are stupid and antiquated.

Guest
Guest

The expediters work just as hard as the waiters. You think the waiters tray every single table or expedite every single plate? Nope. Usually, the expediter is a waiter, too. We had expediters at my old restaurant. On a Friday or Saturday night, they were invaluable and allowed for a much smoother operation. Tables got their food on time and servers got better tips because of it.

freakerdude
freakerdude

I thought tip sharing with expediters was common practice. This violates federal and Fla state law? I don't know much about how a resto is run, obviously.

Guest
Guest

Somehow I doubt either of them made less than minimum wage. How much of their tips did they pocket and never report or put into the tip pool? "One for the pool, two for me"

As a diner when I leave a tip, it is for the overall experience and I would expect the waitron to share that tip accordingly. If the waiter is not garnishing the dish and that chore is left to someone else, then yes they should share a portion of the tip to the 'schlub'.

drklassen
drklassen

When corporate CEO's and execs are being given 10's to 100's of millions in compensation, I say the pay the actual laborers more and recoup their profits from the executive class.

lakawak
lakawak

The other thing that burger joint will do is fire one of their 11 employees and make the remaining 10 do the same work as the other 11.

drklassen
drklassen

The fact that a business model can be set up *based* on only hiring "part time" employees at (or below) minimum wage is a moral crime.

Yes, food will cost more; so what? PAY people a living wage, CHARGE for the services rendered. Pretty simple.

Jeremy
Jeremy

Minimum wage workers ever get raises anyway? Around here most such jobs actually pay .25/hour over minimum wage, I guess so they can say they're paying more, and the only raises are when the minimum wage goes up.

lakawak
lakawak

are you that stupid? One way or another, it is going to rest on the customer's shoulder. They will simply add the cost to the food. Just like how food in countries that don't have tipping cost MUCH more than in the US relatively speaking.

I love how people seem to think that having a restaurant is a license to print money. It is not. Profit margins are VERY low. That is why most go bankrupt within a year. So where do you THINK that extra money to pay the waiters minimum wage is going to come from? Obviously the customers.

At least now, customers have the options of determining how much to add based onthe service.

You seem to want restaurants to charge the same amount for the food, AND pay waiters how much they currently make after tips. Well, guess what would happen then....Look around you city. Think of all the restaurants there are. Now imagine at LEAST 75% of them closed down. Because that is what would happen.

guest
guest

you said it, waiters/waitresses depend on the busers to make sure tables are ready to seat people at. I bet these people were still making great money and some slick weasel lawyer started talking into their ears.

EnsignRicky
EnsignRicky

And that sounds like a restaurant that handled it properly.

EnsignRicky
EnsignRicky

Expediters make minimum wage or more.

Servers make (depending on the state, of course) two dollars and change an hour, plus tips.

Who do you think needs that tip money more?

Jerry
Jerry

I can remember my daughter, who waited tables up in Chicago during the summer, to help pay for school, shared her tips with the busboy assigned to her station. Her rationale (correctly) was that he would make sure all her tables were bused expeditiously so that she got more turns (and more tips) during her shift. The difference though was that this was a voluntary arrangement between her and the busboy --- not her employer automatically skimming her tips and applying them as they saw fit.

lakawak
lakawak

The people in the kitchen make a much higher base salary. If they want tips, then they should share their base pay with the waiter. Why should they get tips AND a $15 an hour salary while the waiters make $3 an hour in base pay? They want to share in the tips? Fine...then they can accept $8 an hour plus the share of tips while the waiters get, say, $6 an hour plus tips.

How many cooks do you think would go for that?

Joyale
Joyale

Most people at the Hard Rock pay with credit cards, not with cash.

whocares
whocares

waiters get paid less that kitchen staff to make up for the fact that they get tips.i guess you never worked in a restaurant before

lakawak
lakawak

then you don't know ambitious college kids or others that are taking minimum wage jobs. My ex-girlfriend started out at $7.50 (above the $7.15 mnimum) as a cashier at a restaurant supply store/supermarket. And after 4 months (at the start of a new year) she was bumpedto $7.75 and after a year on the job, she got $8.25

John45
John45

then the people performing those jobs must be complete idiots

Nerys
Nerys

at least adding it to the cost of food is not DECEPTION. I am under NO obligation to tip (though I tip well)

it is a CRIME to consider tips "wages" Here is an analogy. someone hires me to do "x" they say I will pay you $100 to do this job.

I do the job while doing the job for ANY REASON you can dream up a passing patron says hey your doing a good job and I am feeling generous here is a $20 tip.

you goto to collect your $100 for your work but the boss only hands you $80. whats up? well you got $20 from that customer so $80 and $20 makes the $100 we agreed on.

this is out and out THEFT. this is absolutely positively no different than the boss going into your pocket TAKING $20 from you and giving it back to you as part of your pay reducing your pay by that amount.

this if freaking THEFT and this is how our restaurants operate.

a tip is not wage. a tip is a GIFT (and therefore should not even be taxed unless you get over $10,000 worth!!)

It is not my god damned job to pay your staff thats YOUR JOB. if this means you have to raise your prices then DO IT if it means you go OUT OF BUSINESS then SO BE IT.

but do not dare take my gift AWAY from the one I give it to and "proclaim" it wages and use that to justify not paying them yourself. SCREW THAT.

then 75% should close. if you can't operate without screwing your customers and your staff with deception THEN YOU SHOULD NOT OPERATE.

ITS THAT SIMPLE.

if it were not for the fact that ONLY the servers would be punished I would stop tipping all together SPECIFICALLY because of this issue.

and I NEVER EVER patronize places with "compulsory" gratuity. screw you. who the hell are you to DICTATE to me that I must tip.

lakawak
lakawak

It is also differnent bcausbusboys are not one f those positions that are not usually getting tipped. The whole point of this lawsuit is that there is an existing law tha restaurants can't make waiters share tips with employees who work jobs that don't normally get tipped.

aktillum
aktillum

I'd go for that. I make $8 an hour as a cook. The bartender can easily make $200 - $500 on a weekend night.

Ciaraann
Ciaraann

how much do waitresses at hard rock cafe get paid?

Guest
Guest

Yet there are still people that pay cash, and many of those that do pay on a credit card will pay the tip with cash. Do you really think all that cash collected in tips is properly reported and shared to those that assisted the waiter earn that tip?

EnsignRicky
EnsignRicky

And a large number of restaurants take a cut of tips paid via credit card to offset the transaction fee - something else that should be illegal.

Guest
Guest

No I did not miss who cares comment - I chose to ignore it because it is inaccurate. The comment was a blanket statement with no facts behind it. Based on his comment, the dishwasher makes more than the waiter and that is a joke. However, the article does not say that the idiots suing had to share with all kitchen staff, just the expediters, or schlubs as the authors call them.

When I go to a restaurant, my expectation is to have a good meal. The chef is the most important aspect to meet that requirement so I feel he deserves more than go between (waiter).

bleh
bleh

Once again, you missed "whocares" comment:

waiters get paid less that kitchen staff to make up for the fact that they get tips.

this is why they need the tips more. the kitchen staff already makes above minimum wage.

lakawak
lakawak

It is illegal. Which is why I highly doubt anything you said is true. Of course, you provided no evidence that it is actually done.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...