I recently wrote a piece about servers pooling tips in restaurants versus taking their individual tips home at the end of a shift where I expressed my opinion being fully against the house pool in the restaurant that I work in. I work in a high-volume restaurant with parties of all different sizes coming in day to day and pretty clearly defined sections for each server to work in. Not all restaurants are built like this though.In general, I believe that servers should be responsible for their own income based on the level of work they put in and the service they provide. However, I’m here to play devil’s advocate to myself and talk about the times that pooling tips is actually the way to go, because sometimes it is.
These are the cases in which the house pool can be extremely beneficial:
- If your restaurant or work establishment is smaller, especially in the case of a cafe or coffee shop, and all of the staff is working more closely together, maybe even performing different roles to assist all of the same customers, then pooling tips is a great idea.
- Another scenario where tip pooling is ideal is at a restaurant or space that has a lot of big parties or functions coming in where extra support will be needed constantly and everyone will be bringing in a lot more money overall, so splitting it makes more sense.
- Finally, and pretty importantly, tip pooling can greatly boost morale amongst staff and create one cohesive working unit. This makes for a more positive work environment and allows everyone to hold themselves and their peers accountable for the work they’re doing because everyone is working together for the same goal and are there to support one another.
After taking a look at both scenarios it’s clear to me that deciding whether to work under a house pool or not is very situational. There needs to be consideration of certain factors like the size of the restaurant, the volume of customers being served, the size of the parties coming in, and the different roles that staff members take on. Again, the bottom line is that when everyone is working hard then either system can work well and that begins at the top with the influence of the managers and the work environment they create.