Last November, the voters of Florida passed an amendment to the Florida state constitution that raised the minimum wage. As a result of that, the state minimum wage will be raised from $8.65 an hour to $10.00 an hour, effective at midnight tonight, October 1, 2021.
However, there is also a provision in that amendment restricting the amount of “credit” on the wages of tipped employees paid by employers who assume that some of their wages are paid in tips. The amendment sets that amount as what the FLSA allowed in 2003. In 2003, the allowable employer tip credit was $3.02 an hour.
What this means is that the minimum wage for tipped workers will increase from $5.44 to $6.98 an hour. Every restaurant in the state just saw their tipped labor costs rise by 28%. That will be passed on to the consumer, plus those workers will still expect tips.
Anyone not making minimum wage is probably just out of luck and won’t be getting a raise at all. I know I am not getting a raise.
So I recently had this discussion with some people while I explained my new tipping policy.
- For bad service: 5%
- For decent service: 10%
- For great service: 15%
Next year, when the law gives you another 14% raise, to $7.98 an hour (plus tips) I will be cutting tips again. Probably to zero for bad service, 5% for decent, and 10% for great service. (Ask me what happens in 2023, when you get another 12.5% raise, to $8.98 an hour.)
The hate that I got back was legendary. I was told that if I can’t afford to tip, I shouldn’t eat out. It isn’t that I can’t afford it. It’s that I am receiving a service. Let’s list what service that is:
- The server writes down what food I want
- The server brings me a beverage and (sometimes) refills it. In the case of a cocktail, someone else who isn’t the server mixes that cocktail
- Someone else (not the server) provides the food and prepares it
- The server (sometimes, but other times it’s a food runner) carries that food to the table
- Someone (maybe the server, maybe the busser) cleans the table
- Someone else (not the server) washes the dishes
Anything else that is done is done (such as folding linens, setting the table, rolling silver) are done on the restaurant owner’s behalf, not mine. It’s a limited, minimum skill position.
Frankly, I am totally against tipping. I think restaurants should pay their own employees and not rely on customers to do it, but this is the system we are stuck with. So I get to decide what that service is worth, and to me it isn’t worth a quarter of the cost of my meal.
Here is the deal, skippy: You may have voted for a raise, but that law doesn’t apply to me. If your raise is causing me to pay more to dine out, then that additional cost will be deducted from your tips.