More on tipped wages and restaurant inspection



Scott Kammerer addedsome perspective to the issue of wages for tipped personnel that was the topic of a recent column in this space.

The president of SoDel Concepts, a 10 restaurant coastal Sussex company, noted that the minimum wage increase to $9.25 an hour will increase a restaurant’s cash wage responsibility.

Kammerer wrote, “When the minimum wage increases so does the restaurant’s portion of the cash wage responsibility. For example, if the minimum wage is $12.35 an hour and cash wage is $2.35, a server making less than $10 an hour in tips, the restaurant will make up the difference.”

“Essentially servers are guaranteed no less than minimum wage as a downside and a much higher possible upside,” Kammerer noted

According to the SoDel CEO, a recent survey in Sussex found the average hourly adjusted wage for servers is $25 an hour.

The issue of tipped employees is complex and ended up in court a few years ago when the Delaware Department of Labor claimed that Texas Roadhouse locations in Bear and Middletown were illegally adding hosts and other positions to the tip pool as a way to get around the minimum wage.

The department lost the case against the budget steakhouse chain. In the meantime, the U.S. Labor Department has issued rules that would provide more flexibility for restaurants in having tipped employees performing non-serving tasks.

About those restaurant inspections

While on the subject of restaurants, the News Journal is focusing its diminished resources on dining spots that are temporarily closed when roaches, mice, etc. or other types of issues are found. It has gone so far as to establish its own database of violations.

None of this is a bad thing, but it may lend the impression that restaurants are getting laxer. The industry devotes a lot of time when effective food handling practices. A sizable increase in failed inspections may be due to customers and even employees blowing the whistle.

Our website and newsletter will leave the rats and roaches headlines to the NJ.

In the meantime, you can log in here to check out activity in 2019 from a Delaware Division of Public Health link or use the NJ’s searchable database, which has plenty of news about roaches, etc.

Here’s hoping for a little more rain that will perk up lawns. If this newsletter was passed along, sign up here to get your own free five-day-a-week E-mail report minus that annoying paywall. –Doug Rainey, chief content officer.

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