Restaurant and grocery chain Chefs and bakers are making millions by charging customers to tip their servers, according to new research.
Chef and owner Steve Sirois said he doesn’t get paid in cash or credit card tips.
He has a $10,000 salary and $20,000 in tips.
The findings are being published Monday in a report by the Institute for Labor Economics and Policy, which analyzed restaurant tips for the National Restaurant Association.
Sirois also said he earns a higher wage than the average employee at his restaurant, which charges $8.50 per hour.
“We make a big difference,” he said.
“We make more than our average employee and the people we serve.”
But the study found the average tipped worker earns less than the median hourly wage, which is $7.25.
Sampo, which owns the New York City-based Cheesecake Factory, and two of its other franchises, are the biggest offenders.
The survey of 511 Cheesecakes found the typical tip from a Cheesefree worker is $10.40.
In the industry average, that amounts to about $1.80.
Cheesecake is the No. 2 grossing restaurant, according the survey, with $4.1 billion in revenue.
The top five grossing restaurants in the U.S. were: McDonald’s, with a $8 billion annual revenue, and the $4 billion Domino’s Pizza chain.
The bottom five grossed were: Burger King, with an $8 million revenue, Starbucks, with less than $5 million in revenue, Pizza Hut, with no revenue at all, and The Walt Disney Company, which has a revenue of less than zero.
“There’s a lot more restaurants that have gone to private equity and are now public companies, and it’s not as simple as paying workers a little more,” Siroes said.
“A lot of it comes down to the people that work for those restaurants.
I don’t make more money than most people do.”