Kickfin x MasterCard: How Real-Time Payments Drive Better Experiences for Businesses and Employees

We know how important same-day payments are for veterans of the service industry who are accustomed to quick cash — and we’re now seeing that same demand expand into other industries as well. 

Kickfin co-founder Justin Roberts joined MasterCard’s InConversation Webinar series to discuss why immediate payment disbursal is key for the restaurant industry and the gig economy as a whole.

Watch the webinar here or read our recap for the highlights: 

People live paycheck-to-paycheck

Not just some people are living paycheck to paycheck. Most people are. 

That’s right: around 64% of U.S. consumers are just getting by. Even more shocking, 51% of consumers who earn over six figures are still living paycheck to paycheck, despite their higher tax bracket. 

It’s a major reason why employees need access to their earnings sooner rather than later. The pressure of watching your bank account slowly drain in the two weeks between payday is putting a lot of pressure on people, leading to a much greater demand for instant payments than ever before. 

Instant payouts are now table stakes

A PYMNTS study found that people of all ages prefer to be paid out immediately, as well as some other interesting statistics:

  • When given the choice, 68% of respondents said they would opt for an instant pay out
  • 40% of gig workers surveyed were willing to pay a fee for an instant disbursement
  • 81% of respondents were willing to switch jobs to an employer that offers instant access to earned wages and tips

It’s safe to say instant payouts are becoming the expectation for today’s modern workforce. But not all instant payouts are created equal.

Consumers are much more likely to engage with an instant payout system if they aren’t required to share their bank account and routing numbers and can access funds with just their debit card credentials. Why? It’s faster, more convenient, and feels more secure. 

Instant payouts and tip management: a perfect use case.

Instant payout innovation has come at the perfect time for the restaurant industry, which is struggling more than ever with the hassles and cost of cash.

If you’re in the restaurant biz, then you know: Most consumers pay with credit cards these days, not cash. That means there’s rarely enough cash on hand to pay out tips at the end of a shift. But employees still want and need instant access to their tip earnings.

Enter: instant payouts. Offering employees the option to receive their tip earnings directly to their bank of choice, the second their shift ends, can go a long way in improving employee satisfaction and ensuring their financial security.

But instant payouts are more than a work perk for employees. The operational benefits for employers range from reduced administrative burden and significant time savings to stronger compliance and streamlined reporting.

Modernizing your tip management strategy: 5 best practices 

There are three key components to your tip management strategy: 

  • Tip pool policy: How are you divvying up tips among your staff? 
  • The payout method: How are you distributing those payments?
  • The systems and tech: What are you using to facilitate those payments?

Under the current circumstances, restaurant operators are under immense pressure to bring their tip management into the future. 

5 best practices for tip management 

Based on our experience working with restaurant operators across the country, we’ve found that these five practices are the perfect recipe for building a successful tip management system.  

  1. Determine the right model and method for your restaurant, based on your location and tech stack
  2. Get a written tip policy (and get it legally approved
  3. Solicit employee feedback in a structured way
  4. Leverage technology for efficiency, accuracy, and compliance
  5. Don’t over-complicate (but do over-communicate!)

Tip management solution must-haves

When seeking a new tip management solution, make sure you carefully vet each system to see if it really meets your needs, or if it’ll be just as frustrating as cash. Here are a few suggestions for what should be on your checklist: 

  • Instant payouts
  • Direct to bank of choice
  • Availability of employee funds
  • Payroll option 
  • Integrations 
  • Simple implementation + onboarding process 
  • Around-the-clock customer service 

Big emphasis on strong customer support teams. Restaurants and bars don’t have “typical” business hours, so neither should your tech support.

Bar Louie automates payouts with Kickfin 

In a recent case study, we took a deep dive into our partnership with Bar Louie, a chain with over 60 locations that took advantage of our new integration with Toast. They made the switch from cash payouts to Kickfin’s instant, direct-to-bank payouts and haven’t looked back.  

Two-minute tip-outs

Before Kickfin, managers spent an average of 45 minutes per shift working through Bar Louie’s complex tip out policy and counting cash. The tip pooling rules were important to them — it’s what makes the entire staff feel like they’re getting their fair share. 

Using the Kickfin0Toast integration, Bar Louie was able to automate the tip pool calculation process and send tips straight to employees in under two minutes – a potential annual savings of 15,000 labor hours across all locations.

>> See more customer success stories 

Do you want to see these kinds of cost-saving results at your business? Let’s talk. Get a demo of Kickfin and see why restaurant owners and employees alike trust us to manage their tips.

How to Reduce Employer Payroll Taxes with the FICA Tip Credit

Like any good business owner, restaurant operators are always looking for ways to reduce overhead costs and bump up profits. And one way to cut costs without sacrificing quality is to relieve some of your tax burden using the credits available to food and beverage businesses. 

One that you need to know: the FICA tip credit. Thanks to America’s tipping culture, most servers earn the majority of wages from tips paid directly from customers, and the IRS is willing to acknowledge that. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the FICA tip credit for restaurant operators. (Obligatory disclaimer: this is not intended to be legal or financial advice — always consult with your legal counsel or tax professional if you have questions!)

What is the FICA tip credit? 

You’ve heard of the tip credit — here’s another “credit” that restaurant owners can use to decrease costs. 

FICA taxes are your payroll taxes that go towards federal programs, like Social Security and Medicare. The liability for FICA taxes is shared between the employee and employer. 

But technically, aren’t customers the one paying servers’ wages through their tips? Should all of the tipped income tax liability fall on the restaurant owner? 

According to the federal government, the answer is no. You can take a tax credit to decrease your burden on employee payroll taxes based on the amount of tips that your employees report above minimum wage. This is called the FICA tip credit, which is part of the general business tax credit. 

When is the FICA tip credit applicable? 

There are some important conditions that restaurant operators must comply with in order to qualify for the FICA tax credit. 

  • You must own a food and beverage business where tipping is customary 
  • Tips must be given voluntarily (so service charges do not count toward tips, even if they’re paid directly to employees)
  • You must owe taxes in order to qualify 
  • The FICA tax credit cannot reduce your tax liability below $0
  • You cannot claim the FICA tax credit and deduct those same taxes as a business expense

How to calculate the FICA tip credit 

Here’s an example of how to calculate the FICA tip credit for a tipped employee. 

Before we get started on the math, note that the FICA tip credit is based on a minimum wage of $5.15 per hour (the minimum wage when the credit was established). Employers are allowed to take the tax credit on any tips that a server earns above the $5.15 minimum wage.

So, let’s say:

Your server works 100 hours over the course of a month. During that time, the server also earned $1000 in tips. You’re taking the tip credit and paying $2.13 an hour for her time.

100 hours x $5.15 minimum wage = $515 required minimum wage for FICA tax credit

100 hours x $2.13 hourly wage = $213 actual wages paid 

$515 minimum wage – $213 actual wage = $302 ineligible FICA tax credit amount 

$1000 in tips – $302 ineligible credit amount = $698 eligible FICA tax credit amount

$698 eligible credit x 7.65% FICA tax rate = $53.40 FICA tax credit

If your restaurant already pays more than the required minimum wage of $5.15 per hour, then you can simply take the FICA tax credit on any tips earned outside of their hourly wages. 

For example, your server works 100 hours in a month and earns $1000 in tips. You pay her $7.25 in hourly wages. 

$1000 eligible credit amount x 7.65% FICA tax rate = $76.50 FICA tax credit

Obligatory disclaimer: While we’re here to provide information and tips, remember to always consult with an expert when you’re preparing your taxes so that you can get advice personalized for your business. 

Make life easier with Kickfin’s tip management platform

We know that’s a lot of math, but with powerful reporting tools, the tip management process is a whole lot smoother for everyone involved. 

For better, easier tip tracking and reporting that will simplify tax season, check out Kickfin’s tip management platform. Our solution streamlines tip reporting as well as digital tip payouts and tip pool calculations. Request a demo to learn more.

What is the Tip Credit? Your Guide to Restaurant Employee Minimum Wage

Tipping is as American as apple pie — so much so that it has become heavily regulated.  

Here’s one tipping regulation that most restaurant owners can cheer for: the tip credit. Find out about the federal laws that allow employers to subsidize labor costs through tipped earnings. (Obligatory disclaimer: this is not intended to be legal or financial advice — always consult with your legal counsel or tax professional if you have questions!)

What is the tip credit? 

There’s a federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, but many restaurants only pay their servers $2.13. How? 

Since servers and bartenders earn the majority of their living from tips, the U.S. Department of Labor created the “tip credit,” which allows employers to count tipped earnings toward their minimum wage requirements. 

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the federal minimum wage is set at $7.25 per hour, but employers can take a credit of up to $5.12 per hour. (Importantly, this number varies by state — more on that later). 

If you take the tip credit, you’ll ensure that servers earn at least $7.25 an hour in wages and tips (hopefully much more!), and take the tip credit when it’s time to run payroll. 

“Taking” the tip credit: Is it fair to employees? 

As most restaurant pros know all too well, this industry is known for its tight margins. That’s why a tip-friendly culture can be beneficial to both hospitality employers and employees. Tipping frequently enables hardworking, well-deserving employees to earn far more than minimum wage requirements — and far more than what revenue constraints allow operators to pay their people. (In fact, many full-service restaurant servers earn $20 or more per hour.)

In states where the tip credit is allowed, and in restaurants where tipping volumes are sufficient, the tip credit allows restaurant owners to reduce some of their labor costs, while ensuring their staff still make at least a living wage.

Which states allow you to take the tip credit? 

Based on your location, taking the tip credit may not be an option for you. Make sure you know the legality in your state and how it will affect your recruiting efforts. 

States that allow the tip credit

If you live in any of the following states, you’re in luck! As of publication, these are the states that allow some form of the tip credit.

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

While all of these states allow a tip credit, check your state laws to see how much you can take per hour. In states with higher minimum wage requirements, you may see higher tip credit amounts — and other states that lower the maximum tip credit amount. 

States that ban the tip credit

At the time of publication, these states do not allow employers to take the tip credit for their FOH staff, meaning all employees must be paid at least the state minimum wage.

  • Alaska
  • California 
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nevada 
  • Oregan
  • Washington 

Which employees does the tip credit apply to? 

Big picture: In states where you can take the tip credit, it applies only to tipped employees. That means your untipped employees — i.e., your back-of-house staff — are not eligible for a tip credit. 

But of course, we’re talking about the law here, so exceptions and caveats abound! Even if it’s allowed in your state, there are still some boxes you have to check before taking the tip credit on all of your tipped employees. 

To determine which employees qualify for the tip credit, here are a few questions you need to ask. 

  • Is the tip credit allowed in my state? Again, a handful of states do not allow employers to take the federal tip credit, period.
  • How much do my employees earn in tips? You can only take the tip credit for tipped employees who regularly earn at least $30 a month in tips. 
  • How much time are my tipped employees spending on non-tip-producing duties?  

This one is a little tricky. Basically, the tip credit can only be applied to the hours your tipped employees spend doing work that produces tips OR that directly supports tip-producing work, a.k.a. side work. (Per the DOL, supporting tasks include “dining room prep work, such as refilling salt and pepper shakers and ketchup bottles, rolling silverware, folding napkins, and setting tables”).

However: Employers lose the tip credit for the time their tipped employees spend doing side work if that side work exceeds 20% of their workweek. (This is known as the 80/20 rule.)

Additionally, employers lose the tip credit for the time their employees spend doing side work if they’re doing side work for more than 30 consecutive minutes. In other words, even if an employee spends less than 20% of their total workweek doing side work, the tip credit doesn’t apply to any periods of time where the employee spent 30 consecutive minutes or more on side work. 

Suffice it to say, this can get really complicated, really fast. Understanding the rules themselves is only half the battle; being able to track and apply them can be a challenge, too.

If you’re confused (or even if you think you’ve got it down pat) — it’s a good idea to consult with legal counsel to ensure you’re operating above board.

Can I take the tip credit if I implement a tip pool?

Tip pooling, like the tip credit, is pretty heavily regulated at both the federal and state levels. And just like taking the tip credit, it can be easy to be unintentionally out of compliance when it comes to tip pooling. 

So what happens if you run a tip pool and you want to take the tip credit (or vice versa)?

There are two key things to note.

  • Implementing a tip pool doesn’t preclude you from taking the tip credit.
  • However, if you want to take the tip credit, your tip pool cannot include back-of-house (i.e. non-tipped) employees.

In other words: if you’re taking the tip credit, only tipped employees can participate in tip pooing or tip sharing. If BOH employees get tipped out — which is legal in many places — then you can’t take the tip credit for any of your employees, including your FOH folks. 

Do I have to notify my employees about the tip credit?

You are required to give your employees notice at the time they’re hired that you’re taking the tip  credit.

What is the FICA tip credit?

This is another huge opportunity for employers to increase profit margins without cutting costs on food or labor. Typically, employers are required to pay a share of their employees’ Social Security and Medicare taxes (also known as FICA) based on their income. The program was designed to incentivize employers to better monitor staff tip reporting. 

Since many servers and bartenders increase their wages to well over minimum wage in tips, the FICA tip credit allows restaurant owners to decrease their tax liability. Rather than determining their FICA tax liability by total income (including tips), this tax credit allows employers to only pay FICA taxes on employee earnings that are above minimum wage. 

Simplify tipping for your team 

If you have tipped employees, you have to deal with a lot of cash. It’s taking up managers’ time and creating a reporting nightmare. Move into the future with Kickfin — the easiest way to pay out tips. Kickfin’s capabilities digitize tip payouts, simplify tip pool calculations, and makes reporting a breeze. 

Learn more about Kickfin today. 

The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Recruiting

Recruiting is a crucial part of any successful restaurant business. From hosts and servers to cooks and bussers, every employee plays a vital role in providing exceptional service and creating a positive customer experience. Finding talented staff can be challenging, especially in today’s competitive job market.

There are several strategies that restaurants can use to make the most of their recruiting efforts and attract top-notch candidates. In this guide, we will explore some tips and best practices for effective restaurant recruiting.

How To Recruit for a Restaurant

Recruiting for a restaurant involves identifying potential candidates who demonstrate the skills, experience, and temperament necessary to meet the unique demands of the hospitality industry. Typically, the process begins with a well-written job listing. The listing should be detailed and precise, clearly outlining the responsibilities, skills, and expectations for the role. It should also highlight the benefits and opportunities your restaurant provides, such as career growth, training programs, or competitive pay scale. 

The recruitment process should leverage various channels to reach potential candidates. Traditional methods, such as newspaper ads and job fairs, can be effective. Still, online platforms like job listing sites, social media, and the restaurant’s website often yield greater reach. Networking is also a powerful tool. Current employees, industry contacts, and even customers can serve as invaluable sources for recommendations and referrals.

Once you find potential candidates, move those that seem like a good fit to the interview stage. The interview process is a valuable opportunity to assess each candidate’s aptitude and skills, as well as their personality, attitude, and ability to get along with other employees. 

How Do I Start Recruiting?

To recruit new employees for your restaurant, start by writing a detailed job listing. Next, distribute that job listing using multiple channels, including job boards and social media. Finally, use candidate interviews to identify applicants with the right skills, attitude, and personality to work in your restaurant.

Common Restaurant Recruiting Tools

Recruiting the right people for a restaurant involves a wide range of tools. Here are some of the most common tools used in restaurant recruiting.

  • Job boards: Online job boards like Indeed, Glassdoor, and Caterer.com are excellent places to post job openings and reach a large pool of potential candidates.
  • Social media: Platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram can be powerful tools for sharing job openings, showcasing your restaurant’s culture, and engaging directly with potential applicants.
  • Recruiting agencies: Specialized hospitality recruiting agencies have extensive talent networks and deep industry knowledge, making them valuable resources for finding and hiring qualified candidates.
  • Word of mouth: Don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth recommendations. Encourage your customers and vendors to refer their friends and former colleagues or ask other restaurant owners or industry professionals for recommendations.
  • Employee referrals: Many restaurants successfully recruit through their current employees. Offering referral bonuses can incentivize your staff to recommend talented individuals from their network.
  • Hiring events: Hosting job fairs or open interview days can quickly and effectively screen multiple candidates at once. They also allow candidates to get a firsthand look at your restaurant’s culture and atmosphere.

Tips for Successful Restaurant Recruiting

Every restaurant owner knows a skilled and dedicated team is critical to a successful business. Recruiting top talent is no easy feat, especially in an industry as dynamic as hospitality. Here are some tips to elevate your restaurant’s recruiting, allowing you to attract, hire, and retain top employees: 

Define Your Ideal Candidate

Before you start your recruiting process, have a clear understanding of the type of candidate you are looking for. This means defining the skills, experience, and qualities essential for the position. Having a clear definition of your ideal candidate will help you target your recruiting efforts and attract individuals who are the best fit for your restaurant.

Optimize Your Job Descriptions

Creating a strong job description is another crucial step in improving your recruiting. An effective job description should provide a clear and compelling overview of the role, its responsibilities, and the skills and qualifications required. It serves as the first point of interaction between your restaurant and potential candidates, so it should reflect your restaurant’s culture and values while capturing the essence of the job. 

Focus on Employer Branding

Employer brand is the public’s perception of your restaurant, including its reputation as a workplace. In recruiting, branding is the image that potential candidates have about the working environment, culture, values, and benefits of being an employee at your establishment. This sets your restaurant apart from competitors, making it an attractive place for top talent to work.

Investing time and resources into developing a strong employer brand can significantly enhance your restaurant recruiting efforts. You can share your restaurant’s branding through various channels, including your website, social media accounts, job postings, and during the interview process. Sharing stories of your current employees’ experiences, highlighting career growth opportunities, and showcasing the unique aspects of your restaurant’s culture are effective ways to build a strong employer brand. 

Remember, potential candidates are not just looking for a job—they are looking for a positive and rewarding work experience. Employer branding is a valuable tool to communicate these things to potential employees.

Create a Restaurant Recruiting and Hiring Team

Assembling a dedicated recruiting and hiring team is another effective strategy for enhancing your restaurant’s recruiting process. This team could include managers, supervisors, or experienced staff members who understand the restaurant’s culture, expectations, and the skills required for each role. The recruiting team’s responsibilities include interpreting the job descriptions, screening applications, conducting interviews, and making hiring decisions.

Having a dedicated recruiting team also helps streamline the hiring process and ensures that hiring decisions align with your restaurant’s needs and culture. This team can also provide valuable insights into the applicant’s potential fit within the existing team, as they are familiar with the daily operations and demands of the restaurant.

Ask Current Staff for Referrals

Referrals from current employees are often high-quality, as individuals typically recommend candidates they believe will fit well within the existing team and culture. Employees making recommendations will likely have firsthand knowledge of the candidate’s work ethic, skills, and attitude, contributing to a more reliable assessment of fit for the job role.

Implement a successful referral program by incentivizing your staff. You can do so through financial rewards, extra time off, or recognition for successful hires. Encourage your employees to recommend friends, former colleagues, or acquaintances from their professional network who they believe would be a great addition to your restaurant team.

Leverage Social Media

Social media offers a powerful means to reach a broad pool of potential candidates. You can use social platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to showcase your restaurant’s culture and job openings effectively.

  • LinkedIn: A professional network like LinkedIn can be highly effective for posting job openings and scouting for potential candidates with specific skill sets. LinkedIn’s robust search feature lets you find professionals with the experience and qualifications necessary for your restaurant.
  • Facebook and Instagram: These platforms are ideal for showcasing your restaurant’s culture. Regularly post photos and videos of your team in action, highlighting the positive aspects of working at your restaurant. Use targeted ads to reach potential candidates in your area when you have job openings.
  • Twitter: Twitter is an excellent platform for quick, real-time updates. Use it to announce job openings, share updates, or retweet positive comments from employees. Using relevant hashtags can help increase the visibility of your posts.

When using these social media platforms for recruiting, engage with users who comment or share your posts. This interaction builds a more substantial online presence and makes potential candidates feel valued and seen. Social media platforms also offer a valuable opportunity for potential employees to interact with your brand before they even walk through the door, helping you to attract candidates who genuinely resonate with your brand and work culture.

Attend Job Fairs and Industry Events

Job fairs and industry events are excellent opportunities to supercharge your restaurant recruiting efforts. These gatherings offer direct access to many potential candidates, many of whom are actively seeking job opportunities. They provide an avenue for face-to-face interaction, facilitating a more personal and immediate connection than digital platforms.

Network actively with attendees at industry events, as it’s a prime opportunity to meet potential candidates and other industry professionals who could refer candidates to your restaurant. These events often attract passionate individuals who are involved in the industry and may be seeking new opportunities or who can connect you with potential candidates.

Offer Competitive Compensation and Benefits

Offering competitive compensation and benefits packages is a compelling strategy to attract and retain top restaurant talent. Salary is often a primary consideration for job seekers. However, comprehensive benefits can distinguish your restaurant from competitors and show potential employees you’re invested in their well-being and development.

A competitive compensation package can include a fair wage or salary, tips, and bonuses tied to individual or team performance. On the other hand, benefits could encompass health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, or even unique perks like staff meals, gym memberships, or professional development opportunities.

This comprehensive approach attracts quality candidates and boosts employee morale and job satisfaction, reducing employee turnover. It signals to potential employees that their efforts are valued and rewarded, fostering loyalty and commitment. It’s essential to clearly communicate these benefits during the recruitment process so candidates can fully appreciate the total value of their compensation package.

Create an Engaging Application Process

The application process is often a candidate’s first impression of your restaurant and can significantly influence their decision to apply. Make sure your application process is user-friendly, mobile-friendly, and engaging. Provide an option for candidates to upload their resume or link to their LinkedIn profile, as this can save them time and effort in filling out a lengthy application. 

Take advantage of technology by including video interviews or assessments in the application process. This provides an opportunity for candidates to showcase their skills and personality and gives you a better understanding of their qualifications before scheduling an in-person interview. It can save time and effort for both parties, resulting in a more efficient and effective hiring process. 

What Position is the Most Important Recruitment Decision in a Restaurant?

The most critical recruitment decision for a restaurant is management. Managers serve as the backbone of the restaurant, running operations, coordinating staff, and ensuring customer satisfaction. Their competence directly influences the restaurant’s atmosphere, efficiency, and, ultimately, profitability. Moreover, a proficient manager can mentor and uplift the staff, fostering a positive work environment conducive to high performance and staff retention.

Manager retention is critical in the restaurant industry. The constant presence of a reliable manager offers stability and consistency, which is beneficial for both the staff and the customers. Frequent management changes can disrupt the workflow and create uncertainty, which can negatively affect the morale and productivity of the team. That’s why it’s essential to have an effective management training program to ensure you instill managers with the right attitude and skills and aid in their professional development to avoid high turnover in these key positions.

6 Tasks Restaurant Teams Can Automate with AI

AI is kind of having a moment right now. 

It’s basically impossible to scroll through a newsfeed without stumbling across an article (or 10…) about the rapid developments we’re seeing in AI technology — and all of its benefits, risks, and mind-blowing potential to change life as we know it.

While AI is getting quite a bit of PR here in 2023, many industries have been embracing AI for years, including hospitality. From automated customer insights to voice assistants, AI is becoming increasingly entrenched in restaurant operations. 

What even is AI?

AI (short for artificial intelligence) is an exciting new technology that’s changing nearly every industry — including the service and hospitality industries. AI is intended to take in information and respond in a way that mimics human responses. This means it can respond to queries with valuable information. If you use Alexa at home, you’re interacting with AI every day.

Machine learning is what makes AI really valuable, especially in restaurants. Machine learning takes in information from a data source (for example, your POS) and analyzes it. Once the tech “learns” from historical data, it can predict trends and behaviors in the future. For example, TikTok uses machine learning to determine which videos you’re more likely to engage with and shows you new content based on those predictions in hopes of keeping you on the app for longer.

Why use AI in your restaurant? 

Running and managing a restaurant is stressful. Operators and managers wear a lot of hats, and it can be hard to streamline operations when you’re pulled in so many different directions. Restaurants can use AI to make life just a little bit easier — and cut costs while you’re at it.

Does that mean the service industry should start preparing for the inevitable robot takeover? Not just yet. The human element is still vital to many segments. But there’s never been a better time for restaurant operators to innovate: new AI advances can streamline and simplify everyday restaurant management processes, helping operators to uncover new efficiencies, increase staff and customer satisfaction, and ultimately boost your bottom line.

Here are a few ways AI can lighten your workload and optimize your restaurant operations.

1. Menu Development 

Your chef and kitchen staff have been hard at work putting together delicious dishes that will turn your new customers into regulars, but how are you supposed to put all the flavors and components into a short, enticing description? With AI, you can skip the writer’s block and simply generate well-worded descriptions in seconds. 

2. Hiring

Restaurants are still experiencing staffing shortages and struggling to fill positions — but what if AI could streamline your hiring efforts? There are a few ways to relieve the burden that staff issues have put on restaurant management. 

  • Writing job descriptions: Remember how we said it was tedious to write menu descriptions? Same goes for job descriptions. Of course, you want to provide all the details about the role, but sometimes it can be hard to creatively describe a serving job and show off your restaurant’s culture. Instead, turn to AI for quick job descriptions that only need to be slightly edited to show off more personality. 
  • Reviewing applications: Once you’ve posted your job online, you have a few different ways to leverage AI in the hiring process. For one, you can use AI to filter out candidates that don’t meet your requirements about experience, age, or availability. Then, you have fewer applications to wade through and can focus on serious candidates only. 
  • Chatbot: To really lean into the AI trend, you can also use an AI chatbot that has a text conversation with applicants to learn about their skills, job experience, pay expectations, and availability. Choose a chatbot that can integrate with your existing technology, so you don’t have to create your own software (unless you want to). Rather than filling out the traditional application form, your candidates will share about themselves in a more casual, conversational manner, almost like a pre-interview. These chatbots can still filter out candidates who aren’t going to be a good fit — and it might impress your more tech-savvy candidate pool.  

Of course, you can also tackle staffing issues by automating some of your positions. QSRs can especially take advantage of AI voice assistants to man drive-thrus and take orders, while your human staff focuses on fulfilling them.

3. Scheduling

You’re not limited to AI writing tools. New technology can automate and optimize almost every aspect of your business, from front of house to back. 

Now that AI’s streamlined your hiring practices, give it a chance to improve your schedule, too. Restaurant budgets can be tight, so you don’t want to have too many employees during a slow weekday lunch — but you also don’t want to be understaffed during a huge rush. Machine learning can analyze your sales data to determine peak times and the optimal amount of staff to schedule for a shift. You can put in parameters that will keep the schedule within budget, and then use the AI-generated roadmap to create your weekly schedule.

4. Forecasting

AI can do even more with your POS data to optimize your entire restaurant and predict trends, empowering you to make data-backed business decisions. 

For example: inventory management. No one wants to over-order and let food spoil, nor do you want to 86 a popular dish because you ran out of one ingredient. With AI, you can utilize POS data to determine your best-sellers, which items you frequently run out of, and where you could be over-purchasing. With your inventory optimized, you’ll prevent food waste and serve your customers their first-choice dish.

>> Find out more about Revenue Forecasting for restaurants

5. Marketing & Customer Insights

Once you get people in the door, you want to keep your loyal customers coming back. Many small restaurants don’t have the luxury of a full-time employee to run their marketing efforts. Good news: You can employ AI instead. 

Auto-generate marketing emails to let your customers know about specials, events, and coupons. If you have a loyalty program, you can even take it a step further. AI can figure out each customer’s most frequent orders and when they’re most likely to come in, and offer individualized deals based on their ordering habits. Your customers will feel like you really know them, and you can relieve pressure off the FOH manager who does marketing on the side. 

6. Customer Engagement 

While you don’t want to lose the human touch that really makes your customer experience, there are a few tasks you can pass off to AI that will free up managers’ and employees’ time for more pressing tasks (especially when they’re in the weeds on a busy Friday night). 

If your phone is ringing off the hook with people asking about wait times, making a reservation, or wondering if you have outdoor seating, AI can help field calls and answer their questions. You can program the AI to pick up on certain terms (like “reservation”) to generate the answer your guests are looking for. If you can integrate AI with your waitlist and reservation software, the AI can add callers to your waitlist, estimate wait times, and create reservations. 

Adding an AI chatbot to your website can also quickly engage customers, allowing them to get answers to specific questions that they’d normally call in to ask. 

Of course, there are limitations to tech, especially in the communication and hospitality departments. When choosing to add any new technology to your restaurant operations, make sure that it gives you more tools to engage with customers — and doesn’t create a cold, mechanical dining experience. It’s there to make your life easier, but AI can’t replace good service and personal connections with your customers.

Looking to simplify your tip out process? Kickfin can help. Check out a demo of our instant digital tipping software.

How to Comply with Tip Pooling Laws

Thinking about implementing a mandatory tip pool?

In more collaborative work environments, tip pooling might seem like a logical, equitable way to handle employee tips. It can encourage teamwork, build a spirit of camaraderie, and ensure that all of your employees are fairly compensated for their hard work.

But depending on where you’re located, tip pooling laws can get very complicated, very fast. A quick Google search will show you how many restaurants have found themselves at the center of costly lawsuits because they were (often unintentionally) operating illegal tip pools.

So: before you pass go, get up to date on the latest tip pooling laws and regulations to avoid hefty fines and a bad reputation. 

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Starting in 2020, the federal Department of Labor made significant rulings based on the tip regulations stipulated under the 2018 Fair Labor Standards Act. These new rulings are designed to better protect tipped employees from wage theft and other illegal tipping practices. They’ve released their final rule, which went into effect on April 30, 2021.

One important thing to note: while the DOL uses the umbrella term “tip pooling,” these rules apply to all tip-sharing practices, including tipping out. Even if you’re not explicitly pooling and redistributing tips, any tip sharing at all is subject to these laws.

Who can keep tips? 

Employers are completely barred from keeping any tips, pooled or otherwise. According to the FLSA, tips explicitly belong to the employees, not their employer, so any tips withheld by the employer can be seen as wage theft. 

As an extension of the employer, managers and supervisors may not participate in a tip pool or retain any employee tips. Managers can, however, keep tips that are directly given to them based on service they directly and solely provided. 

Some of the tip pooling laws depend on if your restaurant is taking the federal tip credit of up to $5.12:

  • If you do take the tip credit, non-tipped employees (like cooks, dishwashers, and other back-of-house employees) cannot participate in the tip pool. 
  • However, if you do not take the tip credit and pay traditionally tipped employees the full minimum wage, the tip pool can be shared with your back-of-house staff and other non-tipped employees. 

Maintaining Payroll Records & Timeliness

For the most part, the Department of Labor rewards employers who don’t take the tip credit and pay their tipped employees the full minimum wage by offering more flexibility around tip pooling. 

Still, even non-tip credit establishments have some extra rules to follow. Employers who require employees to pool their tips must maintain thorough records of payroll, tip redistribution, and the weekly/monthly tip amounts for each employee.

Speaking of payroll, all pooled tips must be redistributed to employees by the end of the pay period in which they were earned. The timeliness of returning tips to employees applies to all establishments, whether you take the tip credit or not. 

State and Local Tip Pool Laws 

Don’t forget that tipping laws vary state by state — and some states explicitly bar tip pooling. If you live in Kentucky, Wyoming, Minnesota, or Montana, you cannot require employees to participate in the tip pool, but employees may voluntarily pool tips if they so choose. 

Additionally, many states have higher minimum wage requirements than those laid out by the federal government, so you may need to double-check that your tip pool doesn’t cause any employees to fall below their required pay. 

As of now, 14 states have additional state laws that extend beyond the FLSA rulings, so make sure to read up on your state’s tipping regulations before implementing a tip pooling system.

Here are the states where tipping & tip pool laws vary: 

California

Tip pools are legal, but they cannot be shared with BOH employees or any manager who has the power to fire employees. 

Employers are also required to pay servers the full minimum wage of $15.50/hr — meaning California business owners cannot take the tip credit.  

Colorado

Tip pools are legal, but Colorado does have more rules about the tip credit. If you deduct credit card processing fees from your servers’ tips, you cannot take the tip credit and must pay the full minimum wage of $13.65.

Delaware 

Mandatory tip pools are legal, but servers cannot be required to contribute more than 15% of their tips. If servers create their own voluntary tip pool, they can choose to contribute as much as they would like. 

Kentucky 

Mandatory tip pools are illegal, but employees may voluntarily form their own tip pool. 

Maine

Any mandatory service charges must be treated as a tip for employees, so therefore, service charges can be included in the tip pool. 

Massachusetts

Mandatory service charges are viewed as tips that can be included in the tip pool, but only employees who provide direct service can take part in the tip pool. 

Minnesota

Mandatory tip pools are illegal, but employees may form their own tip pools. The employees may also vote to allow their employer to manage and disperse from the tip pool. Mandatory service charges are also viewed as tips unless it’s explicitly stated to the customer that they are not being paid to the employee. 

Montana

It is illegal for employers to mandate a tip pool, but voluntary tip pools are allowed. Mandatory service charges can only be treated as tips for the server. 

New Hampshire

Mandatory tip pools are banned, but employees may elect their employer to manage and disperse voluntarily pooled tips. 

New York 

Mandatory tip pools are legal, but employers are banned from participating. Employees providing direct service and supervisors with limited authority are the only employees allowed to participate in the tip pool. All mandatory service charges must be paid to the employee who provided the service. 

North Dakota 

To establish a tip pool, employers must hold a vote for the tipped employees to make the final decision. At least 50% plus one of the tipped employees must vote in favor of the tip pool, and the employer must keep record of the vote. 

North Carolina 

Tip pooling is legal but only among regularly-tipped employees. Employees may only contribute up to 15% of their tips to the pool. 

Utah

Tip pools are legal, but the tip pooling policy needs to be provided in writing before establishing a tip pool or hiring any new staff. 

Wyoming

Only voluntary tip pools are legal in Wyoming, and employers are banned from pressuring or coercing their employees to form a tip pool.

What’s at stake? 

If you don’t comply with federal tip pooling laws – even without your knowledge – you could be liable for massive fines and employee back pay. In 2020, the Department of Labor also released its final rule on Civil Money Penalties (CMPs) to determine the punishments that come with violating the FLSA tip regulations. 

The final rule clarified that the Department of Labor can assess penalties of up to $1,162 per violation, even if the violations aren’t repeated or willful. This fine is in addition to back pay and damages that employees can sue for. 

On top of the financial risks, you don’t want to ruin your reputation. No one wants to work for a company known for shady tipping practices, and customers generally don’t want to support unfair labor practices either. It’s in your best interest to take tipping laws seriously. 

Rulings and regulations can get confusing without expert help. It’s always safest to speak to an attorney to ensure that you’re complying with federal, state, and local tipping laws to keep your business out of hot water. 

Additional Resources

Once you’re confident that you’re complying with tipping laws, consider making tip pools and tipping out even easier. Request a demo of Kickfin to see how digital, instant tip-outs simplify tipping, save time, and help you retain employees.

How to Recruit Summer Staff for Your Restaurant

School’s out — which means a lot of students are about to hop into the hospitality workforce. If summer is your busy season, you’re probably used to pulling in folks who are looking for a gig so you can meet high-volume needs.

But the labor market is still tough, and you won’t be the only restaurant looking to staff up. If you want to win over the in-demand seasonal workers, you’ll need to stand out from the crowd. 

Why hire summer employees for your restaurant? 

It’s been hard to find good help at your restaurant thanks to the labor shortage, so it might seem counterintuitive to hire someone just for a season.

But now more than ever, flexibility is your greatest recruiting tool. By hiring people just for the summer, you can beef up your team to handle the busiest season of the year without requiring long-term commitments that could turn off potential hires. 

Plus: If you’re in need of year-round help, it can also buy you some time to run a real recruiting process and hire for the long haul.

How to bring in summer hires: 

You’re not going to be the only restaurant looking to add to their staff, and your applicants will have their pick of places to work. It’s time to get proactive — and creative — with your recruiting strategy to win them over. 

1. Get the word out (and leverage every channel)

The obvious first step to finding new employees? Let them know you’re hiring. 

  • Go social: We’re talking about Gen Z here, so if you want to meet them where they are, it’s time to go digital. At a minimum, post your job description wherever you’ve got a following (no matter how big or small) — Facebook, Instagram, etc. 
  • Boost it: It doesn’t cost a lot to boost a post, so if you want to expand your audience, put a small spend behind your listing. Be sure to identify geographic targets as you’re setting up your mini-campaign. (If your restaurant is in Milwaukee, you don’t want to spend money on impressions in Santa Fe!)  And of course: sell it. Include pictures and #workperks (more on that below), and show off your team culture.
  • Leverage email: Got a customer email list? Take advantage of that, too. Even if your target staff demographic doesn’t overlap with your customer base, word of mouth can be a great way to pull in talent. 
  • Update your site: These days, everyone checks out the menu before they hit up your restaurant. Use a homepage banner or pop-up tool to get your 
  • Old school still works, too: And then, of course, don’t neglect the tried-and-true recruiting methods. “Now Hiring” signs and fliers are still effective. Have applications ready at the guest stand. And think outside the four walls of your restaurant. Check with local high schools, colleges, and shops to see if you can display a flier in the bathroom or near a register.

2. Promote your perks 

What makes your restaurant a great place to work? Identify your restaurant’s unique selling points and mention them often in your job descriptions and when you meet with candidates. And while offering healthcare and PTO for your long-serving employees is great, you need to have perks that apply to new hires who will only be around for a few months. 

Having trouble thinking of your perks that would benefit a short-term employee? Here are a few ideas you can pull from: 

3. Offer referral bonuses

Turn your top talent into your ambassadors by encouraging them to refer potential employees. You’ll cast a wide net with less effort (and you’re more likely to get intro’d to team members you trust), while your staff will have the opportunity to work with their friends — it’s a true win-win.

Encourage and incentivize your employees to bring qualified candidates in for interviews. To ensure you’re working with a high quality pool, consider structuring the referral program so that employees get a referral bonus if their candidate actually gets offered the job. 

4. Lean on technology 

Most of your summer hires are going to be Gen Z students out of school for the summer — and they’re going to expect tech in any workplace. They probably won’t even look twice if you don’t offer a mobile-friendly job application online. 

On top of an easy application process, you’ll need to differentiate yourself from other restaurants by showing applicants the tech you use and how it can benefit them during their tenure. For example, do you have a scheduling system or are you still printing off and posting schedules the old-fashioned way? Do you use tech to easily trade or pick up shifts? 

Finances are also top-of-mind for your summer applicants, so let them know how tech can benefit their wallets, too. If you have a digital tip out solution in place, you can show them how easy it is to get direct, instant access to their tips — meaning no more waiting around for cash after their shifts. Instead, servers will be able to head out as soon as they finish their side work and spend the rest of the day by the pool. 

For restaurant owners, summer is an exciting – and hectic – time of year, but with the help of summer employees, you can make it your most lucrative season. 

Ready to leverage tech in your recruiting strategy? Check out a demo of Kickfin today.

5 Questions To Ask When Choosing a Digital Tipping Solution

So, you’re ready to break up with cash. Good news: the hardest part is over. 

But before you pop the champagne and celebrate your freedom from the pain of cash tip-outs, you have a few decisions to make. Payroll tips or digital tips? Instant tips or pay cards? There are a number of approaches to cashless tipping — but which one is right for your restaurant? 

We’ve been there (actually, we live here…), and we’ve done the research for you. As you’re wading through your options, here are a few things to consider when choosing a digital tipping solution. 

1. What is the employee experience like? 

No servers = no sales. In year three of the labor shortage, we all know how hard it can be to find good employees, so you can’t afford to lose your best servers to the restaurant across the street. If your new tipping system doesn’t benefit employees, go ahead and dust off your “Now Hiring” sign.

Most of your employees want (and deserve) to be paid on a daily basis — so before you make the switch, consider how it can affect their financial situations. 

And if you’re looking at a paycard solution, bear in mind — these types of digital tipping programs can cause a host of problems for your staff. For example, paycard fees can quickly add up, effectively docking your servers’ pay.

Ideally, you should choose a solution that gives your people instant access to their earnings (the same immediate gratification they had with cash) with minimal disruption.  

2. What will implementation look like? 

New tech can be daunting — but digital tipping software should be simple to implement, especially if you’re running as a standalone system. Make sure you ask the vendor you’re evaluating about things like:

  • How long will this take to implement?
  • What kind of training or onboarding support can we expect?
  • Are there any fees associated with the set up?

Bottom line: digital tipping should make your life easier, and that includes implementation. Make sure your solution has a clear, well-run process that gets you up and running fast.

→ Tech has never been so easy: See Kickfin’s digital tipping solution in action.

3. How does user management work? 

You have veteran employees who’ve been with you for years, others who are just around for a season, and even some who work at multiple locations. When digging into digital tipping options, look for a solution that automates user management, making it simple to add new users and new locations as your business evolves.

4. What happens when I need customer support? 

When you’re introducing any new system or process, questions are inevitable.

If your digital tipping solution doesn’t also include a robust, always-on customer success team, you may find yourself lost in the midst of employee questions, operational chaos, and maybe even some regret. Rather than feeling frustrated, ensure success by seeking out tipping platforms that are there to support your transition and keep you afloat.  

5. Will I be in compliance with tip pooling laws? 

Tip pooling regulations are always changing (and vary from state to state), so your digital tipping solution should also be a tool to help you stay in compliance with the law. As you evaluate tipping solutions, ask if they put up guardrails to prevent any tip pooling mistakes that could result in serious fines and lawsuits. 

Evaluating digital tipping solutions for your team? We’ve got you covered. Schedule time with our sales team today and we’ll answer any questions you throw at us.

How to Hire & Retain Gen Z Restaurant Workers

Everyone is still feeling the effects of the labor shortage — and it could be that outdated hiring practices are to blame. 

Toss out all the articles you’ve read about hiring Millennials, because Gen Z is joining the workforce in droves. Born between 1997 and 2012, Gen Z (or Zoomers) can be defined by their level of comfort with tech — none of them can remember life without the internet and they probably had an iPhone before they had a car. 

Now, they’re all grown up: Gen Z will make up 27% of the workforce by 2025. And unlike your older employees, they’re much more independent, tech-minded, and financially driven. They’re your best bet at solving your labor woes, if you can meet their needs too. 

Here’s how you entice Gen Z workers to join your team (and keep them happy). 

Competitive Pay 

No huge shock here: people want to work where they can make the most money. But unlike their Millennial forebears, Gen Z employees are taking finances much more seriously. 

Gen Z is giving major side-eye to the pizza parties and free t-shirts that may have excited employees of years past. If you’ve offered these types of job “perks” in the past, you’re better off spending that money on improving wages. And who can blame them? With increasing inflation, your youngest employees need money in the bank, not another branded hat. 

Times are tough, though. If you can’t afford higher wages, get smart with how you present your pay structure — like offering more frequent (or even daily) payment. 

Offer Benefits

Now when we say Gen Z doesn’t like job perks, we aren’t talking about the serious stuff like healthcare.

Members of Gen Z are aging out of their parents’ healthcare, and they’ll look for jobs that offer healthcare and other benefits for employees. 

On top of healthcare, Gen Z employees are also looking for time off, mental health initiatives and support, and sick leave. If you can’t offer higher wages, showing your support for your staff may help you edge out the competition in the hiring game. 

Hire Their Friends

Who doesn’t want to work with their friends? In close, team-oriented environments like restaurants, people naturally hope to find camaraderie and friendship at work. So when you’re looking for new employees, look no further than your current employees’ besties. 

Pro tip: Sweeten the deal even more by offering small referral bonuses to employees who bring their friends onto the team. You’ll make your current employees feel appreciated and solve your labor shortage issues in one fell swoop. 

Work with Their Schedules 

While some young Gen Z professionals are entering the job market looking for full-time positions, most of them are still students. To get them on board with your restaurant, you might have to be flexible with their hours. 

For college students, allow them to go home during school breaks, and be conscientious of their class schedules. They’re naturally prioritizing their (expensive) education over a restaurant job, so if you can’t be understanding about finals or Christmas break, they’ll look for a job elsewhere. 

Utilize Tech 

Gen Z was the first generation to grow up with technology — and they could probably teach you a thing or two about how to use it. Since they’re accustomed to tech making their lives easier, Gen Z workers won’t be happy to see analog processes in your restaurant.

For one, ditch the printout of the weekly schedule. No one wants to come in on their day off just to see when they work next. Instead, take advantage of the many scheduling apps that are available, or bare minimum, send out the schedule in an email.  

To really impress Gen Z, offer them digital payment options — especially digital tip outs. Like we said, Zoomers don’t want to wait two weeks for their pay, and they’re more than happy to receive digital payments over cash. In the eyes of Gen Z, the only “real money” is what you have in the bank — cash is so 1996 — so when their daily tips go straight to their bank account, they feel more financially secure. 

Looking to impress Gen Z restaurant employees? Check out a demo of Kickfin to see our technology in action.

Tipflation: What Are the New Norms Around Tipping?

Look, we’re in favor of tips around here, but we can all probably agree that over the past few years, tipping has gotten…weird. (Are you already picturing the iPad?) 

Most people know and practice proper tipping etiquette at FSRs, bars, and at fast-casual restaurants. But now, you might be prompted to leave a 30% tip at a self-service restaurant. The phenomenon – aptly named “tipflation” – has many of us questioning if we need a $9 chai latte today.

So what’s the new normal? And how should customers respond to rising costs due to the expansion of tipping? 

Why are we expanding tipping? 

It’s not like there was some major event that completely changed how most of the public sees the service industry and tipping as a whole … oh right, Covid. 

In the early days of the pandemic, restaurant workers at QSRs and takeout spots were deemed essential workers, and they were genuinely risking their lives to keep working in person. Since they were at such high risk of getting sick, many of us felt compelled to leave higher tips as a huge thank-you for their work (and for saving us from another night of spaghetti at home). 

Also, the pandemic ramped up cashless and contactless payment options — resulting in the meteoric rise of tablet tip acceptance software. With almost all restaurant operations going digital, restaurant owners opted to streamline their tipping systems as well.

And of course, restaurant owners saw the trend of higher tips as a way to mitigate the effects of the labor shortage. By expanding tips to less-traditional environments, owners could promise higher wages to potential hires — even during a time when business was unpredictable. 

Online Backlash 

As tips continue to creep up, people are taking notice — and sharing their opinions online. Last summer, TikTok creators poked fun at the awkward moment in front of the iPad, while others just shared their genuine frustration with the increasing pressure to tip. Even employees shared their discomfort with the “turning the iPad” situation. 

 

@maddiemischak It’s funny because I am indeed this employee  #tips #tippingculture #icecream #serviceindustry ♬ original sound – poop

And if you go through the #tippingculture on TikTok, you’ll see a lot of videos discussing whether or not we should be tipping in all of these less-traditional scenarios. In the comments, customers share the most surprising place they’ve ever been asked to tip (like at a self-checkout) as well as past and current service industry employees reminding us that people rely on tips for their livelihoods. 

Tip Etiquette in Our New Normal 

Our main takeaway? Tipflation leaves a bad taste in your customers’ mouths — even if they leave a tip in the moment. But good news: you can implement tipping at your business without offending your guests.

Because really, tipping isn’t the problem — in fact, tipped employees are overwhelmingly in favor of tipping because it significantly increases their take-home pay beyond what normal revenue constraints would allow. (Case in point: Many of the restaurants that have tried out no-tipping policies have reversed course because employees preferred the opportunity to earn more.) Plus: customers like the opportunity to reward great service.

But there’s a way to navigate tipping in a post-pandemic world without the awkward situations and risk of alienating customers. 

Here are a few tips for new-normal tipping:

  • Set the right options on your POS: Most people are happy to leave a tip for great service — but they don’t want to double the cost of their daily coffee. Set realistic tip prompts based on your business. For example, it might make sense for a bartender with many regulars to offer higher tip options of 15%, 20%, and 30%, but at a coffee shop, consider options like $0.50, $1, or rounding up to the nearest dollar. That way, customers don’t feel frozen in their choice between an over-inflated tip amount or no tip at all.
  • Make sure your customer has an option for “custom tips”: On the customer side, we often feel rushed to click on a tip option and move out of the way, completely ignoring the “custom tip” button. But think about it: you leave custom tips all the time at full-service restaurants — what’s the big deal about doing it at a QSR or coffee shop? So if you don’t immediately see a tip amount that feels right to you: stop, take a breath, and remember the custom tip button is there for a reason.
  • Give your guests some space: We all get a little shy when leaving a tip right in front of a server or cashier — and the employee usually feels pretty awkward, too. But you can make the interaction a little more comfortable for everyone involved. Rather than waiting for the customer to fill in their tip, suggest to your employees that they step away for a second. They can go get started on the guest’s order or check in on another table while the customer fills in their tip in private.  
  • Reserve judgment: Tips are great, but they don’t define people’s worth. Rather than viewing the iPad as a barometer for your customers’ morality, see it for what it is: an opportunity for servers to boost their salary and a little incentive to go the extra mile. 

If your restaurant is expanding your gratuity options, don’t make it awkward for your customers (or employees for that matter). Be mindful of the new tipping culture so that your employees can earn more money and your customers won’t leave feeling robbed. 

And of course, make your tip distribution easier with instant digital tip-outs. Request a demo today.