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Server Speak: Should Your Tips Count Toward the Minimum Wage?

Aster Cafe

Kyle Munshower
Position: Barback
Years in the industry: 2 
Aster Cafe, Minneapolis

So, this is my second summer as a
barback, which means I don't have a
whole lot of interaction with the guests;
the servers are still essentially the face
of the restaurant. It also means I don't get
tipped out directly by guests; I get my tips
from the servers and the bartenders. I
suppose my whole philosophy is that people
ought to be paid enough by their employer
without tips to be able to live. That's the whole
thing right? Like $15 an hour is more or less
a living wage? That being said, I think people
should still be able to claim all of their tips on
top of their wage. However, guests will also be
aware of any minimum wage hikes and
will probably adjust tips accordingly. But if
you provide outstanding service, and the guest
notices that, I see no reason to not keep
that on top of the wage.


Bailey Hubbs
Position: Server/Barista
Years in the industry: 1 
Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, St. Paul

I’m a high school student. I’m not paying off student
loans. For me, it doesn’t really make a difference,
but [tips] help a lot. There are a lot of young college
students trying to pay off student loans that work here
and the tips definitely help when they’re on top of
minimum wage. 


John Thomas
Position: Line Cook
Years in the industry: 5 
Acadia, Minneapolis

They need to stay separate. One of my current
employers told me when I applied that the job
averaged out to be $15 or $16 an hour with tips.
But I'm making minimum plus tips there, so only
$9 is guaranteed, and let me tell you I've been
closer to $11 or $12 an hour than the figure they
gave me. If they promised to make up the difference
if the tips weren't there, I'd be fine with having tips
included in what they say is my wage but that's not
how it works. The small bump happening this August
[from $9 to $9.50] has not affected my opinion on the matter.


Abby Grosse
Position: Server/Bartender
Years in the industry: 4 
Ox Cart Ale House, St. Paul

I feel like I need the incentive of a tip to feel motivated
to do this work, and I don’t think I’m the only one.


Brighid Burkhalter
Position: Barista
Years in the industry: 1 
Mapps Coffee & Tea, Minneapolis

That is a complicated question since tips vary from job
to job. I know as a barista, depending on the day, I
walk away with anywhere from $4 to $20. Since a goal
of raising the minimum wage is to create a living wage, I think it would make sense for tips to be included inside one’s wage.


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