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Deborah, Research Analyst
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 3217
Experience:  Past President of City Garden Club, Hobbies of Gardening, Mom/Grandma, International Cooking
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Can restaurant owners take tips?

Customer Question

Can restaurant owners take tips?
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Deborah replied 10 years ago.

My family owns several restaurants in NYC, one of which is in "Little Italy"

The answer is that it is not illegal for a restaurant owner to take a tip from a guest if the services were phenomenal or for any other reason. The situation is that it is usually considered in poor taste to accept a tip in view of being the owner.

In our restaurants, guests often approach the owner and offer a tip. In these cases, my uncle for example will introduce himself, thank the guest for their generous gesture and politely refuse. He always tells them to take care of their waiter and service satff. In those cases where the guest insists, my uncle asks them then to donate their tip to an emergency fund he has for his staff. He explains that once a month his accountant counts the money in the fund and then my uncle matches it. This money is used to help his staff when they have some persoanl emergency. The staff also contributes to the fund as well, and they also vote should an emergency grant be allowed. He has been doing this to help his staff for more than 30 years.