The chain asks servers to pay a 2 percent levy on the check totals for tables they serve, and then distributes the sum to the kitchen and door staff, who ordinarily do not receive tips.
Waiters apparently expressed their concerns to the managers, saying that it was unfair because they do not know how much they actually earn in tips, and the new system runs without any staff consultation or transparency. The managers allegedly replied that the waiting staff has to “pay to work.” This could theoretically happen if a table didn't tip a server at all; he or she would still be liable for 2 percent of the total bill — out of his or her own pocket.
Jamie’s Italian told The Guardian that their tipping system is not unfair, and that they have never asked the staff to pay more than they earn in tips. The Guardian also notes that a majority of wait staff earns minimum wage and rely on tips.
“Since the implementation of the new system, we have only had one complaint from some staff at one of our restaurants who believe that the front of house staff deserve more of their tips — resulting in less for non-front-of-house staff,” a spokesperson from Jamie’s Italian told The Guardian. “This issue is currently being resolved internally at that restaurant.”