Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Communist at Red Lobster - Welcome to the Gulag

In my years I've seen Red Lobster (Darden) do some pretty petty and asinine things to screw their best employees.  They do it regularly enough that it has become par for the course.

If you click on my profile it says: 
I've worked for Red Lobster for the better part of a decade. They used to care for their employees, now we're just another warm body in their soulless corporation. The views expressed here are OBVIOUSLY not corporate Red Lobster's or Darden's. If you can't figure that out, press your call button and someone will be right by to smack you in the head with a hammer.
The blog formerly known as "Red Lobster hates its employees".


I've been sounding this warning for years now.  Red Lobster hates its employees.  You are just another cog in the machine. Start squeaking and you don't get oiled, you get removed and replaced with another nameless cog.

Some tool at the corporate level has bought into the communist ideal - and for those of you readers too young to remember communism was a shitty way to run a country, and it's an even worse way to run your company.

What am I talking about you ask?  Well later this month all servers will be REQUIRED to have their earnings garnished as a "tip out" for bartenders and bussers.  Further, the bartenders, many of whom have a lot of years with the company, will arbitrarily have their hourly wages significantly reduced.

What are the ramifications of this?  First, it shits on the experienced day time bartender.  Sales are low during the day time shifts, but they often do a vast majority of the prep for the night time crew who will be too busy to do so.  So now in its corporate incompetence Darden thinks adjusting the business model to screw the hand that stirs their drink is wise business.  Pathetic abuse of some exceptional employees.

Further, it disproportionately punishes any sever working a daytime shift where far fewer alcoholic beverages are being served, because regardless of whether you sell a drink, the communist party at Darden is taking your money.  And if you live in a region of the USA where there is limited alcohol consumption *looking at you closet alcoholics in Utah* then you're just fucked and asked to like it and come back tomorrow for two more servings.


Now here's where I'm going to piss off some of my fellow servers, but I'm calling some of you lazy dogs out here.

How will this impact servers?  For a lot, especially the shitty ones, it'll cost them money.  Here comes the rant.

If you are a lazy incompetent server, this is going to cost you a boatload of cash.  So hopefully it'll make some of you whiny bitches hit the bricks.

What do I mean?  If you were all selling drinks like you were supposed to, and my drink sales are evidence that it IS possible, then this wouldn't be such a massive clusterfuck.  Furthermore, if you tipped out as well as you claimed you did you stingy chintzy bastards, none of this would matter.

What do I mean?  For years now I've tipped out AT LEAST 10% of all my bar sales to my bar tenders.  It's only fair.  And 10% of my bar sales on 90% of my shifts is a shitload more cash going to the bartender than this new system.  So in reality, because I'm good at my job, because I can sell shit - ketchup popsicles to ladies in white mink gloves biatch - I will actually take home more money due to this policy.  But I know I am in the minority in this.  And I ALWAYS tip my busser(s) prior to my shift so I know they'll be working their asses off for me rather than waiting and wondering.  And when I do well, I give them more at the end of the shift.  And believe me, the bussers do work their asses off in my section while...not so much in the other cheap prick's areas.

Why is Red Lobster kicking their front of the house employees in the balls (again)?  Because it will save them $4-5 million on the bottom line.  Never mind the fact they'll likely loose some of their best bartenders over this.  Never mind the fact they'll have training costs because of it.  Never mind the fact that they will have reduced productivity because of it.  Never mind they further reduce already shitty moral in many stores across the country and did nothing but generate ill will towards themselves.  You can only fuck with your people for so long and then things happen.  It would NOT surprise me if a movement begins in Red Lobsters across the country to move towards unionization because of this.  Check out UNITE HERE if you are interested.

21 comments:

Sandra said...

Lobster Boy,

The bussers at my restaurant are also getting a pay cut. I don't mind them getting their fair share of our tips, but I think cutting their pay stinks!

--Olive Girl

Rebecca said...

the bussers at my restaurant dont deserve any money. no matter when or how much you tip them you always end up cleaning your own table. but they always seem to reappear when the table just needs to be set...and of course the managers response be nice to the guy there is only one of him and 8 of you

nancy said...

Check with your state's labor board to make sue that this is legal. It sounds shady to me that they can take your tips like that.

nancy said...

Check with your state's labor board. I believe you live in Illinois? This is pulled off of the Illinois Dept of Labor site.

What can be deducted from my check?

Only certain deductions are allowed under Illinois law. Deductions may be made when: (1) required by law (such as taxes); (2) to the benefit of the employee (such as health insurance premiums, union dues etc.); (3) a valid wage assignment or wage deduction order is in effect; (4) made with the express written consent of the employee, given freely at the time the deduction is made. For more information, click here. 820 ILCS 115/9.

http://www.state.il.us/agency/idol/faq/qawage.htm

Good luck. It sounds shady to me...

Dee said...

Thanks for writing this. I am an RL bartender and devastated. I did the math, and it is going to be a roughly $8,000 pay cut per year. Needless to say, I'm looking for a new job, and when I find one, I'm taking all of my regulars with me.

Commisioner Tagliabue said...

Out of curiousity Dee, how long have you been with Red Lobster?

I'm also a RL Bartender, have been with the company for 5 years, and think the difference in pay will be very minimal. Maybe it is a glass half full mentality, but I'm losing about 40% of my hourly wage, but picking up some tipout overall. About half of our servers tipout well, half tipout crappy, and I HATE hunting them down to ask for money, so I won't miss that part.

I work 2 lunch shifts a week, 1 solo Weds evening shift, and then close Fri, Sat, Sun. The weekend shifts are going to be the worst for the new tipout system, as it'll be divided obviously between all of the bartenders. But those solo lunch shifts and solo Weds Night shift could be big money. Last Wednesday my store did almost 10,000 in Sales. Thats a cool 100 dollars in my pocket at the end of the night. At lunch we average 2000-3000 in Sales. I don't know about you, but I'm not making 20 or 30 bucks in tipout at lunch right now -- lucky if I hit 10.

I feel its incredibly disrespectful of the company to do, and absolutely destroys the people that have been with the company for long periods of time (like one of our bartenders who has been there 13 years. Now HIS pay cut is substantial.) I'm not 100% sure I'm leaving, as I make pretty great money, but I do have a job interview in about an hour.

Dee said...

I'm not seeing it that way at all. I would much rather have 10% of $100in alcohol sales as opposed to 1% of $600 in total sales. I usually work (my ass off) 2 lunches and 4 nights per week and I earn that pay--and not just with customers. All of the heavy lifting, putting most of my arm down those bar drains to clean them, dealing with lots of broken glass, inhaling those crystallized cleaners, inventory, yadda yadda yadda. I didn't mind the work with the current pay, but come March 21, Darden is getting $5/hour worth of effort, which should involve standing around and reading the paper just like our servers do. Good luck in your interview.

Ashleigh said...

as a daytime bartender at Ruby Tuesdays ( who recently incorporated this same pay/tip system ) I have to say you are dead-on. I have taken a serious pay cut, and the corporate powers that be also decided that we would now pay more attention to our bar guests if they put a server in the bar, the bartender cant take tables until after two. ( the problem with this theory....there are almost no bar guests before two )
so here I am, with over fifteen years of bartending experience, reduced to fruit slicer, and bottle washer. and making less money than I did as a thirteen year old bus-girl. yeah, I will be quitting...soon

Jade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mrclm said...

http://www.ehow.com/how_2033939_report-sexual-harassment.html - I no longer work for Red Lobster (yea!!!!!) but this is a good basic explanation for reporting sexual harassment.

Paula said...

not surprised by all this...i workd for RL for around 2 years on and off ...it was the first time i worked for a chain....it was obvious that they could care less about the servers....all the managers and higher ups cared about was their bottom line and their bonus....they would screw over the servers to get what they wanted...lots of favortism also.......They learned this thru the corporate idiots cuz thats all they care about.......all the money they are going to save by screwing the bartenders will go to the CEO pay increases and bonus and to TV commercials to entice the stupid public to go eat at their food in a bag restaurant.....sooooo sad........im not a Union fan but in this case...id be in....someone needs to do something to put an end to the Corporate Greed....

nmanning2984 said...

AMEN BROTHER or SISTER, not sure what gender you are but I completely agree wth you on every aspect. I have recently quit the red lobster in Kokomo Indiana due to bad management. I was told that I 'suck the fun out of the job' by the GM! When I'm 'bestfriends' with most of the coworkers?? I left there not knowing who was sincere and who wasn't but at the end of the day, I knew what a great server I was and i sure as HELL will never waste it at REd lobster, and don't even get me started on the food...!! LOL WELL SAID!

Pancake Grrrl said...

These corportations do not understand what an asset their employees can be. I know so many talented passionate restaurant workers - I can only imagine what we would all be like if the companies introduced real benefits and profit sharing. Instead, they demand our loyalty and throw us under the bus every time they get the chance. I would LOVE it if we all unionized!

purlywhirl said...

Nancy,
" (4) made with the express written consent of the employee, given freely at the time the deduction is made."

They made us sign consent forms for it. Though even the servers who said they didn't want to sign it were told it didn't matter.

I'm a server and I'm not mad about potentially losing money. I tip the bartenders well, and have tried to give our bussers money, though they don't take it. I'm mad that I'm being used to pay someone else's wage when this company should be willing to pay a decent wage anyway. I mean there are bartenders who have been there so long their hourly rate is on par with a decent factory job in my one-horse town. I don't own the company and I don't employ the employees so as I see it, I shouldn't be made to pay their wage. Supplimenting their income through bar tip outs is fine. I always tip bartenders at least 10%, I correct for the fact that they need to share tips on weekends, and I always tip even if I didn't have 1 bar sale that day. I know other servers are lazy and cheap, but I shouldn't be required to make up for that. Especially when this goddamned seafood feast for $15 is killing my bottom line. I HATE this company.

Pipeline said...

Just ran across this blog, and I appreciate your honesty. It's hard to find in today's world. Not going into detail too much, but I used to be one of those low tippers, being from backwards ass WV and a dumbass hillbilly. Anyway, I married a gal who was a waitress that retired from the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas as a waitress and she has definitely taught me the err of my ways. Coupon or not, 20 percent of the original bill is what I tip.

Discuss.

Banquet Manager said...

I don't necessarily agree with what Red Lobster is doing but if the company is having financial difficulties, what are they to do? Just go bankrupt or try to find a way, anyway, to be more profitable until they can get out of their problems.
Just trying to unionize is not the answer.

David said...

so our restaurant are really screwing bartenders......since the change in hourly pay rate for bartenders, from 12.50 to 5.50 per hour, they are putting on double the number of bartenders per shift, so there is NO way to subsidize the loss in hourly rate with tips, since they are now being divided between twice the number of people. In the past there was 1 bartender working weeknights....now there are 2 And four on a Sunday night. When I complain the general manager just advises me to work more hours!!! Truly facist!!! I am on the job hunt.

Tor Hershman said...

If Castro ate @ RL and got food all over himself he'd be know as
THE RED SLOBSTER

Tonya said...

Corporate restaurants are continually paying their employee salaries with the sweat of servers. At Ruby Tuesday, my previous employer, we tipped out bartenders, bussers, and hosts. I don't even mind the bartenders and bussers but HOSTS? Why do I have to pay 1.5% of my sales for a host? But nobody can stop this... it's just more of Big Business fucking the little guy over. We servers grumble but we stay in the field. And we can only expect more and more assrapery. My friends are shocked at the hourly pittance I receive and horrified that I'm paying so many paychecks with the money that was left expressly for me. All I can do is tell them not to eat there. Not that it makes any difference.

Lobster Boy said...

Tonya - that's why I teach all my friends and family to tip in cash. You can pay with a card, but tip in cash. That way they can only ding me on tipouts fro the bare minimum. If I'm not making more than that I'd fire my own ass...

DMJacobs2988 said...

We're getting screwed big time at ours. It's a smaller restaurant but the nicest one in town so everyone flocks here for Mother's Day, Father's Day, Fourth of July (freakin sucked anus, do people spend time with their families at cook outs anymore?), anytime it rains or whatever. I started out as morning dishwasher 6 days a week. It's nice hours but unfortunately they have me bake the bread, potatoes, wash dishes, and help prep at the same freakin time.

Now they moved me to more back-up and prep shifts. They told me this morning they're cutting the fry guys' hours and having back-up (the only back-up in the restaurant) fry and do back-up. We usually have the CGM and one assembler weekdays, that's it. We need a union bad or something. I can't find another job in this God forsaken crap-hole of a town. I actually went to RL as a last resort.

We have a bartender, been with the company for ten years. She's getting screwed majorly on this tip-share deal. She took a tremendous cut. Freakin hate how they run their good employees to death. I'd get a new job if I could find one to save my life.