I am being trained at a restaurant as a server for which I am supposed to work. However, there is one reason I am seriously considering applying elsewhere: we are required to tip out 5% to the host staff, in addition to the standard 5% to the bartender, 15% to the runners, and 15% to the bus staff. From what I've observed so far in the training shifts (and in my past experience in working as a server), the hostess' role in assisting the table service staff is seating the guests, and that's it. No hustling, no taking drink orders, no assisting with bussing...just seating. Tips are given by our guests for the service to the table, during the mealtime, which is the performance waitor/waitress, the busser, and the runners. I do not see why the hostess (who, if I'm not mistaken, is paid at least minimum wage) should receive money for which the servers have worked hard. I mean, I would understand if they seated and took drink orders and delivered drinks or something similar, but their only requirement in helping us is to seat our guests. And even when they are seating someone and a few other parties are waiting, the manager or sometimes a server will seat them. So in tipping them 5% to make up their salary, I'd pretty much be paying them for something they wouldn't be doing.
I've discussed this with two people (one of whom is also a server), and they both declare that tipping out the host staff is illegal, and I shouldn't work for a place that is too cheap to pay a decent amount to the host staff so they must rely on other employees' pay.
Is it really illegal? I don't intend to report on this, but it just doesn't feel right to me.