How do you handle tips?


New member
Feb 13, 2009
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Hello dear members,

my boyfried and me plan to open a coffee shop in Florida. I think, we found a business, that fits.

Now I have a question.

How do you handle tips with your employee? I think, there a different option to handle this.

It would be great, if you can tell me your experience. I need this information also for the payment of our employee. I know about the minimum wage of $7.25 without tips, and $4.19 with tips (only if they achieve the $7.25 / hour with tips).

Thank you very much,

Tine 4711


Super Moderator
Staff member
Feb 28, 2008
Near Philadelphia, PA
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Hello "Tine4711"

Welcome to the Coffee Forums. You'll find lots of useful information here.

If you've ever been a tipped employee in a small cafe, you'd know that it's a royal pain to have to depend on people throwing their chump change into a tip jar, especially now-a-days when customers are being more frugal because of the "economy." I'm seeing that instead of putting cash into a tip jar, they put their change in their pockets.

I'd rethink my tipping idea if I were you...

It doesn't make any employee very happy to have to work for $4.19 an hour and then scramble to try to make up the difference in tips. Even the happiest, helpful, courteous, fast service type of employee will resent having to work for peanuts.

Do you know what it's like to provide great, friendly customer service, make a bunch of specialty drinks, smoothies, etc. for a customer and his family, and then watch that person pocket their 39 cents in change instead of putting it in the tip jar (plus you still have to clean up the mess afterwards)? It's like a slap in the face!! Even though it's a part of the job, dealing with the lousy tips would be less of a problem if the employee was being paid a decent hourly wage and not have to depend on tips to get by.

Why not pay your employee's an hourly wage (at least the minimum $7.25 per hour) and let them put out a tip jar, and keep the tips? When a person is paid a decent dependable hourly rate, the tips become an extra bonus to brighten the end of a long, hard day. You want to have happy employees, right?

I know the IRS has rules about reporting tips, which many employers don't follow because it causes a little extra bookkeeping in addition to the regular payroll. In reality, it's much easier to let the employees keep their tips and let them worry about how they'll report it when they do their income taxes in April.

I seriously doubt that you'll have more than a few employees to keep records for. Plus I have a feeling you and your boyfriend will be working in the coffee shop much more than you think!

Here is a link to some tip guidelines....but like I said, many small employers just let the employees keep their own records and report their tips. ... ome-2.aspx

I'm sure other fourm members have a variety of opinions regarding tips.......this is my opinion.



New member
Feb 13, 2009
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Hello PinkRose,

thank you very much for your helpful information.

There are more options with tip-handling, so I'm very happy about ideas.

I think, good work has to pay accordingly. I will be honest, I wouldn't work for $4.19. We plan to pay $7.50 for the first six month. If an employee is very good, I think, one has to earn more money. I know, it is hard, to have only a small income, that is no motivation.

It is important to us, having good, friendly and motivated employees.

Thank you very much. ;-)


New member
If Florida is like New England, then the $4.19/hr is really for full service restaurant where a wait person can walk out with $100+ per dinner shift. In coffeehouse setting, I doubt you will get anyone to take a position at such rate. For that matter, even the full minimum wage of $7.25 you are not going to get many quality applicants. In my shops, tips are between customers and employees, I don't check how much tips they make per shift and I hope it is a lot. I don't factor tips into how much I pay my people.