Like many industries today, the hospitality industry is undergoing significant shifts. Besides annual increases in the minimum wage, federal labor laws regulating tip sharing “pools” are in constant flux. Prior to November 2016, Lombardi’s participated in the customary Seattle metro market practice of restaurant servers “tipping out” to their dining room support staff (bussers, hosts & bartenders), in addition to the kitchen staff. Historically, the average “tip out”
servers were contributing to the tip pool was 5% of their food and beverage sales.
With labor laws regulating tip sharing “pools” in flux at both the federal and state level, we decided it best to discontinue tip sharing pools, and instead either raise our prices, or implement a service charge.
Rather than “shock” our guests with higher prices, we chose to add a 5% service charge, which is shared with bussers, hosts, bartenders and the kitchen team. We chose a relatively small service charge percentage because we respect that our guests are not comfortable with a 20% service charge, as is becoming the new norm in the Seattle market. The 5% service charge allows our guests continued flexibility in choosing to voluntarily tip, while still directly incentifying our
dining room staff to provide excellent service.
Our servers and bartenders no longer “tip out” to their support staff or the kitchen staff. Our servers do not retain any portion of the service charge. Instead, they retain 100% of any tip you choose to leave. It is appropriate when tipping your server or bartender to deduct the service charge from any amount you choose to tip. Lombardi’s retains the 5% service charge to provide equitable pay and benefits to our entire team.
If any aspect of your dining experience was not up to your standard, simply ask a manager for a
refund of the service charge.
We appreciate your patronage and support of local restaurants!
Diane Symms Kerri Lonergan-Dreke
Founder/CEO Proprietor/Vice President