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As of today, January 5, 2020, this Grand Junction restaurant's policy states servers will keep the tips they receive.

Up until today, a sign at the register at Grand Junction's Pufferbelly Station Restaurant indicated gratuities would be divided up evenly between the serving staff. According to the sign, that policy was implemented during the restrictions associated with COVID-19. Starting today, the policy is no longer in effect.

I overheard this conversation earlier this morning while having breakfast at Pufferbelly. Recently, it seems that the restaurant is the new hangout for all the radio people in town. I spoke to my server, and she confirmed that starting today all servers would keep the gratuities they receive.

You may recall a post we shared on December 28 of last year which read, "Labor Department Change Means Grand Junction Servers May Have To Share Tips." That post ended up blowing up all over social media. Feelings on the matter were varied and fervent.

Over the course of my working life, I've never held a job where tips were given or expected. Put simply, I've never worked in an environment where my income was in any way based on person-by-person interactions. As a customer, though, my perception of tipping was always driven by the act's definition, which according to the Cambridge Dictionary is:


The act of giving an amount of money to someone who has provided a service, especially in a hotel or restaurant.

I was curious why restaurants switched to "shared" tipping in the first place. After speaking with an area restaurant manager, it became clear. Consider this: seating areas in restaurants are usually divided up into "sections" which are assigned to a particular server. Well, when COVID-19 came rolling in, restaurants were forced to space out their tables, reducing the number of tables in any given section. As a result, a server who may have once had 12 tables in their section would suddenly have fewer, let's say eight. Another server, assigned a different section, may have their assigned area reduced from ten down to six, and so on. Undoubtedly, given the layout of most any restaurant, it would have been difficult to divide sections evenly, providing for the same number of tables for each server. For this reason, many manager switched to the "shared" tipping.

Now it all makes sense. If nothing else, this restaurant reverting back to the previous system of tipping strikes me as one more step on the return to normalcy.

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