I work in a coffee shop in a small mountain town. A cook was hired recently to make soups, burgers, sandwiches etc. He stays in the kitchen and makes food and we (the baristas), make coffee and sandwiches as well as pour beer, make smoothies, milkshakes etc. On Friday nights the cook makes a special meal and after diiner there is music of some sort. On these dinner nights, folks come in, order with us at the front counter, pay for their meal and then sit down. We do not have a POS system and so we have to run the orders to the kitchen. The cook makes the food and then the girlfriend of the owner, who is not a paid employee, runs the food to the tables. She clears the plates and then the owners will wash them OR they leave them for the cleaning lady who comes in after midnight. Here comes the problem...The owner told me the other night that for the 3 hours dinner was being served, the 2 barista were to split their tips evenly 4 ways...between the two of them and then for the cook and the girlfriend food runner. I feel this is insanely unfair as everyone paying for their meal pays with the baristas at the register and do NOT tip anywhere near the 15-20% suggested amount. In fact, most only tip on the drinks...like $2-3. I flat out refused to do this as I feel it is incredibly unbalanced and unorganized. I tried to offer scenarios in which I would feel comfortable throwing down a bit for the girlfriend food runner but I said "No way" to the tipping of the cook. This cook, I should add, sits at the bar or goes out to smoke between orders (very often!!) and drinks beer for free! Also, I pour his beers and I have never seen one tip from him even though I never expected it until he started demanding money from me. I live in CA where it is illegal to force the FOH to tip out the kitchen. The owner said he knew that but no matter, he would do it anyway and if I did not comply I could quit, so I did.
I am not against tipping out but this is not even a real restaurant. It is a small, family owned coffee shop and I desperatly need the tips I make...I bust my ass for them. The cook gets at least $10/hour (not sure, it is a secret) and free beer all night long. Any advice? Am I totally off base here? Thoughts please.