A Small Town Florida Restaurant Only Pays Their Servers $1/Hour & Twitter Is Outraged

"Just the tips" seems to be the motto for this new commission-based pay scale. 💸

A line cook at The Living Room Restaurant & Lounge. Right: The Living Room Restaurant & Lounge exterior.
Florida Associate Editor

A line cook at The Living Room Restaurant & Lounge. Right: The Living Room Restaurant & Lounge exterior.

A Tampa area restaurant, The Living Room, is crunching numbers and now its wait staff is getting paid $1/hour. Founder of the hospitality company, the Feinstein Group, Zachary Feinstein, calls it a commission-based model.

Inflation is real, and food establishments are feeling the impact. It's affecting everyone from receipt changes, to customer experience and now server paychecks.

The new rules were posted on the Dunedin, FL restaurant's website and called "The 20% Service Charge." The website explains that there will be 20% added as tip money to the server on your bill, regardless of a discount. For example, if your meal was comped, you still have to pay the 20% of the original pricing for what was ordered.

The "sales commission for every dollar sold" will allow Front of House employees to get 100% of the tips, and if you would like to include an additional tip, you can.

This allows the restaurant to increase its kitchen wages drastically.

While the owner says, everyone gets paid more this way, Twitter is not buying it.

A candidate for the Florida State Senate, Eunic Ortiz, wrote on the app that it doesn't seem legal and should be investigated.

"Wow do greedy owners who wouldn’t have a business without their servers & customers get creative when trying to pass costs onto their servers & customers…JUST PAY THEM A LIVING WAGE…they are not independent contractors! Those are literally the busiest restaurants in Dunedin," one person wrote.

Feinstein posted on his website graphs to show data of what certain positions were paid with or without this model.

One user tweeted that so many things can change during this time and the examples can't be conclusive. "Say server income goes up 10%, but gross receipts go up 20%," he wrote.

According to Minimum-Wage.org, Floridians should receive a minimum of $10/hour. Tipped employees would receive $6.79/hour.

One person suggested that the owner raise prices, eliminate tipping and better the pay for their staff altogether, while others claim they "won't eat anywhere that doesn't pay their waitstaff properly."

The Feinstein Group owns two other establishments in town, The Black Pearl and Sonder Social Club.

The restaurant has not responded immediately to Narcity's request for comment.

Jenna Kelley
Florida Associate Editor
Jenna Kelley was an Associate Editor for Narcity’s USA Desk focused on trends and celebrities in Florida and is based in Miami-Fort Lauderdale in Florida.