UnderCover Waitress: Bring Your Bank

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bring Your Bank

Ask the Waitress!

Is it legal for my employer to require me to bring my own bank? 

This is a legal and rather common practice. The employer is not asking you to spend your own money. Usually, restaurants that require wait staff to bring their own banks have computerized POS systems. This makes keeping track of things easier (unless the computer is programmed poorly.)

Every time you take payment, you either put in a credit card tip or receive a cash tip. You may need to make change with the bank you brought, which seems as if you are spending your own money. You are not.

Let's say you bring $50 for your bank.
You make sales of $1,000.
You earn $200 in tips.

If all of your sales were credit card sales, you will go home with your untouched $50 and $200 from the till (minus tip out.)

Lets say you made cash sales and used your bank to make change. A customer spent $50 and wanted to tip you $10. He handed you a $100 bill. You handed him $40 back. You now have $100 from the customer and $10 left in your bank = $110.

When you cash out, the till will expect you to give it the $50 that the customer spent on food.
$110 - $50 = $60.
$60 = your $10 tip plus the $50 bank you brought in.

Make sense?

I understand that it may seem difficult at first; if you wait tables on a regular basis then you will likely be able to set aside what you need for the next shift's bank. Once you are "in the groove" regarding having a bank handy, you may find it is easier and faster to carry your own bank. I prefer carrying my own bank because I can make change quickly for a table instead of making them wait for the register.

A reasonable employer will help you make change if you run out of your bank or need smaller change. For example, your first table pays with a $100 bill and wipes out your bank. A reasonable employer will change the $100 bill for you so you can function the rest of the shift.

So yes, it is legal to ask servers to carry their own banks. Carrying your own bank does not cost you money.

Thanks for asking the waitress!


  1. Having never had worked in the service industry, this one's new to me....

  2. But what if the employer does not supply a cash register with a bank that a cashier/anyone operates nor will provide change if the server is hit with a large bill that wipes out the server's bank. What if the employer expects the server to instead leave the building and go to either a neighboring bank (which has declined to make change as the business does not bank there) or to another business nearby and to ask for change? This is the standard operating procedure at a restaurant locally. For customers this can be an inconvenience.

    1. That is on the fault of the company as most companies, including the restaurant I work for presently, have their cash reserve (where we cash out at the end of night and they lock up the money) and if we get hit with a 50 or 100 and need change then we take it to our managers and they will exchange it and then you continue as if they gave you the 5 twenties your manager exchanged it for rather than the 100 bill. That is more efficient than making them go get change. We don't have a cash register or any place other than the cash our managers keep on lock. So I would recommend they do that instead, we still are suppose to bring 25-35 in 1s, 5s, and change to do smaller amounts.

  3. What if they send you home for not having your bank? Is that legal?

    1. If employees were told ahead of time that bringing a bank is required, then it is certainly legal to be sent home for not having one. Perhaps not the nicest way to run a business, but legal.


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