UnderCover Waitress: March 2012

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Health Care is Unconstitutional

According to the Center for Disease Control, a full twenty percent of Americans are struggling to pay their medical bills. That is one in five.

It is no secret that waitressing is one of the many low-wage jobs in which workers with families to support simply go without medical insurance. When the choice is between groceries and insurance, most people pick groceries so they can feed their children.

The GOP, however, would have people believe that the working poor like it that way. They argue that it is unconstitutional to force people to purchase health care. The very wise Ruth Bader Ginsberg has made the argument that mandated health care is no different from mandated Social Security. Social Security is the required form of retirement insurance that workers pay into via a special tax on their paychecks.

Wojtek Wakowski has made it easier for people to opt out of paying for this "product" that they don't want -- useless health insurance. He has made the salient point that not everybody wishes to receive care when injured; some people don't want to pay for medical care and would rather die in agony.

Follow this link to print out a PDF of these DNR cards out for you, your family, members, and for your like-minded friends:


Americans have the right to choose to be poor. We have the right to choose to remain uneducated because we don't have the money to pay for expensive education, and we like it that way. We have the right to lose our teeth because we can not afford dental care, and we like it that way. We have the right to die at the age of 27 because we got hit by a car and chose to not waste our hard-earned cash on health insurance. We have the freedom to live in abject poverty in crime-ridden neighborhoods in which there is no hope.

How dare politicians with their taxpayer-funded health care packages force us to receive medical attention? The freedom to choose makes America great!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cookies Are Political

The theme of today's Let's Blog Off is "Cookies." Nice, wide-open topic, so I expect to read a wide variety of posts today, and I am looking forward to it. I even hope that some of my fellow bloggers post some great recipes... but, alas, that is not what I am going to do.


I first read on Ravelry in the Rubberneckers forum about a Washington Times opinion piece published in January. It is a poorly researched piece of right-wing drivel about boycotting girl scout cookies because the evil organization supports Planned Parenthood. And (according to the article) cross-dressing. 

This brings so many scenarios to mind. How would our nation's finest respond to a solicitation for Girl Scout cookies? 

Let's take a look at Rush Limbaugh as he answers a timid little knock at the door. 

Girl Scout: Excuse me, sir, would you like to buy some girl scout cookies? 

Rush: Why, you little, Planned Parenthood supporting slut!  I'll bet your mother is a whore and you are a little bastard. 

Girl Scout: What? I don't know. What's a whore? 

Rush: A whore is woman who has sex and gets pregnant because she won't pay for her own birth control pills. Then she kills the baby in the government's uterus. Girl Scouts are baby killers. 

Girl Scout: No, sir, I don't kill babies! (She begins to cry.) 

Rush: You kill babies if you are a Girl Scout. Look, just leave the caramel clusters around the back and make sure nobody sees you. 

***

Mitt Romney doesn't know if he supports Girl Scout cookies. He will decide after he is elected.

***

Newt Gingrich, on the other hand, is all for Girl Scout cookies. He thinks we should completely abolish child labor laws and make the children bake the cookies, as well. The organization should be limited to the funds that the little workers earn peddling the cookies on the street. I'll bet they can sell more cookies than the little match-stick girl sold match-sticks.

***

Pope John Rick Paul Santorum will allow the sale of Girl Scout cookies in his church-state empire. Like all secular organizations, however, the Girl Scouts will be taken over by the church and run by the Sisters of Perpetual Misery. All cookies will be cut in the shape of the cross, and a ten percent tithing from all cookie sales will go to the church.

***

And then there is Ron Paul. Remember him? He wants to be Mitt's Vice President. Ron Paul is fine with Girl Scouts selling cookies. And if they want to refuse to sell to blacks, gays, and Jews, he is just fine with that, as well.

***

The Girl Scouts are a great organization. 'Nuff said. Go buy some cookies.





Under Cover Waitress for President, 2012.
;-D
Under Cover 2012 Tee Shirt

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ding, Dong, the Bill is Dead

Sung to the tune of "Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead" from the Wizard of Oz. (I don't have to pay royalties now, do I?) Instead of munchkins, picture waitresses linked arm-in-arm, singing in solidarity. And they don't sound like they have been breathing helium.

Read about this picture at the source: http://www.doobybrain.com/2009/03/09/catching-up-with-one-of-the-original-munchkins/

















But, seriously folks, Senate Bill 2106: Tipped Employees died on March 9, 2012. This means that the minimum wage for tipped employees in Florida will not be lowered. Huzzah!

Now, some people are saying that there will be no restaurant jobs available and the restaurant industry in Florida will go bankrupt. All because of the greedy waitresses. Yup. About that bridge I have for sale...

Have a great day, everyone! :-)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pink Slime

Just when I think it can't get any worse, it does.

High fructose corn syrup fails to send an appropriate signal to the brain that you have eaten enough. This is why people eating more high fructose corn syrup eat more food, and this has been linked to obesity. The manufacturer's response to the problem was to change the name to "corn sugar" and launch a deceitful ad campaign claiming "it's all just sugar."

I like cheese. I have seen "pasteurized, processed cheese food" on the grocery store shelves. I don't know what that is.

My husband and son were having fun the other night looking up food ingredients in the dictionary. Personally, I was surprised they could find some of those "items" in a basic dictionary.

And now, we have "pink slime." If they really want us to eat it, you'd think they would have come up with a better name, no? Aye, there's the rub! Nobody is expecting adults to eat pink slime. Even McDonald's decided not to use the stuff as filler in their hamburgers. No, pink slime is slated for public school cafeterias.

So, you ask, what is pink slime, anyway?

According to the Huffington Post, pink slime is not meat. It is connective tissue, such as tendons that hold muscle onto bone, and cartiledge. Connective tissue does not have protein; actual meat has protein. Because of the lack of protein, pink slime is only used as filler. If you ate only pink slime, you would be undernourished. But filler is okay for growing children who need protein even more than adults.

The connective tissue that is slated to be used as filler in children's food has been treated with ammonia. This is to kill the E. Coli and other bacteria that the stuff is crawling with.

When I prepare meat at home, I always rinse it in ammonia before cooking. I've watched the chefs rinse filet mignon in big vats of ammonia before grilling medium rare and serving to customers. Yes, I am being sarcastic.

Actually, as a professional waitress, I have been known to assert my right to not serve something. This is a rare occurrence, because the chefs and cooks are professionals, as well. But mistakes happen, for example, a customer ordered his bacon well-done and the cook tried to serve it on the less-done side. It is a simple thing to remind the cook that the order was for "well-done" bacon; the point is that I reserve the right to refuse to serve. I wouldn't serve pink slime to my dog.

Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver of the Food Revolution has been prominent in the outcry against feeding children garbage, including pink slime. Since Chef Oliver's efforts, the Huffington Post article, and a subsequent Change.org petition hit the internet, there was enough outcry to cause some school districts to opt out of the pink slime deliveries.

CBS.com uploaded an article arguing that pink slime is nothing but ground beef, which is the exact opposite of what the thoroughly researched Huffington Post article claimed. Of course, CBS links to few sources and writes in a "pop" tone of voice. I leave all of you, my dear readers, to decide which article is more credible.

In the meantime, I'll have a salad. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

If you go out this evening, please remember to be nice to your waitress. She is working hard, so tip her well and don't give her a hard time if she needs to slow you down or tell you you've had enough. She is right!

:-)


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New Jersey Restaurant Owners are Shaking in Their Shoes

Yes, the title is sarcastic. NewsRoom New Jersey reports that restaurant managers in the garden state are terrified about a possible minimum wage hike. In the end, tipped employees such as waitresses could be pulling in as much $5.10 per hour in 2013. Greedy, greedy waitresses will bankrupt the restaurant industry.


"Elizabeth Nisbet, from the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University, said that the federal minimum wage for tipped workers has not moved since 1991, despite regular minimum wage increases."

New Jersey waitresses make the federal minimum wage of $2.13 per hour.

"But the owner of two restaurants in New Brunswick, Francis Schott, said the bill would be disastrous for many businesses. She told NorthJersey.com, 'This is a job killer.'"


Bite me. Paying employees poverty wages does not create jobs. Demand for goods and services creates jobs.

Darden Restaurants, the corporation that owns Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and Longhorn Steakhouse did well last year. Discussing fourth quarter earnings, Brad Richmond was recorded saying:

"Darden's total sales from continuing operations increased 6.8% in the fourth quarter to $1.99 billion. This strong top line performance compares to an estimated 2.9% total sales growth for the industry as measured by Knapp-Track. So as you can see, we had meaningful market share growth. On a blended same-restaurant sales basis, the results for Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse were up 2.2% in the fourth quarter."


He goes on to say:

"For context, industry same-restaurant sales as measured by Knapp-Track and excluding Darden are estimated to be up 1.9% for the quarter."


Translation: the restaurant industry, in general, made money last quarter.

Something that costs any employer money is employee turnover. It is much cheaper to hang onto trained employees than to look for, hire, train, and lose new employees. This means that paying people for their efforts and treating them well equals more money for the business.

But the rich think they can get richer by sucking the life blood from the poor. Kind of like a parasite.




Monday, March 12, 2012

Question and Answer: Sexual Harassment Cases

Received a question from a reader:

Can a Hooters waitress sue for sexual harassment? 

This is a complicated and interesting question. The Smoking Gun published a copy of the consent form that "Hooters Girls," as they are called, must sign. In it, waitresses must agree that they do not find the skimpy uniform offensive, that they recognize that they are required to "entertain" customers and do not find an atmosphere full of sexual innuendo offensive. It does look like Hooters waitresses give up their rights to be free from sexual harassment in the workplace. 

But do they? 

Generally speaking, there are two types of sexual harassment: Quid-Pro-Quo and Hostile Work Environment. 

Quid-Pro-Quo refers to instances such as your supervisor offering you a promotion if you sleep with him. Hooters employment contract does not cover this type of sexual harassment; if a manager offered a waitress any benefits or perks in return for sexual favors, he is not covered by her supposed waiver. 

Hostile Work Environment is exactly what Hooters creates; therefore, they want the women to waive their rights protecting them from sexual comments, jokes, banter and innuendo. (Unwanted touching at work is also considered sexual harassment in the form of hostile work environment.) One defense employers sometimes claim when faced with a sexual harassment suit is that the employee seemed to welcome the attention. In the case of Hooters, she signed a form saying she was fine with it. 

Professor Eugene Volokh of the UCLA School of Law wrote Harassment Law and Free Speech Doctrine, which touches on this issue:


              "Speech That's Part of the Employer's Business:  An even more serious problem arises if the speech that creates the hostile work environment is an inherent part of the employer's business.  A store's decision to stock (or specialize in) racist or sexist or religiously offensive literature could easily create a hostile work environment for many employees."

Hooters sexual foreplay is a part of their business model. Prof. Volokh goes on to give examples: 

              "Thus, one employee filed a sexual harassment suit against her employer, a convenience store company, for stocking pornographic magazines in the store which she managed; the suit is now pending. 97  ... Several employees of Stroh's brewery have recently sued their employer for workplace sexual harassment that was allegedly caused by the employer's ads, which feature women in bikinis.  Part of the remedy that the employees seek is the discontinuation of the ads. 99"

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") Notice No. 915.002 makes clear that an employer may not interfere with an employee's filing of a complaint with the EEOC. Sexual harassment claims are brought before the EEOC before being filed with the courts. An employee is not able to waive her right to file a sexual harassment suit. 

This may be a gray area for Hooters; the form the waitress signed said she did not find the sexually charged atmosphere and her revealing "clothing" offensive. The form, however, does not say she can not file a sexual harassment suit. Similar to the recent Tilted Kilt fiasco, I expect (and this is my opinion) that the EEOC would approve the complaint and the details would be argued in court. 

The form Hooters waitresses sign probably does more to intimidate them from complaining than anything else. Being asked to lick beans off of a plate with hands tied behind their backs was not in the   Hooters waitress job description (I hope.) At the same time, they did it because they'd signed a form saying they were comfortable with sexual innuendo. Had a bean-licking waitress complained, I think she would have been taken seriously. 

I would encourage any Hooters waitress who feels she has a sexual harassment complaint to act on it. A good first step is talking to a lawyer in the same state. 

I hope this helps. For the record, none of this is legal advice. As a matter of fact, I'm not even a lawyer. I'm just a stupid waitress. ;-) 


Friday, March 9, 2012

Outback Steakhouse Salaries and Wages

What with the parent company of Outback Steakhouse, OSI, backing the bill to lower the minimum wage of tipped employees in Florida down to $2.13 per hour, I started wondering what the other positions in the company earn. After all, the reasoning behind the restaurant's desire to cut wages is to be able to profit and grow. OSI is claiming that they can't make money, but at the same time, they are so busy that they need to hire more workers, which they cannot afford.

It does not make sense. When there is demand for goods and services, businesses get busy. That is when they hire more people: when there is so much demand for what they sell that they need a larger workforce. The money to pay the additional laborers comes directly from the higher sales.

In any case, let's assume for sake of argument that Outback Steakhouse and other OSI restaurants are losing money. They have to cut something in order to profit. In their infinite wisdom in the boardroom, they think they can save their (failing?) restaurants by cutting waitress pay. Because waitresses are just rolling in dough.

According to Glass Door, waiters and waitresses at Outback Steakhouses around the country earn anywhere from less than $1,000 per month to a little over $2,000 per month. That comes out to $12,000 to $24,000 annually.

Bartenders seem to be making about $20,000 or so per year. I think that is before tips and tip outs because, also according to Glass Door, bartenders make another $5,000 in "bonuses."

Bussers are paid full minimum wage; I assume they receive tip outs from wait staff in addition.

Line Cooks and Prep Cooks are reported as making about $10 per hour. If we assume 40 hours per week, that equals $400 per week x 52 weeks = $20,800 if salaried. If paid by the hour, the cook will make less because he won't be paid for time off. Pay Scale lists line cooks at Outback Steakhouse as making anywhere from $17,146 to $34,614 annually.

Less money gets made by the people who touch your food. More money gets made my management. Kitchen managers average just under $35,000 per year, and restaurant managers average $38,000. With the title "general manager," you may pull in about $50,000 per year. A management analyst averages over $53,000 per year.

Managing partners average just under $60,000, and a director can make around $80,000. I don't know what Liz Smith, the CEO of Outback Steakhouse pulls in annually, but I am certain her benefits package is better than the waitresses'.

Wow. That is a lot of managers managing a restaurant. Managers don't touch the food. But the highest paid managers may get a say in whose pay gets cut in order to save the business money. They decided to cut the pay of the one of the lowest paid jobs in the restaurant by pushing for SB 2106 to pass.

I can't end this post without mentioning that Outback Steakhouse is looking for an International Menu Manger. The ad does not mention the salary range offered, but check out the summary:

"...this individual will own the Menu Approval Process. They will work as a single point of contact for the field and Home Office for all menu and recipe additions, deletions and revisions. They will strategically work with franchise partners to establish business plans for these changes. They will be responsible for writing , revising and updating Core Menu Policies. They will be responsible for gaining cross functional alignment on all menu changes and updates. They will supervise the Recipe Coordinator and the Recipe/Prep Library and Who Serves What Where Database."

So, this person is in charge of all menus for the restaurants. The buck stops with him or her. He or she will oversee what the chefs cook.

Guess what the job prerequisites are? Experience or training as a chef? No. Culinary education? No. Any experience in the kitchen? No.

Applicants must have a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing and Business Administration. So if I have a degree in marketing, I guess I know how to convince you that bad food tastes good.





Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Men Sue Hooters for Sex Discrimination

First, a shout out of thanks to Philip on the Under Cover Waitress forums. He is not the first to ask the question, but his post was a great reminder that I had been thinking about writing about this.

Hooters first opened in 1983. The first lawsuit alleging sexual discrimination against men by Hooters was filed in 1991, to the best of my knowledge. A Florida man claimed he was wrongfully denied employment as a bartender, and the case was settled out of court.

A Chicago man filed a similar suit against Hooters in 1994. Hooters used the language in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act known as Bonafide Occupational Qualification, ("BFOQ") as its defense. The BFOQ allows for exceptions to the discrimination rule if the job is truly defined by sex, age, or some other criteria. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, ("EEOC,") investigates charges of BFOQ violations. According to the Hooters website, the EEOC has not yet officially ruled whether they are in violation of BFOQ.

More suits by men against Hooters were brought in 1997. As a result of a class action lawsuit in Chicago, Hooters agreed to offer gender neutral, front of house positions. In addition to financial awards to the plaintiffs, Hooters

"agreed to open three gender-neutral positions... One is a staff position on the floor, where a male would perform some of the same duties as women. Also, the host position, where a female greeted and seated the people, and a bar-support position for a male that will assist the female bartender."


A similar lawsuit was filed by four men in Maryland around the same time as the Chicago lawsuit, and the plaintiffs in Maryland also received financial settlements.

In 2009, Nikolai Grushevski of Corpus Christi, Texas filed another suit against Hooters alleging discrimination on the basis of gender when he was denied employment as a waiter. Personally, I think any male waiter can benefit financially from filing one of these suits. If I were a dude, I might try it myself. Grushevski says he does not want Hooters to stop hiring "Hooters Girls," but that he wants them to stop refusing to hire male waiters.

It gets even more interesting. Hooters claims that "Hooters Girls," as their waitresses are called, are there to provide "vicarious sexual entertainment," whatever that is. Her job description includes taking food orders and delivering food. This claim that she is also responsible for providing vicarious sexual entertainment is Hooter's argument to the EEOC.

The National Organization for Women ("NOW") has taken a stand and is telling Hooters that it can't have it both ways. Hooters has tried to brand itself as a family restaurant and has advertised that children eat free on certain days in certain locations. As the leaders in NOW so deftly point out, a family restaurant has no business providing vicarious sexual entertainment. Adult venues provide sex entertainment.

Hooters provides booster seats, markets to families, and sets up restaurants in shopping malls. They have the poor taste and audacity to sell "future Hooters girl" clothing for toddlers. At the same time, they wish to be considered an adult venue. The two don't mix.


Hooters requires the young, pretty women they hire to wear sexually provocative uniforms and to sign a release against what would otherwise be considered a hostile work environment of blatant sexual innuendo, commentary and jokes. If they can claim to the EEOC that they should be allowed to discriminate in hiring because they are a provider of “vicarious sexual entertainment” rather than a restaurant, then they should not be allowed to market to children and families, thus exposing children to a sexualized atmosphere.


“Marketing to young children and creating a family restaurant atmosphere amounts to the legalization and normalization of sexual discrimination and a hostile work environment,” says Patty Bellasalma, president of the California chapter of NOW. “Every local county or city with a Hooters should consider a ban on marketing sexual entertainment to minors, and require that sexual entertainment businesses check IDs at the door.”


In closing, I wonder how long Hooters will be able to convince the EEOC that they are offering adult entertainment and market to children at the same time. Either Hooters will have to admit that they are not "family friendly," or get ready for the Hooters Boys.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Florida Passes Tipped Wage Reduction, SB 2106

EDIT: 9/8/2012 In the end, this bill did die. I believe the amount of controversy had a lot to do with it.

http://www.undercoverwaitress.com/2012/03/ding-dong-bill-is-dead.html#axzz25tLmK2vE
*****

I don't usually post twice in one day, but this is important.

Florida has passed the bill to reduce tipped employee's base wage from $4.65 per hour to the federal wage, $2.13 per hour, known as SB 2106: Tipped Employees

The wage reduction is the restaurant owner's option. Some restaurants will continue to pay the $4.65, others will reduce to $2.13, but in either case the waitress will suffer.

Restaurants that lower the wage must commit to ensuring that each waitress leaves with a combination of wage + tips that equals at least $10 per hour. So, if the waitress pulls in $8 an hour in tips, she has the $10. However, she still may have to share her tips with bartenders and bussers.

If she earns $6 per hour in tips, then the restaurant must pay her an additional $2 for each hour worked. (For ease of math, I am rounding the $2.13 per hour down to $2.) So, $6 per hour in tips + $2 wage = $8 per hour. The employer owes the waitress $2 per hour to equal $10 per hour worked.

Sounds good, huh? However, under federal law, restaurants must ensure that waitresses earn at least the regular (non-tipped) minimum wage, and it almost never happens. The rule is not enforced. The way for a waitress to be paid the additional money is to call the problem to the attention of the manager, who is then likely to ask her what she did wrong that shift. The common theme is, "If you can't make $X per hour, you are not a good waitress and you shouldn't be working here." The waitress may then find herself slowly disappearing from the schedule.

If the rule wasn't being enforced before this new bill, it will continue to not be enforced after the bill.

Some waitresses work in restaurants in which they make over $10 an hour even after tip-outs. These servers just took a pay cut, as well.

Let's say a waitress earns $15 per hour in tips. She gives ten percent to her helper, so she has $13.50 per hour. Then, she has been earning $4.65 per hour on top of that, grossing her $18.15 per hour.

Same scenario under the new law: $15 per hour in tips, ten percent to her helper leaves her $13.50, plus $2.13 per hour makes her before tax take home pay $15.63. She has taken a pay cut.

In addition to pay cuts for all servers, most food serving jobs offer no benefits. If a waitress gets sick, she works through it or goes without pay. A sick child can cost his mother a lot of money. They often have no health insurance, so illness in the family equals a downward spiral of lost income and high costs of health care.

Why do Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar and Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine want this bill? Because the corporations will earn a higher profit if they don't have to pay their employees. They claim it is so they can hire more employees. At this point, I think they just want more workers at slave wages.

Don't click the picture, click the link:
http://www.cafepress.com/undercoverwaitress.623096738
If anybody thinks the poor corporate managers and CEOs are being truthful when the cry poverty, take a look at what they drive. Now look at what the waitresses drive, assuming any of them can afford a car.

This bill is a travesty of justice. It is one more example of the few rich feasting on the bones of the impoverished, and brings this country one step closer to a reenactment of the French Revolution. At some point, the poor will be left with no other option but to eat the rich at a community pig roast.


In closing, a shout out to Rufus Dogg, truly "Waitress' Best Friend," for calling my attention to this and other relevant and interesting stuff. 

Legal Advice and Dine and Dash

Even Wal-Mart cares about the safety of its employees. They care so much, they fired one for getting in harm's way. 


As much as the above statement is dripping with sarcasm, Wal-Mart did fire an employee for chasing after a thief. The former employee radioed for help to stop a thief from leaving the store with unpaid merchandise. Wal-Mart security tackled the guy who then pulled out a knife, slashed at the employee's face and ran off. At this point, Wal-Mart's "no chase" policy went into effect. The employee, however, didn't want to let the guy get away and gave chase. Wal-Mart the employee go. 


Wal-Mart's "no chase" policy is most likely to protect the corporation for being held liable for employee injuries, and less about feeling warm and fuzzy about people. At the same time, if the employee had not given chase, he would not have had the cost of the stolen merchandise deducted from his pay. 


An employee of Randall's chased a fifteen year old purse snatcher, caught him, and retrieved the stolen property. Randall's then fired him for giving chase.  


The issue is, again, the employee putting himself in enough danger to cause the employer massive financial liability. An article about detaining shoplifters at the Crime Doctor states: 


"It's critical to provide special training to anyone charged with the responsibility of apprehending shoplifters."


I have never heard of any food server receiving special training in apprehending people who leave the restaurant with paying, but if you are out there, please email me. Right. 


Lawyer Mark Sweet pontificates on what happens to the restaurant when people dine and dash. Obviously, he did not think it was worth his time to interview any actual restaurant workers. Instead, he writes: 


"There have always been rumors that a server will have to pay for the dine and dash customers.  In some states, this may be the case, especially if one particular server has multiple walk-outs."


Rumors? It's not a rumor; it is a well-known fact that waitresses often are required to pay the bill for walk-outs. Mr. Sweet continues: 


"However, many states have rules that require an employer to alert an employee of any deductions from their wages in advance."


Yeah, and the restaurant managers tell waitresses that they will or may end up paying for walk-outs. And then somebody pulls a dine and dash, and the waitress gets to pay. She was told in advance. End of story. 


"For many companies, the general rule is that you shouldn’t chase people outside of the premises."


True, but we are not talking about "many companies." We are talking about the restaurant industry. 


"That being said, many restaurants budget for walk-outs.  They realize that the cost of the food is not worth the potential injury to an employee chasing after someone."


Help! I fell out of my chair because I am laughing so hard my sides hurt! I am laughing so hard I can't breathe! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!


In reality, some chefs would like to throttle the servers themselves when people dine and dash. Long hours, hot kitchens and low profit margins make for a grumpy boss when people steal. It must seem easy to blame the waitress, who was supposed to take payment. The boss tells himself that maybe the problem was the waitress was unattentive and the people would have paid if she had just paid attention and done her job. It gives the boss his money, it gives him somebody to blame, and it gives him a false sense of control. If he punishes the waitress by making her pay, she won't make the same mistake again. Problem is, most likely she made no mistake. I can not control the behavior of other people, and if somebody comes in planning to steal, it is not my fault. 


Of the nine people who left comments on the lawyer's blog post, six of them did so to tell him how wrong he was. Five of those were servers speaking up about the realities of working in the restaurant industry. One was a chef who was infuriated that some lawyer would tell people that restaurants budget for dine and dash. The profit margin in the restaurant industry is lower than in other industries; restaurants suffer plenty of loss of product due to spoilage or having something sent back. The industry certainly does not need the public being told we budget for dine and dash.