Report: #654317

Complaint Review: Denny's

  • Submitted: Sat, October 23, 2010
  • Updated: Sun, August 19, 2012
  • Reported By: Vanessa — sarasota Florida United States of America
  • Denny's

    spartanburg, South Carolina
    United States of America

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

Here is the Letter I am sending to the CEO, we will see if she responds, if not It will become my personal mission to educate the customer of this deceptive policy.

 Debra Smithart-Oglesby

CEO/ President of Dennys

203 East Main Street
Spartanburg, SC 29319


Dear Ms. Smithart-Oglesby

I am writing to you after what I learned about a Dennys Corporate and Franchise Policy this morning. I was served by a very nice young lady at our local Dennys at 3701 Bee Ridge Rd, Sarasota FL 34233. I was happy with the service I received and left over 80% of the ticket for a tip. I personally handed the tip to my waitress as I wanted to ensure it was not picked up by anyone else. When I handed it to her and thanked her for her excellent service, another girl appeared and the tip was promptly handed over. Shocked, I  said I want my waitress to have the tip! It was explained to me that policy is that all tips made by a trainee are given to the trainer.

I currently am living on a very tight budget, this morning I chose to give 5 of the 7 dollars I had in my purse to the waitress. I know how it is to work hard and make little and I wanted to make her day. To have that money taken from her and given to a girl I had not seen all morning was very upsetting. I requested that the tip be returned to me but was told it would be illegal to take the money back from the trainer once it had left my hand. I was deceived; I believed my tip was going to my server only to have the trainer take it. The anger at being deceived was compounded when the money was not immediate returned to me but instead this deceptive policy was touted as the corporate policy that will not change.

This is an inappropriate policy because I, as the customer, give a voluntary tip, with the expressed purpose of thanking the waitress for the service received. It is not my responsibility as the customer to ensure adequate income to the trainer so they are willing to train. Dennys as a corporation is responsible to have an adequate compensation plan in place to ensure quality training takes place outside of the money customers give as a thank-you for service. Clearly, I understand this is much less expensive way for Dennys incentivize trainers to train. Without the tip money intended for the trainee, Dennys would have to implement a different payment plan for the, costing the corporation significantly more than it costs to just take the tip money which is given in good faith to the waitress.. While this practice may be less expensive for Corporate it is deceptive and takes advantage of the goodwill of the customer.

I hope that you will consider my thoughts on this subject and rethink the appropriateness of this policy without the knee-jerk reaction of simply creating or enforcing policies to hide this practice from the customer.



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#1 Consumer Comment

Makes more sense now

AUTHOR: Anon. - (United States of America)

The 80% tip makes more sense now and I must admit the Spartanburg, SC line threw me off too as I lived in that town and couldn't believe anyone would leave such a high tip.  Florida--I would believe it and in the tourist belt too.
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#2 Author of original report

To the person questioning the 80% tip on a tight budget

AUTHOR: kb - (United States of America)

I got my daughter breakfast and had a cup of coffee myself, the tab was just $7-8, I gave the waitress $5, she had done a lovely job and deserved it. Make more sense? (it was my little good deed for the day) FYI, it was the Denny's on Bee Ridge in Sarasota and I haven't been back!
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#3 Consumer Comment

Do this.

AUTHOR: Anon. - (United States of America)

I rarely go to a fancy restaurant or even a Denny's any more, but when I do I only leave $1 or $2, same for the person who cuts my hair each month (at around $12.95).  The wowsers in all the books say we must leave 20% or more.  I remember when it used to be 10%.  When did it become my responsibility to pay the restaurant's employees?  "Free enterprise" my as*!, you lazy dogs.  Don't expect me to pay your salaries or to do the work by sliding a tray down a rack and carrying my food to my own table and then expecting a tip for bringing just a beverage.  And this lady, paying 80%--Are you kidding me?

That's why I just stopped going.  It was not worth my time and money to see owners either robbing their customers and/or their employees.  Besides, I can cook better than 85% of these professional chiefs.  I make steamed vegetables, gumbo, grilled steaks, potatoes, swordfish, lemon pepper burgers, etc.
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#4 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: I am the law - (USA)

"I was happy with the service I received and left over 80% of the ticket for a tip." and "I currently am living on a very tight budget." being used in the same story. Anyone else think that's kind of funny?
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#5 UPDATE Employee

trainers and trainees

AUTHOR: kbailey6006 - (United States of America)

I am an employee of this company but not this store. I have been a trainee a trainer and a supervisor.

It is really up to the trainer what happens with the tip unless the store has their own policy. The reason the trainer has initial 'right' to the tip isbecause trainees are unable to put orders in under thir own names. Basically this is what happens... the person who's name the order is under is the one who shoulders the wrath of the IRS and their assumed tip income based on sales under their name. If this was a training store and she being the trainer training every day with all these orders in her name but the trainees kept the tips at the end of the year the trainer would be taxed for all the trainees tip income. It is also a gesture toward the trainer because if they are doing their job they are doing much more work than the other servers.

With that being said I would lik to add the woman who 'trained' me was lazy and did nothing. She did not shadow me just scooped up all the tips I made for a week and made me do all of her sidework. That's how it goes with rude employees who aren't worth their weight in spit. I however when I am training a server and they are to the point they are doing the entire service cycle (order, delivery etc) I give them a few tables in my section I keep an eye on them check on their tables to make sure all is well and I allow them to keep all the tips they earned. That is my choice as a trainer.

I do not believe it was right for the trainer to take the tip infront of you and hang round like a vulture. That is frowned upon and tips shouldn't be exchanged or counted infront of guests. I would have spoken to the manager and told them what made you happy and upset about your visit. I understand its bothersome to see the tip go to the trainer but would you be upset if you found out part of it likely also went to dishwashers and cooks? In many resturants this is common place nd or required. If you had tipped her and you then saw her put it in a large jar on the counter bcause they pooled tips would you be angry? Different places have different policies. For all you know the trainee was tipped out at the end of her shift.

I hope I've answered some questions for you.
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#6 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Walter - (USA)

Just don't tip anyone.  And tell them, after you are finished with their service, that you won't be tipping and the reason why.  That'll show'em.  And go an extra step and tell them you want a waitress, not a trainee to screw up your food.  You're not getting a discount on the food, so why should you accept second-rate service?  Denny's isn't a dental college.


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#7 Consumer Suggestion

A Simple Solution

AUTHOR: John - (U.S.A.)

Since these restaurants almost always have the person in training wear a 'Trainee' badge just don't leave a tip. Problem solved. You an always come back after the person is out of training and leave a nice makeup tip if you wish.

Since we're looking at 'hidden' policies I would be curious to know if Dennys has a 'policy' that allows food that has been dropped on the kitchen floor to be served to a customer. Managers are always under pressure to reduce 'food loss'. Any comments from current/former management or kitchen staff??? 

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#8 General Comment


AUTHOR: debtexpert - (United States of America)

 This has been going on for a long time. I was a waitress over 15 years ago and was going on then.  I highly doubt there is any chance of a law suit.

Who would sue anyway? The waitress? The customer? It would be pointless.  And since there was no mention the waitress made a fuss about it she probably knew the policy and had agreed to it.

Although I do agree with the author that she should have been given the money back when she didnt like it going to the trainer. Tips are voluntary.

Let us know if you get a response back from your letter.

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#9 General Comment


AUTHOR: Striderq - (U.S.A.)

This has been the policy in most if not all the restaurants I've worked in, including Denny's. The trainer is providing the experience to teach the trainee how to do the work while complying with company policies. This is usually one of the better waitstaff who have received raises and making better than starting wage but they still depend on tips. The trainee is usually paid state/federal minimum wage while training and not eligible for tips. I understand you might not like the policy but that's the way it's done.
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#10 General Comment


AUTHOR: debtexpert - (United States of America)

Yes, I worked at a restaurant when I was in high school.  Not at a Dennys but a Country Kitchen. And yes this is true.

When I was in training and I would get a tip, it went to the girl who was training or "shadowing" me.

I remember she was practically apologizing left and right to me, and I don't think she agreed with it either, but it was "company policy"

So, yes, it is possible Dennys has this policy as well.

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#11 Consumer Suggestion

New One On Me

AUTHOR: John - (U.S.A.)

This is a very interesting story. If you would have used your credit card and put the tip on it you would probably never have known about this slimy 'policy' . I personally consider it a fraud against the customers. I've eaten in Dennys many times and have never seen this policy posted for the customers and I know I've been waited on by trainees a few of those times. I'd be very curious to find out where that tip money actually goes. If it does not go to the waiter/waitress then I see a rather clean case of fraud. Why would any customer voluntarily agree to tip the trainer??? I can see a juicy class action suit taking shape right about now.........

Any current/former employees care to comment on this issue?

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