A group of customers at an Arkansas restaurant’s generous decision to tip their server $4,000 in an act of kindness lead to her being fired after a dispute with the restaurant’s management.
Ryan Brandt, who was a waitress at Oven & Tap restaurant in Bentonville, Arkansas, received a hugely generous $4,400 to split with another waitress who, together with Brandt, had served a group of 44 real estate executives, who had met ahead of a conference.
Each of the executives had decided to put forward $100 as a tip for the two waitresses, after which Grant Wise, president of a local real estate business, presented Brandt with the tip to much applause.
“Everybody at this table has contributed $100 for you and for the other waitress,” Wise said in a speech that was posted to Instagram. “So we are tipping a total of $4,400 for you to split with the other girl who took care of us.”
However, things quickly turned south from this point.
Brandt was told by her manager at the restaurant that she would need to share the tip among the rest of the restaurant staff.
“I was to give my cash over to my shift manager to be taken, and then I was going to be taking home 20 per cent,” she told local news station KNWA.
Grant Wise had intended the tip to be split between Brandt and her fellow server and so complained to the restaurant who subsequently gave him his money back.
After his group left the restaurant, they gave Brandt her tip outside anyway.
However, the waitress was subsequently fired.
“It was devastating,” she told KNWA.
“I borrowed a significant amount of money for student loans.
“Most of them were turned off for the Covid year and a half, and they are turning back on 1 January, and that’s a reality I’m facing.”
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In a statement provided to The Independent, Oven & Tap said:
“Oven & Tap doesn’t deliver terminations lightly.
“Because we value our employees and highly respect their privacy, we never discuss personnel issues. The server who was terminated several days after the group dined with us was not let go because she chose to keep the tip money.
“Our policy has always been to participate in a tip pool/share with the staff.
“Tip sharing is a common restaurant industry practice that we follow to ensure all of our team members are adequately compensated for their hard work.”
Grant Wise has since started a GoFundMe page on behalf of Ryan Brandt to help her pay her bills.
“I’m so saddened to hear that the girl we tipped the other night at our $100 Dinner Club has been fired from her job.
I don’t fully understand why this would happen to what seems like such a sweet and kind-hearted woman. Nonetheless, I’m committed to showing her that there are great people in the world that will do good when they can!” He wrote on Instagram.