An Arkansas waitress said she was fired from her job after receiving a generous $4,400 tip. However, the restaurant disputes the story.
Ryan Brandt has been working at the Oven and Tap restaurant in Bentonville, Arkansas, for more than three years. She recently waited on a party of more than 40 people.
The dining party gave a generous $4,400 tip to two waitresses, which included $2,200 to Brandt.
“I was definitely just shocked and overwhelmed with gratitude in that moment as soon as I realized what he was saying,” Ryan told 5NEWS.
Brandt said that 20 minutes after the customers left, the Oven and Tap management informed her that she could only keep 20% of the tip, and the rest would have to be split up with the rest of the staff and management at the restaurant. Brandt allegedly refused to share the tip.
“I was told that I was going to be giving my cash over to my shift manager, and I would be taking home 20 percent,” Brandt claimed. “To turn right back around and find out that I wasn’t keeping it was kind of disheartening because we don’t tip share in any way.”
Diner Grant Wise said the people in his party chipped in $100 each to support the two waitresses.
“We knew servers were really hit hard through COVID, and it was something that we had come up with to help give back,” Wise said.
“To be able to stand right there, next to her and let her know what people, that she had no clue who they were, from out of the country had done, it was an amazing, amazing feeling,” Wise explained.
When Wise found out about Brandt having to split up the tip, he called the restaurant to instruct them to return the tip money, directly give the $2,200 to Brandt.
Brandt said she was fired a few days later over the phone.
“They fired me from Oven and Tap over the phone and I’ve been there for 3 1/2 years and that was really heartbreaking,” Brandt told CBS 5. “Especially because I didn’t think I did anything wrong.”
“It was devastating, I borrowed a significant amount for student loans,” Brandt told local news station Fox59. “Most of them were turned off because of the pandemic but they’re turning back on in January and that’s a harsh reality,” said Brandt.
The Oven and Tap restaurant issued a statement disputing the story given by the waitress.
“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,” the restaurant stated, adding that tip sharing is a common industry practice.
“After dining, this large group of guests requested that their gratuity be given to two particular servers. We fully honored their request,” the statement reads. “Out of respect for our highly valued team members, we do not discuss the details surrounding the termination of an employee.”
“The other two servers who received generous tips that evening from the Witly organization — including one who also received $2,200 — are still members of our team,” the Oven and Tap restaurant said.