To The Daily Sun,
I'd like to respond to the concerns raised by Carole Polony in her January 29th letter: "Can't face somebody waiting on me and earning just $2 for doing so." Since Carole sounds like a great customer of T-Bones & Cactus Jack's, I wanted to take the time to ease her fears by explaining our service wages. The N.H. minimum wage for tipped employees is currently $3.27 per hour. This is what we currently pay most of our service staff. Since the IRS requires our employees to report their tip income to our payroll, we know that these tipped employees claim an hourly rate that is generally between $16 and $22 per hour, depending on experience and individual ability. This falls right in line with industry norms throughout our state and our nation, as these are highly-skilled service specialists who rely on the generous tips of our valued customers. Hopefully that is not surprising news to anyone. After all, the Department of Labor designates "tipped employees" and legislates their wages separately for a good reason. All of our non-tipped employees make substantially more than the state and federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
The vast majority of T-Bones & Cactus Jack's employees work full-time, year-round with benefits and a healthy income. We also employ some part-time workers with other jobs, as well as students that we hire seasonally. Many of these students even stay on part-time after they graduate and find a position in their field of study. This is because the hourly pay of waitstaff is tough to match with a starting salary in many other professions. I was once one of these young people. When I graduated college and accepted a marketing position with a telecommunications firm, I remained on as a part-time bartender at Cactus Jack's. It did not take long for me to realize that only one of the two companies I worked for was fostering a fun, healthy work environment where employees were both valued and generously compensated. I quit my "real job" to continue my career in food service with Great NH Restaurants, and have spent the last decade working hard to uphold those values.
As a customer of our restaurants, I'm confident you'll notice how this appreciation of our employees is reflected in the quality of service our guests receive. Not unrelated, you may consider reflecting on how that designation, "tipped employee" also plays a significant role in your service quality, where ever you choose to dine. Thank you for your business and your thoughts, Carole.
Jay Bolduc, Managing Operator
T-Bones & Cactus Jack's of Laconia