Waitress tipped $4,400 gets sacked after being ordered to share it with colleagues

12 December 2021, 16:26

Grant Wise and his dinner club friends chipped in more than $4,000 for Ryan Brandt and her colleague
Grant Wise and his dinner club friends chipped in more than $4,000 for Ryan Brandt and her colleague. Picture: GoFundMe

By Will Taylor

A waitress who got tipped more than $4,000 has been sacked after being told to share her takings with other staff.

Grant Wise brought a "$100 dinner club" to Oven and Tap in Bentonville, north-west Arkansas, in which diners tip the three-figure sum to pass on joy to servers.

The real estate businessman had called up the restaurant ahead of eating there to establish what the tipping policy was, and said he was told they did not split their takings.

In a video posted to Instagram, Ryan Brandt is reduced to tears when she is told about the $4,400 (£3,315) tip, put together by every member of the club throwing in $100 and then social media supporters beefing up the total with money of their own, too.

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However, after Ms Brandt said she had to split the mammoth payment with colleagues, Mr Wise returned to get the cash back and instead tipped her and another waitress who served them outside the restaurant.

Ms Brandt told KNWA: "It was devastating, I borrowed a significant amount for student loans. Most of them were turned off because of the pandemic but they're turning back on in January and that's a harsh reality."

Mr Wise said: "We then learn a few days later that Ryan, the main server in our video, was fired for telling us what O+T was doing.

"I proceeded to set up a GoFundMe campaign to help the server get through the next couple of months and to hopefully find a new job opportunity."

He explained he had gone to Oven and Tap because it is one of his favourite places to eat in the area, and told KFSM, which covers the Fort Smith area, that he knew waiters had been hit by Covid and his friend suggested they generously tip to "help give back".

Mr Wise was thrilled Ms Brandt found a new job
Mr Wise was thrilled Ms Brandt found a new job. Picture: GoFundMe

The GoFundMe raised $8,700 for Ms Brandt, nearly double the original tip, and Mr Wise said he had hoped "not to cause harm" to Oven and Tap but instead "get (Ms Brandt) through this experience with the least amount of stress and anxiety possible and onto whatever her next opportunity may be".

She has since secured a job at a different restaurant and her first shifts was on December 8, Mr Wise added.

Oven and Tap said it "fully honoured" the request to pass on the tip to two servers.

"The way the restaurant handled this is complete BS! Sorry I couldn’t donate more, hope you have a happy holidays," one person who gave money on the GoFundMe said.

"I feel for this woman who lost her job because someone wanted to bless her with a well earned tip," another said.