23 Restaurant Services (“23RS”), the largest franchisee of Ford’s Garage with 18 Florida locations, is currently testing a new service model in 4 Ford’s Garage locations.
The new model is intended to enhance the level of service we provide to our guests, while also providing better pay for all team members.
Below are some commonly asked questions from our guests and answers from the 23RS leadership team.
Why have we decided to test this model?
There are really two objectives behind this model. The first one is to provide the absolute best service in the casual dining industry. As everyone knows, there have been significant changes to minimum wage over the last several years, and with more to come in the near future. These additional costs have led many of our competitors to eliminate jobs or reduce service by putting fewer servers on the floor to take care of guests. We just don’t believe in that. Our team service model is designed to raise the bar on service.
The second objective is to increase pay for all positions. Historically in our industry, there has been a vast difference in pay between team members who work in our kitchens and team members who work in our dining rooms because of tipping. For the casual dining industry, the average hourly pay difference can be anywhere from 50 to 125% depending on the position worked. We are working to close that pay gap with this model by paying more to kitchen staff, without reducing average server pay.
Does this program include a service charge to the guest?
Yes, there is a 20% service charge automatically added to every check. We are confident our guests will see a higher level of service than they are used to in casual dining restaurants.
For any guests who do not feel they received exceptional service, please see a manager before leaving the restaurant, and we will make it right.
How much of the service charge goes to the servers and bartenders?
The service charge in lieu of tipping model means that we can compensate our restaurant team, including the servers and bartenders, differently. Under this model servers and bartenders earn a commission for what they sell, not a percentage of the service fee.
Instead of a tipped employee making around $9/hour and sharing tips with the other support staff, under this commission program, servers and bartenders average $18-$20/hour prior to any additional tip. Server support staff and kitchen staff earn $15-$23/ hour. These are pay ranges that are at the top of the casual dining industry average.
Are guests still expected to leave a tip? Why is there still a tip line on the credit card slip?
The answer is no tip is expected. We have a lot of guests who build relationships with their servers and bartenders, or they feel they received such exceptional service they truly want to give a little more, so that is what the tip line is for.
Any optional tip (typically anywhere from 3%-6%) that is added to the check goes 100% to your server. This is why we say additional tip is never expected but it is accepted.
Is this program designed to make more money for the business?
No, the model is designed to provide the best service in the casual dining industry and increase pay at all positions. It is not intended to add to the restaurant’s bottom line by anything other than the benefits that will come from increasing guest satisfaction and being an employer of choice. So far, in testing, this has proven to be the result.
What about this program provides better service?
Under this team service model, servers and bartenders never leave the dining room. They have a full team of support staff to prepare and deliver beverages, deliver food, take soiled plates back to the kitchen, and all other things that normally would take them away from their customers. Their entire focus is taking care of guests’ needs and should always be in view of guests or checking in to ensure every need is being taken care of.
Where can I get more information or discuss my thoughts on the program?
We welcome and encourage feedback from our guests about this program or any other aspect of their experience in our restaurants. Please feel free to contact Billy Diamond or Manny Vegas at the 23RS corporate office at any time at 800-767-0882.