Waitress fired when whopping £3,300 tip sparked row with ‘no go’ restaurant boss

A restaurant which a year ago went viral for sacking a waitress who was left crying when generous diners left a $4,400 (£3,315) tip, has been labelled by customers as a “no go”.

The Oven & Tap restaurant in Bentonville, Arkansas, US, made headlines in December, 2021 when bosses sacked Ryan Brandt.

She had hoped to use the whopping tip she was given to pay for schools fees, even though the wealthy diners said they wanted her to split it with the other waitress at the Oven & Tap restaurant in Bentonville, Arkansas.

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In a video of the grand gesture posted on Instagram, businessman Grant Wise announced in a speech: "Everybody at this table has contributed $100 for you and for the other waitress.

"So we are tipping a total of $4,400 for you to split with the other girl who took care of us."

The waitress bursts into tears and clutches her chest and everyone starts clapping.

Mr Wise, president of the local real estate company Witly, later told KNWA: "It was an incredible thing to be able to do and to see the server’s reaction and to know what that meant for her and the impact it’s had on her life already."

However, the gift quickly turned sour when Ms Brandt returned to the table and said she'd have to split the money with 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%," she told a local radio station.

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The waitress alleged she'd never been asked to share her tips in this way before, and told Mr Wise what her manager said – so he gave her the amount of money he'd originally intended her to receive outside the restaurant.

The waitress was sacked because "she violated policy by telling Wise about pooling the tips", she told the news site.

A spokesman said: “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.”

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But a year later, the latest reviews for the place on Tripadvisor make for some grim reading.

The restaurant has been labelled a “no go” by one customer.

They wrote, having visited in November: “My friends and I went out for a girls night and I would not recommend going to Oven and Tap.

“We called and added a member to our party a few hours prior (but) when we arrived they proceeded to tell us they could not add an additional chair to our table because they had no additional chairs in the building, but had several chairs (even tables) open in the restaurant.

“The hostess was extremely rude and did not want to help us/ find a solve and the manager was not much help either.

“The hostess even telling us well maybe if we booked out reservation correctly we would be eating by now.”
And another review from earlier this year called it “overpriced and mediocre”, while a third simply labelled the place as “meh”.

The restaurant is listed as 21st out of 126 restaurants in Bentonville, with a total of four stars out of five from 171 reviews.

The Daily Star has contacted management for comment.

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