Outback Steakhouse Server Fired After Facebook Rant Over Non-Tipping Church

Chuck WagnerShutterstock

A Palm Beach Gardens, Florida Outback Steakhouse server has been fired for venting her frustrations on Facebook after spending her entire shift preparing a 75-item order and receiving no tip.

According to the Miami Herald, Tamlynn Yoder, 25, only earned $18 in tips before spending the rest of her time on the job putting together an order consisting of 25 steak dinners, 25 chicken dinners, and 25 sides of potatoes. The order came to $735; Yoder’s tip came to $0 on an order which would normally mean $75 to $150, far exceeding what employees make on a shift before tips.

“Tips is how we make our money, we still make a low wage as servers,” said Yoder. The minimum wage for a tipped employee in Florida is $5.23.

Minimum serving wage earners throughout America quite literally rely on tips for a survivable income.
Minimum serving wage earners throughout America quite literally rely on tips for a survivable income.Featured image credit: Jonathan WeissShutterstock

According to the Palm Beach Post, when Yoder got home, she vented her frustrations over the night to her friends on Facebook. The church came up for a mention, but she did not mention where she worked. A friend who saw her post told her that she should delete it and that he would contact the church on her behalf; he later told her that he had been in touch with Christ Fellowship and that they would be calling Outback to make amends.

The next day, her manager fired her, and the church allegedly received a full refund. Cathie Koch, an Outback Steakhouse spokesperson, told the Palm Beach Post that it is Outback company policy that customers should not be mentioned on social media.

Yoder acknowledged the company policy, but said that she feels that she should be allowed to say something, especially when it comes to “big parties that don’t leave anything.”

“Coming in to eat or takeout, you should automatically be wanting to tip 15%. From there you either go up or you go down, based on service.”

David Lonsberry, executive director of business for the church, expressed shock over the firing, calling the situation “a misunderstanding.”

“We did not call the restaurant to have her fired, we wanted to get the situation resolved. That night, we had a volunteer go to the restaurant and pick up the order since we were having a big conference. He probably didn’t know to tip since it was a rush of the moment thing.”

Lonsberry added that the church typically tips generously, as many of their members work as servers.

According to Yoder, the church has reached out to her and is trying to fix the situation; they expressed their own misgivings over the mix-up on their own Facebook page and said that their only intent was to try to get Yoder’s tip to her. Yoder, for her part, thanked the church for reaching out to her and for their efforts on her behalf.

In spite of her firing, Yoder concluded that she wouldn’t do anything differently if she had to do it all over again, and, in spite of her setbacks, is pursuing another serving position.

“I love this business,” she said, adding that one day she hopes to own her own restaurant.