Waitress fired when whopping £3,300 tip sparks row with restaurant

A waitress trying to pay off her student debt was left crying when generous diners left a $4,400 (£3,315) tip.

The server, called Ryan Brandt, was given half of the tip after the wealthy diners said they wanted her to split it with the other waitress at the Oven & Tap restaurant in Bentonville, Arkansas.

In a video of the grand gesture posted on Instagram, businessman Grant Wise announces 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."

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 but Oven & Tap said in a statement it was always the policy.

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

Mr Wise started a GoFundMe to help cover her expenses after saying he was "saddened" by the decision to fire the waiteress.

He wrote: "I don’t fully understand why this would happen to what seems like such a sweet and kind-hearted woman,” Wise said.

"Nonetheless, I’m committed to showing her that there are great people in the world that will do good when they can!"

In a statement, Oven & Tap told The Independent the decision to fire Ryan Brandt was not because she kept the tips.

It said: "Oven & Tap doesn’t deliver terminations lightly.

"Because we value our employees and highly respect their privacy, we never discuss personnel issues.

"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."

It added: "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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