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Glowbal Group employee: "house charges" allegations likely untrue

Photo of Black + Blue

There has been much backlash since the publishing of CBC's "house charge" scandal story, which alleged that a manager of Black + Blue, a steakhouse owned by the high-profile Glowbal restaurant group, stole tips from servers. Adding to the backlash, which includes the manager himself suing CBC for their story, are these following comments sent to us from an anonymous employee of Glowbal:

I’ve read the recent allegations, and I can tell you first hand that they aren’t true. I'm not motivated to write this article through my ties to the restaurant, or through bias that will somehow gain me favour within the company -- because this isn't my career. If I get fired tomorrow, I will work at another restaurant.

But I am motivated by a sense of fairness. When a man's character is called into question over false, unfounded allegations, it's not right.

Among the most egregious charges is that Glowbal Group CEO Emad Yaccoub pockets money from the ‘house charge’–which is a percentage of a servers sales, given back to the company to redistribute among the kitchen and the managers.

The ‘tip out’ is universal in the restaurant industry. Here is how it breaks down at my restaurant: 1.2 percent goes to the busser, .08 percent to the bartender and 4 percent goes to ‘the house’–hence the term "house charge".

The Managers get a higher percentage of the house charge than the kitchen staff, but, all of the money taken in goes back in to the pockets of employees. Do I wish more of my house charge when into the pockets of the line cooks making 11-12 bucks an hour? Yes I do.

But this system has been very successful for Glowbal Group. Theirs is a military-like meritocracy. Work hard, buy in to the company philosophy, work your way to the top and you will be rewarded.

I can’t tell you for sure that Emad doesn’t pocket some of this money. I highly doubt it's true, but have no proof either way.

I do know Emad has offered to open up his books.

I do know the story purported by the former server in the article is either a lie, a mistake, or an isolated incident by a rogue manager. No manager at my restaurant has ever asked a single employee to hand over more than the 4 percent house fee. 

I do know that at some restaurants they practice 'tip sharing' -- Another common practice in the restaurant industry. Servers pool their money, give it to an appointed captain and the captain redistrbutes the money equally among them. This makes the highs a lows of a life surviving on tips, a little more even keeled.

And, I do know that a news organization, running a sensationalistic story which insinuates a man is a theif – using hearsay as evidence– is wrong. 

I am no defender of the right, no defender of big business. I am a lefty, a man that you would see at the front lines of a protest against an organization accused of the same allegations Glowbal Group is accused of – but in this case, they simply aren’t true.

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