Arkansas Waitress Fired After Receiving $4,400 Tip She Was Forced to Split

by Clayton Edwards

One waitress in Bentonville, Arkansas got a massive tip. Then, she was told she would have to split that tip with the rest of the staff. The next day, the restaurant fired the waitress. Now, the tipper is stepping up to help her again.

It all started at Oven and Tap in Bentonville, Arkansas on December 6th. Waitress Ryan Brand and another server waited on a huge dining group. At the end of the meal, each of the diners put $100 toward the tip. Brandt and her fellow server walked away with $4,400. Little did the grateful waitress know, she was less than a day away from being fired.

First, Brandt’s boss told her she would have to split the tip with her co-workers. About this, Brandt said, “I was told that I was going to be giving my cash over to my shift manage, and I would be taking home 20%.” This, Brandt revealed, was new. Before being fired, the waitress worked at Oven and Tap for three and a half years. Not once had she been asked to share tips with her coworkers.

Grant Wise, the organizer of the dining party and owner of a real estate company heard about this. Then, he asked that the restaurant return the tip. Wise then divided the money between Brandt and her fellow server. The waitress believes that Oven and Tap fired her because she told Wise that she would have to split the generous tip with employees who did not wait on their group.

The Origins of the Gesture that Got One Waitress Fired

Last year, as the pandemic raged and servers took a huge hit to the pocketbook, Wise got an amazing idea from a friend.  He calls it the “$100 dinner club.” Each diner in the party pitches in $100 toward the tip. “We knew servers were really hit hard through COVID and it was something that he had come up with to help give back,” he told 5 News, a Fayetteville, Arkansas-based CBS affiliate.

Wise added, “The secret to living is giving and if you get an opportunity, give what you can when you can.”

A Silver Lining

The fact that Oven and Tap fired the waitress angered several people. However, Ryan Brandt isn’t completely out of work. 5 News reported that she didn’t have time to speak to them at length about the incident because she currently has two jobs.

Additionally, knowing that Oven and Tap fired the waitress didn’t sit well with Grant. As a result, he set up a GoFundMe to help Bryant cover the money she lost when Oven and Tap let her go. As of this morning, that campaign has raised nearly $9,000, according to The New York Post.