On a payroll
Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 6, 2003
Carhops at Sonic Drive-In may be skating their way back to a 1950s dining tradition, but they’re not doing it for a ’50s price.
Roller-skating carhops are making a minimum of $9 an hour delivering food orders on red trays to customers waiting in their cars at the Louisville Road restaurant.
“We’re willing to pay more to get the carhops that roller-skate,” said manager Christy King, who said the restaurant brought back the mid-20th century feature two weeks ago.
“There are some days they may average $20 an hour,” if the employees get big tips, said King. “Carhops that do skate make better tips than anybody else.” Walking carhops earn $5.15 an hour.
McDonald’s restaurant offers $5.50 an hour to new employees with limited availability and $6.50 to those with full availability. Jerry Yount, manager at the Versailles Road location, said employees are permitted to accept tips but, “I’ve only seen one tip given to a crew person in 17 years.”
But tips are common at Sonic. “I’d say every two out of three customers tip the carhops,” said King, who says Sonic is not a fast-food restaurant because every meal is made to order. “The carhops actually wait on the customers,” bringing condiments and checking back.
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