Waffle House worker says she’s vegetarian but still gets $3.15 from check taken out daily for ‘mandatory meal deductions’

Ken Wolter/ShutterStock @raiseupthesouth/TikTok (Licensed)

‘I’m not eating bacon and sausage’: Waffle House worker says she’s vegetarian but still gets $3.15 from check taken out daily for ‘mandatory meal deductions’

'I applied for waffle house in 2007 and I didn't take the job cuz of that reason.'


Jack Alban


Posted on Sep 28, 2023

Waffle House employees are striking for more favorable working conditions. One of these asks has to do with paycheck deductions for meals, which workers say are required and taken out regardless of whether or not they eat.

In a TikTok posted by the Raise Up the South (@raiseupthesouth) unionization movement, one Waffle House staff member shared why she believes the requirement should be removed. The viral clip has garnered over 53,000 views since it was posted on Wednesday.

@raiseupthesouth Waffle House takes money out of every shift whether or not we eat! Make that make sense. Dreanna Colvin, @Waffle House worker in Atlanta, GA #OrganizetheSouth #UnionsforAll #UnionStrong #Unions #work #WorkerPower #CorporateGreed #wafflehouse #wafflehouseworker #mealdeductions ♬ [FREE] R&B type beat 'MAKE UP' – KEV_BEATZ

The video shows a Waffle House employee in full uniform speaking directly into the camera about a policy that she says takes $3.15 out of a worker’s daily pay to cover the cost of employee meals.

“Waffle House doesn’t care if we eat or not; they’re gonna take the money out our checks anyway,” she says. “I’m a vegetarian, so I don’t feel that it’s right to take $3.15 out of my check every day that I work because I’m not eating bacon and sausage and everything else that everybody else is eating.”

She argues that a better alternative would be to allow workers to opt out of the deductions.

“I just feel like if we had the option to opt out of it and just pay the meals as we go, that would be a better option for everybody all across Waffle House versus taking it without our permission,” she says. “I think that Waffle House is taking this money out of everybody’s checks just so that they could make even more on top of their dollars that they’re making.”

The mandatory meal charge is one of the points of contention for improved Waffle House workers’ rights as part of the Raise Up the South’s unionization initiative. Employees of the chain have been striking in South Carolina for better working conditions like “consistent scheduling” and on-premises security for employees.

In the comments section of the viral clip, many viewers agree that the policy is flawed.

“Give a shift meal or charge 50% that’s insane,” one viewer suggested.

“That’s so wrong, I had a job at a restaurant and everyday we got a meal credit,” a second said.

“So if you work 5 days, that is deducted every day? Who wants to eat at the same place every day?” another questioned.

However, one former Waffle House employee said they loved the policy: “I worked at WH as a teenager and I actually loved this lol,” they wrote. “You can eat as much as you want for $3. I ate breakfast and lunch there everyday I worked.”

The Daily Dot contacted Waffle House and Raise Up the South via email for further comment.

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*First Published: Sep 28, 2023, 3:04 pm CDT