Nation

Did a bunch of singing servers steal $400,000 from NYC’s Stardust Diner?

If you go to the Stardust Diner in New York City, you’re definitely in for a show.

The diner, which opened in 1987 and is now located on 51st Street, has become a popular spot for tourists who not only enjoy hamburgers and turkey clubs, but also the entertainment. That’s provided by the servers and wait staff who belt out show tunes and popular Broadway songs while, according to this report in the New York Post) they ‘‘strut on the backs of the red-vinyl booths and toss out straws to the diners, who are also showered in confetti.’’

Advertisement

But some of the ‘‘Stardusters’’ - as they like to call themselves - may not have just been singing. The owners of the restaurant are accusing nearly 60 of them of stealing almost $400,000 and now prosecutors from the Manhattan’s District Attorney’s office have taken up the investigation. How did they allegedly do this? It’s the old ‘‘floating drink’’ trick. And if you own a restaurant you should pay close attention.

Here’s how it works. According to the New York Post, citing court documents, a common item (like a soda) is bought and paid for by a customer. The waiter then takes the item off the check in the restaurant’s point-of-sale system and pockets the difference between what was paid and the reduced bill. The soda is then transferred to another check and the process is repeated. One waiter allegedly stole $38,167.34 during a four-year period. That’s a lot of sodas!

Get Ground Game in your inbox:
Daily updates and analysis on national politics from James Pindell.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

These are all allegations, but one thing’s certain: the relationship between the restaurant’s owners-who took over in early 2016-and their employees has been rocky.

A lawsuit filed by employees at the diner last December accused management of wrongfully requiring them to share tips and failing to pay them overtime. Another lawsuit filed in April contends that the diner didn’t provide an appropriate place for mothers who worked there to pump breast milk. Workers there began organizing, which allegedly led to significant firings in September 2016 and January 2017, and now the National Labor Relations Board will hear whether some employees were fired because of these activities.

Who knew there could so much drama on Broadway. . .

Advertisement

---

Marks owns the Marks Group, a Bala Cynwyd, Pa.-based consulting firm that helps clients with customer relationship management. Marks is an author and a certified public accountant.

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
We hope you've enjoyed your free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com