I am an ESL teacher in Manhattan. Many of my students are Japanese and Korean. A lot of the girls work as waitresses in Japanese or Korean restaurants illegally. They are here on F1 student Visas and shouldnt be working. I spend a lot of time with them and recently asked them about how they did from the tips. I was shocked to learn that none of them are permitted to keep the tips! The owners of the Japanese and Korean restaurants in NYC keep all the money you leave as a tip!. They pay the wait staff 40- 60 $ cash per shift. Any tip you leave for your friendly waitress is going to the owner. I was OUTRAGED when I heard this. I asked all of my students who work in Asian restaurants about this and it was the case every time. The only way they keep the tip is if you give them the tip in their hand apart from your payment and tell them it is for them. I am not sure but I suspect it is the same in Chinese and Vietnamese places too. All these years I have been eating Sushi at pricey places and being a generous tipper have meant nothing. The owners just enjoy more $$$. Not much can be done, as the workers are illegal. Maybe nothing should be done since the workers are illegal- but dont tip anymore in these places- discreetly give the tip to your waiter in hand for now on.