MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) Some workers at a Michigan pancake restaurant found a sweet way to help out their boss and the workplace they love.

With customer traffic down a bit at Mr. B's Pancake House lately, lead server Mary VanDam asked co-workers if they might be willing to work a shift without wages to help out owner Dave Barham.

The 17 servers, cooks, busboys, dishwashers, cashiers and hostesses who worked the day shift on Jan. 18 received only tips for compensation.

"This is a wonderful business. We want to see it succeed," VanDam, 51, told The Muskegon Chronicle for a story published Tuesday.

When customers heard about the workers' effort, they tipped a little more. The shift's workers divided the gratuities equally and each took home $51.

"Isn't that something?" Barham asked.

He said he doesn't want people to get the impression his business is doing poorly, but "it's tight for everyone all over."

VanDam said Barham met his payroll more than once by dipping into his own pockets.

All 31 of the restaurant's workers had volunteered, but they agreed the no-wage effort would be for one shift.

"We wish we could have saved him $5,000," VanDam said. "We wanted to give back to him, lighten the load a little."

On the Net:

Mr. B's Pancake House: http://www.mrbspancakehouse.com/

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.