Where do your tips and service charges really go?
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Where do your tips and service charges really go?

When we are lucky enough to get time to go out to a nice restaurant we like good service from our waiting staff, and in the majority of cases this is what we get, traditionally we like to reward this good service with a tip, but it seems what we give is not always what they get.

In the UK traditionally 10% of the bill is a fairly standard gratuity for staff, sometimes they pool their tips and share them out and sometimes even include the kitchen staff who are often overlooked. But it seems not all the money is making its way to the servers and big business can sometimes mean little rewards.

I was shocked to discover a number of the big chain restaurants in the UK skim a percentage of the tips off the staff and keep it for themselves. This can vary between the companies as to how much but it seems to be a common and increasing practise. If you pay your bill by credit card or debit card the machine will usually ask you if you would like to leave a tip, most of us are generous enough to do so, but a number restaurant are taking up to 10% off the tip to cover what they say is the “processing fee”.

The worst offender however seems to be Las Iguanas, they don’t just take a set amount from the tips processed, they take a portion of the sales FROM the staff!! That means at the end of the day 3% of everything earned is deducted from the staff!!!. This is regardless of whether or not they have actually received any tips, so in theory and I’m sure in practise a waiter or waitress who receives no tips would still have to have money deducted from their pay package for the privilege of working there. It means that if a waiter worked hard and server £1000 worth of food, drinks throughout a night, then he would have to hand over £30 at the end of the night, even if he had not received that in tips, or make it up from tips the next day.

Although this is the most extreme example of it I have come across there are also a lot of well-known restaurants that take the 10% transaction fee from staff. Although all cash tips are kept and shared by staff, restaurants such as Ask, Café Rough and Prezzo all deduct a service charge for staff to receive their tips, however a small victory for Pizza express workers recently saw the company do a u turn on this policy and stop this practice allowing their staff to keep 100% of their tips.

So if you’re out and about for a bite to eat and want to leave the nice waiter or waitress an tip my advice would be to do so in cash if possible, that way you know 100% of the gratuity and gratitude will go to the staff.

CLICK HERE to find out whether you should tip on your holiday to Europe.

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