Must we tip?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Purse with pocket money isolated on white backgroundOver the weekend, the Business Secretary – Sajid Javid – (and the man formerly in charge of tourism in the last government) announced launched an investigation into the abuse of tipping after it emerged that some restaurant chains were not passing tips on to their staff.

The inquiry, which will run until 10 November, will examine whether or not government intervention is necessary.

YO! Sushi, Wagamama, Carluccio’s, Pizza Hut, Jamie’s Italian, Frankie & Benny’s, Chiquito, Giraffe, Garfunkels say staff keep all their tips although Giraffe only changed their policy recently. Café Rouge, Las Iguanas, Strada, Zizzi, Ask Italian, Pizza Express and Prezzo charge an administration fee to their staff deducting anywhere between 3 and 10% of the tip.

What of restaurants that add a service charge to the bill and then don’t mention it? It might be in small print on the menu or bill but staff often look at you with daggers if you don’t leave a tips as well. Maybe that’s because the owners keep all of that service charge because it isn’t counted – in their eyes – as a tip. Shouldn’t Javid look at this as well?

He also hasn’t raised the question of whether we should tip at all which, readers will know, is annoying to me and many of you as well. In the same week that the question of whether employees receive the tips left in the first place, the New York Times ran a story pointing out that some US restaurants were doing away entirely with tipping and increasing staff wages into the bargain. Yes, prices have risen in those restaurants but at least the transactions are transparent to everyone. Javid said, in his statement, that he wanted to deal “with the abuse of tipping” so why doesn’t he investigate the whole subject?

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