Tips are a hot topic in Leeds restaurants this week

By Charlie Wainwright

Restaurants and waiting staff in Leeds are awaiting results from a two-month consultation on the future for tips.

It comes after Business Secretary Sajid Javid launched a consultation on Monday to ensure that in the future, tips would always reach service staff.

Former waiters in Leeds shared their expereicnes

Amro Elnadri, 28, up until last year worked as a waiter for three years at a Thai restaurant in Leeds city centre.

He explained that his restaurant was fair and if cash was left for the waiting staff at the end of a meal the amount would be split. “Because we were a team, whatever tips were left were put together and split,” he said.

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Amro Elnadri, 28 worked as a waiter for three years

Amro also explained that the service charge he was encouraged to offer consumers reflected directly on his performance. “Sometimes we would offer a service charge that the business would add to the bill. The customer would have the choice to pay it. If the person didn’t add it then the boss would ask how our service had been, whether you were offered a good choice with your meals etc.”

He disagreed with the current argument that a law should be enforced to ensure tips reach service staff as he believes most restaurants are fair.

However, other former waiters disagreed.

Alex Hodges, 19, worked at The Green Dragon in Welton, near Hull, as a waiter and found tips were shared fairly between the team he worked with. “We tended to split all tips between the staff except the managers -they didn’t get a share of the tips,” he said.

He agreed a law should passed that makes sure all restaurants and pubs are as fair as his pub was. He felt that waiters should be rewarded as they do “most of the hard work” and the managers just “stand around and oversee the restaurant”.

It has also been revealed that many restaurants currently add a “service charge” automatically to bills.

But in many restaurants this tip never reaches the waiting staff and is instead added to the profits of the business. Many customers, though, think the tip goes into the waiters’ pockets.

A poll showed 78 per cent believed a law should be created to protect service staff and ensure tips did reach waiters.

Ministers also fear consumers may also leave a “double tip” – cash on the table as well as a service charge on the bill, which again does not always reach service staff.

Mr Javid said on Monday: “We’ve been very clear. As a one nation government we want workers who earn a tip to be able to keep it. That’s why I, like many others, was disappointed by the tipping practices of some of our well-known chains. This has to change.

“Today I’m setting out our proposals to make tipping fairer, clamping down on unfair practices and securing a better deal for the millions of workers in the service industry. We will look closely at all the options, including legislation if necessary.”

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A student union bar in Leeds

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Tip jars aren’t always shared fairly

The proposals include:

  • making it clearer for customers that tips are optional
  • preventing or limiting any employer deduction from tips except for those required under tax law
  • and updating the existing voluntary code of practice from the government and putting it on a statutory footing to increase employer compliance

Unite have been campaigning for this action for months after complaining that some firms were counting tips as part of a worker’s pay.

 


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