Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Eating out: who gets your tip?

The heads of two large restaurant groups have warned privately that the Government's decision that tips should no longer count towards the minimum wage may force them to take a greater proportion of the service charge as an "administration fee".

While it is well documented that some restaurateurs already divert tips as revenue, such threats, reported today by the Financial Times, are nonetheless outrageous.

A tip should be given to reward service, not as a makeweight for inadequate pay and certainly not to enhance restaurant balance sheets.

Perhaps diners - not least those visiting from other European countries such as France, where tips may be welcome but are not generaly expected - should make a habit of inquiring where their service charge is going.

If they fail to elicit a convincing answer they will be justified in withholding it.

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