Restaurants Urged to Adopt Staff Tipping Guidelines
Businesses in the hospitality industry are being urged to sign up to a code of practice which encourages them to inform customers about how staff tips are distributed.
The British Hospitality Association’s (BHA) voluntary Code of Practice on Discretionary Tips and Service Charges (79k PDF) is aimed at securing a better deal for serving staff by obliging businesses to be transparent about what happens to tips.
BHA spokesman, Miles Quest said:
“We hope to encourage restaurants to be more transparent where service charges are concerned. There has been concern among consumers about where service charges are going and how they are distributed.”
The code recommends that each restaurant should provide customers with information about how tips and service charges are distributed to staff, and whether anything is deducted for handling costs such as card processing charges imposed by banks. The information should either be available to customers in writing on the premises or on a website.
The code also includes advice about cash tips, which typically are either kept by individual staff or added to a pool known as a ‘tronc’ and shared out later. If staff use a tronc, the arrangement should be voluntary and decided by staff without the involvement of the restaurant owner.
“All the members of our National Restaurant Group have accepted the code and hopefully will be implementing it in the next few months. As soon as it is seen that the major groups are implementing it, the pressure will lead other businesses to introduce it. Overall, we think it will improve the reputation of the industry.”
From 1st October this year it will be illegal for restaurant owners to use service charges to meet National Minimum Wage requirements, a practice which has become widespread in some areas.