Who gets your service charge?

So you’ve enjoyed your meal and decided to leave a tip to the smiling waiter/waitress who helped make your evening a success. Off the tip goes to a pot in the back to be spent on life’s little luxuries (or beer!) for the reasonably paid and appreciated staff member. ……I don’t think so.
Horrified to discover that one of our great public institutions, The National Gallery in London, pay its staff rates below the minimum wage and then bulk it up with tips I’ve made a point of asking what happens to the tips.
So far the most surprising answer was provided by Gio in Lower Mosley Street. Spotting that a service charge had been added automatically to my debit card slip I pointed this out to the waiter when he pushed the card machine at me asking if I’d like to add another gratuity on top.
“Oh that’s for the table cloth and glasses” he explained “the service charge covers our costs for you eating here whereas the gratuity is paid to the waitress”. Strange I thought the bill for the food might cover the cost of providing the meal – and maybe leave a little bit over for the proprietor to live on. Silly me.
Join my campaign to give the service charge for good service NOW by asking every time you pay – and then telling everyone else the answer here.
Sign my online petition here.
What restaurants have told me;
Bacchanalia: Staff keep all the tip on tables of six or more. Under that number of customers it is paid via the waiting staff’s wages.
The Lowry: Cash tips are passed to the individual staff member while tips left on cards, bills etc are pooled and share out in pay packets.
Gio: The solid Italian uses the service charge to pay for tablecloths, glasses etc while another gratuity can go to the staff, according to one of the waiters.
Va Bene, Glossop. This neighbourhood Italian passes the tips to its staff in their pay packets.
Wagamama, Hardman Street: The noodle bar with the cuddly image gives it staff the tips – according to the staff.


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