This is how much of your tip goes to staff at leading Guildford restaurants

September 13, 2018
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Tipping can be a tricky business.

Along with the eternal question of how much to tip, different restaurants have different policies when it comes to how much of that tip your waiter actually gets to keep.

Most will have some way of splitting tips among their employees so valuable back-of-house staff like chefs also get something, although they also tend to receive higher wages than waiters anyway.

But some restaurants have been heavily criticised for the way they split up tips and service charges, including accusations they are making their staff “pay to work” or that the tips waiters are given has no impact on the money they actually receive at the end of their shift.

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Guildford’s restaurant scene

So how do the restaurants do it? SurreyLive has looked at some of the major restaurants in Guildford to find out how much of your money is actually going to your waiter.

Got a tipping horror story? We want to hear from you. Email christopher.mckeon@reachplc.com to get in touch (anonymity assured if requested).

Waiters at Turtle Bay must pay 3% of their total sales back to the company for “redistribution” to other staff.
(Image: Grahame Larter/Surrey Advertiser)

Turtle Bay

Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay has been heavily criticised in recent years for its tipping practices.

In a statement on its website, the restaurant says it redistributes 30% of waiting staff’s tips to kitchen and bar staff to ensure their work is also recognised.

However, the amount redistributed is not calculated as 30% of a waiter’s tips, but 3% of their sales (up to a maximum of £25).

So if a waiter’s tables spend £500 over the course of their shift, the waiter must contribute £15 to this redistribution, regardless of how much they actually made in tips. The individual waiters keep whatever is left of their tips, including those paid in cash and on card, according to the company’s statement.

The company says most diners tip 10%, but staff at the restaurant’s Bristol branch recently told Bristol Live they had sometimes had to cover the 3% “tip tax” out of their wages after not receiving enough tips.

One waiter said the restaurant was “in essence making your staff pay to work”.

Jamie’s Italian says waiters never have to pay out any of their cash tips or hourly wages to make up tips for back-of-house staff.
(Image: Grahame Larter/Surrey Advertiser)

Jamie’s Italian

Jamie’s Italian runs a similar system to Turtle Bay, with waiters having to pay 2% of their sales into a pot – called a “tronc” – which is then distributed among the rest of the staff.

The company says this is supposed to be made up from credit card tips and service charges, with waiters keeping all of their cash tips.

On its website, the company says: “If the 2% is not generated, we never top up using hourly pay or cash tips.”

The Ivy Castle View pays its staff a “commission” rather than splitting service charges between them

The Ivy Castle View

Guildford’s new luxury restaurant , located in the redeveloped Tunsgate Quarter, is part of a small chain that was accused in 2017 of not giving their staff a fair share of the service charge paid by diners.

The Guardian reported in March 2017 that the company paid its waiters a “commission” of £1.30 an hour on top of the minimum wage no matter how much money was collected from service charges of 12.5% levied on all bills.

This means a waiter doing an eight-hour shift will receive a “commission” of £10.40 for the whole shift, which could easily be the service charge on dinner for two at the restaurant.

Conversely, if you leave a cash tip, it will go to the individual waiter in full.

A spokesman for The Ivy Castle View said: “Our staff, excluding management, receive all of the optional service charge after the relevant deductions and taxes imposed by HM Revenue and Customs have been taken out.

“Our tipping policy is clearly explained to all staff when they join. If a customer does not want to pay the service charge of 12.5%, they can opt to leave a cash tip, and this will be kept by the waiter in question. Customers also have the opportunity of not leaving a tip.

“Contracted restaurant staff receive an hourly rate that is added to from the service charge. This remains the same whether business is brisk or not. This way, our staff know the basic amount they will be paid based on the amount of hours that they have worked.”

Wagamama says it doesn’t deduct anything from waiters’ tips

Wagamama

According to the company’s website, Wagamama’s tips policy is simple.

It says: “We have always been proud that 100% of tips that are given by our guests go to our team members. We don’t charge any admin or processing fees. Never have. Never will.”

There is no statement on how tips are divided up between waiters and back-of-house staff, but while the restaurant doesn’t deduct anything from the tips, they are distributed by tronc meaning your payment will not necessarily go to your individual waiter. This applies to both cash and card tips.

Tunsgate Quarter welcomes 'Cosy Club'

Cosy Club in Tunsgate Quarter says staff members keep 100% of their tips
(Image: Hannah Dodd)

Cosy Club

Another newcomer to Guildford’s restaurant scene, Cosy Club also proudly proclaims that all tips go to members of staff.

Tips, whether paid in cash, on card or by service charge, do not go directly to staff, however. The money is instead paid into a “tronc”, a separate bank account, and divided between staff at the end of the month in proportions decided by a “tronc master” (usually the branch’s general manager).

It is not clear how those are divided between front-of-house and back-of-house staff, but reviews on jobs website Indeed.co.uk don’t suggest there’s a huge problem with tips.

GBK only lets you tip in cash, and staff keep all tips
(Image: Steve Porter/Surrey Advertiser)

Gourmet Burger Kitchen

Unlike a lot of restaurants, GBK won’t let you leave a tip on your card.

If you want to recognise good service, you’ll have to leave some cash in a jar by the till, which is then split between staff members.

The staff keeps 100% of the tips, according to website wheredomytipsgo.com, but it’s not clear how that is divided up between waiters and kitchen staff.

Pizza Express’ new high dining counter in Guildford
(Image: Pizza Express)

Pizza Express

Pizza Express was one of several restaurants criticised in 2015 over its tipping practice, which at the time involved deducting 8% from tips paid by credit or debit card.

However, in reaction to the criticism the company changed its policy and now distributes 100% of tips among its staff.

According to Pizza Express’ website, all cash tips go straight to the waiter, but if you pay on card or by service charge, 70% goes to the waiter and the other 30% is shared by cleaners and kitchen staff.

Article source: https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/wagamama-jamies-ivy-tipping-tips-15134812


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