The Government has published ‘Service Charges, Tips, Gratuities and Cover Charges: A Consultation’ which seeks views on how the law should be changed to prevent employers using tips or service charges to bring employees’ pay up to the level of the national minimum wage.
I have no doubt that they will receive plenty of views on this as it is a highly emotive subject as you will know if you have any involvement in the operation of a restaurant. Through staff surveys Business Blueprints discovered 90% of a typical front of house team believe that the tips are entirely theirs as a personal affirmation of their excellent work from their customers.
The most important perspective on this I believe is that of the customer and their intention when they left the additional sum of money over and above the bill for their meal. At Business Blueprints on a number of occasions we have gained insight through research with regular restaurant users in both focus groups and quantitative studies as to the reasons why they leave a tip and who they intend to receive it. 30% of customers do not leave a tip because the food and/or the service was not good enough. 85% who leave a tip intend for the money to be left equally for the team that created a great experience including attentive service, a caring atmosphere and delicious food. All the aspects that Business Blueprints seeks to measure in a mystery visit to reflect the likelihood of a person returning to and recommending a restaurant.
And then there is the employers’ or restauranteurs’ perspective – they build a typical high street restaurant at today’s rates for anywhere between £400k and £1,000,000, pay the rent or mortgage, they hand pick the staff, train them, buy all the food, create a ambience that guests appreciate and want to come back to, provide the equipment to cook the food on, provide the recipes and the motivation to do all the above consistently!
What other business or industry is there an external influence on how any income generated by the business is distributed amongst the people who work there – other than ensuring that the statutory and good employee regulations are maintained?
The “restaurant” that creates a memorable experience that can be relished, recommended and repeated will always be rewarded with a good tip! Surely it is therefore up to the “restaurant” to decide the best way to distribute the “restaurant ” income in order to encourage and reward the team just like any other business – If they decide to in an unjust manner then the business will suffer just like any other.