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Pizza Express protests: these restaurants charge staff for tips paid by card

Unite says customers should always tip in cash

By Hazel Sheffield

Published 05/08/2015

Pizza Express on Belfast's Lisburn Road
Pizza Express on Belfast's Lisburn Road
Pizza Express on Belfast's Lisburn Road

Unite is planning a series of demonstrations outside Pizza Express restaurants in the coming weeks to protest the company's policy of skimming 8 per cent from tips paid to staff by credit cards.

The union is acting on behalf of its members, who have raised the issue of "tronc" fees, whereby restaurants take a cut of tips paid by card to process them.

Chains including Chiquito, Garfunkel's and T.G.I. Friday have dropped tronc charges, according to Unite. A spokesperson said they hope the Pizza Express campaign will encourage other restaurants to do the same.

"We are calling on Pizza Express and others to abolish the unfair and unjust percentage deduction. Until this happens tip in cash!" Unite says.

A spokesperson from Pizza Express said it chooses to charge 8 per cent on the pool of staff tips (the "tronc") but does not take National Insurance off the tip, which would amount to 12.8 per cent.

Pizza Express said it was not alone in taking a cut of tips paid by card – and it was right. This is what staff lose from tips paid by card in some of the most popular high street chains:

Ask – 8 per cent

restaurant.jpg Ask says: “If it is more convenient for you to leave a credit card tip, ASK Italian will be accountable for ensuring tax is paid on it. Because of this, 8 per cent is deducted to cover the costs of getting these taxed and paid to the team. ASK Italian does not profit from this charge.”

Tragus Group: Café Rouge, Bella Italia and Belugo – 10 per cent

Tragus says: "Both credit card tips and service charge paid are subject to a 10 per cent deduction for administrative and other house costs, prior to a full distribution to employees in the restaurant through the company's payroll system.

"The 10 per cent deduction covers the cost of credit card fees, payroll bureau processing costs and other direct house and administration costs."

Prezzo – 10 per cent

Prezzo says: "Credit card tips are subject to a 10 per cent deduction to cover credit card fees payroll and other house costs prior to the distribution in full to employees. All cash tips are retained in full by the waiting staff and may or may not be shared with other employees in the restaurant. The company does not participate in cash tips in any way."

Strada – 10 per cent

Strada says: “Both credit card tips and service charge paid are subject to a 10 per cent deduction for administrative and other house costs, prior to a full distribution to employees in the restaurant through the company’s payroll system.”

Wagamama - none

Wagamama says: “All of the tips and gratuities, whether cash, cheque or credit card, left by customers go to the staff and are shared on a basis agreed by the staff – but not necessarily to the waiter of your table.”

Giraffe – 10 per cent

Giraffe says: "Both discretionary and service charge tipping policies are subject to a 10 per cent deduction for administrative and other business costs, prior to a full distribution to employees in the restaurant. All tips and gratuities are controlled by a staff representative."

Zizzi – 8 per cent

Johanna Fawcett, Marketing Director of Zizzi says: "We take a small charge of 8 per cent to cover administrative fees, which the company does not profit from at all. We also have a poster that we show to all staff because we pride ourselves on being completely transparent."

Carluccio's – none

Carluccio's says: "100 per cent of tips go to staff.  We make no deductions for the company for administration, credit card commission or anything else. We do not operate a blanket service charge (other than for large parties) or ask our waiters to pool and share tips between themselves.  This means that the customer chooses who to tip and how much.

"We believe both our guests and our team support this. A proportion of tips are shared with non-waiting back of house staff but not management at any level."

Source: Independent

Independent News Service

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