Waiting staff accuse restaurants of cutting their tips to pay chefs

16 November, 2021

Waiting staff across the UK are accusing restaurant owners of unfairly distributing their tips to boost the salaries of chefs and managers.

As the industry continues to experience severe shortages of skilled labour, staff at restaurant chains including PizzaExpress, Wagamama and Byron, claim to have had their pay cut by as much as half.

Waiting and front of house staff claim that the loss of income is due to the changes made to the way the service charge on the bill was distributed to staff in the months since restaurants were allowed to reopen. As restaurants continue to struggle to recruit chefs and back of house staff, restaurant owners are increasing the proportion of tips given to these members of staff in order to recruit and retain staff.

It has been reported that at PizzaExpress, the share of tips has gone from 70% to waiting staff and 30% to the kitchen, to a 50/50 split since the sector reopened in May.

In some cases, the readjustment was voted through by staff members, but with an increase in takeaway workers included in the vote, more people stood to benefit from the change among those who were allowed to vote.

A full-time employee at Wagamamas in North London claims the amount of tips she earned per hour had fallen from £5 to 90p.

These changes have resulted in many front of house staff leaving their jobs and the industry.

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