Service without a smile as restaurant staff contemplate end to tips of the trade

AT the All Bar One cafe bar in Regent Street central London, yesterday the implications of a possible end to tipping as we know it, were beginning to sink in.

John Mills, who works as an importer, was having lunch with his wife Gill, a recruitment consultant. Mr Mills said: "I hate the idea. We go to a lot of restaurants already where there is a service charge included in the bill and if you get terrible service you have to have a major altercation not to pay it."

Mrs Mills also preferred to tip at will, but for a different reason. "If you get really good service you like to tip more. We understand waiters depend on tips."

Their waitress Patricia Movillo, a student from Argentina who works at All Bar One to finance her degree, said she liked to be tipped for good service. "It is good to have tips because you get cash and that is nice pocket money. If you give better service you are given a tip - it's common sense," she said.

When she started at All Bar One a year ago she earned pounds 3.60 an hour. That has now gone up to pounds 4.60 and waiters can earn up to pounds 6 in tips on a good lunch time.

Even so, waitress Helen Walker - who earns pounds 4.10 an hour - said she would prefer an increased steady wage. "I don't make an awful lot in tips," she said. "You can't really rely on them. Sometimes you expect to get a lot and you end up with nothing. I would rather have a straight hourly rate."

Stephen Neil, who runs a wine business, also thinks there is merit in scrapping discretionary tips. He said: "It is a better way as far as the client is concerned. You should be able to get up and go without the embarrassment of trying to decide how much to tip. You don't have to impress the girlfriend, and if the waitress pulls faces at you, you can tell her to get stuffed."

Joe Green, a management consultant, said compulsory service meant a costly tip if the meal was expensive. He said: "The fact that you are paying more or less shouldn't change the service from the waiter."

His server Nick Hamley, an Australian, who has been working at All Bar One for three months to fund his travels, said: "I think it is a little bit unfair to end tipping. The hospitality industry is almost based on tips and service. You go out of your way to look after people and it's like a reward."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power