The battle for tips continues

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A new code of conduct from the hospitality industry will still allow restaurant owners to keep tips intended for staff. The British Hospitality Association published the code on how restaurants and cafes should treat money left as a service charge, gratuity or cash tip.

Any restaurant adopting the code must tell customers of its tipping policy in a written note "available for inspection" on its premises and website, if it has one. "There is no legal requirement for the restaurant to allocate a particular proportion of the service charge or tip income to employees," says the Code of Practice on Discretionary Tips and Service Charges.

Restaurateurs may deduct credit card and banking charges, payroll processing costs and the average cost of credit card fraud before distributing money to waiting and kitchen staff.

The new code was published ahead of the Government's own code of conduct, expected later this year. From October restaurateurs will not be able to use tips to make up staff wages.