Sara Fraser-Patterson, from Witney, Oxfordshire, with her daughter Eloise, ate at Chiquito in Leicester Square, London. The Mexican restaurant chain's management has issued a memo to staff saying they should encourage customers to pay tips by credit card rather than leave cash.
"I think it's appalling that they've issued a memo recommending that customers pay electronically. I just left a cash tip in any case – it's always the safer option. The whole point of a tip is that it is performance-related. I want to be sure that the money I leave goes straight to my waiter.
"But I'm angry on my waiter's behalf. It feels like they've been cheated. The whole policy should just be clearer: as you walk in, there should be a big sign telling you what will happen to the tip you leave.
"I think the fairest way for restaurants to distribute tips is through a tronc system, where some staff take home more of the total tip pot than others. After all, some waiters may well deserve more than others; I don't want any old surly idiot being paid the same as others who are working much harder."
Sam Saunders, from London ate at Chez Gérard in Covent Garden. "I'm surprised, and disappointed, to hear that this chain operates such a policy. The staff should of course be paid a minimum wage to start with. And the minimum wage itself should be much higher. What they're doing by setting basic pay below the minimum wage may not be illegal so long as it's topped up with tips, but most people would expect the people serving them to be treated better. As a customer, your priority is good service rather than the waiters' wages, but it's only fair that customers know what's going on."
John Gunn, of London ate at Chez Gérard in Covent Garden. This bistro chain pays waiting staff a basic salary below the minimum wage, but uses a discretionary service charge of 12.5 per cent to top up their earnings and take them above the legal minimum.
"It seems a little unreasonable, I agree. As far as I can see, the waiters who served me don't have to work there if they don't want to, so they shouldn't bother complaining. As things are, everybody's happy – the waiters get work and the company gets cheap labour. You can't expect them to pay more than they have to – why would they?"
Patrick Hayes, of London ate at Tuttons, Covent Garden, London. Staff at this brasserie receive no basic salary; though they take home more than the minimum wage, their earnings are made up solely from tips and the optional 15 per cent service charge.
"If they're not getting paid any basic salary at all before the tips, that really is appalling. In France, waiters are paid a decent wage. We can't expect people to take pride in their work if we don't pay them a decent salary. How would you feel if your income was at the discretion of people you were serving?"
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