As this newspaper has long pointed out in its "fair tips, fair pay" campaign, restaurants in this country have a special genius for abusing the system of customer gratuities intended for serving staff. Some managements use them to top up waiters' wages to the minimum wage. Others cream off a percentage for themselves. Only a minority have a policy, clear to diners when they pay their bill, on where the tips end up.
So the news that a leading London restaurant chain, D&D, has scrapped its 12.5 per cent service charge and will, in future, allow customers to decide for themselves how much to leave as a reward for service is welcome in that it is, at least, a fair policy which people can easily understand.
But let us be clear. This campaign to give a fair deal to waiters and serving staff will not be over until they are all guaranteed 100 per cent of any gratuities they are awarded and the fog of confusion that continues to surround tipping in British restaurants is finally cleared.