Posts Tagged ‘restaurant’
Tipping in restaurants is a hot topic at the minute, with a number of companies getting hauled over the coals about their policies. At Côte, there’s been consternation, while Pizza Express have come under notable fire too.
The latest reports say that some restaurants are making staff ‘pay to work’, thanks to their tipping policy where they have to give bosses cash at the end of the night.
Las Iguanas and Turtle Bay, two popular food chains, have a system that requires staff to pay back to their employer 3% of the table sales generated on each shift. So, the money taken isn’t relating to the tips taken waiting on staff, and can erase all the gratuity they’ve taken.
“This policy is far worse than that of Pizza Express,” said Perry Phillips, of the GMB union. “The fact that these restaurants are taking money off the waiting staff regardless of the tips they earn is unjust, unfair and downright disgraceful.”
The Observer found that, in one week this year Las Iguanas raked in £34,000 from its own staff. Nice little earner for a business, if reprehensible. So how do they justify this? The businesses say that this allows them to share tips with non-waiting staff.
If you work for Turtle Bay, the employment contracts say that, where tips don’t manage to cover the 3% payment, staff are “required to make up the benefit of any shortfall in the next or subsequent shift, or in the event of leaving the company by a deduction from wages due, such that the deduction does not reduce your effective rate of pay below the minimum wage”.
According to the report, one Turtle Bay waiter had to pay £20 to their manager at the end of the night, while one waiter from Las Iguanas said that they pay back £25 to £30 per shift, on average, thanks to the 3% policy.
A general manager at one of Las Iguanas’s branches spoke to the Observer, saying that they have the job of totting up the amount that is owed to the company from staff at the end of the night: “I am lucky as the company pay the general managers well, but morally I find it totally wrong to take money off the waiting staff. One night recently I felt terrible because a staff member had made £125 in tips and I had to ask her for £65 back.”
“Most of these waiters are just kids. The way the policy is sold to them is that the money is for recognition and development, but that is no way to take care of your staff.”
We learned of Pizza Express’s ‘unique’ approach when it came to the tips their staff get, but the Côte restaurant is taking it to the next level. And they’re annoying us because Côte has a special character in it that we have to keep typing out.
So what’s occurring? Well, Côte are apparently taking all the tips that they automatically add to bills, and the staff don’t see any of it. That 12.5% they add goes straight to the company, which customers thought were going to the pockets of service staff.
Côte has 72 restaurants, and has defended themselves by saying that it allows them to pay their staff a higher hourly rate, of around £7.50/£8. According to the Standard, a staff member said: “We are told by management that we don’t get to keep the service charge because we get paid more than the minimum wage, so we should be grateful, but most of us would prefer earning the minimum wage and taking home our tips for the hard work we do.”
The Standard add that staff are told to tell customers who enquire about the tips, that the service charges are dished out between workers. While that is technically true, it seems odd that a business would go about raising wages this way. The charge is automatically added to a customers bill, but they can ask to have it taken off, once they’ve paid up.
Another member of staff said that any cash tips are to be handed over to the company: “One night I was waiting a large group and had to split the bill for each guest. At the end they left a £100 cash tip, but I was forced to hand it over to my manager and never saw that money again.”
Iain Wright MP, chairman of the Business Select Committee, said: “When you go into a restaurant you have a direct relationship with that waiter and you want to reward them for looking after you. I’m particularly outraged that the firm would tell staff to essentially lie to customers. If I say to someone serving me in a restaurant, “do you get the service charge” I expect it to go 100% to them as a tip for great service. For Côte to say it’s going to the bottom line rather than in people’s pockets is unacceptable.”
“There’s a principle of making sure the tips that you give over and above the bill of the restaurant is given to the staff. It’s hugely important and should be given 100% to the staff to show your thanks. I think we have to expose some of the negative business practices that don’t help the staff.”
“This seems to be the tip of the iceberg. There’s a principle of making sure the tips that you give over and above the bill of the restaurant is given to the staff. It’s hugely important and should be given 100% to the staff to show your thanks. I think we have to expose some of the negative business practices that don’t help the staff.”
This follows the news that Côte have seen their profits jumping up by 27% last year, to £16.3 million.
A spokesperson for Côte said: “At Cote the optional service charge is used to increase the pay of all restaurant level staff above what would typically be seen as market standard. Whereas the base salary for a waitress in the industry would typically be minimum wage, currently £6.50 per hour, we are able to pay more like £7.50-8.00 per hour through using the service charge.”
“This applies to all restaurant level staff, as good service is a team effort from the person serving the food to the person cooking the food or cleaning the kitchen.”
The restaurants will be serving up a meal planned by chef Jean-Christophe Novelli.
The events will happen in selected hotels such as Blythswood Square Hotel and Home House between November 21st and December 10th.
You can try your luck to win a reservation by tweeting @AldiUK using #AldiFestiveFeast as your hastag.
Naturally all the food served will be sourced from Aldi’s Specially Selected range, including such fare as caviar, crab, turkey wellingtons and Christmas pudding.
(Actually their Christmas pudding is well nice).
Joint managing director of corporate buying, Tony Baines said: “Jean-Christophe Novelli has put together a luxury menu that shows off our festive range to the full and offers better value than other supermarkets. We hope that our consumers will enjoy it.”
If you’re going to have an outbreak of food poisoning happening in your establishment, you REALLY don’t want it to happen when 10 health inspectors visit. But that’s exactly what happened at the Kayal restaurant in Leicester, which has previously been lauded and frequented by everyone from the Hairy Bikers to Paul ‘blue eyes’ Hollywood.
The outbreak in the previously spotless restaurant – which achieved a 5 star hygiene rating – means that it has been closed since November 6th. In the fortnight leading up to the closure, a total of 19 people had fallen ill, including 4 hygiene inspectors from Leicester City Council, who visited on November 2nd. It’s not known what caused the outbreak, but samples of the food have been taken away for analysis, and the kitchen is currently being refitted.
But despite giving the trots to the powers that be, relentlessly optimistic owner Jaimon Thomas said:
‘It was unlucky that we had the council in, and that it included health inspectors, but we would obviously be concerned if anyone at all reported feeling ill. We’ve been open since 2008 and this is the first time we’ve had any problems whatsoever with people getting sick. We had a number of people come to us and say they had stomach aches. We refunded the money straight away and offered them a free meal, which they gladly accepted. The fact the council health inspectors chose to eat there is testament to how highly they rate the restaurant.’
Er, maybe not any more, mate…?
A newly opened teashop on a Berkshire street dubbed ‘Millionaire’s Row’ seems to be very popular with customers. Oh, sorry, not ‘customers’ – I mean ‘cockroaches. ’ Yes, the Teapot tea room on the high street in Cookham, near Maidenhead, is literally crawling with them after an evil saboteur posted the critters through the letterbox.
Owner Diane Bryant had only opened the shop two weeks earlier with her business partner Magda, when she arrived one morning to discover 50 Madagascan hissing cockroaches roaming around on the floor. A pest control specialist who was called in to investigate said he’d never seen the species in 25 years of working in the industry.
Yes, not only were they cockroaches, but they were immigrants, too! *Daily mail head swivel*
Picturesque Cookham, which was said to be the inspiration for Wind In The Willows and is home to television personalities and sports stars, is up in arms about the stunt.
‘It’s a disgusting thing to do, it’s vicious. We are a brand new tea shop. For someone to do this is just vile.” Said Bryant. ‘Everybody has been knocking on the door and is absolutely shocked by what has happened.’
Let’s hope they find the culprit soon before those cockroaches start posting snooty reviews about the toilets on Trip Advisor.
Who would have ever thought a bacon restaurant would stink of bacon? Well, for one, the neighbours who complained about it.
The owners apparently had months to address the “porcine aroma” and “grease disposal” issues, but alas, didn’t manage to do so.
“It’s frustrating,” said owner Jim Angelus. “Two weeks ago, the health department showed up saying we had no permits. So we had a hearing and one person showed up saying they were opposed.”
“They told us we had long enough to resolve these issues – and as a result, we have to cease operations May 17.”
Piggin’ awful, etc.
Some dumbass waiter from Americaland has been suspended from his job after referring to three female customers as “fat girls” on their bill.
Christine Duran, Christina Huerta and Isabel Robles (of no fixed weight) were dining at the Chilly D’s in California when they got more than they bargained for.
“I got the bill, I was looking at the bill… I was like, ‘Why does this receipt say fat girls?’” Duran told ABC News.
Well, it seems that their waiter had popped ‘fat girls’ into the restaurant’s system so he could remember which table they were. Duran asked the manager for an explanation, but he “had a smirk on his face, like it was funny but trying not to laugh”.
Jimmy Siemers, co-owner of Chilly D’s, said: “I just want to tell them we’re sincerely sorry and we’ll do everything in our power to make sure this never happens to anyone again.”
Over on Twitter, a list has been shared out which is apparently the words that the staff are encouraged to use at Jamie Oliver’s restaurants. Of course, your blood-pressure will rocket as you read things like “pimp”, “slamming” and “proper rustic.”
Sadly, “overpriced”, “galling” and “shite” haven’t been included, which is strange.
If you think that Heston Blumenthal’s experiments with electric ice cream and chips made from the caramalised-the-deep-fried souls of angels are the last word in imaginative cuisine then think again. But don’t think too hard about the following…
Mao Sugiyama, born a man but living as a self-described ‘asexual’ is a chef in Japan. He/she/it recently decided that as his/her/its penis and testicles were pretty much redundant, it might be a good idea to have them hacked off and serve them up for high-paying diners. Cannibalism? Possibly, but it seems that Japan has no laws against such a thing.
In the end, only five people stepped up to the plate that was containing Mao’s reproductive organs, each of them paying $250 to chew on them. The reviews weren’t great either – apparently the penis was rubbery; the scrotum was leathery and the testicles were hard on the outside and “glutinous” in the middle.
Your move Heston – we’re happy to sharpen the knife.
This one’s currently doing the rounds in the virals – a lightly horrifying promo ad for The Place, a New York restaurant. Getting the proprietor of a business to appear in the ads is rarely a good move and that’s proved here again, although it’s the ‘customers’ that are the most troubling aspects.
Are they real people? Are they acting? How fussy an eater is the woman? What else did they get up to when they were in Argentina? How easy/hard was it for the ad’s director to evoke the woozy feeling that one would experience while on powerful barbituates?
Tasting menus are the stuff of legend. Course upon course piled up on your table, and a bill at the end of the night that’s just as meaty. A new concept restaurant in the US has taken the tasting menu to the extreme, and will serve you nothing other than a 16 or 24 course tasting menu – but only if you sign a two-page contract beforehand.
What do you have to agree to before tucking into your grub at Rogue 24 in Washington DC? Well, you have to leave your mobile at home – phones are barred. Cameras aren’t allowed either, so that diners are “able to enjoy the experiences that surround them at Rogue24 free of distraction”.
What else? If reservations are cancelled after 3 pm on the day, then you’ll be charged a 100% cancellation fee. If you turn up later than 30 minutes for your booking, your reservation will be cancelled – and then you’ll be charged a 100% cancellation fee, too.
It’s the kind of shock bullshit that suits and show-offs will be milking themselves over – expect the restaurant to be rammed to the rim every night with pretentious la la’s fawning over a green drizzle of flecky snot on a plate.